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Strike Fighter Squadron 27 (VFA-27), also known as the "Royal Maces", are a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing 5 and are attached to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Their tail code is NF.
|Strike Fighter Squadron 27|
|Active||1 September 1967 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Close air support|
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing 5|
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni|
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
|Commander Brent H. Jaquith, USN|
|Attack||A-7 Corsair II|
F/A-18E Super Hornet
The squadron conducts carrier-based air strike and strike force escort missions, anti-ship operations, battle group anti-air operations, and surveillance/intelligence collection operations in support of Carrier Air Wing 5 tasking and requirements. The squadron is permanently forward deployed with Carrier Air Wing 5, shore based at MCAS Iwakuni.
The squadron was commissioned Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27) on 1 September 1967 flying the A-7 Corsair II, and in January 1968, the squadron officially reported to Carrier Air Wing 14. In May 1968, as the Vietnam War continued, they departed for their first combat deployment aboard USS Constellation. On 28 June 1968, the squadron flew its first combat sortie, striking targets in the panhandle region of North Vietnam.
The squadron's insignia was approved by the Chief of Naval Operations on 25 March 1968, and consisted of a light blue glove and black mace. They were nicknamed the Royal Maces.
During a second combat cruise aboard Constellation in August 1969, VA-27 flew over 2,500 combat sorties.
VA-27 transitioned to the newer A-7E on 20 June 1970. From 4 February to 7 March, VA-27 embarked on USS Enterprise during the carrier's transit around Cape Horn to her new home port in NAS Alameda, California, and then deployed on Enterprise from 11 June 1971 to 12 February 1972, the squadron made its third combat cruise. With the outbreak of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 in December 1971, Enterprise departed Yankee Station and made a quick transit to the Indian Ocean to provide support for the evacuation of foreign civilians. Squadron pilots amassed over 4,400 combat flight hours and participated in over 1,500 air strikes over Indochina without loss.
The squadron commenced their fourth combat deployment in September 1972 aboard Enterprise, participating in Linebacker I and Linebacker II operations, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies in that country and into South Vietnam. The squadron began its next deployment to the Western Pacific in September 1974. In April 1975, the squadron flew surveillance missions over Vietnam and flew escort for United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force helicopters during Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of American and Vietnamese personnel from Saigon
In April 1980, VA-27 participated in the Iranian hostage rescue attempt by providing air cover for the forces directly involved in the rescue operation.
While stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet on 24 January 1991 and were officially re-designated Strike Fighter Squadron 27 (VFA-27). The squadron also changed roles as well as aircraft and were now a fighter/attack squadron, performing air-to-air as well as air-to-ground attack missions. The Squadron emblem was also changed to a green background, white cloud, and silver gauntlet with silver mace.
In November 1992, while deployed aboard USS Kitty Hawk, VFA-27 operated off the coast of Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope and augmented United States Central Command’s multi-national coalition Air Forces supporting Operation Southern Watch. The squadron participated in a coalition night strike against Iraq on 13 January 1993, delivering over 18,000 pounds of ordnance on target. In 1994 VFA-27 deployed aboard USS Kitty Hawk to the Sea of Japan. In 1996 the squadron commenced their homeport change from NAS Lemoore to NAF Atsugi, Japan deploying aboard USS Independence.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the squadron participated in Operation Enduring Freedom flying missions against the Al Qaida infrastructure and Taliban forces in Afghanistan as well as protecting assets in Diego Garcia. When Kitty Hawk deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, VFA-27 was soon heavily involved in combat. As part of Carrier Air Wing 5, VFA-27 attacked command, control and communications sites, surface-to-surface missile batteries and an air traffic control radar near Basrah. At the Al Faw peninsula long range artillery guns and 155mm howitzers near Az Zubayr were targeted. The squadron flew hundreds of close air support and strike sorties against Iraqi forces. VFA-27 completed their transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet in October 2004 at NAS Lemoore.
In February of 2013, the Royal Maces executed a trans-Pacific journey to accept new Lot 34 and 35 F/A-18E Super Hornets to maintain their superior technological abilities in the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet. In February of 2015, the squadron's tactical prowess was recognized by their being awarded the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E", highlighted by their "training and operational achievements" and the viral teaser of their full-length cruise video "Shoot 'em if you got 'em", which was received with wide acclaim, and has been sampled in several U.S. Navy recruiting advertisements  as well as has been added to the National Archives as a piece of Naval Heritage having garnered over 3,000,000 views on Youtube.com since its initial publication as well as untold numbers of views across numerous ancillary internet sites.
- Islin, Alexander. "VFA-27 PAO". US Navy. US Navy. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- Tarr, David. "VFA-27 PAO". youtube.com. youtube.com. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- Thompson, Mark (2014-04-22). "Our Carrier Video Is Way Cooler Than Yours". Time.com. Time. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "U.S. Navy: Around the World, Around the Clock". America's Navy [Youtube.com]. Youtube.com. Retrieved 2016-11-11.