After Marine Drill Instructor/Naval Aviation Flight Cadet Battalion Commander Dave Ferman crashed, burned and nearly drowned in a Florida swamp, Dave was assigned to Naval Air Intelligence with Navy Squadron VAH-7 in May of 1955. A Top Secret operation disguised as an air-to-air refueling squadron, VAH-7 was actually a Navy atom bomber squadron deployed on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East at the point of the U.S. Navy spear during that extremely tense, explosive phase of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United Nations.
One of only two VAH-7 Air Intelligence personnel on the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) aircraft carrier, Dave’s boss broke his leg while riding a motorcycle in Palma, on the isle of Majorca in October 1955, was careflight transported back to the United States and, amazingly, he was not replaced until the squadron returned to the United States in late December, 1955. However, the VAH-7 Air Intelligence functions on the USS Coral Sea continued uninterrupted. That’s when Dave’s life became far more complicated.
The daily work load for VAH-7 Air Intelligence could be 16 or more hours during major operations, but somehow even shore leave became considerably more intense and threatening. In the Holy Lands, both Palestinians and Israeli’s shot at Dave in Jordanian East Jerusalem and in the Jordanian desert. FYI, the Israelis were the better shooters, but the Palestinian terrorists were far more troublesome. They had just killed 10 Israelis and were looking for more victims to murder.
In an ancient, crowded slum crammed between west Istanbul, Turkey and the Golden Horn, two home boys tried to kill Dave and one of the bomber crewmen with an antique Mercedes limousine squeezed into a very narrow alley. The next day Dave bumped into a friend and classmate from Wichita, Kansas. Dave didn’t know that his friend was a CIA agent stationed in Istanbul until their high school class reunion 50 years later in August of 2001.
In 1955, Squadron VAH-7 won the coveted Navy “E” for Excellence