USS HANCOCK CV/CVA-19 ASSOCIATION
Taps Special Honor Pages
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Commander John "BUG" Roach, USN (D)
2 October 1991
CALL SIGN "BUG"
CDR John Roach was a Navy pilot and Carrier Air Group (CAG) Landing Signals Officer (LSO), who achieved numerous
milestones during his career, before being killed when his aircraft engine and ejection seat failed leaving him
unable to successfully egress from his A-4E Skyhawk in 1991.
Retired Navy Capt. Zip Rausa, Charles M. DeGruy, Senior Manager Naval Concept and Doctrine, Rear Adm. Michael
J. McCabe, Director Air Warfare (N78) and Retired Rear Adm. P. D. Smith displays a plaque presented in honor of
Commander John "Bug" Roach, to help officially dedicate a conference room at the Pentagon in his name.
U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 2nd Class Hendrick L. Dickson.
Also see: "Bug" bringing in a A-6 Intruder for a barricade arrestment. YouTube Video
Note the lights, a little into the video that is moving up and down. This is the on-station plane guard, escort
destroyer, following in the carrier's wake. The movement illustrates the movement of the flight deck this dark
The Landing Signal Officer referred to and handling this recovery was "Bug" Roach.
CDR Roach was born in Monterey, Calif. and received his Naval Aviator wings in 1966. He served as an F-8 Crusader
pilot and Landing Signal Officer (LSO) during the Vietnam War, making combat cruises with three different air wings
on three different 27C class carriers.
In 1990 the Navy League sponsored an award to recognize professional LSO performance, on the LSO platform. Based
on his unsurpassed expertise on the LSO platform, the Navy League felt very strongly that they wanted to name the
award the "CDR John "Bug" Roach Paddles Award", while CDR Roach was still on active
duty. At the 1990 Tailhook Convention, where the first award was presented, the following facts were supplied about
CDR Roach's LSO career:
"He made four separate CAG LSO tours. In addition he was recalled on two other occasions as a ready
alert CAG LSO due to his expertise. During his tenure as a CAG LSO he waved without mishap: ten barricade arrestments,
twenty single engine approaches, five aircraft missing main landing gear, two A-4 aircraft with major battle damage,
the first ever S-3 with an unlocked wing, a night, hand-held radio (PRC-90), talkdown of six aircraft with no meatball
and with the flight deck illuminated by the headlights of flight deck tractors, following a total engineering casualty
on the ship.
"Subsequent to these accomplishments, when events began heating up in the Middle East in 1990, CDR Roach volunteered
his services as CAG LSO yet again and deployed with CVW-2 to the war zone. It was on this cruise that he made his
1,000th arrested landing. In more than 25 years of Naval service, CDR Roach never had a non-flying tour. On 2 October
1991 while on an adversary flight in an A-4E off the coast of Southern California, CDR Roach was killed when his
aircraft lost power and he was unable to successfully eject from the stricken aircraft."
USS Hancock CVA 19 Final Cruise 1975
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