VFA-22, Strike Fighter Squadron 22, also known as the "Fighting Redcocks", are a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. Their tail code is NA and their radio callsign alternates between "Beef" and "Beef Eater".
|Strike Fighter Squadron 22|
|Active||27 July 1948 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Close air support
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing 17|
|Motto(s)||"You Can't Beat A Redcock" (YCBAR)|
|Mascot(s)||Rhode Island Red Rooster|
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Desert Fox
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Inherent Resolve
A-7 Corsair II
F/A-18E Super Hornet
F/A-18F Super Hornet
Strike Fighter Squadron 22 was originally established as Fighter Squadron 63 (VF-63) at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia on 28 July 1948, the squadron was re-designated as Attack Squadron 63 (VA-63) in March 1956, redesignated as Attack Squadron 22 (VA-22) on 1 July 1959 and redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA-22) on 4 May 1990.
The squadron originally flew the F8F Bearcat, then the F4U Corsair, F9F Panther, F9 Cougar, FJ-4 Fury, A-4 Skyhawk, A-7 Corsair II, and the F/A-18C Hornet. Today, the 220 enlisted men and women and 40 officers of VFA-22 are based at NAS Lemoore, California, and have completed the transition from the single seat F/A-18E Super Hornet to the twin-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, VA-22 embarked with Carrier Air Wing 15 aboard USS Kitty Hawk and deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. The Squadron won back to back Battle E awards during the 80 & 81 competitive cycles and was the co-west coast launch squadron for FLIR mounted A7E's. While deployed aboard the USS Enterprise in April 1988, while in the Persian Gulf, VA-22 aircraft participated in sinking the Iranian Frigate Sahand which fired missiles at two American A-6 Intruders.
In 1993, the squadron deployed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf and participated in Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the United Nations Southern no-fly zone over Iraq. Before returning home from deployment, the squadron diverted to the coast of Somalia and provided air support during Operation Continue Hope.
In October 2001, VFA-22 operating from USS Carl Vinson performed strikes against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2003, VFA-22 deployed with Carrier Air Wing 9 on board the Carl Vinson on an extended eight month Western Pacific deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In July 2004, VFA-22 transitioned to F/A-18E Super Hornets, and in January, 2006, deployed with Carrier Air Wing 14 on board the USS Ronald Reagan for six months in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
In early 2007, VFA-22, made a surge deployment with Carrier Air Wing 14 and USS Ronald Reagan to the Pacific Ocean with a mixed unit of F/A-18E and F/A-18F as the unit was in the middle of transitioning aircraft again, this time from the single seat F/A-18E to the two seat F/A-18F. By the end of 2007, VFA-22 had transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet, marking the first time in the squadron's history that it had operated twin-seat tactical aircraft and integrated Naval Flight Officers with the Naval Aviators in its officer complement.
- "Fighter Squadron Lineage". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- Plane captain Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Rodney Hunter, from Cleveland, Ohio, cleans the canopy and prepares an F/A-18F Super Hornet.
- The aircrew of an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, wait to launch from Catapult 3 during night flight operations.
- USS Ronald Reagan Deploys.