Lest We Forget

By Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy

In 1968, the Shamrocks switched to the F-4J Phantom II and were redesignated VMFA-333. The squadron made two deployments on the USS America (CVA-66), the second in 1972 during intense aerial operations over North Vietnam.  On 9 November 1972, Major Lee Lassiter and Captain John Cummings shot down an all-Marine crew during the Vietnam War.

After short cruises on the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and routine deployments to Japan, VMFA-333 upgraded to the F/A-18A Hornet in 1987. In August 1990, the squadron deployed to the Arabian peninsula as part of the Desert Shield buildup. When Desert Storm broke in January 1991, VMFA-333 flew 706 combat missions without loss and delivered more than 2 million pounds of ordnance against Iraqi forces. VMFA-333 was deactivated on 20 March 1992 as part of the post-Cold War drawdown.


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