VF-151 Squadron History

VF-151 Vigilantes

"If you can't get your Rocks off.... then Switch boxes!"



Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE ONE was originally commissioned Fighter Squadron TWENTY-THREE in 1948 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The squadron flew Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsairs while attached to Air Group Two on board USS Midway (CV-41). During the Korean conflict the squadron completed two combat tours with the F4U-4 and a third with the Grumman F9F-2 Panther. After returning to the west coast in 1952 the squadron transitioned to the McDonnell F2H Banshee and took on the new role as an all-weather fighter squadron. Fighter Squadron continued this role flying the Douglas F4D Skyray and McDonnell F3H Demom. The squadron was redesignated Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE ONE in February 1959 and deployed with Carrier Air Group Fifteen on board the USS Hancock (CV-19). During this cruise the squadron adopted "Vigilantes" as the squadron's nickname symbolizing the "around the clock" vigil of readiness. In December of 1964, the Vigilantes transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II and deployed aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43). During this eleven month deployment the squadron flew almost 1500 combat sorties over Vietnam.

The Vigilantes returned to the South East Asia theater on board USS Constellation (CV-64) in December 1966. The squadron rejoined Coral Sea for a third combat cruise from July 1967 to April 1968. After a short training turn-around the squadron deployed with CVW-15 aboard the Coral Sea for a fourth combat cruise. In September of 1969 VF-151 deployed once again with Coral Sea. During this fifth combat cruise the squadron flew 2100 combat sorties, surpassing all other Navy Fighter squadrons for FY1970. During the month of May the squadron flew over 1000 hours finishing FY1970 with a total of 5833 hours.

Vigilantes departed on their sixth combat cruise with CVW-5 in April 1971. The squadron amassed 1012 combat sorties and over 2600 hours from the USS Midway (CV-41). In April of 1972, VF-151 deployed on its seventh WESTPAC again, with CVW-5. The Midway and Vigilantes spent 205 days in combat operations, the longest in the history of the Vietnam conflict. Upon returning to San Francisco, California in March of 1973 the squadron transitioned to the F-4N. On 11 September 1973 the squadron left NAS Alameda with the Midway and CVW-5 for their new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan.

In 1977 the squadron traded their F-4N's for the F-4J. In 1978 the squadron named the top TACAIR in CVW-5 as well as receiving the CNO Safety "S". The Vigilantes and Midway saw three Indian Ocean deployments from 1979 through 1980. The squadron transitioned to the F-4S in February 1981. In the years leading to the Gulf War the Midway and VF-151 made many cruises throughout WESTPAC and the Indian Ocean. Of interest are the NORPACS of Sept/Oct 1982 and Feb/Mar 1983. The weather conditions in the waters off the Alaska were some of the worst imaginable.

[BUTTON: back] Complete list of at-sea periods from June 1981 through April 1991

Fighter Squadron ONE FIVE ONE flew off the Midway for the last time on 24 March 1986. This marked the end of an era as this was also the last time the F-4 Phantom II was to operate from an aircraft carrier. The Vigilantes reported to NAS Lemoore for transitioning to the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. On 1 July 1986, VF-151 is renamed VFA-151 and in October the squadron TRANSPAC'd with the rest of CVW-5 to NAF Atsugi and the newly refurbished Midway.

The Vigilante's first cruise as Fighter/Attack Squadron ONE FIVE ONE occurred on 9 January 1987, a three month WESTPAC. After two IO cruises and one other WESTPAC the Vigilantes flew combat sorties during Desert Storm from 10 October 1990 to 17 April 1991. In August 1991 the Midway left Yokosuka, Japan for the last time to be decommissioned. Between August 22-27 CVW-5 transferred from the Midway to the USS Independence at Pearl Harbor in what is known as "The Great Carrier Air Wing SwapEx".

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