Depicted here are two Skyrays of US Naval Squadron VF (AW)-3 on patrol circa 1961. VF (AW)-3 was permanently based at NAS North Island, San Diego. This unit was attached to NORAD during the "Cold War" period and was tasked with protecting the west coast from attack by Soviet bombers. The airplanes were nicknamed "Ford" due to their F4D designation. The Skyray was the first naval airplane to achieve supersonic speeds in level flight. This aircraft had a spectacular rate and angle of climb and set a new time to altitude record flying from a complete stop to 50,000 feet in 2 minutes and 36.05 seconds, all while flying at a 70 degree pitch angle.