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US Navy - Strike Fighter Squadron 86 (STRKFITRON 86)

VFA-86 'Sidewinders'

 
vfa-86 sidewinders insignia crest patch badge us navy squadron
vfa-86 sidewinders strike fighter squadron f/a-18e super hornet us navy
 
STATUS:  Reserve Squadron VF-921 activated on February 2, 1951
VF-921 redesignated VF-84 on February 4, 1953
VF-84 redesignated VA-86 on July 1, 1955
VA-86 redesignated VFA-86 on July 15, 1987
  
Homebase:
NAS Lemoore, California

Carrier Air Wing: CVW-3
Aircraft Carrier:
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

ACTIVE UNIT
AIRCRAFT:  McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet (1987-2010)
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet (2010- )
DEPLOYMENTS: 

March 1988 - May 1988 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

February 1989 - November 1989 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

December 1990 - April 1991 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1991 - October 1991 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

December 1991 - June 1992 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1993 - February 1994 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1995 - February 1996 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

October 1997 - April 1998 with CVW-1 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73)

November 1998 - December 1998 with CVW-1 aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)

September 1999 - March 2000 with CVW-1 aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67)

September 2001 - March 2002 with CVW-1 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

August 2003 - February 2004 with CVW-1 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

June 2004 - July 2004 with CVW-1 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

May 2006 - November 2006 with CVW-1 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

July 2007 - December 2007 with CVW-1 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65)

July 2009 - March 2010 with CVW-11 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

June 2014 - August 2014 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

June 2016 - December 2016 with CVW-3 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)
 

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F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - October 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - September 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - September 2016

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18e super hornet carrier air wing cvw-3 uss dwight d. eisenhower cvn-69
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18e super hornet uss dwight d. eisenhower cvn-69
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016

vfa-86 sidewinders
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18e super hornet cvw-3
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - July 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - June 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - June 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - June 2016

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18e super hornet uss dwight d. eisenhower cvn-69
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - June 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - March 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - March 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - March 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - March 2016


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-3) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - December 2015


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - July 2014

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18e super hornet cvw-2 uss ronald reagan cvn-76
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - June 2014


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - November 2013


F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - May 2013

vfa-86 sidewinders carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ronald reagan cvn-76
F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - May 2013

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn-68
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - September 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-11
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet uss nimitz cvn-68
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010

vfa-86 sidewinders cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn-68
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - December 2009


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - November 2009


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2009

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-1 uss enterprise cvn-65
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - November 2007


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - October 2007

vfa-86 sidewinders cvw-1 uss enterprise cvn-65
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - September 2006


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - July 2006


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - March 2006


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - October 2005


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - May 2005


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - July 2004

vfa-86 sidewinders cvw-1 uss enterprise cvn-65 f/a-18c hornet
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - July 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - June 2004


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - September 2003


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - September 2003


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - September 2003

m61-a1 gatling gun f/a-18c hornet vfa-86 sidewinders
M61-A1 gatling gun of a F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86) - March 2002

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-1 uss theodore roosevelt cvn-71
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) - February 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) - January 2002


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) - October 2001


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) - July 2000

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-1 uss george washington cvn-73
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - February 1998

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet agm-84 slam missile
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) was loaded with an AGM-84E SLAM missile - February 1998


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) was loaded with an AIM-9 Sidedwinder missile - February 1998


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - February 1998


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - January 1998


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - January 1998


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - January 1998


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) during refueling with a Royal Air Force VC-10K tanker aircraft - December 1997


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) - November 1997

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet cvw-1 uss america cv-66
F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - September 1996

vfa-86 sidewinders f/a-18c hornet in formation carrier air wing cvw-1 uss america cv-66
F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - August 1995


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - August 1995


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - August 1995


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - October 1993


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1991


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - March 1991


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornets (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - January 1989


F/A-18 Hornet (VFA-86 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - June 1988
  
 
History:

Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHT SIX traces its origins to Fighter Squadron 921, based at Naval Air Station St. Louis, Missouri, during the Korean War in February 1951. In February 1953, the squadron was re-designated VF-84 while deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, aboard USS ANTIETAM (CV 36). In July 1955, the squadron was re-designated VA-86 Sidewinders.

From 1955 to 1987, Sidewinders flew the F4-U "Corsair," F8F-2 "Bearcat," F9F-5 "Panther," F7U-3M "Cutlass," also known as the "Ensign Eater," A4D-1 "Skyhawk" and A-7A/C/E "Corsair." During these transitions, Sidewinders made numerous deployments to the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. The North Atlantic, the Western Pacific and the Indian Oceans in various aircraft carriers, including USS ANTIETAM (CV 36), USS BENNINGTON (CV 20), USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV 39), USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), USS RANDOLPH (CV 15), USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), USS INTREPID (CV 11), USS LEXINGTON (CV 16), USS AMERICA (CV 66), USS CORAL SEA (CV 43) and USS NIMITZ (CVN 68).

In September 1969, Sidewinders made an emergency sortie aboard AMERICA for a ten month combat deployment to Southeast Asia. The Squadron was once again on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf when the Paris Peace Accords were signed and our Prisoners of War finally returned home. This was the squadron’s fourth combat deployment to Southeast Asia, more then any other East Coast attack squadron, During that deployment, Sidewinders participated in the most intense air combat encountered throughout their extensive Southeast Asian involvement, earning the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, as part of the NIMITZ team, Sidewinders made numerous deployments to the Mediterranean and North Atlantic. Sidewinders were awarded the 1982 COMNAVAIRLANT Battle "E", denoting the best A-7E squadron on the East Coast. Sidewinders were awarded the 1985 Admiral Wade McClusky Award, signifying the best attack squadron in the Navy. In June of 1987, after a cameo appearance in the Hollywood film Final Countdown, Sidewinders departed NIMITZ and transitioned to the FA-18C Hornet, re-designated Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-86). Deployed with the Navy’s premier strike fighter, in 1989 Sidewinders spent eight months with the Carrier Air Wing ONE (CVW-1) "TARBOX" team aboard AMERICA.

As the Cold War ended, the 1990s nevertheless brought threats to U.S. and allied interests throughout the world. In 1991, the Sidewinders took to the skies to liberate Kuwait during Operation DESERT STORM. Sidewinders delivered over 1.2 million pounds of ordnance with zero combat losses. In late 1995, Sidewinders again faced combat, this time in Operation DELIBERATE FORCE over the embattled former Yugoslavia. During the decade’s sustained Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, hundreds of combat sorties and precision strikes were flown over Iraq, employing weapons against radar installations and anti-aircraft artillery emplacements that violated United Nations Security Council resolutions. While proving their lethality in the 90s, Sidewinders underscored their professionalism by taking home the CNO’s Safety Award in 1995 and the Battle "E" in 1998.

In March 1999, following a successful deployment onboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67), the Sidewinders moved from NAS Cecil Field, Florida, to their new home at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina. Deployed onboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the TARBOX team was ready upon arrival in the Arabian Sea to execute sustained combat missions in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). After providing vital air support to coalition forces toppling a hostile regime in Afghanistan, the Sidewinders departed the area of operation having flown over 3,500 hours and expended over 213 tons of ordnance. After 160 days without a port call, the Sidewinders completed another successful combat deployment while establishing the naval aviation record for continuous days at sea. In August of 2003, VFA-86 deployed on USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and OEF. Returning in early 2004, the Sidewinders sailed again in June 2004 for SUMMER PULSE, a two-month deployment to the North Atlantic as part of Navy's Fleet Response Plan.

Preparing for a mid-2006 deployment with the TARBOX/ENTERPRISE team, Sidewinders plunged into an aggressive work-up for its Sailors and Hornets. In the Spring of 2006, the squadron completed a transfer of 12 LOT X FA-18Cs and acceptance of 11 LOT XVIII F/A-18C Hornets. Sidewinders embarked with ENTERPRISE Strike Group in May 2006. Over the next seven months, across three Fleets, the squadron proved its combat readiness providing vital close air support to coalition ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and presence operations in the western Pacific.

While flying OIF and OEF missions, Sidewinders expended 33 precision guided bombs and over 3,300, 20 millimeter high explosive incendiary rounds with unmatched effectiveness. The Sidewinders team achieved success in combat receiving the Meritorious Unit Commendation and proudly brought home CVW-1 "Top Hook" honors for superior carrier landing performance in November 2006.

Upon returning home, the squadron continued its rigorous pace in preparation for its next deployment with several detachments onboard USS ENTERPRISE. After a short 7 months on shore, VFA-86 deployed with ENTERPRISE Strike Group in July of 2007. During the five and a half month deployment, the Sidewinders served the nation with 328 combat missions and over 3,000 flight hours in support of OIF and OEF. The Sidewinders achieved 100% combat mission effectiveness and an air wing-leading 98% sortie completion rate. Sidewinders returned to MCAS Beaufort in December of 2007. Sidewinders were awarded the Commander, Naval Air Forces U.S. Atlantic Fleet Safety "S" for 2007.

In the fall of 2008, the Sidewinders changed operational commanders and joined CVW-11 and the NIMITZ Strike Group as they readied for a 2009 deployment. In July 2009, the squadron once again departed MCAS Beaufort and headed west, deploying as part of the NIMITZ-BARBWIRE team and Carrier Strike Group ELEVEN. The Strike Group entered the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility in September of 2009 and spent the following five months flying combat sorties in support of OEF. The USS NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group completed its Western Pacific deployment in March of 2010 with the Sidewinders accumulating a total of 4,200 flight hours and 1,350 sorties. The Sidewinders of VFA-86 had successfully completed their fifth deployment flying combat sorties in support of OEF.

In March of 2010, the squadron returned to MCAS Beaufort, SC. The Sidewinders maintained their high level of readiness as they readied themselves to turn a new page in their history with a move to NAS Lemoore, CA and transition to the FA-18E Super Hornet.

The Sidewinders arrived in NAS Lemoore, CA in early July 2011 and immediately made a positive impression during the transition which began in August. Despite flying ungroomed FRS jets with no targeting pods on an unfamiliar range, squadron pilots took top honors in the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific bombing derby, resulting in VFA-86 being awarded the McClaran Trophy for the top-performing squadron in the air-to-ground mission. Furthermore, the Aviation Ordnanceman and Aviation Electronics Technician’s executed a flawless “no hit/no comment” 800/800 Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection, a rare feat for any squadron and unprecedented for a transition squadron. On December 8, 2011, the squadron officially completed its transition three months ahead of schedule by successfully passing its Maintenance Program Assist and certifying Safe For Flight.

Following a successful transition, the Sidewinders spent 2012 executing several detachments including Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Maple Flag in Cold Lake, Canada and an Air to Air detachment to NAS Key West. That Fall, the Sidewinders joined CVW-2 and Carrier Strike Group NINE. In March of 2013, the squadron participated in a CVW-2 organized Air to Air Missile Exercise at Tyndall AFB, detached to NAS Key West for an Air to Air Detachment and finally closed out the year with their first Strike Group detachment as a FA-18E squadron onboard the USS RONALD REAGAN. During 2014 the squadron executed its first FA-18E FRTP, culminating in Carrier Strike Group NINE participating in the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise, RIM OF THE PACIFIC. The Sidewinders closed out 2014 with detachments to NAS Key West and Alpena, MI.

After joining Carrier Air Wing THREE (CVW-3) in March 2015, the VFA-86 Sidewinders have been diligently preparing for deployment in Summer 2016. The Sidewinders began their work-up cycle in June 2015 with Air-to-Air Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program (SFARP) at Naval Air Station Oceana as part of their new air wing, executing sorties off the coast of Virginia Beach. The Sidewinders then participated in the Flight Deck Certification of the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) after she finished a 23-month overhaul. This was followed closely in September by Air-to-Surface SFARP at Naval Air Station Fallon where CVW-3 utilized the training ranges in the mountains of Nevada, employing live ordnance, heavy and light inert training ordnance, and laser-guided training rounds (LGTR).

In mid-November, the Sidewinders embarked on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER for three weeks participating in Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) where Carrier Air Wing THREE continued to hone their skills in both the Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface arena. The Sidewinders provided Close Air support to facilitate Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training with Naval Special Warfare Groups EIGHT and TEN and the United States Marine Corps. The air wing returned to homeport in Norfolk, VA on December 15th and the Sidewinders were able to return to NAS Lemoore for the remainder of holiday season.

SFARP and TSTA proved to be an exceptional training period for the Sidewinders and Carrier Air Wing THREE. The Sidewinders completed numerous Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics (SFWT) syllabus flights while executing 1450 sorties and accumulating over 1900 mishap-free hours, including over 200 day and 150 night carrier arrested landings. 46 Sailors received Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals along with 17 Letters of Commendation. The squadron also qualified 22 Sailors as new Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist’s (EAWS).

The Sidewinders of VFA-86 began 2016 with Air Wing Fallon in their sights, where they flew numerous SFWT flights, continuing to develop the air-to-air and air-to-surface tactical proficiency required for deployment. Air Wing Fallon proved to be a success and provided valuable training for the aircrew and the maintenance department. During the detachment, Sidewinders completed over 350 sorties, employed 45,000 pounds of heavy ordnance, fired over 7,600 rounds of ammunition, as well as qualified 2 Air Interdiction Mission Commanders (AIMC).

The Sidewinders continued work-ups in March when Carrier Air Wing THREE embarked on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER to participate in Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). The Sidewinders’ tactical skills again were tested during integrated operations with the rest of the CVW-3 and Carrier Strike Group TEN (CSG-10). The Strike Group conducted exercises off the east coast against a robust presentation of air, surface, and sub-surface adversary units, facilitating a dynamic air-to-air and air-to-surface training environment.

The Sidewinders returned to their homeport of Naval Air Station Lemoore in mid-April to spend time with family and friends after a busy quarter of work-ups. The Sidewinder leadership is very proud and appreciative of the hard work and unprecedented performance the Sidewinder team has put forth during these challenging months.

source: VFA-86 website
 
 
 

patches

 
vfa-86 sidewinders insignia crest patch  vfa-86 sidewinders patch insignia us navy squadron f/a-18 hornet

 
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