Paul Bloch oral history interview



Paul Bloch oral history interview


Born-digital video recording of an oral history with Paul S. Bloch and interviewer Steve Ellis, recorded as part of The Museum of Flight Oral History Program, June 4, 2019.


Vietnam War veteran Paul S. Bloch is interviewed about his military service with the United States Navy. He discusses his experiences as a CIC (combat information center) officer and as a bombardier/navigator for the Grumman A-6 Intruder aircraft. Topics discussed include his combat cruises during the Vietnam War; his assignments with Attack Squadrons 52 (VA-52), 115 (VA-115), 128 (VA-128), and 165 (VA-165); and his experiences with various ordnance. He also touches briefly on his later career with the Boeing Company and the U.S. Naval War College.

Table Of Contents

Introduction and personal background -- Early aviation experiences -- Favorite aircraft -- Experiences at the Naval Academy -- Flight training -- Service overview -- Gulf of Tonkin assignment aboard the USS Sterett (DLG-31) -- Terrier and Talos missiles -- Helicopters and other aircraft on the USS Sterett -- Flying the Grumman F-9 Cougar -- Grumman A-6 Intruder program and assignment at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island -- Service with Attack Squadron 52 (VA-52) on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) -- Bombing and mission logistics in Southeast Asia -- Second cruise aboard the Kitty Hawk -- Mining missions -- Bombing targets and tanker operations -- Naval Postgraduate School and service with Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115) -- A-6 developments -- Mount St. Helens eruption (May 18, 1980) -- Training pipeline and missile development -- Contribution of artifacts to the Museum’s Vietnam exhibit -- Careers after leaving active duty -- Closing thoughts




1 recording (2 hr., 23 min., 13 sec.) : digital



Bibliographic Citation

The Museum of Flight Oral History Collection/The Museum of Flight





Biographical Text

Paul S. Bloch is a Vietnam War veteran who served as a bombardier/navigator aboard the Grumman A-6 Intruder aircraft. He was born in Berwyn, Illinois on September 13, 1942 to Walter and Helen Bloch. He attended Morton High School (Illinois) and afterwards entered the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland).

Graduating from the Naval Academy in 1965, Bloch next underwent flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola (Florida), NAS Meridian (Mississippi), and NAS Kingsville (Texas). He received training in the Grumman F9F Cougar and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, but eventually decided to transfer out of aviation and return to the Surface Navy. He received orders to the USS Sterett (CG-31), where he served in the CIC (combat information center) during operations in the Gulf of Tonkin.

In 1969, Bloch decided to return to naval aviation. He underwent naval flight officer training at NAS Glynco (Georgia) and trained as a bombardier/navigator in the Grumman A-6 Intruder/Prowler at NAS Whidbey Island (Washington). Over the course of his A-6 career, Bloch flew with Attack Squadrons 52 (VA-52), 115 (VA-115), 128 (VA-128), and 165 (VA-165) and served in a number of squadron executive positions. He also served two combat tours in Southeast Asia aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), flying a total of 265 combat missions against Vietnam and Laos. Other assignments from Bloch’s Navy career include studying operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, California), attending the U.S. Naval War College (Newport, Rhode Island), and serving on the staff of the Seventh Fleet. He retired from active duty in 1991.

Following his retirement, Bloch continued to be involved in military activities. He contributed to the Gulf War Air Power Survey and taught at both the Naval Postgraduate School and Naval War College. In 1998, he was hired by the Boeing Company and worked for 18 years in their Phantom Works, Defense, and Commercial sectors.

Bloch is a member of The Museum of Flight Docent Corps and is still an active volunteer as of 2019. He has also contributed a number of A-6 artifacts to the Museum’s Vietnam exhibits.

Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.