Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE FIVE was originally commissioned as the “Tigers” of Torpedo Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19) at Los Alamitos, California, in August 1943. The squadron was subsequently redesignated as Attack Squadron TWENTY (VA-20A) in November 1946, Attack Squadron ONE NINE FIVE (VA-195) in August 1948, and Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE FIVE (VFA-195) on 1 April 1985.
VT-19 originally flew the Eastern TBM Avenger from USS LEXINGTON as part of Carrier Group 19, Admiral Bull Halsey’s naval force during World War II. During this period, the squadron participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in support of the landings on Guam, Palau, Morotai, and Leyte. VT-19 also flew strikes against the Philippines, Bonin Island, Okinawa, Mindanao, and Formosa through the end of the war in 1954. VT-19 was redesignated VA-20A following World War II, on 15 Nov 1946.
In May 1947, VA-20A transitioned to the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider, before being subsequently redesignated VA-195 on 24 Aug 1948. The squadron deployed aboard USS PRINCETON and was heavily engaged during the Korean War, conducting actions that included close air support missions for U.S. Marines trapped near the Chosin Reservoir from 1950-1951. During this period they earned their new nickname, “Dambusters”, when their Douglas AD-4 Skyraiders delivered precise low-level aerial torpedoes against the heavily defended and strategically positioned Hwachon Resevoir dam in North Korea on 1 May 1951. Widely considered as one of the most extraordinary strikes of the war, destruction of the dam flooded the valley below, protecting allied flanks while denying the North Koreans control of the reservoir’s waters for the remainder of the war.
VA-195 subsequently transitioned to the jet powered Douglas A-4 Skyhawk in July 1959, and moved to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, in 1962. The Vietnam War again engaged the Dambusters in repeated western Pacific deployments, beginning with special operations in 1964 and continuing through a strike against a thermal power plant in 1967. In the spring of 1970, VA-195 transitioned to the Vought A-7E Corsair II as part of Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN aboard USS KITTY HAWK, and continued their participation in the Vietnam War right up to the communist invasion of South Vietnam in 1972.
The Dambusters were redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE FIVE on 1 April 1985 and commenced transition to the F/A-18 Hornet. Upon completion, VFA-195 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing FIVE, and in July 1986 officially joined the forward deployed naval forces in Yokosuka, Japan. During the 1980s and 1990s, the squadron embarked aboard USS MIDWAY, taking part in deployments to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf, where they escorted reflagged Kuwaiti tankers during the Tanker Wars, before supporting Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In March 1996, now embarked on the USS INDEPENDENCE, CVW 5 and the Dambusters deployed to calm tensions in the Taiwan Strait after that nation’s first direct presidential elections.
In 2001, the Dambusters, onboard USS KITTY HAWK, flew in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and, subsequently, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. In 2008, the squadron “cross-decked” to the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier stationed in Japan, the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON. In 2011, the squadron returned to the United States for the first time in 25 years to transition to their current aircraft, the F/A-18E Super Hornet. In August 2015, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON completed a hull swap with USS RONALD REAGAN.
Today the squadron continues to deploy aboard the USS RONALD REAGAN, providing formidable forward presence in the western Pacific area of responsibility.