VA-25 Fist of the Fleet A-7E USS Ranger
Fly off the USS Ranger again in this 18 inch wood A-7e model of the VA-25 Fist of the Fleet. Each model is carefully carved from Mahogany and painted to provide a piece you will be proud to display.
Length: 18 inches
Wingspan: 15 inches
The squadron was originally commissioned as Torpedo Squadron 17 (VT-17) on 1 January 1943 at NAS Norfolk flying the Grumman TBF Avenger. On 10 September 1943 the squadron embarked on USS Bunker Hill, en route from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Diego. On 11 November 1943 the squadron flew its first combat sorties, striking targets in Rabaul. The squadron flew numerous combat missions through February 1944, striking targets in Kavieng, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk and Tinian.
In February 1945, the squadron flew numerous combat missions against targets in Japan and the Bonin Islands and provided ground support for the Invasion of Iwo Jima. In March 1945, VT-17 aircraft struck Japanese ships in the East China Sea, Inland Sea and around the Ryukyu Islands and land based targets in and around Okinawa. On 7 April 1945, VT-17, along with other units from the task force, attacked a Japanese naval force composed of the super-battleship Yamato and her escorts, scoring several torpedo hits on the Yamato and sinking one of her destroyer escorts. From April–June 1945, combat missions were flown against targets in and around Okinawa in preparation for the invasion of that island, targets in and around Kyushu, Shikoku and ships in the East China Sea.
In March 1946 the squadron transitioned to the SB2C Helldiver attack bomber, and was redesignated as VA-6B on 15 November 1946.
On 23 September 1947, the squadron transitioned to the AD-1 Skyraider, affectionately nicknamed the “Spad,” the type it would fly for the next 21 years.
The squadron sailed aboard the USS Coral Sea on its maiden voyage in early 1948, and was redesignated as VA-65 on 27 July 1948.
From October 27 to November 23, 1949, VA-65 embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, to the Davis Straits area conducting cold weather exercises.
The outbreak of hostilities with which would become the Korean war saw the squadron transferred to NAS Moffett Field, California.
On 15 September 1950, embarked aboard the USS Boxer, squadron aircraft participated in combat strikes against shore defenses in and around Incheon, Korea, just before the landings at Incheon. On 1 October 1950, VA-65 aircraft struck the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, hitting the airfield and scoring a direct hit on a large electrical power plant. On 23 June 1952, VA-65’s Skyraiders participated in the Attack on the Sui-ho Dam on the Yalu River.
In February 1955, while embarked on USS Essex and operating in the Formosa Straits, the squadron provided air support during the evacuation of Nationalist Chinese forces from the Tachen Islands which had come under bombardment by the People’s Republic of China.
On July 1, 1959 the squadron was redesignated Attack Squadron Twenty-five (VA-25).
In March 1961, the squadron, while embarked on USS Midway. operated in the South China Sea during the Laotian crisis.
In 1962, the squadron moved to its current home, the newly completed NAS Lemoore.
From April 1965 through 6 April 1968, the squadron made three deployments in support of the Vietnam War, still flying the A-1. During this period, squadron pilots flew over 3,000 combat missions, dropping more than 10 million pounds of ordnance on enemy targets. On June 20, 1965, four VA-25 “Spads” were engaged by two Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17s deep in North Vietnam — two of the squadron pilots were credited with a successful guns kill against one of the jet-powered fighters.
In January 1968, squadron aircraft provided close air support for U.S. Marines besieged at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam.
In October 1968, the squadron, by then the last tactical propeller driven squadron in the Navy, transitioned from the A-1 to the A-7 Corsair II. After only four months of training, the squadron returned to the Vietnam War aboard USS Ticonderoga. It was during this cruise that the squadron set a record — in 33 flying days, pilots flew 1,650 sorties in combat, each averaging over 92 hours in the air.
In October 1970, the squadron began a long relationship with the USS Ranger, nicknamed “Top Gun.” In the following two years, the squadron made two more combat cruises, expending over 15 million pounds of ordnance on targets in Laos and Vietnam. On November 21, 1970, squadron aircraft flew in support of Operation Ivory Coast, the attempt to free American POWs from Son Tay 20 miles west of Hanoi. The squadron made four more deployments aboard Ranger in the 1970s.
In December 1972, the squadron participated in Operation Linebacker II, heavy air strikes against targets primarily around Hanoi and Haiphong.
On 15 January 1973, the squadron participated in a large laser-guided bombing attack against bridge targets in North Vietnam. This coordinated strike, led by VA-145, used the A-6 Intruder’s Pave Knife Laser Designation System to attack 14 North Vietnamese bridges with Mark 83 and Mark 84 laser-guided bombs dropped by the A-6A and A-7E aircraft.
Following the ceasefire with North Vietnam on January 27 1973, the squadron concentrated its attention on strikes against lines-of-communication targets in Laos until an agreement was reached with that country.
In July 1976 following the Israeli raid on Entebbe, Ranger, with VA-25 embarked, was ordered to transit from the South China Sea to the western Indian Ocean and operate off the coast of Kenya.