4 inch VFA-125 Rough Raiders Squadron Patch – Sew On
Attack Squadron 125 (VA 125), known as the “Rough Raiders”, was originally established on 11 April 1958 flying the F-9F Cougar from NAS Moffett Field. Its mission then was to provide combat readiness training to fleet replacement pilots and fleet replacement aircraft maintenance personnel. Today, redesignated as Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA 125), the “Rough Raiders” train pilots to fill F/A-18 billets throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.
In July of 1961, the squadron moved to Reeves Field, NAS Lemoore, California. From that point until the fall of 1969, the squadron flew all models of the A-4 Skyhawk, sending over 2,000 replacement pilots and 12,000 maintenance people to the Pacific Fleet. During this period, the squadron had over 100 A-4’s and 1,400 officers and enlisted personnel assigned, making it the largest aviation squadron in the Navy.
In September of 1969, the “Rough Raiders” received their first A-7 Corsair II, beginning the transition to the newest light attack jet of the time. The squadron trained more than 700 A-7 A/B/C replacement pilots and 5,500 maintenance personnel. These graduates carried the brunt of the Vietnam air war. The end of the war caused a reduction in force which eventually led to the disestablishment of the squadron in 1977.
On 13 November 1980, the “Rough Raiders” again made their mark in Naval Aviation history when they were reestablished as VFA 125, the Navy’s first F/A-18 squadron. Their first aircraft arrived five months later when VX-4 transferred Hornet number F-11, after completing their fleet evaluation process. By March 1985, VFA 125 had amassed over 30,000 mishap-free flight hours in the Hornet.
Flight training is supplemented by the latest state-of-the-art computer flight simulators and computer based academic instruction to enhance understanding and performance in the Hornet. In addition the squadron routinely conducts strike and fighter detachments to NAF El Centro, California and NAS Fallon, Nevada, as well as aboard carriers in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets.
VFA 125 averages 1,500 flight hours monthly and trains approximately 120 pilots each year. Pilots from the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, the Royal Air Force, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Spanish Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, the Kuwait Air Force, and Finnish Air Force have been trained at VFA 125. The most recent milestone for the “Rough Raiders” was the attainment of 50,000 mishap-free flight hours in 1995. By May 1996, VFA 125 had amassed over 70,000 mishap-free flight hours in the Hornet. The squadron was recognized for this milestone with the CNO Aviation Safety Award. The Rough Raiders reached 80,000 mishap free hours in December 1996, then 90,000 in June 1997. By January 1998 the Rough Raiders were the first Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS) to surpass 100,000 mishap free flight hours.