Squadron Flight Log Entry

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VFA-25 - Fist of the Fleet
Comission Place: Norfolk, Virginia



The lineage of the Fist of the Fleet has remained unbroken since it was established during World War II until the present along the following sequence:

Commissioned as Torpedo Squadron Seventeen (VT-17) on 1 January 1943 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Primary aircraft assigned, TBF and TBM Avengers.

Redesignated as Attack Squadron Six Baker (VA-6B) on 15 November 1946 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Primary aircraft assigned, SB2C Helldivers.

Redesignated as Attack Squadron Sixty Five (VA-65 on 27 July 1948 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Primary aircraft assigned, AD-1 (thru 7) Skyraiders.

Redesignated as Attack Squadron Twenty Five (VA-25) on 1 July 1959 at NAS Alameda, California. Primary aircraft assigned, AD Skyraider, A-7B and A-7E Corsair II.

Redesignated as Strike Fighter Squadron Twenty Five (VFA-25) on 1 July 1983 at NAS Lemoore, California. Primary aircraft assigned, F/A-18A, C, and E Hornets.


Chronology of Significant Events

10 September-2 October 1943: The squadron, assigned to Commander, Carrier Air Group 17, was embarked in USS Bunker Hill (CV- 17), enroute from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Diego.

11 November 1943-February 1944: Embarked in USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), the squadron flew numerous combat missions, striking targets in Kavieng, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk and Tinian. The squadron’s commanding officer, LCDR F.M. Whitaker, was lost in a midair collision over Eniwetok on 2 Feb 1944.

February-June 1945: Now embarked in USS Hornet (CV-12), the squadron flew numerous combat missions against various targets in Japan and the Bonin Islands, and provided ground support for the invasion of Iwo Jima. On 7 Apr 1945, VT-17, along with other units from the task force, attacked a Japanese naval force composed of the super-battleship Yamato and her escorts. VT-17 pilots scored several torpedo hits on the Yamato and sunk one of her destroyer escorts.

5 June 1945: Numerous ships of task force severely damaged in a typhoon. Following minor repairs in Leyte Gulf, the Hornet and VT-17 return to NAS Alameda for extensive repairs.

24 August 1950-26 September 1952: Embarked in USS Boxer (CV-21), VA-65 makes two extended deployments to WestPac/Korea. On 15 Sep 1950, squadron aircraft struck shore targets in support of the landings at Inchon. On 1 Oct 1950 squadron aircraft struck the North Korean capital of P’yongyang, hitting the airfield and scoring a direct hit on a large electrical power plant. During the second deployment, squadron aircraft participated in a coordinated four-carrier strike on North Korean hydro-electric power plants. VA-65 Skyraiders hit the Suiho power plant on the Yalu River.

February 1955: While embarked in USS Essex (CV-9) and operating in the Formosa Straits, the squadron provided air support during the evacuation of Nationalist Chinese forces from the Tachen Islands which had come under bombardment by the People’s Republic of China.

25 August 1958: The USS Midway (CVA-41), with VA-65 embarked, was ordered to discontinue its ORI and proceed to the vicinity of Taiwan following the shelling of the Quemoy Islands on 23 August by the Chinese Communists.

April 1965: The squadron engaged in its first combat operations in the Vietnam Theater. This was the first of three combat cruises for VA-25 in the A-1 Skyraider.

20 June 1965: Four of the squadron’s Skyraiders engaged enemy fighters over North Vietnam resulting in the shoot down of a MiG-17.

14 September 1966: While on a combat sortie near Vinh, the squadron’s commanding officer, CDR C.W. Stoddard, was shot down by a SAM and lost at sea.

7 February 1968: Fist pilots participated in the Battle of Lang Vei, a Special Forces camp on the western flank of Khe Sanh, providing CAS for Special Forces personnel trapped in an underground bunker by NVA forces and Tanks. Through the course of the day, in marginal weather, a total of 13 Fist pilots conducted bombing and strafing runs, allowing the trapped Special Forces to egress from Lang Vei later that day.

6 April 1968: The squadron returned to NAS Lemoore from a combat deployment to Vietnam, bringing an end of an era for the A-1 Skyraider. It was the last attack squadron to deploy and operate the A-1.

1 February 1969: The squadron deployed on its first of three A-7 combat deployments to the Vietnam Theater.

April 1969: Following the shoot down of a Navy EC-121 aircraft by the North Koreans, the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) with VA-25 embarked, was ordered to the Sea of Japan.

21 November 1970: Squadron aircraft flew Rescue Combat Air Patrol sorties while an Army-Air Force search and rescue team landed at the Son Tay POW compound, 20 miles west of Hanoi.

December 1972: The squadron participated in Linebacker II Operations, with heavy air strikes against targets primarily around Hanoi and Haiphong.

July 1976: Following the Israeli raid on Entebbe and the threatened military operations against Kenya by Uganda, the USS Ranger (CV-61) with VA-25 embarked was ordered to transit from the South China Sea to the western Indian Ocean and operate off the coast of Kenya.

21 February 1985: VFA-25 and 113, embarked in USS Constitution (CV-64), were the first squadrons to make an extended carrier deployment with the F/A-18 Hornet.

August-November 1990: Due to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the USS Independence (CV-62) with VFA-25 embarked was ordered to operate in the Gulf of Oman. VFA-25 flew sorties in support of Operation Desert Shield. 1996: VFA-25, embarked in USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), deployed to the Arabian Gulf for three months and participated in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Strike.

2000: VFA-25, embarked in USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), deployed to the Arabian Gulf enforcing no-fly zones in Iraq and in Operation Southern Watch.

29 March-May 2003: The Fist commenced combat operations, first in OperationSouthern Watch and then Operation Iraqi Freedom.

February-May 2006: Embarked in USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), the Fist conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2008-2010: VFA-25 began a series of what would become two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and WESTPAC 2009 (Surge ops), which included extensive combat operations in Afghanistan.

2011: WESTPAC 2011 included combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of Operations Enduring Freedom

2012: WESTPAC 2012 was VFA-25's last cruise with the F/A-18C Legacy Hornet, and included combat operations in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Fist maintenance excelled, earning both the CVW-17 Golden Wrench Award and the LTJG Bruce Carrier Award for excellence in Aviation Maintenance, as well as the Top Hook award for two line periods. After returning home, they completed the transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and they are once again ready to answer the nation's call to duty.

Fist Commanding Officers

LCDR Frank M. Whitaker 01 January 1943
LT Gordon N. Owens 02 February 1944
LT Jack Martin (acting) 18 April 1944
LCDR William M. Romberger 02 May 1944
LT Arnold C. Traxler (acting) 18 August1945
LCDR William N. Janes (acting) 21 August 1945
CDR Rubin H. Konig 11 October 1945
LCDR Glen B. Butler 31 October 1947
LCDR Michael J. Hanley 08 December 1948
CDR Richard W. Phillips 01 February 1950
CDR Gordon A. Sherwood 31 August 1951
LCDR Marvin R. Novak (acting) 22 October 1952
LCDR Harry M. Thompson 28 October 1952
LCDR J. A. Rapp 12 March 1954
CDR John R. Bowen II 15 July 1955
CDR William C. Bates 22 May 1957
CDR Edward V. Izac, Jr. 15 May 1958
CDR John W. Fairbanks 03 April 1959
CDR Warren H. Ireland 08 April 1960
LCDR M. E. Mann (acting) 11 May 1960
CDR William S. Hertig 16 May 1960
CDR C. R. Bradford 03 August 1961
CDR John A. Overn 11 August 1962
CDR Herman W. Presson 25 June 1963
CDR Ralph F. Smith 29 May 1964
CDR Harry E. Ettinger 24 May 1965
CDR William Stoddard (KIA) 13 April 1966
CDR James D. Burden 14 September 1966
CDR Clifford E. Church 01 October 1967
CDR Scott L. Smith 10 April 1968
CDR Fred J. Orrik 09 June 1969
CDR F. M. Humphreys 26 June 1970
CDR Juan H. Carcaba 26 May 1971
CDR Edwin A. Greathouse 19 May 1972
CDR Paul M. Moore 02 June 1973
CDR George R. Vezina 05 May 1974
CDR Peter W. Ogle 08 July 1975
CDR James B. Hamilton 29 October 1976
CDR Warner L. Butler 31 January 1978
CDR Donald J. Wright 26 March 1979
CDR John A. Lockard 29 July 1980
CDR Robert W. Leone 07 October 1981
CDR Steve L. Webb 23 April 1983
CDR John C. Leslie Jr. 16 November 1984
CDR Jerome L. Arbiter 28 February 1986
CDR Anthony V. Colantoni Jr. 02 September 1987
CDR Daniel W. Gabriel 23 November 1988
CDR Gregory R. Peairs 31 May 1990
CDR Donald B. Fennessey 27 September 1991
CDR Carlton A. Simmons Jr. 05 November 1992
CDR Joseph G. Kleefisch 07 February 1994
CDR Rodger L. Welch 25 May 1995
CDR Barry J. Brocato 29 July 1996
CDR Patrick J. Lorgo 07 November 1997
CDR Peter Murphy 1999
CDR Daniel Dixon 22 May 2000
CDR Richard Butler 07 September 2001
CDR Craig Kauber 06 December 2002
CDR Donald H. B. Braswell 2004
CDR Marcus A. Prichard 14 April 2005
CDR Steve Thompson                      
CDR David Lobdell
Spring 2006
16 August 2007
CDR J. J. Mann December 2008
CDR Robert Westendorff 13 April 2010
CDR Thomas Barber 14 July 2011
CDR Ryan C. Smith 12 October 2012

Based on code developed by Richards Consulting Group