Lt. Keith Gallagher's Story
In 1991 Lt. Keith Gallagher was partially ejected from the KA-6D in which he was the second seater, due to a mechanical failure in his ejection seat.
At the time, Lt. Gallagher, and his pilot, Lieutenant Mark Baden, were members of the Green Lizards squadron, VA-95, based near here on Whidbey Island at NAS Whidbey, but on deployment in the Indian Ocean on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
Lt. Gallagher's cousin has put together a website with all of the details, pictures, videos, and audio of the incident. It makes for some engrossing reading.
I knew a couple of the pilots in VA-95 back then, and got the chance to "fly" night carrier landing simulator, which is as close as you can get to flying an A-6E without actually strapping one on. The pilots that flew the A-6's referred to it as the "Double Ugly" as it lacked the racy lines of the more exotic fighters. What the A-6's lacked in beauty, however, were more than made up for in function. The A-6's were true "Zero-Zero" capable, and could land and take off from a carrier in total darkness with absolutely no visibility. They could fly their entire mission without ever seeing anything!
As the A-6's gradually became obsolete due to aging technology, Grumman developed and test-flew the A-6F, a much updated version of the A-6E, using modern avionics, lots of carbon fiber structural stuff, and more powerful engines. In my opinion the decision to pass over the A-6F and to attempt to modify the F-18 to do the same job was a major mistake, but I suspect some politics had something to do with the decision.
Sadly VA-95 was "Decommissioned" several years ago and the A-6E Intruders are gone, but the EA-6B Prowlers are still hard at work doing their electronic magic, much to the bewilderment of the enemy.
Hat tip to JimS for the heads-up!