Strike Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE ONE [VFA-151]
The Strike Fighter "Vigilantes" are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2). Previously a part of Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5), the Vigilantes were permanently forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan onboard USS Midway from 1973 to 1991. The squadron flies the Navy's newest Night Strike Fighter version of the F/A-18 Hornet. Beginning with the F4U-4 Corsair, the squadron has Flown a number of aircraft including the F9F-2 Panther, F2H-3 Banshee, F4D-1 Skyray, F3H-2/F-3B Demon, F-4B Phantom II and the F/A-18A Hornet.
VFA-151 was originally established as Fighter Squadron 23 in 1948 at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Oceana, Virginia. VF-23 was redesignated VF-151 in 1959 and VF-151 was redesignated VFA-151 in 1986. The squadron has operated from the decks of USS Coral Sea (CV/A43), USS Boxer (CV-21), USS Princeton (CV-27), USS Essex (CV-9), Uss Yorktown (CVA-IO), USS Kearsage (CVA-33), USS Hornet (CVA-12), USS Hancock (CVA-19), from 1971 until 1992 USS Midway (CV-41) and currently USS Constellation (CV-64).
After an initial Mediterranean deployment, the squadron was sent to WestPac for the Korean War. Three combat cruises were highlighted with the Inchon invasion, and the recapture of Seoul and Kimpo airfields. Permanently assigned to Pacific Fleet, the Vigilantes transitioned to the F2H3 Demon in 1959 and the F-4B Phantom II in 1964.
From 1965 to 1973 the Vigilantes participated in every major operation of the Vietnam War. The Vigilantes made more combat deployments (7) and spent more time on the line (927 days) then any other carrier based unit - including the longest deployment of the Vietnam War (331 days on Coral Sea) and the longest line period of the Vietnam War (208 days on Midway).
The Vigilantes were forward deployed on permanent call from 1973 to 1991. Operations during that time included the evacuation of south Vietnam, first Naval forces to respond to the US hostage crisis in Iran, continuous Indian Ocean Deployment/Ernest Will operations since 1979, first unit to respond to the shootdown of KAL 007 in 1983, Seoul '88 Olympics presence, and Operation Classic Resolve.
The Vigilantes conducted two overseas transitions: to the F-4J in 1977, and F-4S in 1981. In 1986, the Vigilantes were last of two Navy F-4 squadrons, having won the Battle E for the last three consecutive competitive cycles of their Phantom II reign. Redesignated VFA-151, the Vigilantes completed the fastest ever transition to the Hornet and were back aboard USS Midway in six months.
In October 1990, VFA-151, deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield. On January 17, 1991, VFA-151 participated in the initial air strikes of Operation Desert Storm. The Vigilantes were key players in Desert Storm, delivering over 817,000 pounds of ordnance on targets in Kuwait, Iraq and the Northern Persian Gulf.
An era ended in August 1991, when VFA-151 and CVW-5 departed Yokosuka, Japan on USS Midway's last at-sea period, heading east to Hawaii. Once in Pearl Harbor, the Vigilantes bid farewell to CVW-5 as the airwing moved to Midway's replacement, USS Independence. The squadron stayed onboard USS Midway all the way to San Diego, where she was decommissioned under a Vigilante Fly-by.
In February 1993, the Vigilantes completed their transition to the F/A-18C, lot XV. In May 1993, the Vigilantes embarked aboard the USS Constellation (CV-64), brought her from the east coast around the continent of South America to her homeport of San Diego.
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