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US Marine Corps - Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242
VMFA(AW)-242 'Bats'
 
   
 02/20
STATUS:   established as VMTB-242 on July 1, 1943
deactivated on November 23, 1945
reactivated as VMA-242 on October 1, 1960
VMA-242 redesignated VMA(AW)-242 on October 1, 1964
VMA(AW)-242 redesignated VMFA(AW)-242 on December 14, 1990
 
ACTIVE UNIT
Homebase: MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
 AIRCRAFT:   Douglas A-4C Skyhawk
Grumman A-6A/E Intruder
McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18C/D Hornet
 DEPLOYMENTS:   various shore based deployments (see history)
 
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1943 - 1945
ACTIVATED 1 JULY 1943 AT EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA, AS MARINE TORPEDO BOMBING SQUADRON 242 AND ASSIGNED TO MARINE BASE DEFENSE AIRCRAFT GROUP 43, MARINE FLEET AIR, WEST COAST

DEPLOYED DURING FEBRUARY 1944 TO ESPIRITU SANTO, NEW HEBRIDES, AND REASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 11, MARINE AIR, SOUTH PACIFIC

REASSIGNED DURING JUNE 1944 TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 21, 4TH MARINE BASE DEFENSE AIRCRAFT WING

REASSIGNED DURING NOVEMBER 1944 TO 4TH MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

PARTICIPATED IN THE FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II CAMPAIGNS: BISMARK ARCHPELAGO, IWO JIMA

RELOCATED DURING NOVEMBER 1945 TO SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

DEACTIVATED 23 NOVEMBER 1945

1960 - 1965
REACTIVATED 1 OCTOBER 1960 AT CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA, AS MARINE ATTACK SQUADRON 242 AND ASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 14, 2D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

DEPLOYED DURING OCTOBER 1962 TO KEY WEST, FLORIDA

RETURNED DURING NOVEMBER 1962 TO CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA

DEPLOYED DURING OCTOBER 1963 TO IWAKUNI, JAPAN, AND REASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 12, 1ST MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

RELOCATED DURING OCTOBER 1964 TO CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA

REDESIGNATED 1 OCTOBER 1964 AS MARINE ALL WEATHER ATTACK SQUADRON 242 AND REASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 14, 2D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

1966 - 1989
DEPLOYED DURING OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1966 TO DA NANG, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, AND REASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 11, 1ST MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

PARTICIPATED IN THE WAR IN VIETNAM, NOVEMBER 1966 – SEPTEMBER 1970 OPERATING FROM DA NANG

RELOCATED DURING SEPTEMBER 1970 TO EL TORO, CALIFORNIA, AND REASSIGNED TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 33, 3D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

REASSIGNED DURING DECEMBER 1970 TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 13, 3D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

PARTICIPATED IN NUMEROUS TRAINING EXERCISES DURING THE 1970’S AND 1980’S

PARTICIPATED IN THE SYSTEM OF UNIT DEPLOYMENT BETWEEN MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 12, 1ST MARINE AIRCRAFT WING, AND MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 11 AND 13, 3D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING DURING THE 1980’S

REASSIGNED DURING OCTOBER 1987 TO MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP 11, 3D MARINE AIRCRAFT WING

1990 - 2000
REDESIGNATED 14 DECEMBER 1990 AS MARINE ALL WEATHER FIGHTER ATTACK SQUADRON 242

PARTICIPATED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM, SOUTHWEST ASIA, AUGUST 1990 - APRIL 1991

RELOCATED DURING MARCH 1996 TO MIRAMAR, CALIFORNIA

2000 - PRESENT
DEPLOYED TO IWAKUNI, JAPAN ON THE UNIT DEPLOYMENT PROGRAM, MARCH 2001 – SEPTEMBER 2001, SEPTEMBER 2002 – SEPTEMBER 2003

PARTICIPATED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II, SOUTHWEST ASIA, SEPTEMBER 2004 – MARCH 2005

PARTICIPATED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM 05-07, SOUTHWEST ASIA, SEPTEMBER 2006 – MARCH 2007

RELOCATED DURING MARCH 2008 TO MCAS IWAKUNI, JAPAN

source: USMC

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another history:

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA(AW)-242) is a United States Marine Corps squadron flying F/A-18D Hornets. The squadron, known as the "Bats", is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW). The Radio Callsign is "Profane".

World War II:
Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 242 (VMTB-242) was established on September 15, 1943. Upon establishment, the squadron began training at Marine Corps Air Station El Centro, California, flying the TBM Avenger. The squadron was then deployed to Espiritu Santo in the Southwest Pacific aboard the USS Kitkun Bay in February 1944. Thus began the squadron's long combat history, starting in the Northern Solomons, later shifting to the Battle of Saipan and Battle of Tinian, and finally to Battle of Iwo Jima where the squadron landed on D+17 and flew anti-submarine patrols until the end of World War II. On November 5, 1945, the squadron left Guam for San Diego and 18 days later was deactivated on November 23, 1945.

Reactivation:
On 1 October 1960 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina the squadron was reactivated as Marine Attack Squadron 242 flying the A4D Skyhawk. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, VMA-242 deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida and maintained a ready posture until the Soviet withdrawal of offensive weapons from Cuba. In September 1963, VMA-242 embarked for duty with the 1st MAW. The squadron operated from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan until its return to MCAS Cherry Point in September 1964, at which time it transitioned to the A-6A Intruder and was redesignated VMA(AW)-242. The transition training was conducted by VA-42, the East Coast A-6 Fleet Replacement Squadron at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. Advance teams of key VMA-242 personnel, began arriving at Oceana in the summer of 1963. They were the second line squadron to fly the A-6A after VA-75.

Vietnam War:
In late 1966, VMA(AW)-242 joined the 1st MAW at Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam and by November of that year, was participating in combat operations against the Viet Cong and the People's Army of Vietnam. Initially the squadron supported allied ground forces, but during April 1967, they were also assigned to the first of many Operation Rolling Thunder missions over North Vietnam. The squadron, utilizing the unique capabilities of the A-6, flew patrols over North Vietnam until the bombing halt late in 1968. Until the squadron's departure from Vietnam in late April 1971, the squadron continued supporting allied forces in South Vietnam, as well as flying sorties against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in North Vietnam and central Laos. During the squadron's tour in the Republic of Vietnam, VMA(AW)-242 logged 16,783 combat sorties and delivered 85,990 tons of ordnance. During the war, the squadron was known as the Batmen. At some date after the war this was modified to the Bats.

Post Vietnam and the 1980s:
VMA(AW)-242 arrived at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California in early May 1971 and became the first A-6A squadron in the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. In September 1977, the squadron transitioned to the A-6E aircraft. After ten years at MCAS El Toro, they again deployed overseas to MCAS Iwakuni as part of the six-month Unit Deployment Program (UDP). During this deployment, the squadron deployed and trained in such places as the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea. Upon its return to MCAS El Toro on April 22, 1981, VMA(AW)-242 began receiving the latest model Intruder, the A-6E TRAM, in preparation for redeployment to MCAS Iwakuni in April 1982.

During August 1983, VMA(AW)-242 was the first Marine squadron to deploy to the African continent as part of Operation Eastern Wind in Berbera, Somalia. While in country, they conducted joint operations with the Somali Army Air Defense Force and the United States Navy and Air Force.

In April 1984 and November 1985, the squadron participated in its third and fourth UDP deployments to the Western Pacific. Returning to MCAS El Toro in May 1986, the squadron was awarded the Lawson H. M. Sanderson trophy as the Marine Corps Attack Squadron of the Year for 1986. In April 1987, the squadron made their fifth WestPac UDP deployment. October 1988 saw VMA(AW)-242 redeploy to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan for the sixth and final WestPac UDP with the A-6E Intruder.

1990s:
In August 1990, the squadron initially deployed as part of MAG-70 in Operation Desert Shield but got no further than MCAS Cherry Point for a few days in August 1990. Ten aircraft were flown to MCAS Cherry Point with the intent to trade four 3-G limited aircraft for unlimited aircraft from VMA(AW)-224 so that the squadron would have ten aircraft that were not impacted by the wing fatigue limitation program. However, at the last minute, it was decided to not deploy the squadron. All the squadron's aircraft were transferred to USMC and USN squadrons, and they returned to El Toro to begin transitioning to the F/A-18D Hornet a month earlier than originally planned.

On December 14, 1990, VMA(AW)-242 was re-designated as Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, and began conversion to the F/A-18D Hornet. VMFA(AW)-242 received its first aircraft in February 1991 with the final Hornet being accepted in August of that year. It was during the transition to the F/A-18D that the squadron adopted its motto, "Mors ex tenebris."

Global War on Terror:
From August 4, 2004 to March 18, 2005, the squadron supported the Iraq War. Utilizing the combat callsign "Profane", VMFA(AW)-242 spent seven months flying out of Al Asad Airbase, Iraq. During this time they provided close air support for the 1st Marine Division during Operation Phantom Fury. Squadron sections flew cyclic missions dropping over 300,000 pounds of ordnance in support of Marines and Soldiers on the ground overtaking the city. During this battle, precision-guided ordnance was dropped close to friendly forces with zero cases of friendly fire. Just two months later, in January 2005, over a five-day period, squadron aircraft were airborne twenty-four hours a day in order to deter insurgents' efforts to undermine Iraq's first democratic elections. The squadron received the Robert M. Hanson "Marine Fighter Squadron" of the Year award in October 2005.

Due to a re-organization within Marine aviation, VMFA(AW)-242 moved from MAG-11 at MCAS Miramar to MAG-12 in its current home at MCAS Iwakuni in 2008.

source: wikipedia
 
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