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Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 “Flying Eagles”

Squadron History

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. 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.

As of February 2016, NAS Lemoore no longer operated the F/A-18 A-D Legacy Hornet. At that time the Flying Eagles of VFA-122 began solely operating F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. VFA-122 is still one of the largest air forces in the world, with over 80 aircraft and continuing to provide quality replacement aircrew and maintainers for the fleet.

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