4 inch VFA-106 Gladiators Patch – Sew On
As the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron, the squadron’ mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Replacement Pilots and Weapon Systems Officers (WSOs) to support fleet commitments. Every 6 weeks, a class of between 8–12 newly winged Navy and Marine Corps pilots and Naval Flight Officers begins the 9-month training course in which they learn the basics of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, culminating in day/night carrier qualification and subsequent assignment to fleet Hornet squadrons.
The West Coast counterparts to VFA-106 are VFA-122 and VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California and VMFAT-101 at MCAS Miramar, California. VFA-106 is also responsible for transitioning experienced naval aviators from other aircraft, such as the F-14 Tomcat and S-3 Viking, to the Super Hornet and F-35C. Aircrew returning from non-flying assignments undergo refresher training at VFA-106 prior to returning to the fleet. Additionally, VFA-106 (with the help from the Center of Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit: CNATTU) trains maintenance personnel and provides replacement aircraft to fleet units.
VFA-106 F/A-18F Super Hornet
There are approximately 1200 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, as well as foreign instructors and students (from countries such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany) assigned to VFA-106. VFA-106 typically has 90+ F/A-18s of various models assigned. There is a permanent VFA-106 Detachment in Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, where the squadron often deploys for fighter training. The squadron often detaches 12 aircraft to Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada and Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, as well as various aircraft carriers for carrier qualifications (CQ).