The Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115) celebrated their 75th anniversary on Oct. 10 aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) with a formation flight.
VFA-115 is one of the oldest active aviation squadrons in the Navy, a legacy going back to the beginning years of World War II.
The Eagles began as Torpedo Squadron (VT) 11 on Oct. 10, 1942 at Naval Air Station, San Diego. The first airframe they flew was the torpedo bomber TBF Avenger – later flying the TBM variant.
They deployed to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, in April 1943 and conducted combat operations in support of the Solomon Islands and Bougainville campaigns.
Shortly after, the squadron embarked on USS Hornet (CV-12) for operations at Okinawa, Luzon and Leyte Gulf. VT-11 members were awarded seven Navy Crosses for their efforts during the war.
The squadron participated in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. It has also gone through three name changes and its pilots have flown five different airframes since World War II.
According to Gray, today, VFA-115 is the primary striking arm of Carrier Strike Group 5 and they’re able to carry out strike missions to basically any range. They’re also able to defend the fleet no matter where it goes in the area of responsibility. Currently, they fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet – they transitioned to the airframe in 2001 as the first fleet squadron to do so – and 75 years into the squadron’s service life, VFA-115 is still going strong.
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.