Strike Fighter Squadron 105
(VFA-105) also known as the "Gunslingers" is a United States Navy strike fighter
squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.
"Gunslingers" are an operational fleet squadron and fly the
Super Hornet. The radio callsign is
"Canyon" and the tail code is AC.
Squadron Insignia and Nickname
The first VA-105's insignia was approved by CNO
on 2 March 1953, and consisted of a yellow winged red canon and
black bomb imposed on a yellow background. The squadron was known
as the "Mad Dogs". The second VA-105's insignia was approved by the
CNO on 20 September 1968, and has remained essentially unchanged.
The squadron gained the nickname "105th Light Attack and Twilight
Pursuit Squadron" during the Viet Nam War. "Twilight Pursuit" was a
tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that squadron aircraft
carried the air-air AIM-9
missile. The nickname became somewhat more formally
accepted in the months leading up to the 1974-75 Med Cruise.
Appearing on squadron patches, belt buckles, (stickers and
lighters) proudly worn by officers and enlisted men alike, the
moniker was heavily promoted by the squadron's A7E Corsair pilots.
Most notable among that group were squadron CO CDR R.F. "Moon"
Moreau, XO CDR J.E. Carpenter and pilots: LCDR Brodsky; LT J.
Plant; LT J. Lubrano; LT W. "Farkle" Farquar; and LTJG B.B.
Johnson. The current squadron often refers to itself as the "105th
Strike Fighter and Twilight Pursuit Squadron".
Two distinct squadrons have been designated VA-105. The first was
decommissioned, and the second was later redesignated as VFA-105,
the main subject of this article. Officially, the US Navy does not
recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new
squadron is formed with the same designation. Often, the new
squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of the
VA-105 was commissioned on May 1, 1952 at
Field flying the venerable AD-1 "Skyraider."
squadron changed home-base between NAS Jacksonville and Cecil several times during the '50s.
Jul–Aug 1958, the squadron flew close
missions from USS
during the landing of U.S. Marines in Beirut,
Aircraft from VA-105 were the first to be on
station during the landings, and squadron aircraft flew road and
border reconnaissance sorties. Several aircraft were damaged by
ground fire on their reconnaissance missions, however all aircraft
returned safely to Essex
.In Sep 1958 when the Chinese communists
began shelling the Quemoy
Island group, Essex was ordered to transit the
Canal and report to the U.S. Seventh Fleet for duty in the Taiwan Straits.
In Nov 1958, the squadron's mission was
changed to training personnel in the AD-6 Skyraider. The squadron
was decommissioned on 1 February 1959
The second Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIVE (VA-105) was
established on 1 November 1967 at Cecil Field, flying the new
A-7A Corsair II
. On 4 Mar 1968 the
squadron completed A-7A training under VA-174
and became an operational Atlantic Fleet unit.
"Gunslingers" embarked on their first deployment to Southeast
Asia aboard USS Kitty Hawk , participating in
combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin from January to October 1969. Following the shootdown of a Navy EC-121 by
the North Koreans in April, Kitty Hawk was part of a
continuing American presence being maintained off the coast of
In Sep and
Oct 1970 following the hijacking of several airliners by Palestinians, the outbreak of serious fighting
in Jordan and the
invasion of Jordan by Syria, USS
Saratoga , with VA-105 embarked, operated in the eastern
Mediterranean, prepared to support an evacuation of Americans from
Jordan and to show support for the Jordanian
Jun–Dec 1972, the squadron participated in Linebacker I and Linebacker II operations, heavy air strikes
against targets in North Vietnam to interdict the flow of supplies into South
In May 1973, the squadron upgraded to the A-7E.
As of Dec 1979
the "Gunslingers" had two
Western Pacific and six Mediterranean deployments to their
1982 following the invasion of Lebanon by Israel, VA-105
operated from USS John F.
Kennedy to support an evacuation of Americans.
Jul–Dec 1984, the squadron deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW.
This was the
first time a Navy squadron participated in the United States Marine Corps
Unit Deployment Program
(UDP) and the first Navy squadron since World War II to come under
the command of a Marine Corps officer. While deployed with the
Marines the squadron’s major mission was close air support
During the '80s, the Gunslingers
completed eight overseas
deployments, including six to the Med, and a 1983
around-the-world deployment aboard the USS Carl
VA-105 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIVE
(VFA-105) on 17 December 1990, as the squadron transitioned to the
. The "Gunslingers" reported to
aboard the USS John F. Kennedy
VFA-105 made their first Hornet cruise in October 1992
. They returned from the Mediterranean in April
, and began workups for a deployment aboard
the USS Dwight
October 1994. The squadron then started workups for a
deployment aboard the USS Theodore
Roosevelt in October 1996. VFA-105 and the rest
of CVW-3 deployed in 1998 in support of Operation Southern Watch and
Operation Desert Fox onboard
November 28, 2000 VFA-105 embarked on
the maiden deployment of USS Harry S. Truman to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in support of
Operation Southern Watch
The Gunslingers deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
, operating from the
VFA-105 became the first East Coast squadron to transition to the
FA-18E Super Hornet
in July 2006
. In March 2007
, VFA-105 became
the first operational Navy strike fighter squadron to be commanded
by a female when CDR Sara Joyner took command.