Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(All Weather)225 [VMFA(AW)-225]
Marine Fighting Squadron 225 was commissioned Jan. 1, 1943, and designated VMF-225. The squadron was founded at Marine Corps Air Station Mojave, Calif. with Captain Jack R. Amends as its first commanding officer. From August 1944 to January 1945, the Corsairs of VMF-225 participated in numerous combat operations in the New Hebrides Islands.
Returning to the United States in February 1945, VMF-225 was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C., with interim stops at Mojave and Santa Barbara, Calif. From 1946 to 1952 the squadron made five Mediterranean cruises with the U.S. Sixth Fleet. VMF-225 was redesignated VMA-225 on Jun. 17, 1952, and was based at Edenton, N.C. In 1954, the squadron replaced its Corsairs with the new AD Skyraider at Edenton and made two deployments to Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
In May 1958, the A-4D Skyhawk replaced the Skyraider, and in October the squadron moved back to MCAS Cherry Point. During the next three years the squadron made two Mediterranean cruises. The first was aboard the USS Essex from August 1959 to February 1960, the second was aboard the Shangri-La January 1961. VMA-225 became the first Marine squadron to deploy and conduct night operations aboard the USS Enterprise, spending the last three months of 1962 aboard the "Big E" during the Cuban Missile crisis. In March 1963, VMA-225 became the first to operate independently at night from a Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS) at Marine Corps Air Facility Bouge Field, N.C. In 1964, VMA-225 set a carrier qualification record aboard the USS Lexington. VMA-225 also established an all-time record for total deployments by a Marine squadron aboard aircraft carriers.
The next major deployment of VMA-225 came September 1964, when the squadron received orders to Japan. In May 1965 the squadron moved to Chu Lai for participation in combat operations against Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam.
VMA-225 returned to MCAS Cherry Point in October 1965. In April 1966 the Grumman built A-6A Intruder replaced the A-4 Skyhawk as the squadron's combat ready aircraft. With the advent of the Intruder and it's all weather capability, the squadron was redesignated VMA(AW)-225. While stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, VMA(AW)-225 provided air support for units of the 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. The squadron also deployed several times to MCAS Yuma, Ariz., for live weapons training.
In January 1969, VMA(AW)-225 deployed to Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam. The primary mission of Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 225 was to provide close air and direct air support for ground elements for allied forces in the I Corp area of South Vietnam. The squadron attacked and destroyed surface targets day and night, and in all weather conditions. A secondary mission was to utilize the Intruder's unique search radar Airborne Moving Target Indicator (AMTI) features in the interdiction of trucks on enemy supply routes (Ho Chi Minh Trail) in Southeast Asia. During May 1971, VMA(AW)-225 returned to MCAS El Toro, Calif., and the squadron was deactivated on Jun. 15, 1972.
During the squadron's 29 years of service to the Corps, the "Vikings" set many firsts in Marine Corps Aviation. The unit earned numerous Command Post Exercise awards and other distinctions such as being the first Marine Attack Squadron to fly Trans-Atlantic to Spain. A leader in the development of fighter operations, night attack, and all weather tactics, it was only fitting that the squadron was reactivated on July 1, 1991, at MCAS El Toro, Calif., and redesignated as Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225.
Since the reactivation, the Vikings deployed to NAS Fallon, Nev., for Scorpion Wind 2-91, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Calif., for Combined Arms Exercise (CAX) 1/2-93, and MCAS Yuma, Calif., for Scorpion Wind 1-93. Additionally, the Vikings supported JSOC exercises and USAF units. On March 1, 1993, the squadron deployed to the western Pacific as a participant in the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program (UDP). Home based at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, "Viking" aircraft also operated out of Korea, Thailand, Okinawa, and Alaska while on their highly successful deployment.
The Vikings returned from UDP September 1993 and achieved 500 flight hours their first full month back in the Continental U.S. The entire squadron deployed to MCAS Yuma for Scorpion Wind 1-94 in December. In 1994 the squadron participated in CAX 1-94, Wing CAPEX 2-94 and Blue Flag 2-94. These exercises have afforded the Vikings the opportunity to demonstrate the two-seat specific missions of Forward Air Control (Airborne) and Tactical Air Coordinator (Airborne), as well as hone their flying skills in the air-to-ground and air-to-air arena. In September the Vikings once again deployed to Iwakuni, Japan to participate in the UDP program. After arriving the squadron worked with the Japanese Air Force in October then provided support for BEACH-CREST 95, in Okinawa, Japan.
VMFA(AW)-225 began 1995 by returning to Iwakuni and preparing for their trip home to a new base in San Diego, Calif. On March 11, 1995, the Vikings departed Iwakuni, Japan and arrived at their new home NAS Miramar, Calif. March 13. After becoming familiar with the local working area VMFA(AW)-225 participated in and won the MAG-11 Bombing Derby in June. The remainder of the year found the Vikings participating in ASCIET 95, Weapons Tactics Instructor class 1-96, Extended Combined Arms Exercise 1-96, Navy Fighter Weapons School's first 10 week class, and finally in December deployed to Yuma, Ariz. to fly in Scorpion Wind 2-95.
The Vikings deployed to MCAS Iwakuni March 1996 in support of the UDP. During the first months of the deployment the squadron won the Marine Aircraft Group 12 Bombing Derby and participated in their Readiex. While overseas, the squadron redeployed to four other sites; Misawa Air Base, Japan, in support of the USAF 35th Fighter Wing evaluations, RAAF Darwin, Australia to participate in the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) exercise Southern Frontier 2-96, Royal Australia Air Base Tindal, Australia, flying sorties as part of the combined Pitch Black '96 Air Defense exercise, and Kadena Air Base, Japan for a multi-squadron MAG-12 missile shoot. Seven aircrew also participated in exercises Cobra Gold 96 and Ulchi Focus Lens 96, filling staff assignments during these joint and combined operations.
VMFA(AW)-225 returned to NAS Miramar September 1996. For the first time ever, the Vikings made history by flawlessly supporting the MAGTF in CAX 1/2-97 with total squadron support from NAS Miramar. The beginning of December found the squadron redeployed to MCAS Yuma, Ariz. for Scorpion Wind 1-97. In 1997, the Vikings participated in a multi-squadron MAG-11 missile shoot, another exceptional home base support of CAX 3/4-97, Navy Fighter Weapons class 2-97, and WTI class 2-97.
Viking superiority remained the norm as the torch of leadership was passed from LtCol Marriott to LtCol Stockwell, in March 97. Shortly thereafter, the squadron operated through a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation System (MCCRES) evaluation and passed with flying colors. The squadron continued to finely tune their battle skills in the air-to-ground arena, as well as the air-to-air battlefield. They proved their airworthiness in the skies above Las Vegas, Nev., when the Vikings deployed to Nellis Air Force Base in support of the Air Force's fighter weapons school.
The aircrew of VMFA(AW)-225 flies a two seat version of the Hornet which is capable of missions in darkness utilizing night vision goggles and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) pods that provide thermal imaging for navigation, target acquisition and weapon employment. The addition of a second crew member enhances the Hornet's effectiveness as well as its survivability in the high tasking environment of combat. VMFA(AW)-225 was, along with VMFA(AW)-332, one of the first deployable units flying appropriately configured Hornets for the the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
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