VFA-87 Golden Warriors June squadron of the month

Posted at 7:43 AM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 12:24:43-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Strike Fighter Squadron 87 is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana nicknamed the Golden Warriors, and they are the squadron of the month for June!

The squadron's call sign is War Party.

The Golden Warriors were established in 1968 as Attack Squadron 87, the first to fly the A-7B Corsair II from NAS Cecil Field, Florida. The first combat mission flown by the squadron was on 4 March 1969 from the deck of the USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14), striking enemy targets in South Vietnam.

More recently the VFA-87 deployed aboard USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) in 2014, initially conducting close air support (CAS) missions in support of coalition ground forces in Afghanistan.

In June, CVW-8 shifted focus from Afghanistan to the emerging Islamic State threat in Iraq. The Golden Warriors played a critical role in major efforts in Iraq, including the liberation of Sinjar Mountain and Mosul Dam, the defense of key Iraqi infrastructure, and targeted strikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria.

While deployed, the squadron safely executed 623 combat sorties totaling 3,551 hours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.  Soon after returning from deployment, the "War Party" transferred its ten F/A-18C aircraft in exchange for ten new Lot 37 F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft. Squadron pilots and maintenance personnel excelled throughout the transition period, bringing online an incredible improvement in operational capability and lethality.

On January 21, 2017 the Golden Warriors of VFA-87 again embarked aboard USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) for a historic deployment in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.  Between 21 January 2017 and 21 August 2017, the "War Party" operated out of both the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf, flying 443 combat sorties that encompassed 2800 flight hours with a 100 percent sortie completion rate in the skies above Iraq and Syria.

Pilots in "War Party" aircraft employed 454 air-to-ground weapons, 1181 rounds of 20mm ammunition, and two air-to-air missiles in support of US and coalition ground forces.

These efforts helped coalition forces drive the Islamic State out of Iraq, Iraqi forces liberate Mosul, and initiated the fall of the Islamic State capital of Raqqa.  Additionally, a VFA-87 pilot shot down a Syrian Su-22 FITTER K in the vicinity of Raqqa, Syria, achieving the Navy's first air-to-air kill since the Gulf War.