The Royal Maces were commissioned as Attack Squadron 27 (VA-27), originally designated the Chargers, on September 1, 1967 flying the Vought A-7A Corsair II. Early in 1968, the squadron reported to Carrier Air Wing 14 and departed for their first combat deployment aboard the USS Constellation (CVN-64) to Vietnam.
Transitioning to the newer A-7E in June 1970, they embarked on their third combat cruise a year later aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). Squadron pilots amassed over 4,400 combat flight hours from the deck of the Big “E” without the loss of a single aircraft.
The Chargers commenced their fourth combat deployment in September 1972, and completed the year by winning the Admiral C. Wade McClusky Trophy, the Safety Award, and the Battle Efficiency Pennant, making a clean sweep of every award for excellence in the Light Attack Community.
In September 1974, VA-27 continued to fly missions over Vietnam. Five years later, the Chargers joined USS Coral Sea (CV-43) for two Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployments before joining Carrier Air Wing 15 in 1984. Then aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), they set off for a 7 ½ month WESTPAC cruise, including 107 days in the Indian Ocean.
In 1991, after 23 years in the A-7E, the Chargers transitioned to the F/A-18A Hornet and were officially designated the Chargers of Strike Fighter Squadron Two Seven (VFA-27). In November 1992 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), VFA-27 helped enforce a no fly zone against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Air Force in Operation Southern Watch. On January 13, 1993, the squadron participated in coalition night strikes against Iraq, delivering 18,000 pounds of ordnance on various targets.
CVW-15 disbanded and the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18C Hornet in 1994. Two years later, VFA-27 relocated to Atsugi, Japan and was officially designated the Royal Maces. Originally embarked aboard USS Independence (CV-62), the Maces transferred with Carrier Air Wing Five to the USS Kitty Hawk in 1998.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the squadron participated in Operation Enduring Freedom flying missions against the Al Qaeda infrastructure and Taliban forces located in Afghanistan. In 2003, the Royal Maces continued the War on Terror by executing over 300 combat sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Providing close air support to the rapidly advancing ground forces and deep strike sorties degrading Iraqi operations, the Maces expended over 200,000 pounds of ordnance on targets throughout the country.
VFA-27 transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet in October 2004 and promptly continued their record of excellence with back to back Naval Air Forces Pacific Battle Efficiency Awards in 2005 and 2006. In 2008, the Royal Maces with Carrier Air Wing Five transferred to the USS George Washington (CVN-73), from which they engaged in joint and combined exercises with allies throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
In June 2012, the Royal Maces surpassed 110,000 mishap-free flight hours in the F/A-18, and in February 2013, exchanged their Lot 23 & 24 for Lot 34 & 35 F/A-18E aircraft with the improved APG-79 AESA radar. In 2014, the squadron was again selected by Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific as the recipient of the 2014 Battle “E” award. After multiple WESTPAC deployments in 2014 and 2015, the Royal Maces and CVW-5 transferred from the USS George Washington (CVN-73) to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in August 2015.
The Maces completed 2016 with a successful deployment in the Western Pacific region and started 2017 by conducting dissimilar air combat training with the USAF in Okinawa, Japan. Afterwards, the Maces joined the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Townsville, Australia, providing close air support qualifying ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controllers during Exercise Black Dagger.
In 2018, the Royal Maces completed a transpacific detachment from Atsugi, Japan to Naval Air Station Fallon, NV where they successfully executed the Strike Fighter Advance Readiness Program. Furthermore in that year, VFA-27 participated in Exercises Malabar, Nuday Hunter, Valiant Shield, and Keen Sword, gaining proficiency and valuable training. On December 12th, 2018, CDR Brent Jaquith, from Proctor Vermont, took over command of VFA-27. Going forward, the Royal Maces will continue to patrol the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as part of America’s only permanently forward-deployed “9-1-1” carrier air wing.