Strike Fighter Squadron TWO [VFA-2]
Fighter Squadron TWO [VF-2]
VFA-2, the Bounty Hunters, is the Carrier Air Wing 2's air superiority and interceptor squadron. VFA-2 is based at NAS Lemoore in California. The unit was re-established on 1 July 2003, as VFA-2, from VF-2 to reflect its transition training to the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Prior to that, the unit flew the F-14D "Super Tomcat". Initial F-14A deployed with USN squadrons VF-1 and VF-2 in October 1972.
On 01 October 1972 the first two F-14 Tomcat squadrons were formed at Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego. The new squadrons carried the designations VF-1 and VF-2. These numbers were reactivated to receive the Navy's first new fighter plane in 14 years. The last new fighter came on board the Navy in 1958 when the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II was introduced. The operational concept of near-vertical dive bombing of ships was first demonstrated in October 1926, when Fighting Squadron 2 [VF-2] conducted a dramatic simulated attack on the battle fleet in the presence of the U.S. Fleet commander in chief. The new VF-2 commemorated the original squadron's name, though it did not share its lineage.
VF-1 and VF-2 flying the F-14A Tomcat were assigned to USS RANGER (CVA-61) for the September 1980 deployment, four months of which were spent in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf awaiting the release of the US hostages in Iran.
1993 was a year of transition, when VF-2 transitioned to the F-14D Super Tomcat. Fighter Squadron (VF) 2's first six aircraft arrived at their new home base of Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., on 04 April 1996. The VF-2 "Bounty Hunters," winners of the Pacific Fleet's Battle "E" warfare efficiency award for fighter squadrons were the first of five squadrons moving to NAS Oceana from NAS Miramar, CA. The squadron continued to operate with Carrier Air Wing 2, assigned to the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV 64). VF-2's F-14D Tomcat fighters are manned by 38 officers and 259 enlisted personnel with an annual payroll of nearly $13 million. Other NAS Miramar squadrons moved to NAS Oceana during the following year with approximately 78 aircraft and more than 1,500 personnel.
By April 1997 VF-2 was deployed with the Constellation (CV 64), enroute to the Arabian Gulf as part of a regularly scheduled six month western Pacific deployment.
The U.S. Navy laid the former 6th Fleet Flagship, Belknap (CG-26), to rest 24 September 1998. The 580-foot cruiser was decommissioned Feb. 15, 1995. Since then, the ship had occupied a valuable berth at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF) in Philadelphia, Penn. As in the past, the Navy's solution to the difficult disposal of a large, outdated ship has been to sink it as part of a "War at Sea" training scenario. The scenario for the Belknap was to use air, surface and subsurface firepower to attack the cruiser 150 miles off the coast of Virginia. Fighter Squadron Two (VF-2) "Bounty Hunters," of NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., led the high profile air-to-ground portion of the mission with 20,000 pounds of live Mk-80 series bombs. While the F-14 Tomcat is capable of dropping precision-guided munitions, Mk-80 series bombs were chosen to show skeptics that the Tomcat is extremely capable of accurately dropping unguided bombs with lethal precision. With authority, the Bounty Hunters, along with VF-41, VF-143 and VF-211 did just that - and it was a spectacular display.
VF-2 was deployed aboard the USS CONSTELLATION with CVW-2 and participated in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, SOUTHERN WATCH, and IRAQI FREEDOM, flying over 2000 combat hours and 483 sorties with a 98% sortie completion rate and over 320,000 pounds of ordnance expended.
On 6 October, 2003, VFA-2 took delivery of its first F/A-18F. The transition to the new aircrat took only four and a half months, the shortest time ever for a Tomcat to Super Hornet transition. With the Constellation being decommissioned, VFA-2 was reassigned to USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) to deploy with CVW-2. They were deployed to the Western Pacific in October of 2004. They returned in March of 2005 after supporting Operation Unified Assistance which provided humanitarian support to Southeast Asia after the tsunami.
As of March 2006, VFA-2 is embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln as the carrier participates in Reception Staging Onward Movement and Integration and Foal Eagle 2006.
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