Strike Fighter Squadron 94 [VFA-94]
Fighter Squadron 94 was commissioned at NAS Alameda, California in 1952. Nicknamed the Mighty Shrikes, the squadron was named after a small carnivorous bird of prey that impales its victim on sharp thorns. The Mighty Shrikes began flying the F4-U Corsair, but quickly transitioned to jet aircraft. For the next five years, the squadron received and flew the F7-U7, FJ-3, F9-F8, F8-U1, F11-F1 Tiger and FJ-4.
The Mighty Shrikes were redesignated as Light Attack Squadron 94 in 1958 and moved to NAS Lemoore, California in 1962. VA-94 aviators flew all models of the A-4 Skyhawk before transitioning to the A-7 Corsair II in February 1971.
The Mighty Shrikes completed seven consecutive combat deployments to Southeast Asia, commencing with a cruise aboard USS RANGER in 1964. In 1965, as part of Air Wing 9, the squadron was airlifted to Norfolk to join USS ENTERPRISE on her first combat cruise. The squadron was assigned to Air Wing 5 in 1966 and completed four combat deployments aboard USS HANCOCK and USS BON HOMME RICHARD.
After transitioning to the A-7 Corsair II, the squadron was assigned to Air Wing 15 and completed its final Southeast Asia combat deployment aboard USS CORAL SEA. VA-94 aircraft led the first major Navy bombing strikes into North Vietnam after the 1968 bombing halt and participated in the mining of Haiphong harbor.
In 1973, the squadron deployed on its first peacetime cruise in a decade, again with Carrier Air Wing 15 aboard USS CORAL SEA. In 1975, the Shrikes participated in Operation "Frequent Wind", the Saigon evacuation which terminated United States military involvement in Vietnam. Shortly thereafter, the squadron participated in the recovery of SS MAYAGUEZ after its seizure by Cambodia. From May 1979 to January 1980, the squadron deployed aboard USS KITTY HAWK to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, including 63 days of operations in the Arabian Sea during the Iran Hostage Crisis. The squadron's final deployment aboard USS KITTY HAWK was completed in 1981. In January 1982, the Shrikes joined Carrier Air Wing 11 and deployed aboard USS ENTERPRISE.
A Navy milestone was set in April 1983 when VA-94 became the first single engine tactical aircraft squadron to fly across the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines to the United States. In May 1984, the Shrikes deployed again aboard USS ENTERPRISE to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. In 1986, aboard USS ENTERPRISE, VA-94 made history as part of the first nuclear aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. The Shrikes cruised the Mediterranean for three months, supporting operations against Libya
In 1988, during their 19th deployment, the Mighty Shrikes again made history by striking the naval forces of Iran as part of the first major U.S. naval battle since World War II. They were instrumental in sinking a SAAM frigate, delivering the 'coupe de grace' to the Iranian ship Sahand. In October 1988, VA-94 received the coveted LTJG Bruce Carrier Award for excellence in Aviation Maintenance.
In the fall of 1989, the Mighty Shrikes deployed aboard USS ENTERPRISE for the final time. The Shrikes 20th deployment marked the end of an era for the squadron. After completing this world Cruise that began in Alameda and ended in Norfolk, Virginia, the Mighty Shrikes retired their trusty, battle proven A-7E Corsairs. The highly successful deployment was marked by winning the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E" for 1989.
On June 18th 1990, the Mighty Shrikes received their first FA-18C, Lot XII Hornet and on the 28th, were redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 94. In May 1991, they transferred to the Navy's newest carrier, USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN and deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of UN sanctions following the war in Iraq. During deployment, the Shrikes participated in numerous patrol flights over Kuwait in anticipation of possible Iraqi hostilities. The Mighty Shrikes also participated in Operation Fiery Vigil, evacuating thousands of homeless people from the Philippines after the Mt Pinatubo eruption. They subsequently received the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation for their contribution to Philippine disaster relief efforts.
On 15 June 1993, the squadron deployed aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN for its 22nd deployment. Soon thereafter, the Mighty Shrikes flew their first missions over Southern Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch, the UN imposed NO FLY ZONE to enforce post war sanctions. In October 1993, USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN took orders and left the Arabian Gulf, steaming to Somalia to provide enhanced force protection for U.S. and other United Nations forces aiding in the humanitarian relief effort.
After a very short turn-around, the squadron deployed on board the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN in April 1995. The Mighty Shrikes found themselves flying again in Southern Iraq enforcing the NO FLY ZONE. The Shrikes were key participants in Operation Vigilant Sentinal. In October 1995 the squadron transferred to the USS KITTY HAWK under the direction of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5. Following another short turnaround, including a RIMPAC in May-June 1996, the Mighty Shrikes deployed aboard USS KITTY HAWK on 10 October 1996 to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. On 13 May 1997 the Mighty Shrikes transferred to the USS CARL VINSON under the direction of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group THREE.
The squadron has been awarded two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, three Navy Unit Commendations, five Meritorious Unit Commendations, five Battle Efficiency Awards, two Navy Expeditionary Medals, and three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals.
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