VA-82 Marauders Squadron Patch – Plastic Backing
Attack Squadron 82 (VA-82) was established on 1 May 1967 as a light attack squadron flying the Vought A-7A Corsair II.
The Marauders made their first deployment aboard USS America during her maiden cruise to the waters off North Vietnam in April 1968. They returned to Southeast Asia in September 1969 aboard USS Coral Sea.
The Marauders transitioned to the A-7E in August 1970, but in late spring of 1972, VA-82 was forced to revert to the A-7C due to unexpected problems with the A-7E’s TF-41 engines. The Marauders then deployed from June 1972 to March 1973 aboard USS America for a ten-month combat cruise.
On that deployment, VA-82 played a role in the attack that destroyed the Thanh Hoa Bridge, a vital link in the North Vietnamese Army supply lines and a target that seemed indestructible during the Vietnam War. Four A-7Cs from VA-82 successfully delivered 16,000 lbs of high explosives with two planes carrying two 2,000 lb (910 kg) Walleyes, while two other carried two, 2,000 lb Mk 84 bombs. In a simultaneous attack, the centre piling on the bridge was hit, and the span broke in half. After this, the Thanh Hoa bridge was considered permanently destroyed and removed from the target list.
The squadron made several deployments to the Mediterranean during the 1970s, and while doing so received many of the Navy’s most prestigious awards including the ADM McClusky award (Top Naval Attack Squadron)and Battle “E” in 1976. In 1975 the Marauders deployed aboard the USS Nimitz on her maiden cruise.
The squadron completed its last cruise with the A-7E Corsair II in June 1987. On July 13, 1987, VA-82 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 82 (VFA-82). With the delivery of the first aircraft in November 1987, VFA-82 became the first F/A-18C squadron.