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    Have Gun Will Travel: VMFA-121 80th Anniversary

    VMFA-121 80th Anniversary

    Photo By Staff Sgt. John Tetrault | U.S. Marine Corps F-35B pilots and maintainers assigned to Marine Fighter Attack...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. John Tetrault 

    31st Marine Expeditionary Unit       

    PACIFIC OCEAN -- Since the commissioning of U.S. Marine Fighter Squadron 121 on June 24, 1941, the Marines and Sailors assigned to the squadron have earned a distinguished history in the archives of Marine Corps aviation. On the 80th anniversary the Marines and sailors of VMFA-121 recall the squadron’s esteemed history. From the Battle of Guadalcanal to operations in the Middle East, personnel assigned to VMFA-121 have consistently answered the nation’s call-to-arms and maintained a noteworthy reputation.

    Beginning in World War II, VMF-121 flew the F4F Wildcat and F4U Corsair in campaigns across the Pacific. VMF-121 produced 14 Fighter Aces, more than any other Marine Corps fighter squadron. Among these pilots who’ve shot down three or more enemy aircrafts was Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Capt. Joseph J. Foss.

    No matter the conflict, location, or aircraft, Marines and sailors of VMF-121 remain a highly effective unit. Re-designated as a Marine Attack Squadron due to flying the A-1 Skyraider during the Korean War, VMA-121 dropped more bomb tonnage than any other Navy or Marine Corps squadron throughout the war. Throughout the Vietnam conflict, VMA-121 with the nickname “Green Knights”, supported all allied units, creating and delivering a sought after “Marine brand” of close air support with the A-4 Skyhawk.

    In December 1989, becoming the first Marine Corps F/A-18D All Weather Hornet Squadron the squadron was again re-designated, now as Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121. While deployed during the Desert Storm Air Campaign, the squadron flew more hours than any other Navy or Marine Corps tactical jet squadron in support of the liberation of Kuwait. From March 2000 to September 2007, the Green Knights deployed numerous times to multiple locales in the Middle East in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

    In January 2013, the Green Knights began flight operations with the F-35B at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona and were re-designated as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121. In January 2017, VMFA-121 became the first permanently forward deployed F-35B squadron arriving at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.

    Currently, VMFA-121 is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Deployed Marines and Sailors of the squadron, operate the F-35B over the same seas where the pioneers of VMF-121 carved out their place in history.



    Date Taken: 06.24.2021
    Date Posted: 07.11.2021 20:45
    Story ID: 400690
    Location: PACIFIC OCEAN

    Web Views: 368
    Downloads: 1