LISTED BELOW OUR THE MIGHTY SQUADRONS THAT ENCOMPASS THE PRIDE AND DIGNITY OF THE VIKING COMMUNITY.
EVERY SAILOR IN EACH SQUADRON WAS NEEDED TO ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION. AIRCREW MUST KNOW HOW TO USE ALL AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS; MAINTAINERS MUST FIND AND REPAIR EACH AIRCRAFT DISCREPANCY AND ADMINISTRATORS MUST KEEP ALL OF OUR PAPERWORK CORRECT AND ON TIME. THE VIKING COMMUNITY WOULD NOT HAVE FUNCTION EFFICIENTLY AS A TEAM WITHOUT INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT.
Viking Squadrons and Wings
Seacontrol Wing Atlantic Fleet
For 36 years, Commander Sea Control Wing, Atlantic, has provided Fleet commanders with sea control and electronic reconnaissance squadrons fully trained and combat ready, able to execute all assigned tasks in a timely, correct, safe, and decisive manner.
The command was officially commissioned Air Antisubmarine Wing One on April 1, 1973, at Quonset Point, R.I., and subsequently moved to NAS Cecil Field that fall. October 1976 marked the completion of the Atlantic Fleet transition to the S-3A Viking as the propeller-driven S-2 Tracker was replaced and retired. In May 1987, the command was redesignated Sea Strike Wing One. Following a reorganization of naval aviation command structures, Sea Strike Wing One was elevated to a major command status on 01 October 1992, and was redesignated Sea Control Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The Wing officially changed their name in May 1993 and the squadrons changed over in September, marking the end of an era that also saw the wing designated as VS Wing One until the late 1980's.
In 1998, the Sea Control Wing and its six component squadrons migrated to NAS Jacksonville, where it reported directly to Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Sea Control Wing was responsible for the readiness, training, administration, and maintenance support of all Atlantic Fleet VS squadrons, and it was supported by the Carrier Tactical Support Center (CV-TSC) and the Sea Control Weapons School. Serving as the type wing commander for all operational S-3 Viking aircraft, the small staff was charged with maintaining the material and operational readiness of the Fleet fixed wing carrier based sea control squadrons.
Throughout its existence, the wing remained at the forefront of maritime warfare issues, maintenance developments and operational readiness factors impacting the VS community. From its highly specified origins, the VS mission expanded to include a diverse array of missions, from aerial refueling to employment of multiple weapons systems via the Maverick Plus upgrade. Retiring its antisubmarine warfare capabilities in 2001, the Viking's primary mission became sea control missions in contested littoral waters with a role of locating, targeting, and neutralizing surface threats to the U.S. carrier task group. Even as it was phased out, the Sea Control Wing aggressively expanded its mission, incorporating LANTIRN into its arsenal and flying vital combat support operations until it retired.
« Back To The Top
Sea Control Wing Pacific
Commander Sea Control Wing, Pacific, based at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif., can search for and destroy enemy submarines and provide surveillance of surface shipping. The S-3 Viking is used primarily for enemy submarine search and prosecution missions in the vicinity of the carrier battle group. The aircraft provides an ideal balance of computer technology and anti-submarine systems which enable its crew of four to collect, process, interpret and store data. With an endurance of more than seven hours, the S-3 also provides the capability to locate and identify surface ships before they come within range of the battle group.
On April 22, 1993 onboard NAS North Island, Commander, Sea Control Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet became the first West Coast Type Wing established, with Capt. T. Scott Douglas assuming command. This began the transition to the Type Wing organizational structure for the West Coast S-3 community.
Since the assignment of the first three pre-establishment personnel, CSCWP has overseen the completion of the transition from the S-3A to the more versatile S-3B for all Pacific Fleet squadrons; VS-21’s homeport change to Atsugi, Japan, becoming the first and only forward deployed S-3B squadron; VS-41’s designation as the single-site Fleet Readiness Squadron for the entire S-3 community; the increase in authorized aircraft allowance from six to eight for deployed squadrons; VQ-5’s homeport change from NAS Agana, Guam to NAS North Island, and CSCWP’s subsequent assumption of ISIC responsibilities; the establishment of a forward deployed VQ-5 Detachment 5 in Misawa, Japan; and the disestablishment of VS-37 in March 1995.
The wing was headquartered onboard NAS North Island with 46 military and 11 civilian members on the staff. As Commander, Task Group 12.9, CSCWP was the Operational Commander for Tactical Support Center, North Island. In total, CSCWP managed the administrative, manpower, operational and training requirements of 84 S-3B and ES-3A aircraft and over 1,800 military and civilian personnel.
« Back To The Top
VS-22 - Checkmates
The squadron traces its roots to VA-22, the first east coast carrier based ASW squadron. VS-22 was established on May 18, 1960 at Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, concurrently with the establishment of Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group FIFTY-FOUR. From 1960 until 1974, VS-22 flew the venerable Grumman S-2 "Tracker" best known as the "Stoof." The squadron now flies the sophisticated S-3B "Viking" aircraft built by Lockheed California Company.
The "Checkmates" have set the VS community standards since the squadron's inception. The highlight of 1961 was the recovery of America's first astronaut, Alan B. Shepard, after his pioneering space flight on May 5 of that year. In August 1965, VS-22 embarked in USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN for another space capsule recovery, this time Gemini 5 with astronauts Gordon Cooper and "Pete" Conrad. Returning to USS ESSEX, VS-22 participated in the recovery of Apollo 7 with astronauts Shirra, Eisele, and Cunningham.
On April 1, 1973, VS-22 joined Air Antisubmarine Wing ONE, the precursor of Sea Control Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. On November 8, 1973, with the subsequent closure of NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, VS-22 transferred to NAS Cecil Field, Florida.
Jet transitions started in the summer of 1974 with pilots training in T-2's and A-4's at NAS Meridian, Mississippi. On January 6, 1976, after 22 years of flying the S-2 Tracker, VS-22 sailed from NAS Mayport, Florida to the Mediterranean Sea onboard USS SARATOGA as the first deployed S-3A Viking squadron.
The Checkmates have routinely been at the forefront of naval aviation operations and setting VS community standards. The highlight of 1961 was the recovery of America 's first astronaut, Alan B. Shepard, after his pioneering space flight on May 5 of that year. In August 1965, VS-22 embarked in USS Lake Champlain for another space capsule recovery, this time Gemini 5 with astronauts Gordon Cooper and "Pete” Conrad. Returning to USS Essex, VS-22 participated in the recovery of Apollo 7 with astronauts Shirra, Eisele, and Cunningham. In 1970, VS-22 ASW operations provided more data and tactical experience in hunting nuclear submarines than had ever been done before.
In August of 1990, due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait , the JFK responded with a no-notice deployment to the Red Sea . Checkmate aircrews flew the first ever Commander, Battle Force Red Sea, Iraqi border surveillance and signals collection flights.
Operation Desert Storm commenced the liberation of Kuwait on January 17, 1991. Checkmate aircrews flew over 1100 combat hours and 324 combat sorties in direct support of coalition forces. Target information gleaned by VS-22 aircraft played a major role in the suppression of enemy air defenses during the first days of Desert Storm. From January 22, 1991 until the cease-fire on February 28, 1991, the Checkmates flew in every CVW-3 strike against Iraq .
VS-22 tactical innovation did not end with the war. Support of CJTF-4 Counter Narcotics Operations during the last part of 1991 through the first part of 1992 earned the Checkmates the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for locating over 1500 contacts, confirming 50 as suspected offenders.
After a long pre-deployment work-up schedule, VS-22 deployed on MED 1-93 embarked in USS John F. Kennedy in October 1992. Concentrating on multi-national Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea exercises during the first half of deployment, VS-22 provided initial in-flight refueling training for Egyptian Mirage 2000 pilots and practiced ASUW skills while leading over 40 multi-national, integrated and air wing exercise strikes against NATO ships.
Operations Provide Comfort and Provide Promise brought a shift in VS-22’s role as, once again, the S-3B Viking's electronic support systems became the Battle Group Commander's eyes and ears in yet another potentially hostile environment. While conducting air wing proficiency operations during Provide Promise, the Checkmates provided invaluable radar locating and Command and Control information while U.S. Air Force assets dropped relief supplies throughout a dense electronic warfare environment. Additionally, VS-22 contributed to the U.S. Navy's evolving focus on "From the Sea..." with near-land ESM, ISAR, and CCC missions.
In February of 1994, VS-22 joined CVW-3 and the crew of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was at this time that Congress passed laws permitting the embarkation of women in combat units. VS-22 had the distinction of being the first S-3B command to be assigned female Sailors. On April 16, 1995, VS-22 returned from their Mediterranean deployment onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
On November 26, 1996, the Checkmates deployed with CVW-3 onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt to the Mediterranean/North Arabian Gulf. VS-22 participated in Operations Southern Watch and Decisive Endeavor as well as numerous other joint exercises. On April 21, 1997, in the Eastern Mediterranean , the Checkmates became the first S-3B squadron to launch the AGM-65F Infrared Maverick missile.
VS-22 next deployed onboard USS Enterprise. During JTG 99-1, the Checkmates distinguished themselves in Operation DESERT FOX. Over the northern Arabian Gulf and Kuwait , VS-22 excelled as a critical strike support asset, as Naval Air forces dominated the Iraqi skies from the deck of Enterprise . During Operation Juniper Stallion, VS-22 became the first S-3B squadron to fire a live AGM-65F Maverick missile against a land target, scoring a direct hit. Operating in the Adriatic , VS-22 participated in Operation Noble Anvil, providing critical EW support.
In November 2000 VS-22 and CVW-3 embarked on the USS Harry S Truman’s maiden deployment. On February 16 2001, CVW-3 participated in strikes against Iraq as a part of Operation Southern Watch.
The Checkmates deployed for a second time with CVN-75 in December 2002, this time participating in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Launching missions from the Eastern Mediterranean , CVW-3 strike assets played a pivotal role in support of ground forces and the Checkmates were critical to the Air Wing’s ability to execute those missions.
October 2004 saw VS-22 deploying with CVW-3 and the USS Harry S Truman for the last time. VS-22 flew 1170 sorties and 3220 hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, patrolling the oil infrastructure in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Sea Dragon II missions. Current Navy plans have VS-22 leaving CVW-3 and joining CVW-17 until 2009, when the command will be disestablished. VS-22 will be the last S-3B squadron in the fleet.
The Checkmates have won nine Battle Efficiency Awards. The 1981 Award made VS-22 the first East coast S-3A squadron to win back to back Battle "E"s. Other squadron awards include five COMNAVAIRLANT Aviation Safety Awards, five Captain Arnold J. Isbell Trophies for ASW Excellence, three Navy Unit Commendations, five Meritorious Unit Commendations. Over the past two years VS-22 has won several Golden Wrench awards for excellence in maintenance performance as well as back to back Command Retention Awards.
Decommissioning: 26 January 2009
« Back To The Top
VS-24 - Scouts
The "Scouts" of VS-24 were disestablished during a ceremony 10 March 2007 at Hangar 116. The ceremony ended 47 years of service as an Atlantic fleet carrier-based antisubmarine warfare squadron (ASW). VS-24 was the first S-3 squadron to move to NAS Jacksonville in 1997 when NAS Cecil Field closed. The squadron has been in Jacksonville the past 34 years.
Since their move to NAS Jacksonville, the Scouts have deployed five times with their last deployment in March 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron officially deactivated March 31, 2007.
VS-24 has an eclectic yet distinguished two part history that dates back to Bombing Squadron 17 (VB-17) which was established Jan. 1, 1943. Embarked aboard USS Bunker Hill (CVS-17) and USS Hornet (CVS-12), VB-17 flew the Curtiss SB2C-1 Helldiver into combat throughout World War II. VB-17 was re-designated VA-5B Nov. 15, 1946 and then VA-64 April 27, 1948. Less than a year later on April 8, 1949, the squadron traded their Douglas AD-1 Skyraiders for less glamorous Grumman TBM-3/3W/3S Avengers and was redesignated VC-24 when their mission changed to ASW. The squadron became VS-24 on April 20, 1950 when it transitioned to the Grumman AF-2W/2S Guardian followed shortly thereafter by the Grumman S2F-1/2 Tracker. After participating in numerous ASW exercises conducted off small deck CVE's, CVL's and straight deck Essex-class carriers the squadron deactivated on July 1, 1956.
Congress resurrected VS-24 on May 25, 1960 when it divided VS-27 into two squadrons. These two squadrons along with HS-3 and a detachment from VAW-12, formed the newly established CVSG-56. The Scouts spent the next 13 years assigned to CVSG-56 and deployed aboard USS Valley Forge (CVS-45), USS Essex (CVS-9), USS Randolph (CVS-15), USS Yorktown (CVS-10) and USS Intrepid (CVS-11). During the CVS years VS-24 honed its ASW skills during day and night all-weather operations in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean flying the S2F, S-2E and S-2G models of the Tracker, keeping tabs on U.S., allied and Soviet submarines.
Before its transition to the S-3A, VS-24 made a couple of lasting achievements in the ASW community. In May 1973, the Scouts returned from the last East Coast CVSG/CVS deployment aboard Intrepid. That summer VS-24 along with all of the Atlantic Fleet VS squadrons bid farewell to NAS Quonset Point, R.I. and headed to NAS Cecil Field. A year later, the squadron embarked on the last Atlantic S-2G deployment with CVW-3 aboard USS Saratoga (CV-60) from September 1974 to March 1975, closing one chapter and beginning another in the squadron's long and distinguished history.
In July 1976, VS-24 completed a year-long transition to the more capable turbofan powered Lockheed S-3A Viking and in 1977, joined Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8), beginning a partnership that has lasted for 29 years. Since 1978, the VS-24/CVW-8 team has operated its S-3's off USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).
During operations in the S-3A, VS-24 participated in numerous U.S. and allied exercises while operating in the Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, and Arabian Seas and the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Scouts were also present during the Iranian hostage rescue attempt, Gulf of Sidra action and Lebanon crisis.
In the late 80s and early 90s, VS-24 put an indelible stamp on the evolution of the S-3 into an effective multi-role aircraft by achieving several of many Viking "firsts." In September 1989, the squadron transitioned to the more advanced and capable S-3B, enhancing the squadron's ability to support the air wing in electronic warfare, over-the-horizon targeting, strike support, anti-surface warfare, ASW and organic refueling.
VS-24 deployed with the new aircraft on board USS Theodore Roosevelt in December 1990 to the Arabian Gulf for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the deployment, the squadron flew 449 combat sorties and realized ground breaking successes for VS squadrons including the first overland S-3B strikes that targeted two AAA sites and a Silkworm site, the first tactical air launch decoy employment as part of an integrated strike and the first war-at-sea strike against an enemy patrol boat. After Desert Storm, VS-24 participated in Operation Provide Comfort rendering aid to fleeing Iraqi Kurdish refugees before returning home in June 1991.
The culmination of these achievements led to VS-24's re-designation as a sea control squadron in December 1993 to more accurately reflects the broad spectrum of its missions. The squadron continued to meet the multi-faceted needs of many different battle groups throughout the decade and into the new millennium. In 1995, VS-24 deployed on board USS Theodore Roosevelt to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, the Adriatic in support of Operation Deny Flight and to the Eastern Mediterranean flying 130 combat sorties in support of NATO strikes during Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian-Serb military targets.
The Scouts returned to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf in 1997 on board USS John F. Kennedy to support Operation Southern Watch and then the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to participate in Operation Deliberate Guard. Both of these operations made significant use of the S-3B's surface and electronic surveillance capabilities. Moving back on board USS Theodore Roosevelt in 1999, the squadron once again went into harm's way by supporting NATO Operation Nobile Anvil providing antisurface warfare and ESM support and aerial refueling for strike aircraft flying combat missions over Kosovo.
In 2001, USS Enterprise housed VS-24 as it participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, supporting joint air strikes in Afghanistan against terrorist targets. Despite heavy combat operations, VS-24 did not miss a single scheduled sortie. The Scouts finally ended their nomadic tendencies by returning to the ship of their longest tenure on board USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2003. This time the squadron supported the high tempo combat operations of Iraqi Freedom, transferring more than 900,000 pounds of fuel to strike assets and directly contributing to the expenditure of more than 500 tons of ordnance on Iraqi targets.
The Scouts punctuated a proud history of excellence in the VS community with another "first" from the deck of its long-time partner host USS Theodore Roosevelt. VS-24 deployed for the last time in September 2005 demonstrating the amazing versatility of the S-3B by flying non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Southern Iraq. This quelled the tremendous need of British-led coalition ground forces for airborne surveillance and propelled the VS community into another historic role. VS-24's success led to a modification that allows F-14 LANTIRN pods to be carried on the S-3B, improving its surveillance capability and opening the door to a myriad of tactical possibilities such as laser designating targets and forward air controller-airborne.
The Scouts returned from their final deployment March 9, 2006 after completing what can be called their most successful cruise ever. Breaking ground in NTISR, VS-24 flew more than 220 overland surveillance missions while being the sole provider of recovery fueling for the air wing. Through its outstanding maintenance practices the squadron posted a 99.7 percent sortie completion rate throughout the entire cruise making it the most reliable squadron in the air wing. VS-24 hit a grand slam its last time at bat, rounding up the Battle "E" Efficiency, Safety "S", Retention Excellence and CVW-8 Golden Wrench Awards as a result of their accomplishments on the 2005-06 deployment.
« Back To The Top
VS-27 - Sea Wolves
The history of Air Anti-Submarine Squadron TWENTY-SEVEN (VS-27) began when the Navy, spurred by the outbreak of the Korean War, created new carrier squadrons charged specifically with the mission of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) VS-27 was established on 15 November 1950 and operations commenced with the single-engine World War II Grumman “Avenger” (TBF) at the Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia.
VS-27 trained as NAS Norfolk in preparation for its first cruise and operational readiness inspection (ORI) which was held on board USS KULA GULF (CVE 108) in May-June 1951. In August of 1951 the “Avenger” was replaced with the larger, more modern single engine Grumman “Guardian.” The “Guardians” flew in pairs; one aircraft being responsible for hunting submarines with special detecting devices, while the other had the job of destroying the submarine. Also in 1951 VS-27 was aboard USS SIBONEY in August and the USS BLOCK ISLAND in October for training off Virginia Capes.
Recognition for this squadron came quickly. During its first year an east coast commentator coined a title for VS-27 “The Grim Watchdogs of the Eastern Sea frontier.” In January 1952, VS-27 embarked on the USS WRIGHT to join the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. The squadron perfected its ASW Tactics and developed many tactics still in use today.
In June 1953, a detachment of VS-27 pilots and aircrew men made the first ever landing on an angle deck carrier on board the USS ANTIETAM. Late in 1954, VS-27 received a new aircraft, the S-2F “Tracker” which was to revolutionize ASW Tactics. In 1955, VS-27 was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E”. The following year, the squardons won the “E” again after many outstanding ASW missions.
In January 1959, VS-27 made the Atlantic Fleet record book in a clean sweep of every ASW award: Third”E”, COMNAVAIRLANT “Aviation “A” award for safety,” the Captain A.J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence, and the CNO Safety Award. In January 1960, the squadron deployed to the Mediterranean on board the USS VALLEY FORGE.
In October 1961 USS ESSEX sailed for duty in the eastern Atlantic with VS-27 participated in the Mercury Space Program and played an important role in picking up astronaut Scott Carpenter after his space flight. Shortly after the outbreak of the Cuban Crisis in October 1962, VS-27 was alerted and went “on station” in the Caribbean. The Squadron conducted day and night operations during the entire Cuban Crisis. During November, VS-27 logged 1,050 flight hours, 66 percent at night. This set an AIRLANT record for the number of flight hours flown in a single month by a ten plane squadron until 1982.
In January 1963, the squadron deployed for a two month cruise on board USS INTREPID and was assigned to photograph the ships which removed the Russian Troops from Cuba. VS-27 commenced transition to the Grumman’s famous S-2E in September, 1964. On 23 March 1965, the squadron participated in the recovery of Gemini astronauts “Gus” Grissom and “John Young” while deployed in the western Atlantic on the USS INTREPID.
On 11 November 1966, VS-27 commenced two weeks of advanced ASW exercises utilizing the services of the USS TRITON (SSRN-586). During their exercises the squadron was the first to explore the data methods for machine reprocessing and participated in detailed exercise reconstruction. On 31 December 1966, VS-27 had complied an impressive 32,477.5 accident free flight hours.
From January 1968 to June 1968, VS-27 was in turnaround training at NAS Norfolk, VA with short detachments to the USS RANDOLPH (CVS-15) and USS WASP (CVS-18). A significant event occurred while on deployment to the Mediterranean in 1971. While in an ASW exercise with the USS GREENFISH, an intruder submarine contact was detected and prosecuted for over five (5) hours. The intruder surfaced in frustration and cleared the area. The submarine was photographed and evaluated as one of the “new” Soviet Victor Class Nuclear Attack Submarines.
In 1972 VS-27 was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for meritorious service while training S-3A fleet replacement aircrew and maintenance personnel, for the period 22 January 1987- 21 January 1988. In 1988 VS-27 became the first S-3B squadron and was the only S-3B Fleet Replacement Squadron until VS-41 transitioned in the early 90’s.
In 1990 VS-27 won the NAS Cecil Field Energy Conservation Award. In 1992, VS-27 was awarded the NAS Cecil Field Tenant Command Safety Award in addition to the Lockheed Golden Wrench Award for maintenance excellence.
In September 1993, VS-27 was re-designed as Sea Control Squadron TWO SEVEN to reflect the multi-mission role. On 30 September 1994, VS-27 was disestablished.
« Back To The Top
VS-28 - Gamblers
Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 28 was commissioned on 1 June 1960 at Naval Air Station, Quonest point, Rhode Island. Presently home-based at Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, Florida, the squadron mission remains to provide an organic carrier based, all weather, airborne force dedicated to counter the enemy submarine threat.
Operations in the 1960’s aboard USS WASP (CVS-18) and USS INTREPID (CVS-11) as part of the ASW “Hunter-Killer” Task Group earned VS-28 its nickname “The World Famous Hukkers.” This nickname was further enhanced through numerous successful operational deployments in the Caribbean, North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
VS-28 was recognized for service rendered during the 1960 crisis in Guatemala and the 1962 quarantine of Cuba. The squadron also provided valuable air surveillance for the Project Mercury and Gemini capsule recoveries. In 1967, VS-28 began; accumulating an impressive number of awards and citations with the receipt of the “E” for Excellence in Combat Readiness from Commander Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet (COMNAVAIRLANT), as well as the Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for excellence in anti-submarine warfare. The COMNAVAIRLANT Aviation Safety Award was received in 1969, and in 1970 the squadron earned the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award.
In 1971, VS-28 was se1ected to evaluate the All-Purpose Carrier (CV) concept aboard USS SARATOGA (CVA-60) as part of Carrier Air Wing THREE. Tests and exercises were conducted throughout the summer in the Mediterranean Sea. In December of that year, VS-¬ 28 was again awarded the Isbell Trophy for ASW operations aboard SARATOGA.
In June 1973, VS-28 deployed to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS INDEPENDENCE (CVA-62) to further evaluate the CV concept. For this deployment, the squadron was again presented the Isbel1 Trophy for excellence.
In January 1974, the squadron returned from deployment to a new, homeport, Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, Florida. ln 1975, VS-28 completed transition to the S3A Viking aircraft and was assigned to Carrier Air Wing SIX aboard USS AMERICA (CV-66), and in late 1978 was reassigned to USS INPEPENDENCE (CV-62). From 1975 to 1978, VS-28 completed two major Mediterranean deployments, a South American cruise and numerous other embarked training evolutions. The squadron's 1979 Mediterranean deployment was highlighted by Participation in Exercises National Week XIV, "Display Determination" and "Isle D 'or. "
In 1980 Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 28 received recognition for its outstanding achievements of the previous year with an impressive string' of awards. The squadron won the Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence; was named the Commander Sea Based ASW Wings Atlantic, VS Squadron of the Year; finished Navy-wide runner up for the Admiral
Jimmy Thach Award for carrier-based ASW excellence; and received the CNO Aviation Safety Award.
In November 1980, the squadron deployed, to the Indian Ocean embarked in USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) as part of Carrier Air Wing SIX. Throughout 1981, the squadron provided valuable ASW surveillance and logistic support for Carrier Group EIGHT and earned the "Golden Wrench" award from Lockheed California Corporation for the best east coast VS maintenance effort. After transiting the Suez Canal, VS-28 returned to NAS Cecil Field, completing a highly successful seven month deployment.
The latter half of 1982 saw the squadron deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean in support of U.S. Marines in Beirut.
On 12 September 1983, VS-28 completed its twenty-third consecutive year of major accident-free flight. This record encompassed over 97,000 flight hours and 19,500 carrier landings-both records for an Atlantic Fleet, carrier-based squadron.
On 18 October 1983, VS-28 again sailed with USS INDEPENDENCE (V-62) for another Eastern Mediterranean deployment. The ship, Carrier Air Wing SIX and VS-28 however, were diverted after three days at sea to the island of Grenada. The squadron flew around¬ the clock surveillance for five days in support of Operation Urgent Fury. Following the Grenada action, IN DEPENDENCE steamed to the Eastern Mediterranean where Air Wing SIX and VS-28 provided air support for the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon and the Battle Force Afloat.
In March 1984, VS-28 participated in the largest NATO exercise in history, Team-Work ‘84 off the coast of Norway. Around the clock ASW operations above the Arctic Circle inducted the squadron into the Royal Order of the Blue Noses and were highlighted by the first S3 contact on a new class Soviet submarine.
The Squadron deployed on 17 October 1984 on a four month Mediterranean/Indian Ocean cruise aboard the USS INDEPENDENCE. The ship, Carrier Air Wing SIX and VS-28 participated in Operation Seawind, the first joint Egyptian – U.S. Naval exercise before transiting the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean. After re1ieving the USS ENTERPRISE on station, the squadron and INDEPENDENCE began the bulk of their cruise. During their stay in the Indian Ocean, the carrier, Air Wing and VS-28 participated in two Beacon Flash exercises with the Sultan of the Oman Air Force and had a port visit in Singapore. The last week in January 1985 found the squadron back in the Mediterranean participating in National Week and DASIX exercises with the USS EISENHOWER battle group. After a port visit in Palma, the squadron and INDEPENDENCE returned stateside on 19 February 1985.
Now operating officially under the new call sign of GAMBLER, VS-28 started turnaround training almost immediately including participation Operation Solid Shield. In April of 1985, VS-28's effective safety program and safe operations were recognized with the receipt of the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for 1984. In May of 1985 the squadron, as part of Carrier Air Wing SIX, officially chopped from the INDEPENDENCE to USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) and was on board most of the summer for the carrier's post SLEP shakedown cruise.
VS-28 began 1986 at sea embarked in USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) for ISE (Independent Steaming Exercises). Returning to NAS Cecil Field, the Gamblers commenced a series of dedicated ASW exercises with submarines from COMSUBRON Sixteen. Aimed at basic tactical development these MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), operations established a new baseline for VS-28 ASW expertise. The MOU ASW operations continued into March when VS-28 embarked in (CV-59) for CV Phase I/IA training.
Sandwiched between lSE, CQ (Carrier Qualification) and during CV-59 REFTRA (Refresher Training) the Gamblers set the standard for S-3A, aerial mining. Delivering more than 30 airborne anti-shipping mines in February, VS-28 scored a 100% COMINEWARCOM graded weapon qualification rate. Most important, VS-28 briefed and lead the 1986 CVW-6 MRCI (Mine Readiness Certification Inspection) TAV. During the TAV VS-28 became the first ever S-3A squadron to deploy an operational MK-60 "CAPTOR" minefield using radar offset mining and scored “E’s” doing it.
March and April were marked by intensive at-sea operations in CV-59. During two short in-port periods, the Gamblers won the coveted VS Wing One Crew of the Quarter competition besting the best of VS Wing One and completed a zero discrepancy ADMAT (Administrative/Material) inspection. At sea, the CVW-6 S-3A flight element in the 1986 M RCI posted flawless results: all flight crews earned qualifying scores. Fleetex 2-86 tested the training of VS-28, the Gamblers were up to the task. Flying over 721 hours between 9 and 21 April, the Gamblers attacked every exercise submarine before they could attack the Carrier Battle Group.
MED 86 started in June. The VS-28/CVW-6/CV-59 team had been tested and was ready to meet the challenge. , During the Atlantic transit, the Gamblers aided in the validation of the Harvard Oceanographic Prediction Model and skillfully plyed their honed ASW skills against various non-us submarines.
Praise by COMCARGRU SIX followed a "most successful VS-28 S-3A prosecution of a Soviet SSN" during Med-86 inchop. VS-28's string of ASW contacts reads like a list of "what sub was in the Med from June, to October 1986. In fact, the sum of VS-28's Soviet sub contacts totaled more contact time than the two previously Mediterranean-deployed S-3A squadrons combined. The Gamblers detected and tracked submarines from eight nations including the Soviet Union, Libya, Spain, France, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and the United States.
The deployment wasn't just ASW. The Gamblers conceived, planned and implemented the first-ever Mediterranean theater VS/VP Minex. Coordinating with VP-24 deployed to NAS Signonella, Italy, VS-28 led the strike that literally carpeted Pachino Target with aerial mines. Using the sophisticated S-3A/P-3C on-line computer weapons delivery systems, the Gamblers and the Ratmen delivered more than 50 weapons on-target in a single attack run lasting less than two minutes. This landmark mine warfare mission highlighted the interoperability and effectiveness off the aircraft, squadrons and crews of VS-28 and VP-24. From EMCON CV-59 launch, to open-ocean S-3A/P-3C join-up, to attack and CV-59 EMCON recovery, the minex was a flawless success.
Following a successful TransLant by three S-3As via CFB Greenwood, Canada, 31 October 1 November, the remainder of the squadron flew into Cecil Field 9 November. Home again, VS-28 immediately got to work preparing for future operations. In December VS-28 started turnaround training with a weapon/torpex detachment to Nav Sta Roosevelt Roads, PR. At Roosevelt Roads the Gamblers were able to attain numerous Quals on the St. Croix Underwater Tracking Range. On this detachment Gamblers became the first fleet S- 3A Squadron to deliver live M K-84 2000 pound bombs.
The beginning of 1987 found VS-28 on the step with a very successful detachment to CFB Greenwood, Canada. Operating with Canadian CP-140 Aurora the Gamblers were able to learn and exchange much, with this ASW platform
that is very similar in avionics capabilities to the S-3A. After completing a successful REFTRA on USS Forrestal (CV-59) in May, the Gamblers detached to NAS Fallon, Nevada for a CVW-6 weapons det. July was marked by an intensive Advanced phased Training at - sea period in CV-59 in preparation for Ocean Safari. Ocean Safari 87 began in late August with the Gamblers providing continuous coverage for an opposed transit to Vestfjord, Norway. The exercise gave the Gamblers another chance to show the multi-mission capabilities of the Viking. Surveillance and over the horizon targeting in the outer zone greatly enhanced the capabilities of the Battle Group.
« Back To The Top
VS-30 - Diamondcutters
Sea Control Squadron Thirty remains prepared to conduct sustained combat operations from aircraft carriers in any environment to support National Command Authority objectives as promulgated by the Battle Group Commander, the Battle Group Strike Warfare Commander, and the Battle Group Sea Combat Commander. In the ever evolving world of naval aviation, VS-30 has helped keep the S-3B Viking on the cutting edge. They have accomplished this by adapting to a changing enemy threat and incorporating new weapons and technology.
During the post World War II years, TBM Avenger squadron VC-801 served as a component of the demobilized reserve Carrier ASW forces. On 1 August 1950, VC-801 was re-designated VS-801 at Miami, Florida, with 18 TBM-3E Avengers. The squadron was recalled to active duty on 1 February 1951 due to the military mobilization associated with the outbreak of the Korean War and moved its home station to NAS Norfolk, Virginia. In February of 1952, the squadron received its first AF-2S and AF-2W "Guardian" aircraft to replace the aging Avenger.
On 1 April 1953, Air Antisubmarine Squadron 801 was re-designated Air Antisubmarine Squadron THIRTY. During these early years, the squadron's emblem was developed from the original theme of the hunter "cat" stalking its prey. VS-30 transitioned to the Grumman S-2F Tracker in October 1954. The squadron deployed on "straight deck" CVS antisubmarine carriers to the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean Sea.
In June of 1960, VS-30 changed its base of operations from Norfolk, Virginia to NAS Key West, Florida and was designated the S-2 TRACKER Readiness Training Squadron for the Atlantic Fleet. As the East Coast training squadron, VS-30 earned the nickname "DIAMONDCUTTERS", by taking "nuggets" fresh from the training command and honing their skills to the fine edge needed to be fleet aviators. In October 1962, VS-30 crews integrated into fleet squadrons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In order to consolidate all Atlantic Fleet VS assets at a single sight, VS-30 was directed to relocate its men and machines to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, in July 1970. VS-30 continued its primary mission of indoctrinating and training pilots, aircrewman, and maintenance personnel, compiling an impressive safety record of more than 50,000 accident free flight hours and earning several commendations for exemplary service. With the closure of NAS Quonset Point, VS-30 made another permanent move in September 1973 to NAS Cecil Field, Florida. The Diamondcutters continued to train S-2 aircrews and maintenance personnel. Eventually, VS-30 took over S-2 training for both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets as well as training for crews from Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and South Korea.
On 1 April 1976, after 22 years of flying the S-2 TRACKER, VS-30 became an operational fleet squadron and transitioned to the S-3A VIKING. The squadron received training in the maintenance and tactical utilization of their new aircraft at NAS North Island, California. The Diamondcutters began their first operational deployment with the S-3A in April 1978 aboard USS FORRESTAL (CV 59) as part of Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW 17). In July 1988, VS-30 became the first fleet squadron to receive the enhanced capability Harpoon/ISAR equipped S-3B.
« Back To The Top
VS-31 - Topcats
Sea Control Squadron 31 (VS-31) squadron is currently stationed aboard NAS Jacksonville, Florida. The Operations Department is responsible for combat readiness within the squadron. This includes the responsibility for planning and coordination of all flights, simulator training, and external communications. The Safety Department is directly responsible for the promotion of safety and Operational Risk Management throughout the squadron. The Maintenance Department supports squadron operations by maintaining all assigned aircraft and associated support equipment. The Administration Department is directly responsible to the Executive Officer for squadron administrative procedures per the policies of the Commanding Officer and directives of higher authority.
The squadron originally existed as Scouting Squadron 31, based at Squantum Naval Air Station, Squantum, Massachusetts. The Squadron served meritoriously, flying the Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, followed by the Curtiss SB2C-4E Helldiver in the North Atlantic from 1942 until the conclusion of World War II in 1945 when it was de-commissioned. In April of 1948 at NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey, the squadron was re-established as Composite Squadron 31. The following year, VC-31 became the Atlantic Fleet’s first VS Squadron when its mission was changed to carrier-based anti-submarine warfare. The squadron was re-designated Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 31 (VS-31), took the name Topcats, and subsequently moved to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
In the early years, the VS-31 Topcats accomplished its ASW mission utilizing the TBM Avenger, followed by the AF Guardian “Hunter/Killer” aircraft. When using the Guardian in its ASW role, it was necessary to fly with a “sister” aircraft that had attack capabilities. In 1954, the Topcats received the first Grumman S-2 Tracker. This was the first true ASW aircraft that combined both search and destroy capabilities in a single carrier-based platform. The Topcats performed carrier operations aboard the USS MONTEREY in 1951. In the years to come, the squadron would conduct operations on the following carriers: WRIGHT, PALAU, SIBONEY, ANTIETAM, WASP, ESSEX, LAKE CHAMPLAIN, LEXINGTON, TARAWA, VALLEY FORGE, YORKTOWN, INTREPID, FORRESTAL, SARATOGA, INDEPENDENCE, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, GEORGE WASHINGTON, and JOHN C. STENNIS.
The Topcats have a long history of being called upon in times of conflict. In 1956, the squadron, embarked in USS ANTIETAM, was tasked by Commander, Sixth Fleet for ASW support during the Suez Crisis. Additionally, while embarked in WASP, VS-31 provided ASW coverage during the Lebanon Crisis in 1958 and also during the Berlin Crisis in 1962. VS-31 has, on numerous occasions, participated in history-making events. In March of 1963, the squadron provided surveillance and logistic support during President Kennedy’s visit to Costa Rica. In May of the same year, the Topcats were on station for the recovery of the last PROJECT MERCURY space shot, as well as for the recovery of the GEMINI IV Spacecraft in 1965.
In 1973, VS-31 departed NAS Quonset Point, its home for over a quarter of a century, and relocated to NAS Cecil Field, Florida. In the following year, the Topcats became the first VS squadron to deploy on USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) as part of the first operational test of the CV concept. This was also the last deployment the S-2 Tracker would make with the squadron.
The jet-powered S-3A Viking became the new ASW platform the Topcats would employ. Upon completion of this transition, the squadron deployed to the Mediterranean, once again in USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), in March of 1977. The Topcats then found themselves a home in the newly-commissioned nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69). Their first forward deployment to the Mediterranean Sea came in January, 1979. Following deployments in 1981 and 1983, VS-31 explored the limits of the Viking’s capabilities, making 23 detachments over a 24-month period. Most notable of the Topcats detachments were two precedent-setting exercises with the Colombian Navy.
In 1988, the Topcats made their last deployment with the S-3A, and upon return from the Mediterranean transitioned to the S-3B, a quantum improvement in Anti-Submarine and Anti-Surface Warfare capabilities. In March of 1990, VS-31 became the first squadron to deploy with the S-3B. During this deployment the Topcats participated in Operation “DESERT SHIELD”, arriving on-station in the Red Sea within days of the invasion of Kuwait to help prevent further Iraqi aggression.
« Back To The Top
VS-32 - Maulers
Sea Control Squadron 32 was commissioned as Air Anti-Submarine Squadron THIRTY TWO (VS-32) in April 1950. The squadron initially flew the TBM AVENGER under the command of LCDR Thomas B. Ellison and was based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk, Virginia.In 1951 the squadron moved to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. VS-32 transitioned to the Grumman S-2F TRACKER in 1954. The VS community moved in October 1973 to the homeport located at NAS Cecil Field, Florida. Since the closing of Cecil Field, VS Squadron has moved to NAS Jacksonville.
In August 1975 VS-32 began flying the S-3A VIKING. In the summer of 1990, the Maulers transitioned to the aircraft flown today, the S-3B VIKING. On 03 October 1997, VS-32 deployed for the last time from NAS Cecil Field. The Maulers returned from deployment to their new homeport of NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Between 1973 and 2000 VS-32 had completed: Three Mediterranean deployments aboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY; Shakedown operations with USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, USS NIMITZ, USS CARL VINSON, USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT and USS Harry S Truman; and Mediterranean/Red Sea/Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean deployments aboard USS AMERICA and USS GEORGE WASHINGTON.
In November 1989, upon their return from deployment, the World Famous Maulers of VS-32 transitioned to the S-3B. In September 1990 the Maulers, as part of CVW-1, participated in the first ever integrated air wing strike training exercise conducted at NAS Fallon Nevada.Emphasis was placed on the S-3B's new Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) system during the four-week period.VS-32 was once again in the vanguard, this time in the early warning role.
With the opening of 1997, preparations were concluded for VS-32’s BRAC 93 directed homeport change to NAS Jacksonville. Following the decommissioning of USS AMERICA (CV 66), Carrier Air Wing ONE was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet Carrier USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73). In July, the Maulers were only the second squadron to deploy with the AGM-65F Maverick Missile system. The Maulers honed this weapons system by producing safe and effective tactical employment profiles and envelopes.
The Maulers recently returned from a seven month deployment on the USS ENTERPRISE. Beginning in May 2006 and continuing to November 2006, the Maulers directly contributed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Maulers were the primary source of Non Tradition Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance for the NATO forces on the ground in southeastern Iraq. The Maulers disestablished on September 25, 2008.
« Back To The Top
VQ-6 - Black Ravens
A 26 August 1999 ceremony at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., marked the deactivation (officially 30 September) of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 6 after eight years of service. Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron SIX was established on 5 August 1991 based at NAS Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL, to provide real-time signals intelligence to tactical commanders for air, surface and ground operations. Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Six [VQ-6] assumed the carrier-based reconnaissance role that was previously performed by the EA-3B. Like the S-3B, the ES-3A also served as an aerial tanker. VQ-6 was equipped with eight ES-3As and formed four detachments with two aircraft each.
VQ 6 was under the administrative control of Commander, Sea Control Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In 1998, the squadron moved from Cecil Field to NAS Jacksonville as NAS Cecil Field prepared for closure. The VQ-6 Black Ravens flew the ES-3A "Shadow," a modified S-3A "Viking, performing carrier-based tactical electronic reconnaissance in support of the battle group commander.
The eight ES-3A's were deployed in four detachments of two aircraft each to support the five Atlantic Fleet Airwings. Each detachment was under the charge of a LCDR Officer in Charge (OIC) and consists of 10 officers and forty enlisted personnel. The first Atlantic Fleet ES-3A deployment was on the USS SARATOGA (CV-60) with Detachment ALFA in January 1994 with the final culminating on the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) also by Detachment ALPHA. There was a detachment on cruise every day since their maiden deployment.
The Black Ravens deployed their first detachment, Det Alpha, in January 1994 aboard Saratoga (CV 60), with then-Lt. Cdr. Bergey as officer in charge. Over the next five years, the Black Ravens' four detachments made a total of 13 major deployments to the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf, on board Enterprise (CVN 65), America (CV 66), John F. Kennedy (CV 67), Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), George Washington (CVN 73) and John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
From the start of NATO operations over Bosnia, the Black Ravens' ES-3As were heavily engaged and highly valued in electronic reconnaissance, including support for the carrier-launched strikes from Theodore Roosevelt and America in August and September 1995, respectively.
The VQ-6 detachments on carriers in the Arabian Gulf flew missions in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. The squadron's last detachment, Det Alpha, on board Enterprise provided signals intelligence (SIGINT) and tanking support for Operation Desert Fox, the December 1998 air strikes against Iraq.
In 1998 the Navy made a budget decision to remove the ES-3A from its inventory. This was due to the expense of upgrading the aircraft's mission suite to maintain joint interconnectivity with other SIGINT platforms, relying instead on land-based aircraft such as the EP-3E Aries II. On 10 August 1999 VQ-6 retired the Navy's last two ES-3As to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., for preservation in a war reserve status
« Back To The Top
VS-21 - Fighting Redtails
Squadron mission is to provide combat-ready VS aircraft to the U.S. Pacific Fleet commanders. Fleet VS Commanding Officers are responsible for the operation, administration, training, readiness and overall performance of their squadrons in the current, primary and secondary areas assigned by the Chief of Naval Operations.
The U.S. Navy announced 27 October 2004 that Sea Control Squadron 21 (VS-21 “Redtails”), based at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan, would be disestablished effective 28 February 2005. The squadron’s S-3B “Viking” aircraft were flown from NAF Atsugi back to the United States in November of 2004, where squadron personnel carried out disestablishment procedures. VS 21 decommissioning was implemented in accordance with the CNO's S-3 Sundown Plan.
The disestablishment was part of the U.S. Navy’s plan to phase out the 25-year-old S-3B, which is nearing the end of its service life. The S-3B’s missions have been assumed by other naval aviation platforms. The carrier strike group SH-60B/F “Seahawk” helicopters and land-based P-3C “Orion” maritime patrol aircraft are conducting the anti-submarine warfare mission; carrier strike group F/A-18 strike fighters, SH-60B helicopters, and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft are conducting the anti-surface warfare mission; and the F/A-18E/F “Super Hornets” have taken on the carrier-based airborne refueling mission.
VS-21 was embarked in USS KITTYHAWK and was based at NAF Atsugi, Japan. In keeping with the S-3B's multi-mission capability, VS-21 was redesignated from Anti-Submarine to Sea Control Squadron TWO ONE in 1993. Sea Control Squadron TWO ONE was the Navy’s only forward-deployed VS squadron. Stationed out of Atsugi, VS-21 deployed onboard the USS KITTY HAWK as part of Carrier Air Wing FIVE. Carrier Air Wing FIVE was comprised of nine squadrons flying seven types of aircraft. VS-21 flew the S-3B Viking Sea Control aircraft and was manned by approximately two hundred and fifty officers and enlisted. In addition to protecting the carrier battle group from all sea-borne threats, the S-3 was the carrier’s only integral tanking asset, enabling the battle group to conduct extended strike and surveillance operations.
VS-21’s distinguished history was highlighted by over 30 deployments in 18 carriers involved in supporting national interests in every theater of operation, and spanning over 75% of the earth’s surface. A chronicle of VS-21’s storied past includes participation in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Operations PRAYING MANTIS, EARNEST WILL, VIGILANT SENTINEL, SOUTHERN WATCH and support of Taiwan’s first ever democratic presidential elections. In 1997 VS-21 deployed to the Arabian Gulf on one week’s notice and is credited with checking Iraqi aggression in the region. They have been awarded eight Battle Efficiency "E" awards and numerous other campaign and unit level awards.
The origin of VS-21 can be traced back to 26 March 1945 when Carrier Escort Air Group FOUR ONE (CVEG-41) was established at NAS San Point, Washington. Comprised of Fighter Squadron 41 (VF-41) and Torpedo Squadron 41 (VT-41), CVEG-41 employed the Ryan FR-1 Fireball and TBM-3E Avenger, respectively. On 15 November 1946, both VF-41 and VT-41 established the new Carrier Escort Air Group ONE (CVEG-1) and were re-designated as Fighter Squadron 1 Escort (VF-1E) and Attack Squadron 1 Escort (VA-1E). Together, they formed the first of three air groups specifically established to conduct "hunter-killer" ASW operations. On 12 December 1946, while assigned to CVEG-1, the tail code "BS" (callsign Beef Steak) was used by VS-21 and remains its callsign today.
In the fall of 1948, CVEG-1 was re-designated Fleet Composite Squadron TWO ONE (VC-21). As a part of this re-designation, VF-1E and VA-1E were decommissioned, VC-21 was moved to NAS San Diego and the TBM-3W (hunter) and TBM-3S (Killer) aircraft became the hunter-killer force of the U.S. Navy. VC-21 was the first of seven ASW fleet composite squadrons to enter the fleet. The TBM-3S was outfitted with eight sonobuoys and was capable of attacking with depth bombs, rockets and ASW torpedoes; while the TBM-3W was equipped with a rotating search radar antenna.
On 23 April 1950, VC-21 was designated VS-21 and on Independence Day 1950 became the first carrier-based squadron to depart the United States in response to the Korean War. During this conflict, the squadron was responsible for the evacuation of 1st Marine Division wounded from Kotori airstrip near the Chosin Reservoir.
n December 1954, the squadron was chosen as the first command to transition to the S2F-1 (S-2D) Tracker. The twin-engine aircraft combined both hunter and killer roles within a single airframe for the first time. In 1955, the red lightning bolt was first displayed on the engine cowling and later the tail, establishing a tradition that lasts to this day. That next year, VS-21 became the first VS squadron to win the Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency "E" award.
The squadron was divided in April 1960 with the establishment of VS-29. The two VS squadrons, together with HS-6 formed Carrier Anti-Submarine Group FIVE THREE (CVSG-53) and embarked on that Carrier Group’s inaugural Western Pacific deployment embarked in USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33). As part of that Carrier Group, VS-21 participated in the recovery of LCDR Wally Schirra, pilot of Mercury capsule Sigma 7, and MAJ Gordon Cooper, pilot of Mercury capsule Faith 7. During their third Western Pacific cruise together, KEARSARGE and CVSG-53 deployed to the South China Sea in response to the Gulf of Tonkin crisis to provide maritime surveillance as well as search and rescue services off the coast of Vietnam.
In 1965, VS-21 accepted the advanced S-2E and became the first VS squadron to operationally employ the AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-surface guided missile. Seventeen years after successfully testing the CVS concept, VS-21 joined the USS SARATOGA in 1971 to validate the multi-purpose CV Carrier concept that incorporated fixed-wing ASW assets into attack carrier airwings. This carrier/airwing experiment proved successful and has stood the test of time to present day.
In 1974, VS-21 was chosen as the first command to introduce the Lockheed S-3A Viking to the fleet. The twin turbofan powered Viking combined excellent flight characteristics with high endurance to counter the increasingly lethal Soviet nuclear submarine threat. Embarked in USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) as a part of CVW-1, VS-21 deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in February 1975 as the first squadron to deploy with the S-3A Viking. That same year, the Redtails won the Battle "E", the CNO Safety Award and the Captain Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence.
In April 1991, VS-21 was selected by Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet as the first west coast squadron to transition to the Lockheed S-3B. The most advanced ASW and sea control platform in history, the S-3B incorporates an extensive weapons system improvement program that added an advanced imaging capable ISAR RADAR, Electronic Counter Measures, vastly improved anti-submarine technologies, and AGM-84D Harpoon air-to-surface missile employment. Additionally, the S-3B modification provided the aircraft with inflight refueling capability. As the only carrier-based refueling aircraft, the S-3B is the cornerstone of all carrier operations and strike capabilities within the airwing.
In August 1991, VS-21 embarked in USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and joined Carrier Air Wing FIVE as the only permanently forward deployed VS squadron.
« Back To The Top
VS-29 - Dragonfires
Two of the US Navy's West Coast S-3B squadrons, VS-29 and VS-38, were disestablished in ceremonies at NAS North Island, California, on 17 April 2004. The Navy's S-3B Sundown Plan calls for the gradual disestablishment of Viking squadrons as the number of operational carrier-based squadrons flying the F/A-18E/F increases. The F/A-18 will take over the aerial tanking role from the S-3.
VS-29 was commissioned 1 April 1960. Since then the "World Famous Dragonfires" of VS-29 have served the United States and the fleet in numerous wars and conflicts and in all major oceans of the globe with aggressive and imaginative tactical employment of the S-2 Tracker and S-3A/B Viking.
In 1961 VS-29 embarked aboard USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33) and in 1962 and 1963 assisted in the recovery of Mercury space capsules. In 1964 the Dragonfires sailed for the Western Pacific Ocean (WESTPAC) and began operations in the South China Sea. From 1966 through 1972 the Dragonfires operated aboard several carriers on deployment to the Gulf of Tonkin.
In 1975, after transitioning from the S-2 Tracker to the S-3A Viking, VS-29 made the first WESTPAC S-3A deployment while attached to Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) embarked on USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65). In 1977 VS-29 deployed as part of CVW-2 aboard USS RANGER (CV-61). The Dragonfires joined CVW-15 in 1981 aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) for WESTPAC deployment.
VS-29, as part of CVW-15, next deployed aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) on her maiden voyage. The Dragonfires again cruised aboard VINSON in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990. In 1990, the Dragonfires transferred to CVW-11 aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72). In May 1991, VS-29 deployed aboard LINCOLN to the Arabian Gulf. En route to the Gulf, LINCOLN was a key player in Operation Fiery Vigil, the evacuation of Subic Naval Base during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.
VS-29 cruised aboard the LINCOLN again in June 1993. Initially VS-29 participated in Operation Southern Watch in Iraq. After two and a half months in the Arabian Gulf, the LINCOLN Battle Group was called away to join Operation Continue Hope, supporting the United Nations humanitarian mission in Somalia.
In April 1995 VS-29 once again set sail for the Arabian Gulf. Dragonfire aircrew flew over 300 sorties and 1000 hours in support of Operation Southern Watch. Heightened tensions in the region forced the LINCOLN Battle Group to remain on station until September in support of Operation Vigilant Sentinel.
Upon their return from WESTPAC '95 the Dragonfires, along with CVW-11, transferred to the USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63). In May 1996 the Dragonfires, as part of the KITTY HAWK Battle Group, participated in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise'96. In October '96 the Dragonfires deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. While supporting Operation Southern Watch, the Dragonfires provided aerial refueling, surface search, electronic surveillance for the battle group. After a very successful cruise, the Dragonfires returned home in April '97 to NAS North Island in San Diego California.
Upon its return, the squadron was reattached to the USS CARL VINSON. As part of the VINSON Battle Group, VS-29 again participated in the six nation RIMPAC '98 Exercise. In December 1998, the squadron again deployed to the Persian Gulf and participated in Operation Desert Fox. Given only an hour's notice, VS-29 planned and executed the delivery of 51,000 pounds of fuel for CVW-11's 20 plane Navy-only strike from the USS CARL VINSON, earning their aircrew 10 Air Medals and 10 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals from Commander United States Naval Forces Central Command. VS-29 participated with CVW-11 in several international exercises including Operation Eager Archer and Neon Falcon in February 1999.
Since returning from deployment in May 1999, the Dragonfires conducted detachments to NAF El Centro, Elmendorf AFB, AK and supported the 1999 Seattle Sea Fair onboard USS CARL VINSON and 1999 San Francisco Fleet Week onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The Dragonfires also visited NAS Whidbey Island, WA, NAS Lemore, CA, and NAS New Orleans JRB as part of CVW-11 integrated training.
« Back To The Top
VS-33 - Screwbirds
Sea Control Squadron THREE THREE (VS-33), assigned to Carrier Wing Nine, was commissioned April 1, 1960. The VS-33 "World Famous and Internationally Traveled Screwbirds" first flew the Grumman S-2E/G Tracker from 1960 to 1975. Transition to the Lockeed S-3A Viking in 1975 marked the end of the propeller era and greatly improved the Carrier Battle Groups' Anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
In 1991, VS-33 transitioned to the S-3B. Although outwardly identical to the S-3A, the S-3B is a vast improvement in weapon systems. The S-3B is the most advanced Surface Warfare (SUW) aircraft in the world. Using an array of advanced avionics and sensors, the S-3B is capable of detecting, tracking, localizing, and destroying enemy surface units. The Viking is a force multiplier, critical to the successful operations of the carrier battle group. VS-33's squadron designation was changed in October, 1993 from "Air Anti-Submarine Squadron" to "Sea Control Squadron" to better reflect the new multi-mission role of the S-3B.
Since commissioning in 1960, the Screwbirds have earned the title "World Famous and Internationally Traveled Screwbirds" by conducting operations around the globe. During seventeen major forward deployments, the Screwbirds have made their home on many aircraft carriers including USS HORNET (CVS-12), USS BENNINGTON (CVS-20), USS RANGER (CV-61), USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63), USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64), USS AMERICA (CV-66), USS NIMITZ (CVN-68), and USS John C. Stennis which is the squadron's current home.
« Back To The Top
VS-35 - Blue Wolves
Commissioned on 03 January 1961, the “Boomerangs” of VS-35 operated eleven S2F-1 aircraft while awaiting introduction of the new S2F-3 Tracker. By June 1961, VS-35 received it’s first S2F-3 at NAS North Island and the fledgling squadron saw its first deployment the following year on board the USS HORNET (CVS-12). The Squadron received its disestablishment orders in June 1973.
Between October of 1976 and May of 1988, preparations to re-establish VS-35 flying the new S-3A Viking aircraft were terminated for fiscal constraints. The rebirth of VS-35 officially began on 03 October 1990 when Commander D.G. Heine assumed the duties of Officer-In-Charge. Official re-establishment occurred on 04 April 1991. VS-35, flying the S-3A, became part of Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14) attached on the USS CARL VINSON(CVN-70)on 10 October 1991.
The transition to the S-3B in December of 1992 further expanded VS-35’s role within the Battle Group as the technologically advanced Viking became the premier platform in war-at-sea scenarios. On 17 February 1994, the “Blue Wolves” deployed on the USS CARL VINSON, marking their first deployment since 1972. VS-35 remains a part of Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN, but is now attached to the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) Battle Group which deployed in June 1998 and recently returned in December 1998 from the Western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf where the squadron flew in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. This deployment proved highly successful for VS-35 with the command being awarded its second consecutive SEACONWINGPAC Commodore's Cup for weapon's excellence, the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence, the SEACONWINGPAC Golden Wrench award, the CVW-14 and CINCPACFLT Golden Anchor awards, and the 1998 COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award. During two arduous work-up periods and WESTPAC deployment in 1998, VS-35 flew more than 2700 sea-based hours and accumulated over 1230 arrested landings.
In the post deployment months of 1999, the Blue Wolves' continued to display their exceptional level of operational expertise during several combined exercises including the 1999 CVW-14 Tactical Exercise, a close air support (CAS) exercise in Twenty Nine Palms and an experimental AGM-84A Harpoon shoot at NAS Point Magu. In October of 1999, the Blue Wolves won their third consecutive SEACONWINGPAC Commodore's Cup, a feat never achieved any West Coast Viking squadron. Since initial establishment, VS-35 has accumulated over 80,000 hours and over 18,000 carrier landings, accident free.
VS-35 was disestablished March 31, 2005.
« Back To The Top
VS-37 - Sawbucks
VS-37 was re-established in 1946 at NAS Oakland, California, as reserve Attack Squadron VA-76E. In 1948, the squadron was re-designated Composite Squadron (VC) 871. In 1949 was re-designated Air Antisubmarine Squadron (VS) 871. On 1 May 1951, the squadron was called to active duty in the Korean War and based at NAS Los Alamitos, California, with TBM-3S/3W Avengers. The squadron deployed to the Korean War Zone in October 1952 on board Bataan (CVL 29), returning in February 1953 aboard Badoeng Strait (CVE 116).
On 24 June 1953, VS-871 was re-designated VS-37 and during the next month was equipped with the Grumman AF-2S/2W Guardian (where the distinctive Rooster Tail / Tail Flash horizontal stabilizer markings were first utilized ) , moving the following year to NAS North Island, San Diego, California.
VS-37 made one deployment to the western Pacific (WESTPAC) on board Princeton(CVS 37) in 1954-1955, helping cover the evacuation of Nationalist Chinese forces from Tachen Island. Upon return, VS-37 switched to the S2F-1 Tracker twin engine anti-submarine aircraft.
In October, 1956, under the command of CDR Neil S. Weary, VS 37 boarded the USS Philippine Sea, CVS 47, for Carrier Qualifications. Two weeks out, COMSINCPAC in response to the Suez crisis, ordered the Philippine Sea, CVS 47, with VS-37 and HS-2 aboard, to make an emergency deployment to Hawaiian waters, where the order of the day was to find, identify and track all unidentified Submarines in the area. For eight weeks, the task force cruised Hawaiian waters tracking suspected Russian Submarines. As the crisis cooled down, the ship and crew returned to San Diego for replenishment and to load all VS-37 Personnel and equipment.
On January 6, 1957, The USS Philippine Sea, CVS 47, with VS-37 and HS-2 aboard, once again departed for Hawaiian waters. The Squadron completed carrier qualifications and in March, 1957, departed for Japan. During the stay in the Far East, the Squadron visited several ports which included Yokosuka, Sasebo, Osaka/Kobe and Okinawa. A visit was also made to Hong Kong. On two occasions, the Squadron off loaded to operate from NAF Atsugi during their stay in Japan.
On August 6, 1957, VS-37 returned to San Diego where men and equipment were off loaded. Immediately following the return, the Squadron was transferred to NAS Los Alamitos.
In 1958, the Squadron made another WESTPAC cruise aboard the USS Yorktown, CVS 10. In May 1960, with S2F-1/1S aircraft, VS-37 began a long association with Hornet (CVS 12), making six deployments to WESTPAC through 1969. After the first, the squadron was split in half, forming VS-35 as a sister squadron, and in 1961 moved back to NAS North Island, San Diego, California, becoming the Navy’s first West Coast squadron to receive the S-2D version.
VS-37 made two cruises with S-2D versions and three Vietnam War cruises with S-2E versions during which the squadron flew patrol and gunfire spotting missions off the coast of Vietnam. On 1 March 1971, VS 37 deployed aboard the USS Ticonderoga, CVS 14, as part of Carrier Anti-Submarine Group 59, returning home 6 July 1971.
VS-37 made another WESTPAC cruise aboard the USS Kitty Hawk from 23 November to 9 July 1974. The squadron was then equipped with the S-2G. A second WESTPAC cruise was made aboard the USS Kitty Hawk from 21 May 1975 to 20 October 1975 as part of CVW-11.
In August 1976 the Navy's last S-2 Tracker aircraft, operating with VS-37, was withdrawn from active service and was replaced by the Lockheed S3 Viking. Many of the pilots who flew the Tracker credit it with being the Navy's most versatile airplane of its era. The S-2 first entered service with VS-26 in February 1954 and provided the Navy with 22 years of active service.
In October of 1992, Captain J.P. Kelly reported to Sea Control Squadron 37 (VS-37) as the Executive Officer and assumed command in January 1994 making two deployments aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63). During his command tour, VS-37 earned the 1994 COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E", the Admiral Jimmy Thatch and Arnold J. Isabel awards for ASW excellence, the "Golden Wrench" award for superior squadron maintenance and "Top Hook" honors in CVW-15.
On March 1, 1995, the long history of VS-37 came to an end as the squadron was de-commissioned at NAS North Island.
« Back To The Top
VS-38 - Red Griffins
Two of the US Navy's West Coast S-3B squadrons, VS-29 and VS-38, were disestablished in ceremonies at NAS North Island, California, on 17 April 2004. The Navy's S-3B Sundown Plan calls for the gradual disestablishment of Viking squadrons as the number of operational carrier-based squadrons flying the F/A-18E/F increases. The F/A-18 will take over the aerial tanking role from the S-3.
The Fighting Red Griffins of Sea Control Squadron Thirty- Eight have provided significant contributions to the Navy team for over forty-six years. Throughout three wars (Korea, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm) the squadron has executed their operational tasking to perfection becoming the warfare and tactical leaders of the VS community.
The Red Griffins were commissioned as a Torpedo Bomber Unit in August 1950. The men were among the very first Naval Reservist called into active duty during the Korean War Mobilization. Originally activated as VC-892 at NAS Seattle, the squadron was made up entirely of Seattle residents. Initially, the command flew the TBM "Avenger" from the Jeep Carriers USS SICILY (CVE-118), USS RENDOVA (CVE-114), USS BAEDONG STRAIT (CVE-11), and USS POINT CRUZ (CVE-119).
Two years after commissioning, the Red Griffins moved to NAS North Island to lead their community into carrier based ASW. The following year, they were designated the Navy's first carrier based anti-submarine warfare squadron. A year later (in 1954) the Red Griffins were the first to transition to a twin engines-2F "Tracker". During this period the command participated in its second war, making several deployments to the waters of South Vietnam on the carriers USS BENNINGTON (CVS-20) and USS HORNET (CVS-12) while supporting Operation Market Time.
The Fighting Red Griffins were the first ASW squadron to move to large deck carriers. In 1973, the Red Griffins transitioned to the S-3A "Viking". During the next fifteen years, the Red Griffins made deployments to the Western and Northern Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Central and South America aboard USS RANGER (CV-61), USS KITTYHAWK (CV-63), USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) and USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) with Air Wings TWO, ELEVEN, and FOURTEEN.
In December of 1990, the "Fighting Red Griffins" deployed for their fourth consecutive time with CVW-2 on WESTPAC '91 participating in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During this deployment, the Red Griffins became the first VS squadron to participate in combat strike operations. The Red Griffins deployed again in 1992 to enforce the no-fly zone in Iraq. Additional tasking included participation in the United Nations relief effort RESTORE HOPE assisting in humanitarian efforts in Somalia.
During 1993, the Red Griffins brought the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) to San Diego from SLEP in Philadelphia and finishing the year with newly upgraded S-3B airframes and a new official name: Sea Control Squadron 38.
The Red Griffins deployed again on USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) in 1994 for WESTPAC '95 and Operation Southern Watch. Upon their return, they the Red Griffins continued to maintain OPTEMPO with multiple detachments to Comox CFB, Vancouver, B. C., Seattle, Washington and Victoria, B.C.
In 1997, the Red Griffins deployed again on the USS CONSTELLATION with CVW-2 to patrol the no fly zone in Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch during WESTPAC '97. The Griffins returned from cruise and began to prepare for a detachment to Fagosta, Chili flying coordinated ops with the Chilean Air Force.
In May 1999 the Griffins deployed the USS CONSTELLATION on WESTPAC 99 once again to participate in Operation Southern Watch. The cruise saw many milestones for the Red Griffins and CVW-2. WESTPAC-99 was the first cruise for VS-38 without USW as a part of their mission. The Red Griffins adapted to the change by improving all other missions of the S-3B. While flying several SSC, ASR, and ES mission flights, the Griffins set a record for fuel passed during cruise by giving away over 3 million pounds of fuel assisting strike operations over Southern Iraq. The Griffins were also integral to CVW-2's accumulating 10,000 traps during deployment with every member of the squadron attaining centurion status.
In 2000 the Griffins participated in COPE THUNDER in Anchorage Alaska. The detachment allowed the Red Griffins to fly low levels and drop bombs on Ranges while polishing ES skills against simulated SAM sites along routes.
In May 2000 VS-38 was recognized for thirteen years of mishap free flying when they won the CNO Safety Award for the fifth time in 9 years. The squadron was also recognized for outstanding performance during WESTPAC '99 by winning the Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Award for ASW excellence for the fourth time.
« Back To The Top
VS-41 - Shamrocks
VS-41 is the United States Navy’s Fleet Replacement Squadron for the S-3B aircraft. The mission of VS-41 is to indoctrinate and train Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, and enlisted Aircrew in S-3 type/model systems and tactics in order to provide a maximum level of air combat readiness in the fleet forces. To assist in this mission the squadron utilizes a complex series of trainers and simulators that use state of the art technology to realistically simulate flight and combat scenarios.
Sea Control Squadron 41 (VS-41) was commissioned on June 30, 1960 in response to the Navy’s need to conduct sea-based Under Sea Warfare (USW) operations from aircraft carriers throughout the world. The original aircraft assigned for this mission was the Grumman S-2F1 "Tracker." Flying from CVS carriers, these S-2 series aircraft were instrumental in protecting our Naval forces well into the seventies.
On January 21st 1972, the first flight of the Navy’s S-3A "Viking" ushered in a new era in Under Sea Warfare. Built by Lockheed, this carrier based, twin-turbofan jet dramatically improved the Anti-Submarine warfare and Surface Surveillance capability of our Navy. VS-41 received it’s first S-3A on 20 February 1974. By the mid 1980’s the first reworked and improved S-3B was flown. This technological leap brought the S-3 to the forefront of surface and sub-surface warfare. Transition to this state of the art upgrade was completed in 1990.
VS-41 has trained all east and west coast fleet S-3 squadrons in the new weapon systems since September 1994. The aircraft’s high speed computer system processes information generated by acoustic and non-acoustic target sensor systems. This includes the Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) and ESM systems suites. To destroy processed targets, the Viking employs an impressive array of airborne weaponry, including the Harpoon anti-surface missile, Maverick missile, and MK-46/MK-50 torpedo. This provides the fleet with an effective airborne capability to combat the significant threat presented by modern surface and subsurface combatants. Additionally, all S-3B aircraft are capable of carrying an inflight refueling "buddy" store. This allows the transfer of fuel from the Viking to other Naval strike aircraft, thus extending their combat radius.
A variant of the Viking took to the skies in the early 1990's. Designated the ES-3A "Shadow," this aircraft filled the electronic surveillance void left by the departure of the EA-3 "Skywarrior." One squadron on each coast was established and utilized the designation VQ. This aircraft served as the over the horizon "ears" for the modern carrier battlegroup.
VS-41 flies in excess of 10,000 hours per year, qualifying approximately 50 fleet pilots and 80 tactical coordinators (TACCO’s). Additionally, all pilots are refreshed or initially qualified for day and night carrier operations: the heart of Naval Aviation.
« Back To The Top
VQ-5 - Sea Shadows
An 04 June 1999 ceremony at NAS North Island, CA, marked the deactivation (officially 31 July) of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 5 after almost eight years of service. VQ-5 was established on 15 August 1991 at NAS Agana, Guam, to operate the carrier-based ES-3A Shadow, an electronic reconnaissance version of the S-3A Viking. The ES-3As assumed the carrier-based electronic reconnaissance role in preparation for the 1991 retirement of EA-3B Skywarriors from carrier duty. Like the S-3B, the ES-3A also served as an aerial tanker. VQ-5 initially was equipped with two S-3As--which arrived on 10 November 1991--for pilot and crew training while the squadron awaited delivery of its eight ES-3As. The first Shadow arrived at VQ-5 on 8 May 1992.
VQ-5 deployed its aircraft with carrier air wings in detachments of two ES-3As each. VQ-5 consisted of 4 two-plane detachments, with three located at the parent command in North Island and VQ-5 Det 5 in Misawa, Japan. The first major deployment for the squadron, Det Alpha, began in November 1993 on board Independence (CV 62), forward deployed to Japan. Deployments of Dets Bravo and Charlie followed on other carriers.
In response to 7th Fleet directive, VQ-5 Det 5 was established in 1994 to provide support for 7th Fleet assets. VQ-5 Det 5 was a permanently assigned 2-plane detachment to Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) which deployed on board USS INDEPENDENCE and when ashore is homeported at NAF Misawa, Japan. VQ-5 Det 5 also flew missions in support of Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, 7th Fleet. VQ-5 Det Five participated in the following deployments and operations: Operation Southern Watch (2 deployments), AnnualEx, Foal Eagle, Vigilant Sentinel, Cobra Gold, Valiant Usher, Cope North, Team Spirit, RIMPAC (2 deployments) and various contingency operations. The detachment was the only carrier borne VQ detachment which routinely conducts joint/multinational training on a regular basis.
Between August 1994 and January 1995, VQ-5 moved to NAS North Island as NAS Agana was prepared for closure. The move put the squadron closer to the carrier air wings on the West Coast, easing the work-up cycles for the squadron's detachments. In addition, Det 5 was established on 1 October 1994 as part of Carrier Air Wing 5 at NAF Misawa, Japan, in order to support the carrier permanently based in Japan--first Independence, followed in 1997 by Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Another detachment, Det D, was formed at NAS North Island in 1998. During more than five years of operations, the Sea Shadows' five detachments completed 15 major deployments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf on board Independence, Kitty Hawk, Constellation (CV 64), Nimitz (CVN 68), Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Highlights included contingency operations off Korea in 1994 and Taiwan in March 1996. All of the detachments participated in Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
VQ-5's last detachment, Det C on board Carl Vinson, supported Operation Desert Fox strikes against Iraq in December 1998. Det C's return home in May 1999 marked the Navy's last operations with the ES-3A. Because of the expense of upgrading the ES-3A to make its mission systems interconnective with those of other signals intelligence-capable aircraft, the Navy decided to retire the ES-3A and rely on land-based aircraft such as the EP-3E Aries II. Before its deactivation, VQ-5 transferred its eight ES-3As into war reserve storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
« Back To The Top
VRC-50 - Foo Dogs
Fleet Tactical Support Squadron FIFTY (VRC-5O) was established 1 October 1966 at Naval Air Station, Atsugi , Japan. Prior to establishment, VRC-5O was an Atsugi based VR-21 detachment. The newly formed squadron initially operated the C-1A "Trader" aircraft for Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) The introduction of the C-2A "Greyhound", 6 December 1966, marked the beginning of C-2A COD service to the fleet. Seven months later, on 11 July 1967. the CT-39E "Sabreliner" (light transport jet) arrived and an additional phase of operations commenced. The CT-39E aircraft cruised at 450 knots at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, providing rapid transportation between Western Pacific military and civilian airports.
In September 1968, a permanent VRC-50 detachment was established at Naval Air Station, Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines. VRC-5O operated 10 C-2As in direct support of SEVENTH Fleet carriers operating in the Tonkin Gulf, Philippine Sea, and South China Sea. In recognition of VRC-50's efforts and contributions in the Far East, The squadron was awarded the National Defense Transportation Award in 1968, 1978, 1982 and 1993 for sustained outstanding performance in military transportation.
In June 1969 three C-130F "Hercules" transports were assigned to the squadron. Then in February 1971, VRC-50 received orders to change its homeport from Atsugi, Japan to NAS North Island at San Diego, California. [Authorized By: CNO, DTG R171535Z Feb 71] As part of this move, the C-130 aircraft were transferred to VR-21 in Barber's Point, Hawaii, while the CT39Es, C-1As, and five C-2As were transferred to VRC-50 Detachment Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines on a six-month rotational basis. In December 1971, the squadron established a C-1A detachment at Danang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, and assumed responsibility for Yankee Station Carrier Onboard Delivery. A further change of homeport, from Naval Air Station, North Island to Naval Air Station, Cubi Point Republic of the Philippines occurred in July 1972. [Authorized By: CNO, DTG 281950Z Jun 72]The Danang Detachment following the homeport change, was phased out seven months later allowing the squadron to operate as a unit for the first time in 4 1/2 years.
In April 1976, VRC-50 was redesignated "Fleet Logistics Support Squadron FIFTY. The return of the C130 aircraft in March 1977 brought the aircraft inventory to six C-1As, seven C-2As, two CT-39Es and three C-130Fs. With additional use of the C-1A and expanded use of the C-2A aircraft, VRC-5O again provided Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) support to SEVENTH Fleet units operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean until calendar year 1981.
With the retirement of the C-1A from the operational service, the first US-3A detachment personnel reported aboard in August 1981, and VRC-50 assumed operational control of the Diego Garcia detachment in March 1982, providing direct support to Carrier Battle Groups on "Gonzo" Station in the North Arabian Sea. It was here that the US-3A aircraft earned the name "Miss Piggy" following its 2,000 mile mail run.
In December 1988, VRC-5O closed a chapter in its long operational history when its remaining CT-39E was transferred to MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, terminating its "Sabreliner" operations.
In August 1990, the FOO DOG C-2A detachment aboard USS INDEPENDENCE(CV 62) established a 1-plane foothold in the Arabian Gulf which later combined with other logistic units to facilitate the biggest assembly of naval, air and land forces since D-Day. On 15 January 1991, two days before the commencement of Operation DESERT STORM, VRC-50 established a permanent detachment in Fujairah , United Arab Emirates, which remained until 1 September 1993.
Following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo and as part of the U. S. military withdrawal from the Republic of the Philippines, VRC-.50 made a homeport change from Naval Air Station, Cubi Point to Andersen Air Force Base Guam effective 1 August 1992 while still providing uninterrupted logistics support to SEVENTH Fleet units.
In August 1994 the US-3A completed 13 years of Fleet service with the transfer of VRC-50's final four "Pigs" to VS-41 at NAS North island, California, for use as fleet replacement pilot trainers and VIP aircraft. In September 1994 one C-130 aircrafl was explosively disabled on Andersen AFB, Guam and the final two C-130F's were transferred to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, for preservation. All C-2A aircraft were transferred to VRC-30 at NAS North Island or to VRC-30 Det 5, Atsugi, Japan.
On 30 September 1994, the FOG-DOGS' final Commanding Officer, Commander Donald T. Boothe, led the last 32 officers and 230 enlisted personnel in a disestablishment ceremony aboard Andersen AFB, Guam. This ended over 28 years of dedicated sacrifice and service to SEVENTH Fleet forces operating in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, an area of responsibility (AOR) nearly two thirds the earth's surface. Throughout this time men and women of the VRC-50 FOO DOGS have provided the airborne logistics support that made possible America's forward Naval presence in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. Supported by VRC50, these forces have ensured stability, built international relationships, provided humanitarian aid, deterred aggression and won conflicts. VRC-50 was officially disestablished on 7 October 1994.
« Back To The Top