VA-176 (U.S. Navy)

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Attack Squadron 176
VA-176.JPG
VA-176 Insignia
Active 1 June 1955 - 30 October 1992
Country United States
Branch United States Navy
Type Attack
Role Close air support
Air interdiction
Aerial reconnaissance
Part of Inactive
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Oceana
Nickname "Thunderbolts"
Engagements Vietnam War
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Provide Comfort

Attack Squadron One Seven Six (VA-176), known as the "Thunderbolts", was a United States Navy carrier-based medium attack squadron that saw combat service in the Vietnam War and later in 1983 in both Grenada and Lebanon.

History[edit]

VA-176 was established on 4 June 1955 and equipped with the Douglas AD-6 Skyraider and assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. A year later the first deployment followed on board the aircraft carrier USS Randolph (CVA-15) to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Air Task Group Two (ATG-2). In 1958 the squadron was assigned to Carrier Air Group 17 (CVG-17), but was not deployed as CVG-17 was disbanded. The next cruise in 1959/60 was aboard the USS Essex (CVA-9) as part of CVG-10. In November and December 1960 VA-176 was assigned to Carrier Anti-submarine Air Group 52 (CVSG-52) aboard the USS Wasp (CVS-18). After this short deployment VA-176 returned to CVW-10 and made three deployments to the Mediterranean Sea with the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) between 1961 and 1965.

VA-176 A-1H in 1966 with "MiG-Killer" LTJG W. T. Patton

Carrier Air Wing Ten (CVW-10) was shifted in 1966 to the USS Intrepid (CVS-11), which was used as an attack carrier for three deployments to Vietnam. During the 1966 deployment two members of the squadron became known by successfully engaging a North Vietnamese MiG-17, an unusual instance of propeller-driven aircraft defeating a jet-powered adversary.

VA-176 KA-6D Intruder tanker aircraft

In 1967 VA-176 was back in the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Saratoga (CVS-60) as part of Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3).

This was the last cruise with the Douglas A-1H Skyraider, as the squadron converted to the Grumman A-6A Intruder all-weather attack plane. From its first deployment with the Intruder in 1970 to the last in 1991, VA-176 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing Six (CVW-6). From 1970 to 1975 CVW-6 was assigned to the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42). The next three years were spent aboard the USS America (CV-66). In 1979 the wing moved to the USS Independence (CV-62), followed by the USS Forrestal (CV-59) from 1986 to 1991. Flying the Intruder, VA-176 made eighteen deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, three of which also led to the Indian Ocean. The squadron earned three consecutive Battle "E" awards, for the years 1988-1991. The squadron was decommissioned from active service on October 30, 1992.

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]