Military Wiki
Strike Fighter Squadron One Three Six
VFA-136 Insignia
Active 1 July 1985 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Fighter/Attack
Part of Carrier Air Wing One
Garrison/HQ NAS Oceana
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
Nickname(s) "Knighthawks"
Engagements Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Vigilant Warrior
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Aircraft flown
Fighter F/A-18E Super Hornet

Strike Fighter Squadron 136 (VFA-136) also known as the "Knighthawks" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The "Knighthawks" are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18 Hornet. They are attached to Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) and homeported at NAS Oceana. Their tailcode AB and their radio callsign is Hawk. [1]

Squadron insignia and nickname

The squadron’s Knighthawk insignia and nickname were approved by Chief of Naval Operations on 23 May 1985 and have remained unchanged.



Strike Fighter Squadron One Three Six was established on 1 July 1985 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California under the instruction of VFA-125. The Knighthawks received their first F/A-18A on 7 January 1986, and a month later they moved to their new homeport of Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. VFA-136 first deployed in September 1987 with Carrier Air Wing Thirteen on board the USS Coral Sea (CV-43). One year later, the Knighthawks joined Carrier Air Wing Seven on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).


A Knighthawk Hornet.

During the Ike’s "Centennial Cruise" in 1990, the Knighthawks participated in exercises with French, British, Italian and Tunisian forces. The cruise took a serious turn after Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. In support of Operation Desert Shield, the Ike was on station in the Red Sea within 36 hours, becoming the first carrier to conduct sustained operations in the area. After returning from deployment in November 1990, the Knighthawks upgraded to the new Lot XIII Night Attack F/A-18C. The Knighthawks became the first fully operational night strike Hornet squadron in the Navy.[1]

In October 1991, the Knighthawks and Ike were back in the Persian Gulf enforcing the peace accords set after Operation Desert Storm. Upon completion of those operations, the team transitioned to the North Atlantic to participate in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Exercise "TEAMWORK '92". This would be the largest NATO exercise in over three years.[1]

The Knighthawks next deployed aboard the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS George Washington (CVN-73) for her maiden cruise in May 1994. George Washington was the flagship for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, hosting President Bill Clinton. During the cruise, the Knighthawks participated in NATO Operations Deny Flight (over Bosnia-Herzegovina), Southern Watch and Vigilant Warrior (both in the Persian Gulf). In addition to supporting NATO, the Knighthawks also participated in exercises in England, France, Sicily, Jordan, Tunisia, Bahrain and Oman. The squadron returned from deployment in November 1994.[1]

The Knighthawks deployed again aboard George Washington in January 1996 in support of Operation Decisive Endeavor over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation Southern Watch.

In February 1998, the Knighthawks embarked on the maiden deployment of USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). This "world cruise" included a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch and culminated in the arrival of USS John C. Stennis in their new homeport of San Diego, California.[1]

Immediately following this deployment, the Knighthawks relocated to Naval Air Station Oceana in December 1998 [1] as mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure decision.


In February 2000, the Knighthawks embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) to the Mediterranean. In March 2000, the Knighthawks flew in support of the Dayton Accords governing the peace between the former warring factions in Bosnia and other parts of the Balkans.[1] Eisenhower then proceeded to the Persian Gulf, in support of Operation Southern Watch, returning to Norfolk on 18 August 2000.[1]

2010 was an outstanding year for the Knighthawks. CDR Liam Bruen was relieved by CDR Damien R. Christopher on July 23, 2010. The change of command ceremony was attended by Rear Admiral Buss and Rear Admiral Manazir. August was a great month for the Hawks as they won the Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL) Bombing Derby trophy for the first time in the squadron's history. The Hawks enjoyed the tremendous results of a Maintenance Program Assist inspection conducted by CSFWL in September. The arduous pre-deployment work ups which lasted the remainder of the year culminated with the Hawks winning the 2010 CVW-1 Top Hook Award.

In January 2011, the Knighthawks embarked on a highly successful deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, the North Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65). While deployed, the Hawks flew combat sorties in the skies over Afghanistan in support Operation Enduring Freedom and over Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn while also supporting anti-piracy operations and special forces in multiple theaters. The Hawks received accolades not only for their many successes in combat, but also for their prowess in carrier aviation winning their tenth straight CVW-1 Top Hook Award posting a 3.706 with a 96% boarding rate for the duration of cruise. Individual Top Ten award winners included Commanding Officer CDR Damien R. Christopher, LCDR Jeff Farmer, LCDR Mark Haas, LT Rob Littman, LT Danny Westphall and LT Bryan Knick. Top five nugget award winners included LT Mike Segrest, LT Bryan Knick, LT Andy Talbott, and LT Joey Pasko.

Following deployment the Knighthawks were awarded their second straight Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL) Bombing Derby trophy. On October 7, 2011 CDR Damien R. Christopher was properly relieved by CDR Jason Velivlis. The change of command ceremony was attended by Admiral John Harvey, Rear Admiral Ted N. Branch, Rear Admiral Greg Nosal, and former Mayor of Virginia Beach, Meyera E. Oberndorf.

The Knighthawks finished 2011 on an exceptionally high note winning the Battle E Award for the first time in the squadron's twenty-six year history. The criterion for the Battle E is the overall readiness of a command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks, and is based on a year-long evaluation. The competition for the award is, and has always been, extremely keen. To win, a squadron must demonstrate the highest state of battle readiness. The Battle Effectiveness Award recognizes sustained superior performance in an operational environment.

See also


External links

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