VFA-32 Celebrates Its 65th Anniversary


Story Number: NNS100208-05Release Date: 2/8/2010 1:05:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kayla Jo Guthrie, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN75) (NNS) -- The squadron has protected national interests and security by providing tactical air support since Feb.1, 1945.

The Swordsmen were originally known as VBF-3 and were the first Navy carrier-based pilots to strike the homeland of the Japanese Empire during World War II.

Through the history of the squadron, pilots have flown a wide variety of planes and set the standard for other squadrons to follow. The planes the squadron have flown include the F6F-5 "Hellcat," F8F-1 "Bearcat," F4U-4 "Corsair," F9F-6 "Cougar," F8U-1 "Crusader," F-4B "Phantom" and F-14 "Tomcat."

The squadron has been a part of the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group since 2004. When the Swordsmen transitioned to the FA-18F Super Hornet in May 2005 they changed their squadron name to VFA-32.

The squadron's great legacy could not be accomplished without the crew of officers and enlisted members.

"The squadron consists of approximately 250 personnel, including 35 officers and 215 enlisted members working together to complete the overall mission," said L.t.j.g Bryan Geiger.

"The enlisted personnel consist of information systems technicians, aviation ordnancemen, aviation structural mechanics, aircrew survival equipmentmen, aviation electronics technicians, aviation structural mechanic safety equipmentmen, aviation maintenance administrationmen , and a line shack," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW) Edison Mercer.

With the wide variety of enlisted personnel and officers, the Swordsmen have a broad range of capabilities they can perform.

The squadron is the first line of defense for strike fighting. Their assets include 12 F/A-18F Super Hornets that provide strike fighter support, in-flight refueling, and reconnaissance, said Mercer.

"VFA-32 sets a standard for other platforms," explained Lt. Amy Gabriel. "We are the only squadron with a two-seat aircraft that has a pilot and a WSO (Weapons System Officer). We provide air-to-ground support missions that support to troops and personnel on land. The squadron also uses their jets known as 'tankers' to perform in-flight refueling."

In order to achieve the highest level of mission accomplishment it is important to have strong camaraderie and unit cohesiveness.

Mercer said that it is his first time being part of a squadron and his favorite part is being part of the tight-knit community.

Both Gabriel and Geiger agree the unit camaraderie is what they enjoy most about VFA-32.

"The squadron works together as a team. We all share responsibilities and work well with each other. I enjoy seeing the pieces come together and knowing that if I ever have a question I will always have an expert to help me out," said Gabriel.

In celebration of their 65th anniversary, the squadron is designing a new mascot emblem similar to the old one and is having a celebration dinner, Mercer added.

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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