Squadron Special : VFC-12
The Fighting Omars of the Fighter Squadron Composite 12 (VFC-12) provide adversary training primarily for the US Navy and Marine Corps aviation units. The unit is one of two remaining air combat adversary squadrons of the US Navy. VFC-13 and VFC-12 are both assigned to the Reserve Carrier Air Wing 20 (CVWR-20) on paper, but are non-deploying units permanently stationed or detached to one of the Naval Air Stations (NAS). Where the F-5E/F/N of VFC-13 are used to simulate the MiG-21 and similar light point defense fighters, VFC-12 flies the F/A-18 to simulate MiG-29 and similar fourth generation air-to-air threats.
VFC-12 is based at NAS Oceana, Virginia. The fleet of VFC-12 counts twelve aircraft, ten of which are single-seat F/A-18A+ variants and two F/A-18B two-seaters. When more F/A-18C come supplus to active service squadrons, they will enter the Navy's reserve squadrons including VFC-12. The Navy has indicated that VFC-12 will also be used as Squadron Augment Unit in the future, meaning it will supply trained Hornet pilots to the reserve VFA squadrons when needed. Rumours indicate that the VFC-12 may be redesignated a VFA squadron and become a deployable unit.
The Fighting Omars were originally commissioned as VC-12 on 6 October 1943. VC-12 operated the F4F Wildcat and TBM-1 Avenger until 1944 aboard the USS Card, before being decommissioned on 7 June 1945.
However on 6 July 1948 the Carrier Air Early Warning Squadron TWO was commissioned which was on 1 September the same year renamed Fleet Composite Squadron Twelve or VC-12. After operational service with the TBN Avenger on several carriers and during the Korean War, VC-12 was decommissioned on 29 September 1953.
On 1 September 1973 VC-12 was commissioned again as reserve Fleet Composite Squadron and was based at NAF Detroit, Michigan. In 1975 the squadron moved to NAS Oceana, Virginia, which is still its home today. In 1988 the designation Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12) was given to the squadron. During these years (1973-1993) the squadron flew several variants of the Skyhawk, including the A-4L, TA-4J and finally the A-4F Super Fox. The latter were painted in overall gloss Engine Gray, but appears green/olive in old photos.
In 1994, VFC-12 replaced its A-4s with the F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18s are distinctly painted and modified to enhance its role as a realistic threat simulator. In 2004 VFC-12 received most of its current F/A-18A+ aircraft from VFA-203 Blue Dolphins which was decommissioned at NAS Atlanta, Georgia. The F/A-18A+ designations is used for F/A-18A Hornets featuring upgraded mission avionics compatible with the F/A-18C variants.
Sources & Resources
Photos by Gerry Clarke
Last Modified: 8 April 2013
8 Apr 2013 Removed/fixed broken links
8 Apr 2013 Upgraded layout