arrival of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet in the late 1990's once again
created a need for a second Fleet Replacement Squadron in Lemoore.
On 15. January 1999, the Flying Eagles were reestablished under the
VFA-122 designation. The change from "VA" to "VFA" reflects how the
Super Hornet is capable of both Fighter and Attack missions vice the
ground-attack only A-7.
Charged with introducing the Super Hornet to the fleet, training
replacement personnel to fly and maintain the aircraft, and
transitioning entire squadrons from "legacy" Hornets and Tomcats,
today's Flying Eagles are honored to expand upon the proud heritage
created by those who served in VC-35, VA(AW)-35 and VA-122.
The Flying Eagles of VFA-122 trace their lineage back to VC-35, a "composite"
squadron composed of various models of the A-1 Skyraider.
Commissioned on 25 May 1950 at NAS San Diego, VC-35's mission was to
supply All-Weather Attack and Anti-Submarine Warfare detachments for
carrier deployments and Pacific Fleet exercises.
VC-35 Detachment three was the squadron's first detachment to deploy.
It cruised to Korea from 9 NOV 1950 to 9 JUN 1951 and flew ASW
patrols, night "heckler" missions, and other combat sorties. These
missions became standard fare for VC-35 detachments deployed to
support the United Nations operations on the Korean Peninsula.
Composite Squadron 35 was redesignated as Attack Squadron (All
Weather) 35 on 1 July 1956. Three years later VA(AW)-35's mission
was changed from "All-Weather Attack" to "Fleet Replacement
Training" on 29 JUN 1959. The squadron was then redesignated Attack
Squadron 122 (VA-122) to reflect this change in mission. Known as
the "Spad School", the squadron was a component of Readiness Attack
Carrier Air Wing Twelve and trained pilots and maintenance
technicians to support Fleet squadrons flying the A-1 Skyraider.
In 1963, the squadron moved to the newly completed NAS Lemoore and
continued to fly the Spad. The introduction of Vought Aeronautical
Division's A-7 jet attack airplane created a new era for VA-122. The
first Corsair arrived in November of 1966 and the squadron's name
was changed from "Spad School" to "Corsair College". Just two years
and two months after the first A-7 flights VA-122 graduates
commenced combat operations from the USS RANGER at Yankee Station.
In 1971 the Corsair College name gave way to the squadron's current
name, the FLYING EAGLES, and the squadron continued its fine
tradition of training pilots and maintainers for another 20 years.
On a sad day in May of 1991 VA-122 closed its doors. For 32 years
VA-122 provided quality pilots and maintainers for combat operations
as varied as Vietnam and The First Gulf War.
The Flying Eagles saw new life when the squadron redesignated to
VFA-122 in January 1999 and became the first squadron to operate the
FA-18E/F Super Hornet. In the years since, VFA-122 has flown over
58,100 class 'A' free flight hours in the Super Hornet. Last year
the Flying Eagles flew over 17,000 hours. The squadron's role
remains the same as it was on the 29th of JUNE 1959: to train
replacement aircrew and maintainers for combat operations in a new
and challenging aircraft.
The “Rough Raiders” of VFA-125 Merged with VFA-122 in October 2010
to create one Fleet Replacement Squadron in Lemoore. Combining these
two squadrons resulted in VFA-122 becoming the 10th largest air
force in the world with over 100 aircraft operating F/A-18 A-F
Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft. VFA-122 trained aircrews have
flown combat missions in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and
Operation Enduring Freedom.
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