The Grumman A-6 Intruder was a twin jet-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built in the United States by Grumman Aerospace. In service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps between 1963 and 1997, the Intruder was designed as an all-weather medium attack aircraft to replace the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider. As the A-6E was slated for retirement, its precision strike mission was taken over by the F-14 Tomcat equipped with LANTIRN pod. A specialized electronic warfare derivative, the EA-6B Prowler, remains in service as of 2011.
The Intruder received a new standardized DOD designation of A-6A in the Autumn of 1962, and entered squadron service in February 1963. The A-6 became both the US Navy's and US Marine Corps's principal medium and all-weather/night attack aircraft from the mid-1960s through the 1990s and as an aerial tanker either in the dedicated KA-6D version or by use of a buddy store (D-704). This role was served in the USAF by the F-105 Thunderchief and later F-111 which was also later converted to a radar jammer as the EF-111 Raven.
A-6 Intruders first saw action during the Vietnam War, where the craft were used extensively against targets in Vietnam. The aircraft's long range and heavy payload (18,000 lb/8,170 kg) coupled with its ability to fly in all weather made it invaluable during the war. However, its typical mission profile of flying low to deliver its payload made it especially vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, and in the eight years the Intruder was used during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps lost a total of 84 A-6 aircraft of various series. The first loss occurred on 14 July 1965 when an Intruder from Attack Squadron 75 (VA-75) from the carrier USS Independence, flown by LT Donald Boecker and LT Donald Eaton, commenced a dive on a target near Laos. An explosion under the starboard wing damaged the starboard engine, causing the aircraft to catch fire and the hydraulics to fail. Seconds later the port engine failed, the controls froze, and the two crewmen ejected. Both crewmen survived.