VFA-203, nicknamed the Blue Dolphins, was a Strike Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Naval Reserve. It was established as Attack Squadron 203 (VA-203) flying the A-4 Skyhawk at NAS Jacksonville, Florida on 1 July 1970, as a reserve force squadron (RESFORON) under a new concept in the reorganization of the Naval Air Reserve Force. The reorganization was intended to make the reserves more compatible with active duty units and to increase their combat readiness. It was deactivated on 30 June 2004.
|Strike Fighter Squadron 203|
|Active||1 July 1970 – 30 June 2004|
|Branch||United States Navy Reserve|
VA-203 was part of Reserve Carrier Air Wing TWENTY (CVWR-20) at NAS Cecil Field, with local Reserve-specific administrative support provided by Naval Air Reserve Jacksonville (NAVAIRES JAX) as the Local Area Coordinator for Air (LACAIR) for RESFORONs at NAS Jacksonville, NAS Cecil Field and NS Mayport.
In May 1972, the VA-203 deployed to NAS Oceana to participate in exercise Exotic Dancer V, designed to test multiservice operations under a unified command organization. On 1 December 1977, the squadron moved from NAS Jacksonville to NAS Cecil Field, Florida. In February 1980, the squadron participated in a combined NATO forces exercise conducted at NAS Bermuda.
Transitioning to the A-7E Corsair II in 1983, VA-203's primary mission was to provide contributory support to the fleet, and to be ready to deploy to an aircraft carrier during a crisis as an activated reserve light attack squadron. Following its transition to the F/A-18 Hornet, it was to be ready to deploy as an activated reserve strike-fighter squadron. A further mission was to act as adversaries to active duty Fleet fighter and strike fighter squadrons being trained for deployment.
The squadron operated the following aircraft, with the years received as shown:
- Grossnick, Roy A. (1995). Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, Volume 1, Chapter 7, Section 5: Strike Fighter Squadron Histories for VFA-203 to VFA-305 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- GlobalSecurity.org. "Fighter Attack Squadron VFA-203". Retrieved 5 February 2014.