VF-2 becomes VFA-2
by VFA-2 Public Affairs
As printed in the NAS Lemoore Base Newspaper "The Eagle":
From VFA-2 Public
In a ceremony on Wednesday, July 9, the Bounty Hunters of Fighter Squadron TWO (VF-2) officially became Strike Fighter Squadron Two (VFA-2), ushering in a new era for the historic squadron. VFA-2 will soon be flying the F/A-18F, the newest and most capable strike fighter jets in the U.S. inventory.
"Fighting Two" first began flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy in 1922 aboard the USS Langley, the Navy¹s first aircraft carrier. The squadron later went on to fame in the Pacific theater flying their F-6F3 Grumman Hellcats during World War II. The squadron recorded the first ace of the war, after Lieutenant E. H. "Butch" O'Hare destroyed his fifth enemy airplane. The squadron continued its success in the Pacific destroying 67 enemy airplanes in a single day. VF-2 was the top fighter squadron in the Pacific with more total victories and more ace pilots than any other fighter squadron. Due to its success, "Life Magazine" called the squadron "The Hottest Fighter Squadron in the Pacific!"
The squadron was disestablished in 1945. It was reestablished in 1972 with
VF-1 as the Navy's first fleet F-14A Tomcat squadron. In 1990, the Bounty
Hunters deployed aboard the USS RANGER during Operation Desert Shield. They
flew over 550 combat missions and 1900 combat hours during the 43-day war, more
than any other tactical squadron in the war. In 1993, the Bounty Hunters
transitioned to the F-14D Super Tomcat and moved from their home at Naval Air
Station Miramar to Naval Air Station Oceana becoming the first West Coast Tomcat
squadron to make the move to the east coast.
The Bounty Hunters recently returned this June from their deployment aboard USS CONSTELLATION. On this deployment they dropped over 325,000 lbs of bombs and flew 1500 combat hours in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. This culminated over thirty years of flying F-14's, and served as a fitting final deployment for their Tomcats.
On July 9, with the airshow-colored F/A-18F Super Hornet bearing side number 100 setting the backdrop for the short ceremony, CSFWP Commodore Capt. T. R. Rains spoke to the 225 squadron personnel about the merits of their latest aircraft and new community. Commanding Officer Doug Denneny presented each member of the new squadron with a coin and a certificate to verify each current member of Strike Fighter Squadron Two as a plankowner.
The squadron's transition to the F/A-18F "Super Hornet" is a new chapter in the history of "Fighting Two". With their new aircraft, the officers and Sailors of VFA-2 will defend America's freedom while maintaining their squadron motto, "If you¹re not having fun, you¹re not doing it right!"
Photos and text © 2003 by VFA-2 Public Affairs