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Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE TWO [VFA-192]
"Golden Dragons"

The squadron was established as Fighter Squadron 153 on 26 March 1945, flying the F6F "Hellcat." The squadron's first deployment was aboard USS ANTIETAM (CV-36) on 31 March 1947. Following the deployment, the squadron title was changed to Fighter Squadron 15A, then later to fighter Squadron 151. In 1949, the squadron began training in the F8F "Bearcat" at NAS Alameda, California. In January 1950 the squadron sailed from Alameda aboard USS BOXER (CV-21), and upon their return, transitioned to the F4U "Corsair." The squadron was designated Fighter Squadron 192 on 15 February 1950. VF-192 made two deployments aboard USS PRINCETON (CV-37) in which they participated in the Korean War between November 1950 and November 1952.

Early in 1953 the Golden Dragons moved to NAS Moffet Field, California and entered the jet age by receiving the F9F-5 "Panther" fresh off the assembly line. The Dragons departed in USS ORISKANY (CVA-34) in September 1953, and during that cruise to the Orient, the pilots participated in the filming of "Bridges of Toko Ri" and "Men of the Fighting Lady." It was the debut of these two films that earned the squadron the name "World Famous Golden Dragons." On 19 January 1956, the mission of the squadron changed to include a special weapons delivery capability in the new F9F-6 "Cougar," and on 15 March 1956, the official designation of the squadron was changed from Fighter to Attack Squadron 192.

Through the next few years the squadron cycled through the FJ-4B "Fury" and in July 1959, after an entire exchange of planes, maintainers and support equipment with VA-216, the Golden Dragons were flying the A4D-2 "Skyhawk," less formally known as the "Mighty Midget Atomic Bomber." After returning from a seven month WESTPAC cruise in May 1960, the Dragons received the new A4D-2N all weather "Skyhawk." In December 1962 the squadron moved from Moffet Field to NAS Lemoore, California and on 21 November 1964, after completing almost ten months in the Western Pacific, the Dragons returned from their fourth consecutive cruise aboard the USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31). After a short four month turnaround the "World Famous Golden Dragons" deployed aboard the "Bonnie Dick" in April 1965 for a ten month Orient cruise, during which the squadron spent eight months at sea in support of American policy in Southeast Asia. A new, more powerful "Skyhawk," the A4E, with the ability to carry a greater bomb load was received in June 1966. It was in this aircraft that one of the Golden Dragons distinguished himself in the air. LCDR Michael J. Estocin earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallantry and courage on the 20th and 26th of April 1967 while flying on a missile suppression mission. In his memory, the Navy's award for the best FA-18 squadron is called the Michael J. Estocin Award. In July 1967, the Golden Dragons became the first operational fleet squadron to receive the new A4F "Skyhawk" and in December of that year the Dragons participated in a deployment aboard the USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14) which the squadron dropped more ordnance and flew more combat sorties than any other A4 squadron. In April 1969, the "World Famous Golden Dragons" made their last deployment with the A4F "Skyhawk" aboard the USS ORISKANY (CVA-34). It was during this cruise that the squadron was recognized for an amazing safety record during extensive combat operations, specifically, 55 accident-free months, 30,477 flight hours and 11,580 carrier landings. No other carrier jet squadron had ever achieved such a safety record.

The squadron took delivery of their first A-7E "Corsair II" in February 1970. On 6 November 1970, having finished a one year turnaround with its newly acquired A-7E aircraft, Attack Squadron 192 deployed again to WESTPAC, this time aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63). During this highly successful cruise, VA-192's "Laotian Highway Patrol" set an all time record for ordnance dropped on a single cruise, 15 million pounds, while flying more than 6,600 flight hours and amassing 2,901 arrested landings. Most significant is the fact that the Dragons delivered this record tonnage of ordnance on enemy supply routes day and night, in all kinds of weather, without losing a single man or aircraft. After returning to NAS Lemoore in July 1971, the Dragons immediately began preparing for another combat cruise to Southeast Asia. On 17 February 1972 the squadron departed on their sixth combat cruise. Once again, flying their first combat sorties on 5 March 1972, the Golden Dragons broke more records by dropping over 19 million pounds of ordnance and flying over 3,600 combat strikes while participating in seven combat line periods and a record 192 days on the line.

From late 1973 to 1978 the "World Famous Golden Dragons" made several deployments to the WESTPAC aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63). On 3 March 1979 the squadron embarked aboard USS AMERICA (CV-66) at Norfolk, Virginia for their first ever Mediterranean cruise. The squadron deployed for a second Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS AMERICA on 12 April 1981. The Dragons came home to NAS Lemoore on 12 November 1981 after spending 202 of 220 days at sea.

In November of 1982, the squadron joined CVW-9 and became a part of the USS RANGER (CV-61) team. After completing workups, the RANGER and Airwing set sail for an extended deployment. Before heading for WESTPAC, the RANGER Battle Group was ordered to take up station off the coast of Central America as a result of tensions between Honduras and Nicaragua. After tensions eased the RANGER moved to the Indian Ocean and during this time the squadron spent 121 consecutive days at sea.

By early 1985, the Golden Dragons began to prepare for transition to the FA-18 Hornet. About half the A-7E's and personnel who maintained them had been transferred from the squadron when the Dragons were ordered to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan under the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program. In less than three months the squadron was fully manned and equipped with 12 A-7E's, and on 3 June launched for a three day transpacific flight to Iwakuni. Upon arrival the squadron became part of Marine Air Group Twelve under the First Marine Air wing.

The squadron returned home for Christmas and on 10 January 1986 the Golden Dragons were redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron One Nine Two. This new beginning also included notification that the squadron would be changing homeport to Yokosuka, Japan to join CVW-5 embarked aboard USS MIDWAY(CV-41). For the next five months squadron personnel were engaged in FA-18 transition training . On 14 February 1986 the Dragons transferred their last A-7E, exactly 16 years after the first Dragon Corsair II's were accepted. By the end of June a full complement of eleven FA-18A's were on board. This busy transition period culminated in November 1986 when the Golden Dragons executed their second transpacific movement in 18 months, this time in new FA-18 Hornets to NAF Atsugi, Japan.

1987 began with VFA-192's first deployment embarked in USS MIDWAY (CV-41) as a member of the restructured CVW-5. The next twelve months included 261 days of embarked fight operations to Australia, Philippines, South China Sea, Okinawa, and the Indian Ocean. During November and December, the Dragons participated in Operation Earnest Will, providing air cover for the internationally significant escort of the reflagged Kuwait oil tankers in the North Arabian Sea, Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf.

On October 2 1990, the World Famous Golden Dragons set sail in USS MIDWAY (CV-41) for the troubled Persian Gulf waters. When hostilities broke out on 17 January 1991, the Golden Dragons were at the tip of America's sword, raining High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) onto Iraqi missile batteries during the first night of Operation Desert Storm. Over the next 43 days , the Golden Dragons flew 576 combat sorties, amassing 1317.9 combat flight hours and dropping over 730,000 pounds of ordnance. In March, VFA-192 and the MIDWAY Battle Group departed the Persian Gulf, returning home to Yokosuka for a well deserved rest following the seven month deployment.

On August 21 1991, VFA-192 and CVW-5 embarked for the last time aboard USS MIDWAY. In Hawaii the squadron moved to USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and traded their FA-18A aircraft for newer FA-18C's.

On April 15 1992 the Golden Dragons got underway for their first deployment aboard USS INDEPENDENCE. During this cruise the squadron participated in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Coral Sea in Sydney, Australia. The Dragons were also a part of the effort which spearheaded OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH, establishing the no-fly zone south of the 32nd parallel in Iraq.

The Golden Dragons, in November 1993, deployed once again in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. During this cruise the squadron participated in numerous multinational exercises with Oman, Pakistan and Thailand. Two months after returning the Dragons deployed once again, this time to participate in RIMPAC-94, a dual bilateral exercise with Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Upon completion of this exercise the squadron remained at sea throughout August in support of Korean Contingency Operations, completing nearly a year at sea. 1995 and 1996 were again busy years for the Dragons as the squadron deployed for the third time to the Persian Gulf in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH in the summer and fall of 1995. The Golden Dragons throughout 1995 and 1996 participated in numerous multinational exercises off the coast of Japan, Korea, and Thailand, participating in exercises Cobra Gold, Keen Sword, Foal Eagle, Valiant Usher, Cope North, and RIMPAC-96. During the winter of 1996 the Dragons, aboard USS INDEPENDENCE, were ordered off the coast of Taiwan as tensions rose between China and Taiwan while the Taiwan people participated in their first fully free and democratic elections.

The Dragons began a four-month cruise in March 1997 by participating in Exercise Tandem Thrust with U.S. and Royal Australian Armed Forces. That same cruise included exercise Cobra Gold, in which the Dragons flew against air forces from Thailand and the U.S. During this period, the Dragons were nominated for the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award.

In January 1998 the Golden Dragons executed a no-notice deployment to the Arabian Gulf for a four and a half-month cruise in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. During this cruise the squadron flew a total of 1002 sorties, amassing over 1900 flight hours and 994 arrested landings. On July 7, 1998 the Golden Dragons and CVW5 embarked for the last time aboard USS INDEPENDENCE. In Hawaii the squadron moved TO USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63), and upgraded aircraft to newer FA-18C Lot XVII aircraft. On September 30, 1998 the Golden Dragons got underway for three weeks aboard the USS KITTY HAWK. During this one and a half-month deployment to the Sea of Japan, VFA-192 participated in exercises FOAL EAGLE, ANNUALEX, and KEEN SWORD.

On March 3, 1999, the World Famous Golden Dragons deployed for a South East Asian three month deployment. In March, the Dragons amassed 697 flight hours, a squadron record, during Okinawa live weapons training, a surge operations exercise, and exercise TANDEM THRUST. In April, notice came to deploy to the Arabian Gulf once again, and the Dragons were off to support Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.. From April 21, 1999 until July 17, 1999 the Dragons deployed on the USS KITTY HAWK to the Arabian Gulf for Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. On their return to Japan, the Dragons made port visits in Perth, Australia and Pattaya Beach, Thailand. The USS KITTY HAWK pulled into her homeport in Yokosuka, Japan on August 24, 1999. On October 21, 1999 the Dragons deployed to Okinawa and the Sea of Japan for live weapons delivery training and exercise FOAL EAGLE. They returned from this deployment on November 10, 1999.

To begin the new millenium, on January 20, 2000 VFA-192 executed a week long weapons detachment to Kadena AFB in Okinawa, Japan dropping live and inert ordnance. CVW-5 Strike Fighter Attack Readiness Program (SFARP) started in March 2000 with two weeks of academic and flight training in Atsugi. The Dragons then detached to Anderson AFB, Guam, for two weeks of intense unit-level strike fighter training provided by the experts of the Strike Fighter Weapons School, NAS Lemoore, California. On April 21, 2000, the Dragons embarked for a short six week cruise that included scheduled port calls in Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Included in the spring schedule was Cobra Gold, a highly successful joint exercise with Thailand, which included both extensive air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, along with numerous large force exercises involving the Thai Air Force and the entire Kitty Hawk airwing. In addition to being instrumental to the success of the carrier-based missions, VFA-192 also maintained a land-based detachment at Korat AFB in Thailand throughout the exercise. During the five day Cobra Gold exercise, the Golden Dragons flew over 180 flight hours and 112 sorties. Over the course of the entire spring cruise, the Golden Dragons performed virtually all of the Hornet capable missions, and amassed over 890 flight hours, 528 sorties, and dropped or fired ordnance including Sidewinder, Sparrow, Maverick, HARM, TALD, Rockeye, MK-80 series bombs, and 20 mm ammunition. The Dragons exceeded 70,800 mishap free operations, were over 16 years Class A mishap free, and continued to be one of the safest squadrons in Strike Fighter Wing Pacific.




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