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Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-112 [VMFA-112]

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 (VMFA-112) has the mission of providing attack fighter support to Marines or others as directed by higher authority. During peacetime, they provide training and support for Marine Corps Reserve programs and hone their combat skills through training missions against other military service squadrons.

In January, 1943, the unit was pulled back to Espiritu Santo for transition and training into the new F4U Corsair. Squadron pilot Lt. Jefferson J. De Blanc was awarded the Medal of Honor on January 31 for heroic action in the Solomon Islands campaign. By March, 1943, the unit was under command of Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, who would go on to command the famous Black Sheep Squadron, VMF-214. On August 11, "Pappy" relinqushed command of the unit to Major Herman Hansen, Jr., and two days later, the Marine unit left the South Pacific and arrived at MCAS Miramar to begin carrier duty training. On November 5, 1944, the squadron was redesignated VMF(CVS)-112 and assigned to CVG-82, aboard the USS Bennington. By February, 1945, the "Wolfpack" of VMF(CVS)-112 was part of a large carrier group attacking the Japanese home islands. The squadron supported missions over Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Tokyo.

The squadron left the combat zone in July, 1945, and relocated to MCAS El Centro, where it was deactivated on September 10, 1945. The Wolfpack had closed the war with 140 kills, the third highest squadron total in the Marine Corps. It was later recalled during the Korean Conflict in 1951 and returned to Dallas after its Korean tour of duty. On July 1, 1946, VMF-112 was resurrected as a reserve unit of NAS Dallas, located in Grand Prarie, Texas. The squadron was assigned to MAG-41 in February, 1965. On October 22, 1965, VMF-111 was deactivated with Devil Dog personnel and aircraft moving to VMF-112. In July, 1967, the unit changed its name to the "Cowboys" and designated the squadron to reflect the local Dallas Cowboys NFL team, and their designation as the "Wolfpack".

In 1970, the unit was joined by another Crusader squadron, VMJ-4, Flying the photo-reconnaissance version of the fighter, the RF-8G. The unit eventually received reworked models of the Crusader, the F-8K, and later, the F-8H in 1971. With the added all-weather capability of the F-8H, VMF-112 was redesignated VMF(AW)-112 on November 1, 1971.

In early 1976, the squadron upgraded the McDonnell Douglas F-4N Phantom II, and became VMFA-112. They later flew the ultimate Navy-Marine version of the Phantom, the F-4S, in 1987. On January 18, 1992, VMFA-112 became the last Marine squadron to fly the Phantom II, thus ending a thirty-one year relationship with the famed Phantom aircraft.

The Cowboys then made a successful transition to the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet. On October 8, 1992, Captain Joe "Crip" Riley flew the first Hornet sortie for the Cowboys. VMFA-112 moved to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth in September, 1996, under the guidance of LtCol "Spud" Wilkinson. VMFA-112 is still under the command of MAG-41. The Cowboys continue to fly the F/A-18A. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 has twice been the recipient of the coveted Hanson Award as Fighter Squadron of the Year. The first was in 1977 and the second in 1984.

A joint-service exercise at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth took place 20 September 1997 with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 112 hosting exercise Texas Tyrade. VMFA 112, flying the F/A-18 Hornet, teamed with the Air Force's 301st Fighter Wing and Naval Reserve Fighter Squadron (VF) 201 to participate in the exercise. Pilots from the 301st fly F-16s and VF-201 pilots fly F-14 Tomcats. Texas Tyrade was the first joint-service exercise since the base opened in October 1994. All of the participants received valuable training and accomplished a simulated long-range strike scenario, which is always difficult to accomplish in any airspace. The mission of the exercise was to fly from NAS JRB Fort Worth to a target located in Kansas, perform a deep air strike against a simulated enemy that was sending out air strikes against civilians, and return home with zero friendly losses. Pilots refueled in flight and encountered enemy MiG-29 aircraft en route, portrayed by F-16s from the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Fighter Squadron from Sioux City, Iowa. Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 provided fuel from KC-130 Hercules aircraft. The exercise was a stepping stone to future exercises to expand the capabilities of the base.

In late 2000, the squadron took part in Exercise Bright Star 2000 held in Egypt.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:19:32 ZULU