||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2011)|
|Strike Fighter Squadron 27|
|Active||September 1, 1967 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Close air support
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing 5|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Facility Atsugi|
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Commander Brad O. Briller, USN|
|Fighter||F/A-18E Super Hornet|
Strike Fighter Squadron 27 (VFA-27), also known as the "Royal Maces", are a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing 5 and are attached to the USS George Washington (CVN-73). Their tail code is NF.
To conduct carrier based air strike and strike force escort missions, anti-ship operations, battle group anti-air operations, and surveillance/intelligence collection operations in support of Carrier Air Wing 5 tasking and requirements. The squadron is permanently forward deployed with Carrier Air Wing 5, shore based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi and embarked on the USS George Washington (CVN-73).
Squadron Insignia and Nickname
The squadron’s insignia was approved by the CNO on 25 March 1968, and consisted of a light blue glove and black mace. They were nicknamed the Royal Maces.
The Royal Maces were commissioned Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27) on September 1, 1967 flying the A-7 Corsair II, and in January 1968, the squadron officially reported to Carrier Air Wing 14. In May 1968, as the Vietnam War continued, the Royal Maces departed for their first combat deployment aboard USS Constellation (CVA-64). On 28 Jun 1968, the squadron flew its first combat sortie, striking targets in the panhandle region of North Vietnam.
During a second combat cruise aboard Constellation in August 1969, VA-27 flew over 2,500 combat sorties.
Attack Squadron 27 transitioned to the newer A-7E on June 20, 1970. From 4 Feb–7 Mar, VA-27 embarked in USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during the carrier’s transit around Cape Horn to her new home port in NAS Alameda, California, and then deployed on Enterprise from 11 Jun 1971 to 12 Feb 1972, the Royal Maces third combat cruise. With the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan over East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) in Dec 1971, Enterprise departed Yankee Station and made a quick transit to the Indian Ocean to provide support for the evacuation of foreign civilians. Squadron pilots amassed over 4,400 combat flight hours and participated in over 1,500 air strikes without loss.
The Royal Maces commenced their fourth combat deployment in September 1972 aboard Enterprise, participating in Linebacker I and Linebacker II operations, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies in that country and into South Vietnam.The squadron began its next deployment to the Western Pacific in September 1974. In Apr 1975, the Royal Maces flew surveillance missions over Vietnam and flew escort for United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force helicopters during the evacuation of American and Vietnamese personnel as part of Operation Frequent Wind.
In Apr 1980, VA-27 participated in the Iranian hostage rescue attempt by providing air cover for the forces directly involved in the rescue operation.
While stationed at Naval Air Station, LeMoore CA the Royal Maces transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet on 24 January 1991 and were officially re-designated the Chargers of Strike Fighter Squadron 27 (VFA-27). The squadron also changed roles as well as aircraft. The Chargers were now a fighter/attack squadron. Now with the a capable aircraft of the F/A-18 the Chargers performed duties of air to air as well as air to ground attack missions. The Squadron Emblem was also changed to a green background, white cloud, and silver guntlet with silver mace. In November 1992, while deployed aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), VFA-27 operated off the coast of Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope and augmented United States Central Command’s multi-national coalition Air Forces supporting Operation Southern Watch. The squadron participated in a coalition night strike against Iraq on 13 January 1993, delivering over 18,000 pounds of ordnance on target. In 1994 the Chargers of VFA-27 deployed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 to the Sea of Japan. In 1996 the Chargers commenced their homeport change from NAS LeMoore CA to NAF Atsugi, Japan deploying aboard USS Independence (CV-62).
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the squadron participated in Operation Enduring Freedom flying missions against the Al Qaida infrastructure and Taliban forces in Afghanistan as well as protecting valued assets in Diego Garcia. When Kitty Hawk deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, VFA-27 was soon heavily involved in combat prior to the war. As part of Carrier Air Wing 5, VFA-27 attacked command, control and communications sites, surface-to-surface missile batteries and an air traffic control radar near Basrah. At the Al Faw peninsula long range artillery guns and 155mm howitzers near Az Zubayr were targeted. The Royal Maces flew hundreds of close air support and strike sorties against Iraqi forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. VFA-27 completed their transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet in October 2004 at NAS Lemoore.
- VFA-27's Official Webpage
- Royal Maces' Unofficial Page
- Tony Holmes (2005). US Navy Hornet Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom Part One, Osprey Publishing Limited.
- Naval aviation
- Modern US Navy carrier air operations
- List of military aircraft of the United States (naval) / List of US Naval aircraft
- United States Naval Aviator
- United States Marine Corps Aviation
- Military aviation
- List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons
- List of Inactive United States Navy aircraft squadrons