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"Argonauts" Celebrate Forty Years

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070201-05
Release Date: 2/1/2007 10:21:00 AM

By Lt. j.g Regina Bartonicek, Carrier Air Wing 9 Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- During a ceremony on board the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147) celebrated their 40th birthday.

More than 225 Argonauts commemorated the occasion with a cake-cutting ceremony and squadron photograph.

The role of providing combat air capability and strike power in support of regional and global security is one that resonates with VFA-147 and dates back to their founding 40 years ago as an attack squadron during Vietnam.

Originally commissioned as the Navy’s first A-7E Corsair II squadron, VA-147 was the first squadron to employ the Corsair II in Vietnam, flying from the USS Ranger (CVA-61) while deployed to the Western Pacific. The A-7E was retired in February 1989 and was replaced by the F/A-18C Hornet, and Attack Squadron 147 was officially re-designated as VFA-147 on July 20, 1989.

Following the transition to the F/A-18C, the “Argonauts” were the Navy’s first operational night attack squadron, executing many successful combat air patrol missions over Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm. They also helped refine the employment of JDAM (Joint Direction Attack Munitions) for the Strike Fighter community during strikes into Afghanistan against Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.

“We are proud of our history, as well as our traditions of teamwork and professionalism,” said VFA-147 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Dan Cheever. “We place an important emphasis on history and traditions. It is history and traditions that cement the team together, and remind us of who we are and where we are going.”

VFA-147’s emphasis on teamwork is an essential component of what makes them a success -- both as a squadron and as a strike asset.

“Our logo is ‘Team Argo,’ which is a mentality that we live everyday, both in and out of the squadron, ” said Cheever.

The “Argonauts” are currently comprised of 225 personnel and 16 pilots, a number which will increase by the fall of 2007, as the squadron transitions from the F/A-18C Hornet to the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

“The transition to the Super Hornet will mark a huge technological leap in terms of the weapon and radar systems upgrade,” said Cheever. “But regardless of platform change, it will not change the team concept or the high caliber of personnel and work ethic.”

In honor of their 40th birthday, VFA-147 dedicated the squadron signature aircraft to the city of Lemoore, Calif., recognizing the city for its continued support of the Naval Air Station over the past 40 years. The “Argonauts” also plan a reunion with past squadron members in Lemoore this fall.

“VFA-147 has a long, proud history. Having first deployed with the 'Argonauts' in the 80’s, I have been aware of their significant contribution to naval aviation for three decades,” said commander Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9), Capt. Sterling G. Gilliam. “It has been a pleasure watching them perform in the A-7E Corsairs and the F/A-18C Hornets. We look forward to the squadron’s imminent transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet. Regardless of aircraft type, the Argo’s can be counted on to get the job done right!”

The “Argonauts” have received numerous Naval accolades including the Lt.j.g. Bruce Carrier Award for Excellence in Maintenance, the Battle “E,” the Boola-Boola Award for air-to-air missile capability, the Chief of Naval Operation’s Safety Award, as well as a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Presidential Unit Commendation.

VFA-147 is currently assigned to CVW-9, as a part of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group headed west to provide support for U.S. and coalition forces operating in 5th Fleet, and conduct maritime security operations (MSO). Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.



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