VFA-25

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Strike Fighter Squadron 25
VFA-25.jpg
VFA-25 Insignia
Active January 1, 1943
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Fighter/Attack
Role Close air support
Air interdiction
Aerial reconnaissance
Part of CVW-9
Garrison/HQ NAS Lemoore
Nickname "Fist of the Fleet"
Colors Green with black and yellow
Engagements World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation New Dawn
Aircraft flown
Fighter

F/A-18E Super Hornet

F4 Phantom

Strike Fighter Squadron 25 (VFA-25) is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at NAS Lemoore. Its current tail code is NG, its callsign is Fist, and it flies the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

Squadron insignia and nickname[edit]

The squadron’s first insignia was approved by CNO on September 28, 1944 and was indicative of its mission as a torpedo squadron, consisting of a four leaf clover, horseshoe and flying torpedo.

A black fist clenching a red lightning bolt on a field of yellow became the squadron’s second insignia and has been in use, with some modifications, since CNO approval on June 9, 1949. The fist on the Insignia is actually Zeus' fist from Greek Mythology.

On July 24, 1959, CNO approved a modification to the insignia which added a scroll with the designation VA-25.

On January 24, 1974 CNO approved another modification to the insignia, adding three black stars. When the squadron was designated VFA-25 it continued to use the fist and lightning bolt insignia but dropped the three stars. 4 stars were again added (date unknown) representing wars in which VFA-25 has flown aircraft into combat: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and most recently, Iraq.

History[edit]

Two US Navy squadrons have held the designation VA-25. The first VA-25 would eventually become VA-65 and is not related to the subject of this article. The second VA-25 has a direct lineage to the current VFA-25 "Fist of the Fleet".[1]

1940s[edit]

VT-17 TBM-3Es in 1945 on the USS Hornet

The Fist of the Fleet was originally commissioned as Torpedo Squadron 17 (VT-17) on January 1, 1943 at NAS Norfolk flying the Grumman TBF Avenger.

On September 10, 1943 the squadron embarked in USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), en route from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Diego.

On November 11, 1943 the squadron flew its first combat sorties, striking targets in Rabaul.

The squadron flew numerous combat missions through February 1944, striking targets in Kavieng, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk and Tinian.

In February 1945, the squadron flew numerous combat missions against targets in Japan and the Bonin Islands and provided ground support for the Invasion of Iwo Jima.

In March 1945, VT-17 aircraft struck Japanese ships in the East China Sea, Inland Sea and around the Ryukyu Islands and land based targets in and around Okinawa. On April 7, 1945, VT-17, along with other units from the task force, attacked a Japanese naval force composed of the super-battleship Yamato and her escorts, scoring several torpedo hits on the Yamato and sinking one of her destroyer escorts. From April–June 1945, combat missions were flown against targets in and around Okinawa in preparation for the invasion of that island, targets in and around Kyushu, Shikoku and ships in the East China Sea.

In March 1946 the squadron transitioned to the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver attack bomber, and was redesignated as VA-6B on November 15, 1946.

On September 23, 1947, the squadron transitioned to the Douglas AD-1 (later A-1) Skyraider, affectionately nicknamed the "Spad," the type it would fly for the next 21 years.

The squadron sailed aboard the USS Coral Sea on its maiden voyage in early 1948, and was redesignated as VA-65 on July 27, 1948.

From October 27 to November 23, 1949, VA-65 embarked in USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42), to the Davis Straits area conducting cold weather exercises.

1950s[edit]

The outbreak of hostilities with which would become the Korean war saw the squadron transferred to NAS Moffett Field, California.

On September 15, 1950, embarked aboard the USS Boxer, squadron aircraft participated in combat strikes against shore defenses in and around Incheon, Korea, just before the landings at Incheon.

On October 1, 1950, VA-65 aircraft struck the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, hitting the airfield and scoring a direct hit on a large electrical power plant. On June 23, 1952, VA-65’s Skyraiders hit the Suiho power plant on the Yalu River.

In February 1955, while embarked in USS Essex (CVA-9) and operating in the Formosa Straits, the squadron provided air support during the evacuation of Nationalist Chinese forces from the Tachen Islands which had come under bombardment by the People’s Republic of China.

On July 1, 1959 the squadron was redesignated Attack Squadron Twenty-five (VA-25).

1960s[edit]

VA-25 A-1H with special "bomb" in 1965 on the USS Midway. The "bomb" was a damaged toilet which was going to be thrown overboard. One of VA-25's plane captains saved it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it.
VA-25 Skyraider armed for a mission over Vietnam in 1966/67

In March 1961, the squadron, while embarked in Midway, operated in the South China Sea due to the crisis in Laos.

In 1962, the squadron moved to its current home, the newly completed NAS Lemoore.

From April 1965 through April 6, 1968, the squadron made three deployments in support of the Vietnam War, still flying the A-1. During this period, Fist pilots flew over 3,000 combat missions, dropping more than 10 millions pounds of ordnance on enemy targets. On June 20, 1965, four VA-25 propeller driven "Spads" were engaged by two Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17s deep in North Vietnam — two of the Fists pilots were credited with a successful guns kill against one of the jet-powered fighters.

When the squadron turned in its A-1 "Spads" in 1968, it was the last tactical propeller driven squadron in the Navy. In January 1968, squadron aircraft provided close air support for U.S. Marines besieged at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam.

In October 1968, the squadron transitioned to the LTV A-7 Corsair II, with which it again deployed to Southeast Asia, after only four months of training, aboard USS Ticonderoga. It was during this cruise that the Fists set a record — in 33 flying days, Fist pilots flew 1,650 sorties in combat. During this period, each squadron pilot averaged over 92 hours in the air.

1970s[edit]

VA-25 A-7E traps aboard the USS Ranger

In October 1970, the Fists began a long and successful relationship with the USS Ranger, nicknamed "Top Gun." In the following two years, the squadron made two more combat cruises, expending over 15 million pounds of ordnance on targets in Laos and Vietnam. On November 21, 1970, squadron aircraft flew in support of Operation Ivory Coast, the attempt to free American POWs from Son Tay 20 miles west of Hanoi. The squadron made four more deployments aboard Ranger in the '70s.

In December 1972, the squadron participated in Linebacker II Operations, heavy air strikes against targets primarily around Hanoi and Haiphong.

On January 15, 1973, the squadron participated in a large laser-guided bombing attack against bridge targets in North Vietnam. This coordinated strike, led by the VA-145 Swordsmen, used the Grumman A-6 Intruder’s Pave Knife Laser Designation System to attack 14 North Vietnamese bridges with Mark 83 and Mark 84 laser-guided bombs dropped by the A-6A and A-7E aircraft.

Following the cease fire with North Vietnam on January 27, the squadron concentrated its attention on strikes against lines-of-communication targets in Laos until an agreement was reached with that country.

In July 1976 following the Israeli raid on Entebbe, Ranger, with VA-25 embarked, was ordered to transit from the South China Sea to the western Indian Ocean and operate off the coast of Kenya.

1980s[edit]

VA-25 was on station in the Indian Ocean during the Iran hostage crisis.

In May 1983, the Fists began training in the then-new F/A-18A Hornet. The squadron was redesignated as Strike Fighter Squadron 25 (VFA-25) on July 1, 1983.

Operational air wing training in multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground exercises with the USS Constellation were conducted for the remainder of 1984 through January 1985. In February 1985, the Fists departed on the historic first deployment of the F/A-18 Hornet aboard USS Constellation to the western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

In July 1987 during the Iran–Iraq War, VFA-25 provided air cover for reflagged tankers transiting the Straits of Hormuz during Operation Earnest Will.

In June 1989, the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18C.

1990s[edit]

When Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the Fists responded aboard the USS Independence, flying combat patrols in support of Operation Desert Shield from the Gulf of Oman for three months before being relieved by USS Midway.

In 1994, aboard the USS Carl Vinson the squadron operated extensively in the Persian Gulf, flying missions over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch. In 1996, the squadron continued its participation in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Strike. After being on station for more than three months, the Fists returned from deployment on November 12, 1996. In 1998, the squadron deployed on USS Abraham Lincoln, where it enforced United Nations no-fly zones in Iraq.

2000s[edit]

VFA-25 Hornets in 2000

In 2000, the Fists dropped several bombs on selected tactical targets in southern Iraq, and continued to patrol the skies in the Persian Gulf. In July 2002, the Fists left NAS Lemoore for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment aboard Abraham Lincoln. There the Fists saw action in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom as well as over Iraq, in support of Operation Southern Watch. In the fall and winter of 2002, as the United States moved closer to decisive action in dealing with Iraq, Abraham Lincoln was ordered to stay on station in the Persian Gulf. After a total of three extensions and approaching the ship's tenth month away from home, war was declared against Iraq.

On March 19, 2003, the squadron began combat sorties in earnest and Operation Southern Watch abruptly turned into Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Fist of the Fleet participated in the first-night air strikes to Baghdad in what has become known as the Shock and Awe campaign. The squadron sustained an average of 20 daily combat sorties, while striking targets in Basra, An Nasiriya, Al Kut, Najaf, Al Hillah and ultimately Baghdad. The squadron’s 272 combat sorties over 18 straight days struck the Iraqi regime’s Medina, Baghdad, and Nebuchadnezzar Armored Divisions, military airfields, facilities and command and control infrastructure. VFA-25 returned to the United States in May 2003.

VFA-25 deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in May 2004 to the Western Pacific, returning November 1, 2004. From January to July 6, 2006, VFA-25 deployed with CVW-14 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Valiant Shield aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on her maiden voyage. In January 2007, VFA-25 deployed for a 3-month "surge deployment" to the U.S. Seventh Fleet Area of Operations. VFA-25 deployed again to the WESTPAC from June to November 2008.

On May 28, 2009, VFA-25 and Carrier Air Wing 14 deployed with USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on a deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.[2]

In 2010, VFA-25 joined Carrier Air Wing Seventeen deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) sporting the "AA" tailcode leaving Carrier Air Wing Fourteen and the "NK" tailcode for the first time in decades.

Following a successful combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012, VFA-25 returned to NAS Lemoore, CA to begin the next chapter of the squadrons 'Fistory' as they begin the transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

As of Late January 2013 VFA-25 had transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]