VMFA-225 History

History

Marine Fighting Squadron 225 (VMF-225) was established on 1 January 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Mojave, California, flying the Vought F4U-1 Corsair. The squadron entered World War II (WWII) in October of 1943 when they embarked aboard the USS Nassau and relocated to Ewa, Hawaii, flying missions in defense of the island. In March of 1944 the squadron departed Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Long Island for Espiritu Santo for air defense missions over the New Hebrides. In June the “Death Dealers” of VMF-225 were relocated to Eniwetok and the Marshalls, and later rerouted aboard the USS Santee to Orote Field, Guam in the Marianas as part of Operation Forager, only a week after the allied invasion of the island in August of 1944. There, VMF-225 was heavily engaged in close air support missions across the island as the allies advanced to regain control, flew strike missions against Rota and Pagan Island to the North, and participated in air defense missions where it was accredited with one air-to-air kill, the shoot-down of a Jill bomber in January 1945. Leaving Agana Field in May of 1945, VMF-225 returned to MCAS Mojave, California, and began carrier training in preparation for Operation Olympic and the invasion of Japan.

Following V-J Day (14 Aug 1945), the squadron was ordered to MCAS Santa Barbara, California where it was based until January 1946. Then it joined the USS Mindoro and left its aircraft behind, relocating to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina via the Panama Canal. In April, VMF-225 again began flying F4U-4 Corsairs, and for a short time added several Grumman F6F-5P Hellcats, participating in training missions at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and later re-organizing for carrier operations. In August, 1946, VMF-225 was selected to represent the Corps at the National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio, flying aerial demonstrations during the same period that the Navy Blue Angels were being formed. In April 1947, the squadron was transferred for a short assignment with the USS Palau, and in June to the USS Siboney. VMF-225 was re-designated Marine Fighter Squadron 225 “Vagabonds” on 1 September, 1947. In July 1948 aboard the USS Siboney, the squadron executed a cruise to the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Middle East, and conducted other cruises to the region aboard the USS Midway in January 1949 and the USS Leyte in September 1949. In early 1950 the Chief of Naval Operations initiated plans to disestablish the squadron, but when the North Korean People's Army invaded the south in June of 1950, VMF-225's future was secured. The squadron deployed again to the Mediterranean aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1951, and for the last time again aboard the USS Midway in January 1952, which brought the squadron's career as a carrier-based fighter squadron to a close.

VMF-225 was re-designated Marine Attack Squadron 225 (VMA-225) on 17 June 1952 and moved to MCAF Edenton, North Carolina. There the squadron began flying the AU-1 Corsair and shifted training to interdiction missions. The squadron transitioned to the AD-5 Skyraider in December 1953, added AD-4Bs to its inventory in early 1955, and made two deployments to NAS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. In May 1958, the "Fighting Eagles" transitioned to the A-4B Skyhawk and in October moved back to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. There VMA-225 continued attack training, and deployed to the Mediterranean aboard the USS Essex (CVA-9) in August 1959. VMA-225 transitioned to the A-4C in March 1960 and again deployed to Mediterranean aboard the USS Shangri-La in February 1961 and the USS Intrepid in 1962. The “Vagabonds” became the first Marine squadron to deploy and conduct night operations aboard the USS Enterprise, spending the last three months of 1962 aboard the "Big E" during the Cuban Missile crisis. The squadron deployed again to the Mediterranean aboard the USS Shangri-La in October 1963. In September 1964, the squadron received orders to Japan, and in June 1965 the "Vagabonds" moved to the newly constructed base at Chu Lai for participation in combat operations against Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam. VMA-225 returned to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina in October 1965 and in April 1966 they transitioned to the Grumman built A-6A Intruder. With the addition of an all weather capability, the squadron was re-designated VMA(AW)-225 and adopted the "Vikings" as their new official mascot sporting the colors of Carolina blue and gold. In January 1969, VMA(AW)-225 deployed to Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam to provide close air and deep air support for allied ground forces in the I Corp area of South Vietnam. In February 1970, the squadron flew missions in support of Lam Som 719, the cross border assault of enemy sanctuaries in Laos (Barrel Roll) and later continued air interdiction mission 3 (Commando Bolt) on enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Southwest Asia. During May 1971, VMA(AW)-225 returned to MCAS El Toro, California, and the squadron was dis-established on June 15, 1972.

The "Vikings" of VMFA(AW)-225 were established on 1 July 1991, at MCAS El Toro, California, flying the F/A-18D Hornet. The Vikings supported the Marine Corps' Unit Deployment Program (UDP), deploying to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan for six-month periods, beginning in March of 1993. Overseas exercises included tours in Korea, Thailand, Okinawa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Alaska. In March of 1995, the Vikings relocated to their new home at MCAS Miramar, California. Additional unit deployments occurred in September of 1995, March of 1996, September 1997, and in March of 2000, with a deployment to Al Jaber, Kuwait for combat operations during Operation Southern Watch (OSW) in March 2001. In March of 2002, the Vikings returned to UDP and retraced the steps of Marines during WWII through the South Pacific Islands of Iwo Jima and Peleliu, and put the first fighters back on Tarawa, Guadalcanal, and Vanuatu at Bauer Field in more than 60 years. The Vikings returned to Al Jaber, Kuwait for OSW and combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from Jan to May of 2003. They re-entered the UDP cycle in March 2004 and September 2005, and then returned again to Counterinsurgency Operations during OIF, this time operating from Al Asad, Iraq from August 2007 to March 2008. The Vikings returned to UDP in May 2009, September 2010, and July 2012. Following their return from the Western Pacific, the Vikings deployed in September 2013 in support of contingency operations in the Middle East. Returning home in April 2014, the Vikings transitioned again to the UDP cycle, deploying to the Western Pacific in March 2015 and September 2016. During the September 2016 UDP, the Vikings participated in exercise COPE WEST in Manado, Indonesia, the first U.S. fighter squadron to conduct operations there in 19 years. The Vikings executed their final deployment as an F/A-18D Hornet squadron by again supporting the Unit Deployment Program in September 2018. In 2019, the Commandant directed that Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 report C-5 status NLT 1 October 2019, relinquish the F/A 18D Hornet platform, and be redesignated as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225 under Marine Aircraft Group 13 in Yuma, AZ, flying the F-35B Lightning II. They flew their last Hornet flight on 23 January 2020 and stand ready to commence F-35B operations in 2021.

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