The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the Navy’s top-line aircraft. An all-weather aircraft, the “Super Bug” is used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense; in its attack mode, it is used for force projection, interdiction and close and deep air support.
Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) was commissioned at NAS Cecil Field on April 27, 1984, flying the Navy’s newest tactical aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet. In the summer of 1999 VFA-106 moved from NAS Cecil Field to NAS Oceana, VA. As the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron, the Gladiators’ mission is to train F/A-18 Replacement Aircrew to support fleet commitments. Every 6 weeks a class of between 8-12 newly-winged Navy and Marine Corps Aircrew begins the 9 month training course in which they will learn the basics of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions culminating in day/night carrier qualification and subsequent assignment to a fleet Hornet squadron.
Since it’s commissioning VFA-106 has earned numerous awards, including the Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards.