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Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Five
VFA-125 insignia.png
VFA-125 Insignia
Active April 11, 1958 - 1977
November 13, 1980 - Present
Country United States
Branch US Navy
Type Fighter / Attack
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Lemoore CA
Nickname "Rough Raiders"
Equipment F/A-18 Hornet
Decorations CNO Aviation Safety Award
Commanders
Current
commander
Commander Jeffrey Scott Haupt

Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125) also known as the "Rough Raiders" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. The "Rough Raiders" are a Fleet Replacement Squadron flying the F/A-18 Hornet. They are attached to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific[1]. Their radio callsign is "Raider" and their tailcode is NJ.

Contents

History

Previous VFA-125 insignia.
Previous VFA-125 insignia.

There have been three distinct squadrons known as the Rough Raiders. The first began as Reserve Attack Squadron FIFTY FIVE E (VA-55E), most likely established in 1946 but remaining in an inactive status until redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE (VA-923) in January 1950. This squadron was redesignated VA-125 on 4 February 1953 and was disestablished on 10 April 1958.

The second squadron, originally known as the Skylanchers was established as Attack Squadron TWENTY SIX (VA-26) on 30 June 1956. This squadron became a Replacement Air Group was redesignated as VA-125 Rough Raiders on 11 April 1958 (the day after the first VA-125 was disestablished) flying the F9F Cougar from NAS Moffett Field. In July 1961, the squadron moved to Reeves Field, NAS Lemoore, California. From that point until the fall of 1969, the squadron flew all models of the A-4 Skyhawk, sending over 2,000 replacement pilots and 12,000 maintenance personnel to the Pacific Fleet. During this period, the squadron had over 100 A-4's and 1,400 officers and enlisted personnel assigned, making it the largest aviation squadron in the Navy. In September of 1969, the "Rough Raiders" received their first A-7 Corsair II. The squadron trained more than 700 A-7 A/B/C replacement pilots and 5,500 maintenance personnel. The end of the Vietnam air war caused a reduction in force which eventually led to the disestablishment of the squadron on 1 October 1977.

The current VFA-125 "Rough Raiders" were established on 13 November 1980 at NAS Lemoore, California, becoming the Navy's first F/A-18 squadron. Often, a new squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of earlier squadrons, but officially, the US Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new squadron is formed with the same designation[2]. VFA-125 received its first aircraft in April 1981, and by March 1985, had amassed over 30,000 mishap-free flight hours in the Hornet.

Mission

Today, the "Rough Raiders" train pilots and Weapon Systems Officers (WSOs) to fill F/A-18 billets throughout the Navy and Marine Corps. Flight training is supplemented by the latest state-of-the-art computer flight simulators and computer based academic instruction to enhance understanding and performance in the Hornet. In addition the squadron routinely conducts strike and fighter detachments to NAF El Centro, California and NAS Fallon, Nevada, as well as aboard carriers in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets.

Every 6 weeks a class of between 8-12 newly-winged Navy pilots and Naval Flight Officers begins the 9 month training course in which they learn the basics of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, culminating in day/night carrier qualification and subsequent assignment to fleet Hornet squadrons. VFA -125 averages 1,500 flight hours monthly and trains approximately 120 pilots each year. Pilots from the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, the Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Spanish Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, the Kuwait Air Force, and Finnish Air Force have been trained at VFA-125. By May 1996, VFA-125 had amassed over 70,000 mishap-free flight hours in the Hornet, and was recognized for this milestone with the CNO Aviation Safety Award. By January 1998 the Rough Raiders were the first Fleet Readiness Squadron to surpass 100,000 mishap free flight hours.[3] VFA-125 is also responsible for transitioning experienced naval aviators from other aircraft, such as the F-14 Tomcat and S-3 Viking, to the Hornet. Aircrew returning from non-flying assignments undergo refresher training at VFA-125 prior to returning to the fleet. Additionally, VFA-125 (with the help from the Center of Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit: CNATTTU) trains maintenance personnel and provides replacement aircraft to fleet units. VFA-125's East Coast counterpart is VFA-106 at NAS Oceana. Additionally, VMFAT-101 at MCAS Miramar also trains Navy and Marine Hornet operators.

References

  1. ^ "US Navy Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Five (Official Wiebsite)". http://www.csfwp.navy.mil/vfa-125/index.html. Retrieved 2006-12-10.  
  2. ^ http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq6-1.htm
  3. ^ "Global Security.org VFA-125". http://www.globalsecurity.org/military//agency/navy/vfa-125.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-10.  

External links

See also

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