|Strike Fighter Squadron 15|
|Active||10 January 1942–present|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Close air support
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing Eight|
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Commanding Officer||CDR Matt "Disney" Stevenson|
|Executive Officer||CDR. William "Fathead" Mathis|
|Attack||Douglas TBD Devastator
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger
Douglas A-1 Skyraider
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
Vought A-7 Corsair II
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
The VFA-15, Strike Fighter Squadron 15 is a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron based at NAS Oceana. Their call sign is Pride, tail code is AJ, and they fly the F-18 Hornet. Their nickname is Valions and their mottos are Pugna Ama Arma Ferre and None Finer.
Two distinct squadrons have been called the "Valions" of VA-15/VFA-15. Officially, the US Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new squadron is formed with the same designation. Often, the new squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of the earlier squadrons. The first VA-15 was established on 10 January 1942 and disestablished on 1 June 1969.
On 1 June 1969 the first VA-15 was disestablished, and the men and equipment were merged with Attack Squadron 67 (VA-67), which had been established on 1 August 1968. On 2 June 1969, the combined squadron was redesignated VA-15 and adopted the insignia and traditions of the Valions. In August 1968, the squadron began training under VA-174 in the A-7 Corsair II.
In October–November 1973 while embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, the squadron operated in the vicinity of Crete in response to the Arab-Israeli war. In June–July 1976 following the assassination of the American Ambassador to Lebanon, VA-15 embarked on USS America operated in the vicinity of Lebanon in support of the evacuation of non-combatants.
In May 1981Independence transited the Suez Canal and maintained station in the eastern Mediterranean due to the crisis between Israel and Syria following Israeli raids against Syrian surface-to-air missile sites in Lebanon.
On December 4, 1983 in response to hostile fire against U.S. reconnaissance aircraft from Syrian positions in Lebanon, VA-15 aircraft participated in coordinated strikes against Syrian radar, communications and artillery positions overlooking the Multi-National Peacekeeping Forces. One of the squadron’s A-7E Corsair IIs, flown by the Air Wing Commander, Command Edward Andrews, was lost when it was hit by a Syrian surface-to-air missile. Commander Andrews ejected, was rescued and returned to Independence.
From December 1985 to June 1986 the squadron was assigned to MAG-12, 1st Marine Air Wing for a six-month deployment to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. This deployment was designed to test the enhanced interoperability between Marine and Navy squadrons, with emphasis on close air support for Marine ground operations and the sharing of other techniques used by both communities.
In June 1986, the Valions began transition training in the F/A-18 Hornet, and on October 1, 1986, VA-15 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 15 (VFA-15). The Valions accepted their first F/A-18 Hornet in January 1987.
On December 28, 1990, VFA-15 departed for a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. The squadron flew daily strikes into Iraq and occupied Kuwait until the suspension of hostilities on February 28.
During 1992, VFA-15 transitioned to the F/A-18C (night attack) Hornet.
In March 1999, VFA-15 departed for an historic deployment which would involve two theaters of operation. After crossing the Atlantic in record time aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, squadron aircraft were launched in support of Operation Allied Force. For the next thirteen weeks, VFA-15 flew over 1,100 combat sorties over Kosovo to bring an end to Serbian ethnic cleansing. The battle group then steamed to the Persian Gulf and supported Operation Southern Watch. Upon their return, the Valions made a homeport change to NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia due to the closure of NAS Cecil Field.
During their 2001 deployment, the squadron took station in the Persian Gulf, patrolling the skies of the southern Iraqi no-fly zone.
Soon after returning through the Strait of Hormuz in early fall 2001 to begin the voyage home, the September 11, 2001 attacks unfolded. For the next four weeks VFA-15 took station in the North Indian Ocean and prepared for combat, with flight operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, including combat air patrols over Pakistan. Missions into Afghanistan began on October 7, and over the next several weeks the squadron flew four- to eight-hour missions deep into Afghanistan.
In 2002, VFA-15 deployed on Theodore Roosevelt to the Mediterranean. In combat operations against Iraqi military facilities, air defense sites and terrorist camps from March 19 to April 15, 2003, the squadron delivered over 245,000 pounds of ordnance.
September, 2005 the squadron deployed to the Persian Gulf, returning on March 11, 2006.
September 8, 2008 the squadron deployed again to the Persian Gulf in support of "OEF". They returned April 18, 2009.
On 11 May 2011, the squadrons of CVW-8 embarked on USS George H.W. Bush's maiden deployment, scheduled to conduct operations in the US 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations. Upon return from deployment, the Valions were awarded the Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Battle "E" Award as the dominant Strike Fighter Squadron on the East Coast.
- 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
- George H.W. Bush Strike Group to Deploy
- Navy to disband a carrier air wing in fiscal 2017 by Meghann Myers, Navy Times, 9 February 2016, retrieved 16 June 2016.
- Thomas, Gerald W. Torpedo Squadron Four: a Cockpit View of World War II. Las Cruces, New Mexico: Rio Grande Historical Collection (New Mexico State University), 1991 (2nd impression, with corrections; first published July 1990).
- [Thomas, Gerald W. Torpedo Squadron Four: a Cockpit View of World War II. Doc45 Publications, 2011 (Revised Edition)].