Lest We Forget

By Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)

VMF(AW)-235 made two deployments to Da Nang, South Vietnam. Most of the squadron's missions involved close air support of Marine ground units; it lost nine F-8Es to enemy action during the war deployments, and three pilots were killed and one was taken prisoner.

The Marine Corps' last F-8 squadron was redesignated VMFA-235 on 6 September 1965, flying the F-4J Phantom II fighter. The squadron sent crewmen and aircraft to augment VMFA-212 during that squadron's 1972 emergency deployment to Nam Phong, Thailand.

From 1977 until 1996, VMFA-235 rotated with other squadrons in six-month deployments to Japan. The squadron upgraded to the F-4S in November 1981, and switched to the F/A-18CHornet in August 19S9. During the Gulf War, the Death Angels flew more than SOO sorties, losing no aircraft to enemy action.

VMFA-235 moved to MCAS El Toro, California, in August 1994, and then to NAS Miramar in 1996. On 30 June 1996, VMFA-235 was officially deactivated, the third of four Marine Corps F/A-18Csquadrons to be deactivated as part of the post-Cold War drawdown.


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