Bruce Gamble has written numerous popular books on WWII in the Pacific, and now the well respected author/historian has stepped into online video, announcing his establishment of a new outlet dubbed Skywarrior Media. His first production is titled Ride Along: A Flight in an A-3 Skywarrior, which incorporates video footage which Bruce recorded in the venerable naval attack aircraft almost 40 years ago.
We turn the clock back to 1985 when Gamble was still an Overwater Jet Navigator – living a dynamic life as a carrier-based aviator during the closing years of the Cold War. At the time he was stationed with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1), based at Naval Air Station Agana on the South Pacific island of Guam, tasked with electronic reconnaissance across the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas. As a navigator in EA-3B Skywarriors, Gamble completed two long deployments aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), earning a Centurion patch with more than 100 traps aboard the carrier. During his second cruise, he documented shipboard life and operational flights using a bulky videocassette camera typical of the time.
Interestingly, one of the Skywarriors featured in the above video, EA-3B BuNo.146457, is now on display aboard USS Yorktown (CV 10) at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. During its distinguished career with VQ-1, this Skywarrior wore the modex 005. It later moved halfway around the world to join VQ-2 in Rota, Spain, where its modex became 007. All operational A-3s retired from the fleet soon after that point, and BuNo.146457 survived to become a static exhibit aboard Yorktown. Due to its modex change, Bruce wasn’t aware that he had personal flight time in the aircraft until the Bureau Number caught his eye. Going through his logbook, he discovered that he had over 100 hours in the right front seat of the airframe. As one of two aircraft flown by Detachment Charlie aboard USS Carl Vinson in 1984-85, BuNo.146457 appears in several scenes of Gamble’s newly published video.
Bruce’s goal is to use his new YouTube channel as a platform to both share his stories as a naval aviator and also his work as a naval aviation historian. In particular, viewers will be able to enjoy an inside view of his work about the war in the Pacific, especially the ‘Blacksheep’ of VMF-214 and its notorious leader, Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington. Visit his channel (HERE) and make sure to “follow” what is sure to be a fascinating ride!
Here’s a link to Bruce’s website, where you can find his books on ‘Pappy’ Boyington, Black Sheep Squadron, and a trilogy about Fortress Rabaul in World War II… and more.