MIL-OSI Security: Defense News: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 Returns from Deployment

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Source: United States Navy

Following completion of a four-week composite training unit exercise, VFA 87 deployed on May 2, 2023, with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, embarked aboard the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

Dedicated to providing civilian leaders with credible combat capability in a dynamic region, VFA 87 participated extensively in NATO-led exercises Viking Trident, Air Defender, and Neptune Strike – enhancing security in the Eastern Mediterranean and deterring horizontal escalation during the Israel-Hamas conflict.

While deployed, the squadron accomplished 1,473 carrier traps, 2,418 flight hours, and expended thousands of pounds of ordnance as well as 3,656 rounds of 20MM. Additionally the “Golden Warriors” earned CVW 8’s nomination for the Chief of Naval Operations “Safety S” award, commending the squadron’s embarked execution and performance during launch, recovery, and maintenance evolutions. This performance was enabled by the hard work and dedication of the squadron’s maintenance department, achieving the highest full mission capable aircraft rate and highest mid-cruise Material Condition Inspection scores of all CVW 8 squadrons.

The Sailors of VFA 87 also earned 55 advancements to E4-E6, 2 advancements to E7-E9, 2 meritorious advancements, and 19 reenlistments.

Following deployment, VFA 87 will begin the operational fleet response plan for its 2025 deployment and will continue to train, fight, and operate with the most capable aircraft the U.S. Navy has to offer. “I’m incredibly proud of the toughness and professionalism of the War Party team though multiple deployment extensions during the Israel-Hamas conflict and as a counter to destabilizing forces in the region.” said Cmdr. Clifton Lennon, Commanding Officer of VFA 87. “This is a resilient bunch who have done a hard job well and now return to a long-awaited homecoming with families and friends who have supported us throughout deployment.”

CSG-12 was on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations where the strike group was employed by U.S. 6th Fleet to defend U.S., allied, and partner interests. The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group was comprised of its flagship and namesake, the Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW 8), Destroyer Squadron Two (DESRON-2), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS McFaul (DDG 74), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

The squadrons of CVW-8 embarked aboard Gerald R. Ford were the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70, the “Bear Aces” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 124, the “Ragin’ Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37, the “Blacklions” of VFA 213, the “Golden Warriors” of VFA 87, the “Tomcatters” of VFA 31, the “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, and the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

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