Nickname: Red Devils
VMFA-232 is the Corps’ oldest active fighter squadron. The squadron’s mission is to provide expeditionary air support on short notice, around the world. Responsibilities can range from supporting Marines on the ground with ordnance, to aerial combat.
- Presidential Unit Citation with three bronze stars
- Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze stars
- Meritorious Unit Commendation with four bronze stars
- Two Marine Corps Aviation Association Hansen Awards
- MCAA Commandants Aviation Trophy
- Nine Chief of Naval Operations Safety Awards
History: VMFA began as VF-3M in 1925 at Naval Air Station San Diego, Calif. Since that time, its name and the aircraft flown have changed multiple times. Through it all, the squadron’s mission of providing air support remained intact. During World War II, the squadron was one of the targets during the attack on Pearl Harbor and became the first Marine dive-bomber squadron to fly against the Japanese. Following the war, the squadron was temporarily decommissioned. On June 3, 1948, the Red Devils were reactivated as a reserve fighter squadron with their current name of VMFA-232. In 1958, the squadron logged over 10,000 flight hours and was named the Marine Fighter Squadron of the year by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. During the Vietnam War, VMFA-232 aircraft were equipped with bombing radar receivers, enabling the squadron to provide close air support. The squadron set records by flying 5,785 sorties and 7,273 flights hours, delivering 6,221 tons of ordnance. By the end of the ‘80s, the squadron began to transition to the use of the F/A 18, assisting in 740 combat missions as part of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1993, the Red Devils were presented with a plaque honoring nearly 13 accident free-years of flying F-4s and F/A-18s. In recent years, the squadron assisted in Operation Iraqi Freedom, being among the first to cross the Iraqi border, and has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.