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VA-125 Rough Raiders

VA-125 Rough Raiders

Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

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Death from Above - 1952
Drawn by Bud Southworth

Nuclear Torch of Learning - 1959
Courtesy of Bobert Grappi

Rough Raider - 2000
Courtesy of Wayne Oetinger

W.A. Lacy/Sean Keenan

Patch
  • 1946 to 1952, there is no record of a Rough Raiders Reserve Attack Squadron FIFTY-FIVE E (VA-55E) patch.
  • 1952, the "Mors ab Alto" or "Death from Above" or "Snake Around the World" patch was used by Rough Raider Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VA-923) during its Korean deployment aboard United States Ship Oriskany CVA 34. The patch is displayed above.
  • December 18, 1956, the Skylancers created the "Cougar Head" patch. The patch had a dark blue back-ground outlined in black; white scroll out-lined in black with black lettering; white stars; the cougar's face is brown and white with black markings; the lightning bolt whiskers were yellow and out-lined in black; the tongue and inside of the mouth is red.
  • May 13, 1959, when the Rough Raider mission changed a "Nuclear Torch of Learning" patch was created. This patch is displayed above.
  • October 3, 1980, Fighter Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE (VFA-125) adoped the "Nuclear Torch of Learning" patch with a few color modifications. The new patch had a black background outlined in gray; yellow scroll with black lettering and a gray outline; white torch with gray outlines; yellow flame outlined in gray followed by red, outlined in gray; gray electron rings.
  • January 29, 1991, Strike Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (VFA-125) changed the gray patch colors to a light blue and a red and dark blue horizontal strip was added to the lower part of the patch.

Handle
  • From 1952 to 1958, the squadron (VA-55E, VA-923 and VA-125) was known as the Rough Raiders.
  • In 1956, the squadron (VA-26) was known as the Skylancers.
  • In 11 April 1958, when VA-26 was redesignated VA-125 the Squadron again took the moniker Rough Raiders.
  • 1980 to the present - VA-125 and VFA-125 are known as the Rough Raiders

Heritage
  • Reserve Attack Squadron FIFTY FIVE E (VA-55E) was probably established during the activation of the Naval Air Reserve in 1946 and remained in an inactive status.
  • In January 1950, VA-55E was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE (VA-923).
  • July 20, 1950, Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE (VA-923) was called to active duty.
  • February 4, 1953, VA-923 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (VA-125).
  • April 10, 1958, VA-125 was disestablished.
  • June 30, 1956, Attack Squadron TWENTY SIX (VA-26) established.
  • April 11, 1958, VA-26 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (VA-125).
  • October 1, 1977, VA-125 was disestablished.
  • November 13, 1980, Fighter Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (VFA-125) established.

Home Ports
    Date - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Location:
  • Before 1950 - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station St. Louis
  • August 2, 1950- - - - - - - Naval Air Station San Diego
  • January 1952- - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Miramar
  • June 30, 1956 - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Miramar
  • August 1956 - - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Moffett Field
  • July 27, 1961 - - - - - - - Naval Air Station Lemoore

Air Wings
    Date - - - - - - - - - - - - Tail code - - - - - - - Air Wing
  • 1950* - - - - - - - - D/NJ* - - - - - CVG-102/CVG-12*
  • June 30, 1956 - - - - Y/NC**- - - - - ATG-3
  • April 11, 1958 - - - - NJ - - - - - - RCVG-12/RCVW-12***
  • July 1, 1970 - - - - - NJ**** - - - - COMFAIRLEMOORE
  • June 30, 1973- - - - - NJ - - - - - - COMLATWINGPAC*****
  • November 13, 1980- - - NJ - - - - - - COMLATWINGPAC
  • * VA-923's assignment to CVG-102 was in August or September 1950.
  • ** The tail code was changed from Y to NC in 1957. The effective date for this change was most likely July 1, 1957.
  • *** The Replacement Air Group designation (RCVG) was changed to Combat Readiness Air Group (RCVG) on April 1, 1963 and then to Combat Readiness Air Wing (RCVW) on December 20, 1963.
  • **** RCVW-12 was disestablished on July 1, 1970 and the squadron was assigned to Commander Fleet Air Lemoore. However, the tailcode NJ, which had been assigned RCVW-12, was retained by VA-125 and the other squadrons that had been assigned to RCVW-12.
  • ***** COMFAIRLEMOORE was redesignated COMLATWINGPAC (Commander Light Attack Wing, Pacific) on June 30, 1973.
  • * CVG-102 was redesignated CVG-12 on February 4, 1953.
  • * The tail code was changed from D to NJ in 1957. The effective date for this change was most likely July 1, 1957).

Deployments
    Departure & Return - - - - - - - - Air Wing - Carrier - Aircraft - - Area of Operations:
  • 05-10-51 to 12-17-51 - CVG-102 - CV 31- - AD-3/4Q - Korea
  • 09-15-52 to 05-18-53 - CVG-102 - CVA 34 - AD-3/4- - Korea
  • 03-03-54 to 10-11-54 - CVG-12- - CVA 21 - AD-4B/NA- WestPac
  • 08-10-55 to 03-15-56 - CVG-12- - CVA 19 - AD-6- - - WestPac
  • 04-19-57 to 10-17-57 - CVG-12- - CVA 16 - AD-6/7- - WestPac
  • 08-09-57 to 04-02-58 - ATG-3 - - CVA 33 * F9F-8 - - WestPac


Aircraft
Commanding Officers
    Date Assumed Command - - - - - - - Commanding Officer
  • Assumed command before 1950 - LCDR Herb W. Wiley
  • March 24, 1952- - - - - - - - CDR John C. Micheel
  • February 1, 1953- - - - - - - LCDR Allan H. Gunderson
  • July 1953 - - - - - - - - - - LCDR John L. McMahon, Jr.
  • October 1954- - - - - - - - - LCDR Bernard E. Hackett
  • April 1956- - - - - - - - - - CDR John H. Bahlman
  • October 25, 1957- - - - - - - CDR A. J. Henry, Jr.
  • June 30, 1956 - - - - - - - - CDR Richard D. Greer, Jr.
  • April 1958- - - - - - - - - - CDR C. H. Carr II
  • July 15, 1958 - - - - - - - - CDR J. E. Thomas
  • December 11, 1958 - - - - - - CDR F. E. Ward, Jr.
  • November 30, 1959 - - - - - - CDR P. H. Durand
  • April 5, 1961 - - - - - - - - CDR O. L. Dauphin
  • April 9, 1962 - - - - - - - - CDR James W. Porter
  • May 29, 1963- - - - - - - - - CDR Earl F. Godfrey
  • September 14, 1964- - - - - - CDR William J. Forgy
  • August 27, 1965 - - - - - - - CDR Jack A. Endacott
  • July 29, 1966 - - - - - - - - CDR John D. Shaw
  • March 13, 1967- - - - - - - - CDR Gary H. Palmer (acting)
  • May 12, 1967- - - - - - - - - CDR Charles E. Hathaway
  • July 11, 1968 - - - - - - - - CDR Otto E. Krueger
  • July 31, 1969 - - - - - - - - CDR Ronald H. Caldwell
  • July 31, 1970 - - - - - - - - CDR George E. LeBlanc, Jr.
  • May 10, 1971- - - - - - - - - CDR James B. Busey IV
  • March 31, 1972- - - - - - - - CDR James M. Gleim
  • July 6, 1973- - - - - - - - - CDR Charles R. Bowling
  • September 12, 1974- - - - - - CDR Robert C. Taylor
  • December 17, 1975 - - - - - - CDR Denis R. Weichman
  • March 28, 1977- - - - - - - - CDR J. W. Keathley
  • November 13, 1980 - - - - - - CDR James W. Partington
  • June 24, 1982 - - - - - - - - CDR Jerry D. Palmer
  • October 14, 1983- - - - - - - CDR John A. Lockard
  • December 14, 1984 - - - - - - CDR Dennis V. McGinn
  • March 13, 1986- - - - - - - - CDR W. W. Pickavance, Jr.
  • June 15, 1987 - - - - - - - - CDR John C. Leslie, Jr.
  • September 2, 1988 - - - - - - CDR Joseph W. Parker, Jr.
  • December 1, 1989- - - - - - - CDR Alan R. Gorthy, Jr.
  • March 8, 1991 - - - - - - - - CDR David C. Kendall

Events
  • 1946:
    Reserve Attack Squadron FIFTY-FIVE E (VA-55E) was probably established during the activation of the Naval Air Reserve in 1946 and remained on an inactive duty status at Naval Air Station St. Louis. VA-55E was assigned the Grumman TBM Avenger (Turkey) and Martin AM-1 Mauler.

  • January 1950:
    VA-55E was redesignated Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VA-923).

  • July 20, 1950:
    Reserve Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VA-923) Rough Raiders were called to active duty.

  • August 2, 1950:
    VA-923 Rough Raiders were stationed at Naval Air Station San Diego, California.

  • September 1950:
    The Rough Raiders were assigned the Douglas AD-2 Skyraider. Over the following months VA-923 was assigned many versions of the Douglas Skyraider including: AD-4Q, AD-3, AD-4, AD-4B, AD-4NA, AD-6, and in January 1957, the AD-7.

  • May 10, 1951 through December 17, 1951:
    Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE Rough Raiders flying the Douglas Skyraider, embarked on United States Ship Bon Homme Richard CV 31, Korea combat cruise.

  • January 1952:
    VA-923 Rough Raiders were based at Naval Air Station Miramar near San Diego, California.

  • September 15, 1952 through May 18, 1953:
    Attack Squadron NINE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE flying the Douglas Skyraider, embarked on United States Ship Oriskany CVA 34, Korea combat cruise.

  • February 1, 1953:
    VA-913's commanding officer, Commander J. C. Micheel was killed in action in Korea.

  • February 4, 1953:
    VA-923 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE (VA-125) Rough Raiders.

  • June 30, 1956:
    Attack Squadron TWENTY-SIX (VA-26) Skylancers established at Naval Air Station Miramar near San Diego, California. VA-26 was assigned the swept wing Grumman F9F-8B Cougar.

  • August 1956:
    VA-26 Skylancers were based at Naval Air Station Moffett Field near San Francisco, California.

  • April 10, 1958:
    VA-125 Rough Raiders were disestablished.

  • April 11, 1958:
    VA-26 was redesignated Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE (VA-125). VA-125 was assigned the F9F-8 at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California. VA-125 took the moniker Rough Raiders.

  • April 11, 1958:
    VA-125's mission was changed from air-to-ground/surface attack to pilot and enlisted personnel indoctrination and training in fleet attack aircraft before combat carrier squadron assignment.

  • June 10, 1958:
    Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE Rough Raiders were assigned the Douglas A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk.

  • August 1958:
    Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE Rough Raiders were assigned the Douglas A4D-2 (A-4B) Skyhawk.

  • December 11, 1958:
    The Rough Raiders commanding officer, Commander Jon E. Thomas, was perished in A4D-2 NuNo 142915 due to power loss on final at NAS Moffett Field.
    Oakland, CA, Tribune, Friday, December 12, 1958
    Hayward, CA, The Daily Review, Friday, December 12, 1958

  • October 5, 1959:
    Philip Langford Jr. ejected from A4D-1 BuNo 142183 and was recovered 8 miles south of Crow's Landing, CA.
    Oakland, CA, Tribune, Monday, October 5, 1959
    US Armed Forces, Pacific Stars & Stripes, Thursday, October 8, 1959

  • December 15, 1959:
    Lt(jg) Burke Ward perished in A4D-1 BuNo 142182 when he attempted an emergency landing at Crow's Langing, CA after his hydraulic system failed.
    Marysville-Yuba City, CA, Appeal-Democrat, Wednesday, December 16, 1959

  • March 3, 1960:
    Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE Rough Raiders were assigned the Douglas A4D-2N (A-4C) Skyhawk. With the addition of the A4D-2N Skyhawk, the Rough Raiders added radar and inflight refueling training to its flight syllabus.

  • August 16, 1960:
    Lt(jg). Gene Nommensen perished in A4D-2N BuNo 147707 south of NAS Fallon, NV while on a night training flight
    Oakland, CA, Tribune, Wednesday, August 17, 1960

  • February 17, 1961:
    Lt. Roland George Busch was killed when his A4D-1 BuNo 139942 crashed on take-off from the USS Ticonderoga and sank before a rescue helicopter could reach the scene.
    Long Beach, CA, Independent, Saturday, February 18, 1961.

  • June 6, 1961:
    Lt. A. S. Falconer ejected from A4D-2N BuNo 145079 during takeoff and was recovered with minor injuries.
    Hayward, CA, The Daily Review, Wednesday, June 7, 1961
    San Mateo, CA, Times, Wednesday, June 7, 1961

  • July 24, 1961:
    VA 125 moved from Naval Air Station Moffett Field (near San Francisco) to Reeves Field, Naval Air Station Lemoore, California (near nothing). From that point until the fall of 1969, the Rough Raiders flew all models of the A-4 Skyhawk, sending over 2,000 replacement pilots and 12,000 maintenance people to the Pacific Fleet. During this period, the Rough Raiders had over 100 A-4 Skyhawks and were staffed with 1,400 officers and enlisted personnel assigned, making VA-125 the largest aviation squadron in the Navy.

  • December 19, 1961:
    Lt. R.M. Blythe ejected from A4D-1 BuNo 142203 due to power loss short of the runway
    Eureka, CA Humboldt Standard article

  • March 14, 1962:
    Lt(jg). Lowell J. Boyders of VA-125 was in fair condition in NAS Lemoore Hospital after bailing out of his stricken A4D-2 BuNo 142906 (assigned to NAS Lemoore) during a post-maintenance test hop. The aircraft history card noted NAS Seattle as custodian.
    Lancaster, OH, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Thursday, March 15, 1962

  • April 27, 1962:
    Lt J. A. Papa ejected safely when his A4D-2 BuNo 142923 experienced electrical failure, flamed out and crashed near Tamo 19 miles SE of Pine Bluff, AR while on a flight from Dallas to NAS Jacksonville, FL.
    US Armed Forces, European Stars and Stripes, Monday, April 30, 1962

  • March 2, 1963:
    Lt. Richard L. Grant ejected from A4D-2N BuNo 147711 near NAS Lemoore and was rescued
    Bakersfield, CA, The Bakersfield Californian, Saturday, March 2, 1963

  • September 11, 1963:
    Lt(jg) James T. Spence III perished in A-4B BuNo 142889 55 miles northeast of NAS Fallon, NV on a training flight
    Bakersfield, CA, The Bakersfield Califorian, Thursday, September 12, 1963

  • February 7, 1964:
    Ens. William Charles Brooks was killed when his A-4C BuNo 149554 crashed into the Pacific on a catapult launch from the aircraft carrier Coral Sea.
    Oakland, CA Oakland Tribune, Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964.

  • October 1, 1964:
    Lt(jg) J.R. Frazier perished A-4C BuNo 149510 in a night landing accident at NAS Lemoore, CA
    Freeport, IL, Journal-Standard, Friday, October 2, 1964

  • November 12, 1964:
    Lt. Richard A. Howard ejected from A-4C BuNo 149980 after engine failure at 4000 ft over Fresno County, CA. Lt. Howard was recovered uninjured
    Oakland, CA, Tribune, Thursday, November 12, 1964

  • March 9, 1965:
    An unidentified pilot perished when his A-4C BuNo 147817 crashed and exploded in marsh land along San Francisco Bay two miles south of Hamilton AFB and was evidently trying to land at Hamilton's airfield.
    US Armed Forces Pacific Stars & Stripes, Friday, March 12, 1965.

  • July 8, 1965:
    Lt. Job O. Belcher Jr. ejected safely when his A4-e Skyhawk BuNo 149663 crashed near Crows Landing, about 20 miles west of Turlock, CA. The plane developed mechanical trouble while flying a practice weapons mission.
    The Daily Review, Friday, July 9, 1965

  • September 28, 1965:
    Lt. Thomas ejected from A-4C BuNo 148448 and was rescued. Cause of aircraft failure unknown

  • October 1, 1965:
    An unidentified Marine Corps pilot ejected safely before his disabled A-4E BuNo 149965 crashed 8 miles SE of Yuma.
    Phoenix, AZ The Arizona Republic, Saturday, October 2, 1965.

  • October 15, 1965:
    Ens. Anthony Karl Vanko parachuted to safety before his A-4C BuNo 145115 crashed into Blue Ridge peak at about 5,300 feet nine miles SE of Three Rivers in Tulare county while on a training mission.
    Eureka Humboldt Standard., Saturday, October 16, 1965

  • November 17, 1965:
    Cdr. Wesley McDonald (CAG-15) ejected successfully when his A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149966 flamed out on a flight from NAS Lemoore to NAS Miramar.
    Pasadena, CA Pasadena Star-News, Thursday, November 18, 1965.

  • November 26, 1965:
    LCdr. Charles Brown ejected safely from his A-4C BuNo 150589 over the Pacific just before it exploded and crashed 15 miles SE of the Farallon Islands.
    Modesto, CA, The Modesto-Bee, Sunday, November 28, 1965.

  • May 19, 1966:
    VA-125 was the first squadron in the Navy to receive the TA-4F Skyhawk.

  • April 11, 1966:
    Ens. Daniel S. Kapner was killed when his A-4 Skyhawk BuNo 142132 crashed during a practice strike mission at the Chocolate Mountain range in Imperial County, CA.
    Oakland, CA, Oakland Tribune, Tuesday, April 12, 1966.

  • May 24, 1966:
    LCdr. Joseph P. Cullen, 33 escaped injury when he ejected from his A-4 Skyhawk BuNo 152009 before it crashed and burned in the Kettleman Hills of western Kings County, CA.
    Oakland, CA Oakland Tribune, Wednesday, May 25,1966.

  • June 1966:
    The first of several groups of Australians arrived for training by the Rough Raiders on the A-4 Skyhawk. The pilots were to form the nucleus of Australia's first A-4 squadron scheduled for assignment to HMAS Melborne (R-21).

  • 1966:
    I was a student in VA 125, starting in June 1966. That summer I lost a good friend, LTJG Wally Cox; he flew into the ocean on a simulated attack against the west coast up near SF.
    He was a student in VA-125. I don't have any more details...
    Allen F. Pulk (FEB 2007)

  • March 13, 1967:
    The squadron's commanding officer, Commander John D. Shaw, was killed in A-4E BuNo 149659 in a landing accident during a routine carrier qualification exercise on the United States Ship Kearsarge CVS 33.
    Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram article

  • Jul 29, 1967:
    Lt. William Olsen of NAS Lemoore, CA clipped a 66,000-volt transmission line in SE Oklahoma Saturday, but the A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 150136 landed with considerable damage and trailing about 12 feet of electrical wire. The plane hit the power line about two miles east of Sawyer, 30 miles NE of Paris, TX, in Choctaw County, OK during series of low-level test flights over AR and OK called Joint Task Force II
    Big Spring, TX Big Spring (Texas) Herald, Sunday, July 30, 1967.

  • October 5, 1967:
    Ens. B. J. Baker ejected safely from his A-4C BuNo 145136 just before it crashed in the desert 18 miles SE of Yuma, AZ.
    Yuma, AZ The Yuma Daily Sun, Friday, October 6, 1967
    Phoenix, AZ The Arizona Republic, Saturday, October 7, 1967

  • January 25, 1968:
    USS Bennington's 104,000th landing was made by LCDR Wilson C. Rook of VA-125.
    On Rook's next attempt that evening, his A-4C BuNo. 147810 struck the round down, exploded and skidded off the port side of the flight deck. His body was not recovered.
    Jim Winchester
    Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram article

  • March 7, 1968:
    Lt(jg). John C. Brittenhan ejected safely from A-4C BuNo 147777 when a napalm bomb refused to drop off during a practice bombing run and was hanging in such a manner as to make landing impossible. His Skyhawk crashed in the Chocolate Mountains 45 miles north of El Centro.
    Phoenix, AZ Arizona Republic, Saturday, March 9, 1968.

  • July 25, 1968:
    Lt. (jg) C. W. Brix ejected safely before his A-4E BuNo 151170 crashed on takeoff at NAS Fallon, NV.
    Long Beach, CA Independent Press-Telegram article

  • September 11, 1968:
    Lt. Larry E. Smith ejected from A-4C BuNo 148565 12 miles southeast of Mariposa, CA and was recovered
    Bakersfield, CA The Bakersfield Califorian article

  • 1969:
    LTJG Thomas Toon was involved in a cockpit fire of a VA-125 Skyhawk. LTJG Toon died later from the result of the burns.

  • March 31, 1969:
    The last A-4 Rough Raider Fleet Replacement Pilot class began. More than 2000 fleet pilots were trained during VA-125's "Skyhawk Era".

  • June 25, 1969:
    BENNINGTON's 112,000th arrested landing was made by Lieutenant Commander Lowe of VA-125. Jim Winchester

  • June 25, 1969:
    During the night of the 25th, four minutes after a catapult launch, LTJG Victor A. Demick reported a loss of gyro in his A-4C aircraft. He was told to use the stand-by gyro, level his wings and climb. Lieutenant Demick reported his aircraft was stalling and 10 seconds later, with the aircraft approximately 6 nautical miles away, radar contact was lost An extensive search was conducted yielding only aircraft debris.
    [Almost certainly A-4C 148527, which was stricken on this date, assigned to VA-125]
    I was still CO of 125 .... approaching the date for change of command ... don't recall any accident at the time, nor one even remotely as described here, and I'm certain I would recall since I would have had to write the AAR! There's a mistake somewhere.
    Otto Krueger

  • June 30, 1969:
    The last Rough Raider A-4 Fleet Replacement Enlisted Maintenance training program was completed. More than 1200 enlisted Maintenance personnel were trained during VA-125's "Skyhawk Era".

  • September 25, 1969:
    The Rough Raiders started to receive the Vought A-7A and A-7B Corsair II.

  • November 1969:
    The squadron began to develop the required training program for the Light Attack Weapons School. In December 1969 the Rough Raiders in conjunction with VA-122, inaugurated a graduate level course for the Light Attack Weapons School that involved all phases of attack aviation.

  • January 1970:
    The first A-7 Fleet Replacement Enlisted Maintenance and Fleet Replacement Pilot classes began.

  • October 1, 1977:
    VA-125 was disestablished. The Rough Raiders had trained more than 700 A-7 A/B/C Corsair II replacement pilots and 5,500 maintenance personnel. The end of the Vietnam war caused a reduction in force that eventually led to the Rough Raider's disestablishment.

  • November 13, 1980:
    FIGHTER ATTACK SQUADRON ONE TWENTY-FIVE was established at Naval Air Station Lemoore with a mission of training Navy and Marine Corps fighter and attack pilots to fly the Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. VFA-125 was also tasked with training Navy and Marine Corps maintenance personnel. The commanding officer was a naval officer and the executive officer a Marine Corps officer. VA-125 once again adopted the moniker of Rough Raiders.

  • April 1981:
    The first Rough Raider F/A-18 Hornet arrived when VX-4 transferred Hornet number F-11, after completing the F/A-18 fleet evaluation process.

  • June 1981:
    VFA-125's officers, along with the F/A-18, participated in the Paris Air Show.

  • August 1982:
    The Rough Raiders achieved a "Ready for Training" status and VMFA-314 became the first squadron to begin transition training in the F/A-18.

  • September 1982:
    The Rough Raider's first carrier qualification detachment began operations aboard Constellation CV 64.

  • March 1983:
    Training began for the first Navy squadron to transition to the F/A-18.
  • March 1985:
    VFA-125 amassed 30,000 mishap free Hornet flight hours. The squadron routinely conducted strike and fighter detachments to Naval Air Facility El Centro, California and Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, as well as aboard carriers in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets.

  • 1995:
    The "Rough Raiders" attained 50,000 mishap-free flight hours.

  • May 1996:
    VFA-125 celebrated 70,000 mishap free Hornet flight hours in the Hornet and was presented the CNO Aviation Safety Award.

  • June 1997:
    The Rough Raiders surpassed 90,000 mishap free flight hours.

  • January 1998:
    The Rough Raiders were the first Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS) to surpass 100,000 mishap free flight hours.

  • September 2000:
    VFA 125 averaged 1,500 flight hours monthly. State-of-the-art computer flight simulators supplement flight training and computer based academic instruction to enhance Hornet pilot understanding and performance. The Rough Raiders train approximately 120 pilots each year. Pilots are from the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, the Royal Air Force, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Spanish Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, the Kuwait Air Force, and Finnish Air Force.

  • Today:
    Instruction quality has always been a source of pride to the officers, men and women of ATTACK SQUADRON ONE TWENTY-FIVE and FIGHTER ATTACK SQUADRON ONE TWENTY-FIVE and STRIKE FIGHTER SQUADRON ONE TWENTY-FIVE and all other titles this squadron has held over the years. The Rough Raider Officers and Men continue to professionally pursue their challenging role to produce "The Best Jet Aviators in the World."

  • Another version of Rough Raider Command History.

Awards
    Award - - - - - - - - - Inclusive Dates:
  • KSM
    • 05-30-51 to 12-06-51
    • 10-17-52 to 10-29-52
    • 10-31-52 to 03-29-53
    • 04-27-53 to 05-02-53
  • MUC
  • 11-13-80 to 03-28-83

Photos


1960: Rough Raiders Skyhawk BuNo 145077 parked on the ramp next to BuNo 145115, NJ-53x.
Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

1960: left front view of Rough Raiders Skyhawk BuNo 145115, NJ-53x, parked on the ramp next to BuNo 145077, NJ-5xx.
Unknown photographer via W. Mutza

Over the shoulder delivery
NAN Photo

Circa 1961: CAPT H.M. Avery, CO of Lemoore, greets CDR O.L. Dauphin CO of VA-125, in "City of Lemoore" after first jet landing at new NAS.
Naval Aviation News photo

Rough Raiders Skyhawk NJ-562 on the ramp at left. VF-121 Demon BuNo 145254, NJ-140, in the foreground.
John Campbell, G. Verver collection

A-4B BuNo.142140 and possible 142826 with VA-125.

BuNo.145093 and 148490

1960-61: Rough Riders Skyhawk BuNo 147722, NJ-536, seconds from touchdown.
Douglas

1960-61:
BuNo 147722 in-flight, with VA-125.
Douglas photo from G. Verver

1960-61: Rough Raiders Skyhawk BuNo 147673, NJ-538, on the compass wheel.
Douglas

JAN 1962:
BuNo142108, probably being "off-loaded"
from CVA-34 after a maintenance issue during a VA-125 sortie to that ship. VA-125 was not deployed, CVA-34 was on the west coast at this time, and thus the conjection on it being off-loaded, etc.

Nov 1962 Skyhawk BuNo 139953 after its last flight to NAS Lemoore for use in ground training. Pilot LT E.S. Fitch turns #115 over to VA-125 CO CDR James A. Porter who 1st flew 139953 in 1957 on its 1st fleet flight.
Naval Aviation News Photo.

BuNo.148490 Rough Raiders Skyhawk formation, BuNo 145093, NJ-541, BuNo 148490, NJ-546 and two other unidentified Scooters.
Courtesy of Tom Bispo.

BuNo.147771 and 144875 and Pilots.
Photo by W.A. Lacy

Aug 1963 BuNo 147673, NJ-538, parked on the flight line.
Photo by Clay Jansson via Tailhook Association.

VA-125 A-4C BuNo. 149505 - 1963/1964.
Rough Raider pilot Lieutenant Ken Holthaus is flying A-4C Skyhawk BuNo. 149505 side number NJ 548 from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California to Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada for Detachment work.
Photograph by and from Whiz White.

BuNo.149660 in 1965.
Photo by W.A. Lacy

1966: Rough Raiders Skyhawk flight line, l-r: BuNo 148435; unknown BuNo; BuNo 150599, NJ-570; BuNo 148527, NJ-554 and BuNo 149961 NJ-515.
Douglas Aircraft

Circa SEP 1966: Douglas A-4 Deputy Mgr. W.E. McKee, VA-125 CO CDR Jack A. Endacott, Douglas Aircraft Div. Dir. R.F. Canady and Douglas Plant Mgr. J.P. Robinson pose by prototype A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 152101.
Naval Aviation News photo


VA-125 FLEET REPLACEMENT PILOTS - 1967.
A group of VA-125 Fleet Replacement Pilots pose around a Skyhawk.
United States Navy photograph from Gary "Buck" Rodgers.

Circa 1967:
Group shot of the different Skyhawk verisons that operated at NAS Lemoore with VA-125. From left to right: A-4A BuNo 139927, NJ-307; A-4B BuNo 145024, NJ-583; A-4C BuNo 148450, NJ-546; A-4E BuNo 149998; an A-4F and a TA-4F.
Photo from J.J. Stegman, via daughter Diane Stegman.

VA-125 Formation
With BuNo. 154329, 149995, 148435 and what appears to be 144875. One of the Scooters doesn't have the last four digits of the BuNo. painted on it's tail. Steve MacMillan received this picture in 1968 from someone in VA-125.
Photo provided by Steve MacMillan.

1968-69: BuNo 152864 sits in the middle of a "flock" of T-Birds.
"Boom" Powell

Instructor LT "Boom" Powell in front of one of the Rough Raiders Skyhawks.
Photo from "Boom".

1971-72: close-up of instructor LT "Boom" Powell in the cockpit of one of the Rough Raiders Skyhawks. His helmet has the green reflective tape from VSF-1 & the dragon and moon on the visor was the emblem of a WWI Nieuport escadrille.
Photo from John Powell.

"Boom" Powell standing on the wing of Rough Raiders Skyhawk BuNo 150074, NJ-504.
Photo from "Boom".

TA-4J BuNo 154329, NJ-027, A-4F NJ-041, A-4E BuNo 149995, NJ-514, A-4C BuNo 148435, NJ-550 and A-4B BuNo 144075, NJ-578 over the Sierras.
Chuck Wolf.

The "Keep 'em Up" guys of VA125 (April 1969).
Back row left to right....Larry Garroute (spelling?), Tom Holton, Gerry LaFrance, Dick Kiehl, Bob Doering, Warren Batze, Mark Pelligrino
Front row: left to right.....Don Robertshaw, Mike Brannon, Bob Kemper, Al Smith, Bill Carnley, Steve MacMillan
Photograph from Steve MacMillan.

Then current A-4 models lined up in the front row. All the A-4's in the photo belong to VA-125. A-4E/F far row with tails to the camera l-r; ??, NJ 504 BuNo 150074, looks like NJ-006, NJ-005, the next four don't have any visible numbers.
Middle row facing left of the camera l-r, ??, ??, A-4C 150599, NJ-554 BuNo 148527, NJ-515 BuNo 149961, A-4E/F NJ-525, NJ-556 BuNo 148438, NJ-537 BuNo 147701, NJ-532 BuNo 147810 and NJ-541 BuNo 145093.
See next photo for front row facing the camera.
Douglas photo from Gary Verver Collection.

FEB 1979: NJ-043 parked on the line next to A-4B BuNo 144913.
Dougalas Photo

Another Zoom-In" showing A-4E BuNo.149961, A-4C BuNo.148527 and A-4C BuNo.150599.

FEB 1979: NJ-517 parked on the line near A-4C BuNo 145093.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: NJ-525 parked on the line next to NJ-556.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: NJ-001 and NJ-002.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: NJ-003 parked on the ramp.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: NJ-010 parked on the ramp next a A-4E.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: NJ-012 parked on the ramp next A-4E BuNo 150074.
Dougalas Photo

FEB 1979: Rough Riders Skyhawk NJ-013 parked on the ramp next Rough Raiders A-4B BuNo NJ-585.
Dougalas Photo

JAN 1989:
left side view of VA-125 Rough Raiders TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 152863
, NJ-014, parked on the ramp at NAS Lemoore.
Photo by A. Hanson.


Sources:
  • Harry S. Gann
  • "Boom" Powell
  • Robert Grappi
  • Otto Krueger
  • Wayne Oetinger
  • Bud Southworth
  • Steve MacMillan
  • "Whizzer" White
  • Paul Cassiman
  • James Hensely
  • Gary "Buck" Rodgers
  • Tom Bispo
  • Gary Verver
  • Clay Jansson
  • Tailhook Association


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