On 4/23/69 Lt. Graham E. Tharp, a student pilot with the VMAT-102 was on a routine training flight from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. During the flight his Skyhawk experienced a flame out. After unsuccessful attempts to restart the engine, the instructor who was accompanying him in another aircraft advised him to eject. Lt. Tharp made an attempt to eject, but only the canopy jettisoned, the seat remained in the aircraft. As he was quickly losing altitude, he felt he could pull off a wheels up belly landing and picked a flat open area of desert and set the plane down. The jarring from the belly landing shook something in the egress system causing the seat eject. Unfortunately the seat did not go high enough for the chute to deploy and he was killed.
While researching this A-4C, I came upon a document titled Command Chronology for July 1968 from the VMA-223. In it I discovered that this Skyhawk was stationed in Vietnam and while out on a sortie during the month of July was damage by multiple small caliber hits in the wing and horizontal stabilizer.