Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA-94), also known as the "Mighty Shrikes", are a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. Currently a land-based "Unit Deployment Program" squadron, they deploy with no tail code assigned. Their radio callsign is Hobo.
From August 16 through November 23, 1944, VB-20 flew the Helldiver from for the first of two World War II Pacific Theater combat cruises. The squadron's first combat action occurred on August 31, 1944 and involved an attack on the Bonin Islands. In September 1944, VB-20 participated in pre-invasion strikes on Palau Islands and provided air support for landings on Peleliu Island. In October 1944, the squadron participated in air strikes against Okinawa, Formosa and Luzon. On October 24, 1944, VB-20 participated in the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Squadron SB2Cs flew sorties against Japanese surface force in the Sibuyan Sea, these attacks contributed to the sinking of the Musashi, one of the two largest battleships in the world. On October 25, 1944, VB-20 aircraft were part of the Fast Carrier Task Force that attacked the Japanese carrier force in the Battle of Cape Engano. Four Japanese carriers were sunk during this engagement.
From November 23, 1944 through February 2, 1945, VB-20 embarked aboard , for the second of two World War II combat cruises. Squadron Helldivers struck Japanese positions in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Luzon, Formosa, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Okinawa.
On November 15, 1946, VB-20 was redesignated Attack Squadron NINE A (VA-9A). On August 12, 1948, they were re-designated Attack Squadron NINETY FOUR (VA-94), and in October 1948 they received the new AD-2 Douglas Skyraider. On November 30, 1949, VA-94 was disestablished.
In Oct 1965, as part of Air Wing 9, the squadron moved to NAS Norfolk to join on her first combat cruise. The squadron was assigned to Air Wing 5 in 1966 and completed four combat deployments aboard and .
On 9 May 1972, the squadron participated in Operation Pocket Money, the mining of Haiphong harbor. The first mine was dropped at 08:59 to coincide with President Richard Nixon's public announcement of the mining. All mines were set with 72-hour arming delays, thus permitting merchant ships time for departure or a change in destination consistent with the President's public warning. It was the beginning of a mining campaign that planted over 11,000 MK36 type destructor and 108 special Mk 52-2 mines over the next eight months. It is considered to have played a significant role in bringing about an eventual peace arrangement, particularly since it so hampered the enemy's ability to continue receiving war supplies. In May–Jun 1972, VA-94 participated in operation Linebacker I, heavy air strikes against targets in North Vietnam.
In 1973, the squadron deployed on its first peacetime cruise in a decade, again with Carrier Air Wing 15 aboard USS Coral Sea. On 29 Apr 1975, squadron aircraft provided air cover for Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of American citizens from Saigon that terminated United States military involvement in Vietnam. On 15 May 1975, Shrike aircraft, along with other elements from CVW-15 launched air strikes against the Cambodian mainland after the capture of the by Cambodian gunboats. From May 1979 to January 1980, the squadron deployed aboard to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, including 63 days of operations in the Arabian Sea during the Iran Hostage Crisis.
In Feb–May 1988, the Mighty Shrikes flew air support for Operation Earnest Will, escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. In April 1988, the squadron struck the naval forces of Iran as part of Operation Praying Mantis, the first major U.S. naval battle since World War II. Squadron aircraft delivered direct hits on the Iranian frigate Sahand. In Dec 1989, the squadron participated in Operation Classic Resolve, providing support for the Philippine government during a coup attempt.
In June 1990, the Mighty Shrikes received their first F/A-18C Hornet and was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron NINE FOUR (VFA-94) on Jan 1, 1991. In May 1991, they deployed aboard to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions following the war in Iraq. The Mighty Shrikes also participated in Operation Fiery Vigil, evacuating thousands of homeless people from the Philippines after the Mount Pinatubo eruption. They subsequently received the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation for their contribution to the disaster relief efforts.
On 15 June 1993, the squadron deployed aboard Abraham Lincoln flying missions over southern Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch. In October 1993, Abraham Lincoln left the Persian Gulf for Somalia to provide force protection for U.S. and other United Nations forces aiding in the humanitarian relief effort.
The Mighty Shrikes were key participants in Operation Vigilant Sentinel. The Shrikes next deployed aboard Kitty Hawk on 10 October 1996 to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. On 13 May 1997, the Mighty Shrikes deployed aboard , and again on 10 November 1998 to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox.
The squadron deployed again on 3 March 2003 for an eight-month combat deployment aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) with CVW-11 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 7 May 2005, the squadron again deployed aboard Nimitz to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In January 2007, VFA-94 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan with Marine Air Group 12 as the Navy's second F/A-18 Unit Deployment Program (UDP) squadron.