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US Navy - Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (STRKFITRON 81)

VFA-81 'Sunliners'

 
vfa-81 sunliners insignia crest patch badge us navy squadron
vfa-81 sunliners strike fighter squadron f/a-18e super hornet
 
STATUS:   established as VA-66 on July 1, 1955
VA-66 redesignated VF-81 on July 1, 1955
VF-81 redesignated VA-81 on July 1, 1959
VA-81 redesignated VFA-81 on February 4, 1988
 

Homebase: NAS Oceana, Virginia
Carrier Air Wing: CVW-17
Aircraft Carrier:
USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)

ACTIVE UNIT
 AIRCRAFT:   McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet (1988-2008)
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (2008- )
 DEPLOYMENTS:  

August 1990 - March 1991 with CVW-17 aboard USS Saratoga (CV 60)

May 1992 - November 1992 with CVW-17 aboard USS Saratoga (CV 60)

January 1994 - June 1994 with CVW-17 aboard USS Saratoga (CV 60)

February 1996 - March 1996 with CVW-17 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

June 1996 - December 1996 with CVW-17 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

June 1998 - December 1998 with CVW-17 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

June 2000 - December 2000 with CVW-17 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73)

June 2002 - December 2002 with CVW-17 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73)

June 2004 - December 2004 with CVW-17 aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67)

April 2006 - May 2006 with CVW-17 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73)

April 2007 - September 2007 with CVW-11 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

January 2008 - June 2008 with CVW-11 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

February 2010 - April 2010 with CVW-17 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)

November 2010 - June 2011 with CVW-17 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)

November 2011 - May 2012 with CVW-17 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
August 2014 - June 2015
with CVW-17 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
 

images


vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet uss george washington cvn-73
F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81) aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) - March 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81) aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) - March 2016

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet nas oceana
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81) at NAS Oceana, Virginia - June 2015

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet carrier air wing cvw-17 uss carl vinson cvn-70
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2015

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet cvw-17 uss carl vinson cvn-70
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - April 2015

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet french navy rafale-m
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) refueling a French Navy Rafale-M aircraft - April 2015

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet french navy super etendard
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) refueling a French Navy Super Etendard aircraft - April 2015

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - December 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - November 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - November 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - November 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - October 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a 200-hour inspection - September 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - September 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - August 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - August 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - August 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - August 2014

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18e super hornet cvw-17 uss carl vinson cvn-70
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - May 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2012


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2012


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2012


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - December 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - December 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - June 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - March 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - January 2011


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - March 2010


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2010


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2010


F/A-18E Super Hornets (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - February 2010


vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn-68
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - July 2007

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet carrier air wing cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn-68
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - June 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - June 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - June 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2006


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81) - October 2005


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81) - October 2005

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-17 agm-65 maverick missile
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - November 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - November 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - October 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - July 2004

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-17 uss john f. kennedy cv-67
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - July 2004

vfa-81 sunliners uss john f. kennedy cv-67
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - June 2004

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet general electric f404-ge-400 jet engine
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) with General Electric F404-GE-400 engine removed - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) - February 2004

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-17 uss george washington cvn-73
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - December 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - August 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - July 2002

vfa-81 sunliners carrier air wing cvw-17 uss george washington cvn-73
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) with other F/A-18's embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - July 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - July 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - July 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - July 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - April 2002

vfa-81 sunliners cvw-17 uss dwight d. eisenhower cvn-69
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - 1998

vfa-81 sunliners cvw-17 nas cecil field
F/A-18C Hornets of VFA-81 and VFA-83, assigned to CVW-17, on their way to NAS Cecil Field - 1994


F/A-18C Hornets of VFA-81 and VFA-83, assigned to CVW-17, on their way to NAS Cecil Field - 1994


F/A-18C Hornets of VFA-81 and VFA-83, assigned to CVW-17, over NAS Cecil Field - 1994


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81) - June 1993

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-17 uss saratoga cv-60
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) - 1992


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) - 1992

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet cvw-17 uss saratoga operation desert storm 1991
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) during Operation Desert Storm - February 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) during Operation Desert Storm - February 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) were refueled by an USAF KC-135 tanker aircraft during Operation Desert Storm - February 1991

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet agm-62 walleye missile
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) with an AGM-62 Walleye missile - 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) - 1991
LT. CMDR. Mark Fox sits in the cockpit of the F/A-18C Hornet aircraft that he was flying when he
became the first coalition pilot to shoot down an Iraqi MiG aircraft during Operation Desert Storm.

vfa-81 sunliners f/a-18c hornet uss saratoga cv-60
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) - 1990


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-81 / CVW-17) embarked on USS Saratoga (CV 60) - 1990
 
 
History:

Along with many changes in aircraft, mission, and air wing assignments, VFA-81 has also possessed several different callsigns and insignia. Flexibility has been a requirement, quite literally, since day one. Originally established as an attack squadron July 1, 1955, the squadron was redesignated later that same day as Fighter Squadron Eighty-One, the "Crusaders." The squadron's first insignia, approved by the Chief of Naval Operations on December 16, 1955, embodied their first aircraft, the F9F-8B Cougar, with a black cougar on a light blue background.

On 21 November 1963, the squadron transitioned to the Douglas A4E Skyhawk and was renamed the Sunliners, to distinguish it from squadrons flying the Vought F-8 Crusader aircraft. The squadron also took a new insignia, comprised of an international orange "mach wave" design on a black background, along with a new motto: "Anytime, Anyplace." The squadron flew with this insignia for the next 25 years, and still wear it with pride every Tuesday.

When the Navy redesignated the squadron as a strike fighter squadron (VFA) on March 30th, 1988, the logo was modified into its current form to reflect the squadron's rich history. The traditional mach wave design was surrounded with four stars to represent different airframes the squadron has been assigned. Beneath the mach wave are three small stars, one for each of the three past airframes: F9F-8B Cougar, A-4E Skyhawk, and A-7 Corsair II. The large single star above the mach wave represents the current airframe: the FA-18E Super Hornet. Crossing the background are three spears representing the three missions the squadron has been called upon to perform: fighter squadron, attack squadron, and strike fighter squadron. The logo has remained unchanged in the 21 years since then.


The Hornet years (1988 to 2008)

On February 4th, 1988, VA-81 transitioned to the McDonnell-Douglas FA-18C Hornet, becoming Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHT-ONE (VFA-81). Along with the new aircraft, the squadron adopted the current squadron logo and patches that Sunliners wear today. On August 7th, 1990, Sunliners deployed once again with CVW-17 aboard Saratoga for their first FA-18C Hornet cruise and their first mission as a strike fighter squadron. This deployment took place one week after Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and VFA-81 actively participated in both OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and later OPERATION DESERT STORM as part of the Red Sea Battle Force. On January 17th, 1991, VFA-81 participated in some of the first carrier-based strikes of the Persian Gulf War. The first division of Sunliners to enter combat succeeded in proving the strike fighter concept by successfully engaging in both air-to-air and air-to-ground engagement in the same flight. As three VFA-81 and one VFA-83 Rampager aircraft flew into Iraq on CVW-17's first daylight strike of the war, they were confronted by two Iraqi Mig-21s. Sunliner LCDR Mark "MRT" Fox, and LT Nick "Mongo" Mongillo each downed one enemy aircraft before proceeding to and destroying their target. These were the Navy's only two aerial victories of the war.

The day was to become bittersweet for the squadron, however. That evening, Sunliner LCDR Scott "Spike" Speicher was shot down over west-central Iraq-the only aircraft downed that first night of the war. Through the remainder of Operation Desert Storm, none of the limited information available on dead or missing coalition personnel revealed the fate of LCDR Speicher. Although postwar analysis suggested an Iraqi Air Force Mig-25 destroyed Speicher's Hornet with an air-to-air missile, this has never been conclusively proven. LCDR Speicher was the only U.S. serviceman lost over land during Operation Desert Storm whose status remained Killed in Action-Body Not Recovered at the war's end. VFA-81 returned to NAS Cecil Field March 27th, 1991, following the swift coalition victory. The squadron made a total of three deployments to the Persian Gulf aboard Saratoga with CVW-17 between 1990 and 1994, bringing their total number of Mediterranean deployments completed to 24.

In early 1994, the squadron participated in OPERATION DENY FLIGHT and OPERATION PROVIDE PROMISE supporting United Nations resolutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the last deployment of Saratoga. That was VFA-81's third Hornet cruise, and the first Atlantic Fleet deployment with the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). After completion of the deployment, Saratoga was decommissioned in August, 1994. VFA-81 embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in 1996 for their 26th Mediterranean Cruise, and a series of deployments in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. During this cruise the squadron participated in an historic first U.S. aircraft carrier port call to Bahrain. A deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) began 10 June 1998. In addition to participation in OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH, this was the first deployment by an East Coast air wing equipped with the new Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW), a long range glide cluster bomb.

In 2000 to 2002, the squadron completed two deployments to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) again participating in OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. After the renewal of hostilities with Iraq and the launch of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, the squadron deployed aboard USS John F. Kennedy in 2004, travelling directly to the Persian Gulf and participating in daily air strikes against the regime of Saddam Hussein. In 2007 and 2008, VFA-81 was reassigned to CVW-11 in the Pacific Fleet and completed two deployments aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68). During the first of these deployments, from March to September 2007, Sunliners completed missions in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Between combat missions USS Nimitz also became the first U.S. carrier ever to visit India, completing a successful four-day port call to the city of Chennai. The second deployment aboard Nimitz brought the Sunliners to the Western Pacific for Foal Eagle 2008.


The Super Hornet years (2008 to present)

Upon returning the NAS Oceana at the completion of the 2008 deployment, the Sunliners turned in their FA-18C Hornets, and began the four-month transition to the Navy's newest and most lethal strike fighter, the Boeing FA-18E Super Hornet. On 20 November, the squadron was pronounced "Safe-For-Flight" in the Super Hornet and newest era of the squadron began. Currently, the squadron is assigned to CVW-17, the Navy's first planned "All Hornet" airwing, and will serve aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) on its next deployment.

source: VFA-81 website
 
 
 

patches & more


  vfa-81 sunliners insignia crest us navy  vfa-81 sunliners patch insignia crest badge us navy f/a-18 super hornet squadron
 
 
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