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Strike Fighter Squadron 105

VFA-105 Insignia
Active November 1, 1967 - present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy
Type Fighter / Attack
Part of Carrier Air Wing Three
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Oceana
Nickname "Gunslingers"
Motto "Tonight... we ride!"
Engagements Gulf of Tonkin
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Desert Fox
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
CDR Forrest O. Young, USN
Aircraft flown
Fighter F/A-18E Super Hornet

Strike Fighter Squadron 105 (VFA-105) also known as the "Gunslingers" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The "Gunslingers" are an operational fleet squadron and fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet. The radio callsign is "Canyon" and the tail code is AC.


Squadron Insignia and Nickname

The first VA-105's insignia was approved by Chief of Naval Operations on 2 March 1953, and consisted of a yellow winged red cannon and black bomb imposed on a yellow background. The squadron was known as the "Mad Dogs". The second VA-105's insignia was approved by the CNO on 20 September 1968, and has remained essentially unchanged. The squadron gained the nickname "105th Light Attack and Twilight Pursuit Squadron" during the Vietnam War. "Twilight Pursuit" was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that squadron aircraft carried the air-air AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. The nickname became somewhat more formally accepted in the months leading up to the 1974-75 Mediterranean Cruise. Appearing on squadron patches, belt buckles, (stickers and lighters) proudly worn by officers and enlisted men alike, the moniker was heavily promoted by the squadron's A7E Corsair pilots. Most notable among that group were squadron CO CDR R.F. "Moon" Moreau, XO CDR J.E. Carpenter and pilots: LCDR Brodsky; LT J. Plant; LT J. Lubrano; LT W. "Farkle" Farquar; and LTJG B.B. Johnson. The current squadron often refers to itself as the "105th Strike Fighter and Twilight Pursuit Squadron".


Two distinct squadrons have been designated VA-105. The first was decommissioned, and the second was later redesignated as VFA-105, the main subject of this article. Officially, the US Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new squadron is formed with the same designation.[1] Often, the new squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of the earlier squadrons.


The first VA-105 was commissioned on 1 May 1952 at NAS Cecil Field flying the AD-1 Skyraider. The squadron changed home-base between NAS Jacksonville and Cecil several times during the 1950s. In July–August 1958, the squadron flew close air support missions from USS Essex (CVA-9) during the landing of U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. Aircraft from VA-105 were the first to be on station during the landings, and squadron aircraft flew road and border reconnaissance sorties. Several aircraft were damaged by ground fire on their reconnaissance missions, however all aircraft returned safely to Essex. In September 1958 when the Chinese communists began shelling the Quemoy Island group, Essex was ordered to transit the Suez Canal and report to the U.S. Seventh Fleet for duty in the Taiwan Straits. In November 1958, the squadron's mission was changed to training personnel in the AD-6 Skyraider. The squadron was decommissioned on 1 February 1959.


The second Attack Squadron 105 (VA-105) was established on 1 November 1967 at NAS Cecil Field, flying the new A-7A Corsair II. On 4 March 1968 the squadron completed A-7A training under VA-174 and became an operational Atlantic Fleet unit.

The "Gunslingers" embarked on their first deployment to Southeast Asia aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), participating in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin from January to October 1969. Following the shootdown of a Navy EC-121 by the North Koreans in April, Kitty Hawk was part of a continuing American presence being maintained off the coast of Korea.


In Sep and October 1970 following the hijacking of several airliners by Palestinians, the outbreak of serious fighting in Jordan and the invasion of Jordan by Syria, USS Saratoga (CVA-60), with VA-105 embarked, operated in the eastern Mediterranean, prepared to support an evacuation of Americans from Jordan and to show support for the Jordanian government.

In June– December 1972, the squadron participated in Linebacker I and Linebacker II operations, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies into South Vietnam.

In May 1973, the squadron upgraded to the A-7E.

As of December 1979 the "Gunslingers" had two Western Pacific and six Mediterranean deployments to their credit.


In June 1982 following the invasion of Lebanon by Israel, VA-105 operated from USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) to support an evacuation of Americans.

From July–December 1984, the squadron deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW. This was the first time a Navy squadron participated in the United States Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program (UDP) and the first Navy squadron since World War II to come under the command of a Marine Corps officer. While deployed with the Marines the squadron’s major mission was close air support.

During the '80s, the Gunslingers completed eight overseas deployments, including six to the Med, and a 1983 around-the-world deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).


VA-105 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 105 (VFA-105) on 17 December 1990, as the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18C. The "Gunslingers" reported to CVW-3 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) on 1 September 1991. VFA-105 made their first Hornet cruise in October 1992. They returned from the Mediterranean in April 1993, and began workups for a deployment aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) in October 1994. The squadron then started workups for a deployment aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in October 1996. VFA-105 and the rest of CVW-3 deployed in 1998 in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Fox onboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65).


On November 28, 2000 VFA-105 embarked on the maiden deployment of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch (OSW). The Gunslingers deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Truman in 2003, operating from the Mediterranean Sea.

VFA-105 became the first East Coast squadron to transition to the FA-18E Super Hornet in July 2006. In March 2007, VFA-105 became the first operational Navy strike fighter squadron to be commanded by a female when CDR Sara Joyner took command.[2]


See also

Template:United States Navy Aircraft Squadrons

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