#1315 F/A-18A++ Hornet
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1315 - F/A-18A++ Hornet, 163168 \'201\', Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. VMF-115 was organized on 1 July 1943 at Santa Barbara, California under the command of Major John S. MacLaughlin. Sixteen days later, the command was assumed by one of the Marine Corps’ most famous aces, Major Joseph Foss, holder of the World War II Marine Corps record of twenty-six enemy aircraft kills. The squadron quickly assumed the nickname, “Joe’s Jokers.” In May 1944, the squadron joined the Pacific campaign in the Philippines providing close air support, fighter cover, and deep air strikes flying the legendary F4U-1 Corsair over Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. In December 1949, VMF-115 became the first Marine Corps squadron to receive a full complement of Grumman F9F-2 Panther fighter jets and, during November 1950, the squadron was first to serve aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt. In February 1952, VMF-115 deployed to K-3 Airfield near Pohang, Korea for combat operations. VMF-115 provided decisive close air support during several battles, including the Chosin Reservoir. In the spring of 1957, the squadron received the Marine Corps’ first F4D Skyrays and was designated VMF(AW)-115. After flying Skyrays longer than any other squadron, VMF(AW)-115 was re-designated VMFA-115 on 1 January 1964 and transitioned to the Mach II capable F-4B Phantom II. The “Able Eagles” were deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam on 14 October 1965. During the Vietnam War, VMFA-115 flew more than 34,000 combat sorties, participating in such battles as the Tet Offensive, Hue City, Khe San, and Task Force Delta. In July 1977, VMFA-115 relocated to MCAS Beaufort, SC. In October 1980, the squadron joined Carrier Air Wing (CVW)-17 aboard the USS FORRESTAL. After flying Phantoms for more than 20 years, VMFA-115 transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet on 1 January 1985, and commenced operations with 14 aircraft on 16 August 1985. The following year, the squadron was named the “Silver Eagles.” In 2001, the Silver Eagles were once again designated a carrier squadron. This coincided with the first delivery of the F/A-18A+ aircraft modification. The squadron deployed with CVW-3 aboard the USS HARRY S TRUMAN in October 2002. In March 2003, the Silver Eagles fought against Iraqi forces as part of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, delivering more than 150 tons of ordnance. In October 2004, the squadron again deployed with CVW-3 aboard the TRUMAN for Operation Iraqi Freedom II in support of Iraq’s historic democratic elections. In March of 2008, the Silver Eagles returned to Iraq for land-based operations from Al Asad airbase. They were the first single-seat Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Hornet squadron deployed in combat. Under the call sign “Old Joe,” the Silver Eagles provided close air support, convoy escort, and non-traditional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance during the changeover from Multi-National Forces West (MNF-W) to Provincial Iraqi Control. Additionally, the Silver Eagles provided support to coalition forces across the entire area of operations. Shortly after returning from Al Asad, the Silver Eagles became the first squadron to transition to the F/A-18A++ modified aircraft. In September 2009, the squadron deployed to the Western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) and returned to MCAS Beaufort in March 2010. The Silver Eagles returned to MCAS Iwakuni the following year in support of another UDP from August 2011 to March 2012. In March 2013, VMFA-115 became the first Marine F/A-18 Squadron to depart on a full deployment in support of RFF-1200, a theater support deployment operating out of Isa Air Base, Bahrain. During RFF-1200 the Silver Eagles participated in multiple international exercises with neighboring countries, including exercise Eager Lion, a joint international training exercise with the Royal Jordanian Air Force. In October 2013, VMFA-115 returned to MCAS Beaufort. The F/A-18A++ Hornet of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 (VMFA-115) is a Lot 9 (Blocks 20-22) single-seat fighter/attack aircraft built by McDonnell Douglas Aerospace. It is powered by two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofan engines. The aircraft has an all-weather intercept, identify, and destroy capability, as well as a ground-attack capability. Air-to-air armament consists of AIM-9X, AIM-7, AIM-120 missiles and a 20 mm gun. Various air-to-ground stores may be carried. The electronics and sensors suite have been upgraded incorporating Link-16, Litening II targeting pod, new color displays, and the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.