Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 ‘Dambusters’
Founded: August 1943
Based: Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
Current Commanding Officer: Cmdr. Guy “Bus” Snodgrass
Mission: First, to be forward deployed warriors for our nation, and when required, provide superior airpower where it matters, when it matters to achieve our nation’s objectives. Second, to represent the United States of America as forward deployed ambassadors of liberty.
Brief History: VFA-195 was originally commissioned as the “Tigers” of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 19 at Los Alamitos, California, August 1943, flying the Eastern TBM Avenger. The squadron participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in support of the landings on Guam, Palau, Morotai and Leyte. VT-19 was redesignated Attack Squadron (VA) 20A following World War II in November 1946.
In May 1947, VA-20A transitioned to the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider before being redesignated VA-195 in August 1948. While deployed aboard USS Princeton, the squadron provided close air support for U.S. Marines trapped near the Chosin Reservoir. During this period, the squadron earned its new nickname, ‘Dambusters’, when their Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders delivered precise low-level aerial torpedoes against the heavily defended and strategically positioned Hwachon Reservoir dam May 1, 1951. Widely considered as one of the most extraordinary strikes of the war, destruction of the dam flooded the valley below, protecting allied flanks while denying the North Koreans control of the reservoir’s waters for the remainder of the war.
VA-195 transitioned to the jet powered Douglas A-4 Skyhawk in July 1959 and moved to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, in 1962. In the spring of 1970, VA-195 transitioned to the Vought A-7E Corsair II as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.
The Dambusters were redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 in April 1985 and transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet. VFA-195 was subsequently assigned to CVW 5 and officially joined the forward deployed naval forces in Yokosuka, Japan. In 2001, the Dambusters, embarked onboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), flew in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and in 2003, flew in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008, the squadron cross-decked to the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier stationed in Japan, USS George Washington (CVN 73). In 2011, the squadron made its first return to the U.S. in 25 years to transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet. Today the squadron continues to deploy aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), providing formidable forward presence in the Western Pacific.
Aircraft Flown: F/A-18E Super Hornet
Number of People in Unit: 231 military personnel
Recent Detachments: Tactical training in Fallon, Nevada, and field carrier landing practice on Iwo To, Japan
Exercises: Talisman Saber 2015; Valiant Shield 2014; Keen Sword 2014
Awarded: Retention Excellence Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Medical Blue “M.”