Duty Assignment Chronology


1954-55            Flight Training   (Pensacola & Corpus Christi) (Jan ‘54 – May ‘55)


1955-59            VF-62   (NAS Cecil Field) ( July 1955 – Dec 1958)


USS Randolph, 1956, Mediterranean

USS Essex, 1958, Mediterranean, Pacific, Atlantic

1962-64            VA-144   (NAS Lemoore) ( Nov 1962 – Nov 1964)


USS Constellation, 1963, Pacific

USS Constellation, 1964, Pacific

1966-67            USS Hancock (CVA-19)   (NAS Alameda) ( Nov 1965 – June 1967)


1966, Pacific

1967, Pacific

1968-69            VA-56   (NAS Lemoore) (XO, CO) ( Dec 1967 – Nov 1969)


USS Enterprise, 1968, Pacific

USS Ranger, 1969, Pacific

1970-71            VA-122    (NAS Lemoore) (CO) ( Aug 1970 -Aug 1971)


1971                 USS Enterprise (CVN-65)  (NAS Alameda) (Operations Officer) (Oct 1971 – July 1972)


1971, Pacific

1972                 CinCPacFlt   (Hawaii) (Air Operations) ( Aug 1972 – July 1973)


1973-74           USS Kawishiwi (AO-146)   (Hawaii) (CO) (Aug 1973 – Sept 1974)


1973, Pacific, Indian Ocean

1974-76           USS Ranger (CV-61)   (NAS North Island) (CO) ( Nov 1974 – Sept 1976)


1976, Pacific, Indian Ocean

Combat Tours:


1964        VA-144                USS Constellation

1966        Air Ops                USS Hancock

1967        Air Ops                USS Hancock

1968        VA-56                  USS Enterprise

1969        VA-56                  USS Ranger

1971        Ops                     USS Enterprise

Total Combat Missions:  120

Ship Commands:

1973 – 74    USS Kawishiwi   (AO-146)

1974 – 76    USS Ranger       (CV-61)

Aviation Commands:

1968        VA-56

1970        VA-122

Combat Awards:

1        Bronze Star

2        Distinguished Flying Cross

13      Air Medal

Brief Summary:

1956        Flew combat air patrol during Suez canal crisis.

1958        Flew FJ3 at the ‘World Air Show’, Liege, Belgium.

1958        Flew air cover for Marines in Lebanon

1958        Flew combat air patrol during Taiwan Strait Crisis.

1964        Flight leader for first air cover over USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy. Launched

.               from USS Constellation night of 4 August, 1964   (Gulf of Tonkin Incident) 

1964        Participated on strike against Hon Gay 5 August, 1964. First air strike against

.               NorthVietnam. Lt Everett Alvarez shot down taken POW and Lt Dick Sather killed.

1968       Flew patrols in Sea of Japan after USNS Pueblo Incident.

.               Flew close air support missions in defense of Marines at Khe Sanh, Vietnam.

1976       Anchored USS Ranger, CV-61 at Man-0f-War anchorage in Singapore representing The United States on her  Bicentennial.


  1. Captain,
    You are a Hero
    I was on the USS Ranger from 1977 to 1980.
    I was an AO2

  2. Hi Captain! I had the pleasure of serving under you during my time attached (TAD) to the Ship’s Master-at-Arms department in 1975. I was a DP2 serving in S-7 Division under Commander Kalafut for the first 8 months I was on the ship (June 1974–Feb 1975). Capt Arthur E. Hill was our CO. In Feb, 1975 as an E-5 on my first enlistment, I took a TAD (6-month) assignment to the MAA under the MCPOC (I don’t remember his name, but I respected the heck out of him). I loved enforcing ship and naval regulations.

    I got to escort crew members who got XOI to the XO and on occasions to your Captain’s Mast. I especially enjoyed your hard stance on drugs. Drugs had no business onboard ship. You helped a lot of drug users (repeat offenders) get out of the military (General Discharge under honorable conditions). IF I recall correctly you generally gave them brig time before discharging them. After I completed my 6-month TAD assignment I only had about 11 weeks until my EOAS (11/18/1975) and S-7 division was going to have to replace me with another E-5. I got permission from the Supply Commander and the Chief MAA to extend my TAD until my EAOS. Those 9+ months were some of the best of my life.
    I used the GI Bill to become the first family member to attend, then graduate from college. UCSB.
    My navy training in data processing became my career for the next 35 years until I retired in January 2009. I owe the Navy so much.

    In October 2019, I attended my first USS Ranger reunion in San Diego. Although I didn’t meet any one I knew, I met several sailors who were on the ship when I was. I also became more aware of how much the MAA weren’t liked. Oh well, I’m over it.
    I had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with Dan Pedersen, who was a keynote speaker at the reunion. I’m sure you’re aware of him and his connection with the Top Gun school. Ironically, on the Ranger I knew our nickname, “Top Gun bar None”, but in 1974-75 I was unaware of the NFWS until the movie came out in 1986. (I guess I’m just a dumb black shoe).
    After A school at NTC in San Diego I had the privilege of getting a prestigious assignment to NAVCOSSACT and working on the Navy’s largest computer for two years. A friend of mine’s dad was also in the Navy and worked as a detailer at BUPERS. I didn’t want to extend my time, although I had made E-5 until I saw the “real” Navy. His father wasn’t our detailer, but knew him and quickly got me orders to the Ranger.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your history and listening to you speak. I truly admire and respect you for your leadership and career.

  3. Captain Nicholson, I was your Capt Steward , Stewardsman (TN) Eduardo Odango, on board the USS Kawishiwi AO-146. Thank you for helping me change my rate to Disbursing Clerk . I retired from active service in 1995 as Master Chief Petty Officer, Disbursing Clerk. Wishing you well and God Bless!!

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