|Strike Fighter Squadron 87|
|Active||February 1, 1968 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Close air support
|Motto||“Excellence attained through the pursuit of perfection”|
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq
|Commander Geoffrey K. Vickers|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
The Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87) is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana. Nicknamed the Golden Warriors, its call sign is War Party (or simply Party), its tail code is AJ, and it flies the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The squadron was established in 1968 and has seen combat during the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Insignia and Nickname 
The squadron’s insignia and nickname were approved by CNO on 29 July 1968 and have remained essentially unchanged.
Pre-history: The War Years 
VF-87 was a fighter aircraft squadron of the United States Navy during World War II. Established on July 1, 1944, the squadron flew Grumman F6F Hellcats from USS Ticonderoga. It was disbanded on November 2, 1945 as US forces demobilized.
A former pilot of the squadron, James W. Vernon, published his memoirs in 2000 as Writes of Flight: The Making of a World War II Naval Aviator.
In June 1968, the squadron was reestablished as VA-87, an attack aircraft squadron and the first fleet squadron to fly the LTV A-7 Corsair II, at NAS Cecil Field, Florida. In March 1969, the squadron flew its first combat missions from the USS Ticonderoga, striking targets in South Vietnam.In April 1969 following the shoot down of a Navy EC-121 Constellation aircraft by the North Koreans, Ticonderoga, with VA-87 embarked, was ordered to the Sea of Japan.
In 1973, the squadron protected U.S. interests during the Yom Kippur War. Transitioning to the improved A-7E Corsair II, the squadron returned in October 1975 to the Middle East following the assassination of the American ambassador to Lebanon, assisting in the evacuation of U.S. citizens, while embarked on America.
During the Iran hostage crisis and the Israeli-Syrian disputes of 1981, VA-87 deployed to the region for 195 days aboard Independence. One year later the squadron returned, supporting U.S. peacekeeping operations in Lebanon.
In October 1983, the squadron participated in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. During the same deployment, VA-87 participated in strikes against Syria in response to hostile fire against U.S. reconnaissance aircraft from Syrian positions in Lebanon.
On October 24, 1986, the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet and was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87).
The squadron, equipped with the newer F/A-18C, deployed to the Adriatic Sea and Red Sea from March to September 1993, flying hundreds of missions in support of United Nations Operation Deny Flight, Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Southern Watch. Embarked for the last time on Theodore Roosevelt, VFA-87 returned in March 1995 to Southwest Asia for a month to participate in Operation Southern Watch.
Following a hasty transit to the Adriatic, the squadron spent four months flying combat sorties over the increasingly embattled former Yugoslavia. On August 30, 1995, squadron jets were the first to strike Bosnian Serb targets as the Operation Deliberate Force campaign commenced.
In April 2001, VFA-87 deployed on a Persian Gulf cruise enforcing the no fly zone over Southern Iraq aboard the USS Enterprise until the September 11 attacks occurred. The squadron was then held on station along with the entire Enterprise battle group, to conduct first strike combat missions over Afghanistan against embedded Taliban targets. VFA-87 returned to NAS Oceana in November 2001.
VFA-87 deployed again in September 2005 aboard Theodore Roosevelt, returning in March 2006, and received the Atlantic Fleet "Battle E" award later that year.
In September 2006, the squadron transitioned from the F/A-18C to the F/A-18A+ and was again named the "Battle E" squadron for the Atlantic Fleet in March 2007. It deployed again in September 2008 to the North Arabian Sea, in support of the conflict in Afghanistan.
In May 2011 VFA-87 departed on its most recent deployemnt taking its F/A-18A+ Strike Fighters aboard the Navy's newest aircraft carrier the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77). While deployed the squadron flew combat missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn flying over Afghanistan and Iraq respectively in support of combat troops on the ground. They returned home in December 2010 after 7 months of deployment and numerous combat sorties flown.
Following this deployment and a return to shore based operations the squadron transitioned back into F/A-18C Strike Fighters. These aircraft will be used when the squadron deploys again sometime in the future.
Notable squadron members 
Commanding Officer 
CDR Geoffrey K. Vickers, USN
Commander Vickers reported to the VFA-87 Golden Warriors and assumed
duties as Executive Officer in September 2011. Commander Vickers assumed
command of the squadron on December 14, 2012.
See also 
- Naval aviation
- United States Naval Aviator
- Modern US Navy carrier air operations
- List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons
- List of military aircraft of the United States (naval) / List of US Naval aircraft