Attack Squadron 215 (VA-215) was established at NAS Moffett Field, California, on 22 June 1955 and operated as part of Carrier Air Group 21 (CVG-21, later Carrier Air Wing 21). The Barn Owls were equipped with AD-6 (later A-IH) Skyraiders and were later augmented with similar AD-7 (A-1j) versions. VA-215 moved to NAS Alameda, California, in December 1963.
VA-215 deployed nine times to the Western Pacific, on board the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), the USS Lexington (CVA-16), and the USS Hancock (CVA-19).
In 1958, VA-215 flew missions in the Formosa Strait after the Communist Chinese shelled the Quemoy Islands. In 1962, VA-215 operated off Vietnam when Marine Corps advisor units arrived in Vietnam and Thailand in response to Communist buildups. In 1963, the squadron again patrolled off the coast of Taiwan in response to tensions, and off South Vietnam following the coup that deposed President Ngo Dinh Diem.