Fleet Logistics Support Squadron FIFTY SEVEN (VR-57) is a Naval Reserve Force squadron which was established at NAS North Island, California in November 1977 and comprises of both active duty and reserve personnel. Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons and their aircraft serve as the Navy’s own airline in transporting personnel, high priority spare parts, cargo and mail, into and out of every theater of operations worldwide.
VR-57 is one of eight jet logistics squadrons in the United States Navy. The Commanding Officer of VR-57 reports directly to the Commander, Fleet Logistics Support Wing based at Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas.
Between April 1978 and May 2005 the Conquistadors operated four McDonnell Douglas C-9B Skytrain II. These aircraft provided a most capable and reliable platform on which the squadron provided around-the-clock, world-wide logistics support for the Navy and Marine Corps regular and reserve forces. Each aircraft was normally manned with a crew of six, and was capable of carrying 100 passengers or 27,000 pounds of cargo or a combination of both.
In December 1990 VR-57 was mobilized to support Operation Desert Shield operations. Operating from Sembach Air Base in Germany over a period of 4 months, VR-57 carried troops, supplies and munitions throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf. VR-57 also carried out operations in support of Operation Desert Storm.
Over the years VR-57 has achieved an impressive record of an almost 100% mission completion rate.
1987 and 1990, the VR-57 "Conquistadors" were awarded the Noel Davis Trophy for the Reserve Force Squadron achieving the highest level of mobilization readiness.
1988 and 1992, the squadron was awarded the CNO Safety Award for its outstanding safety record.
1988, VR-57 was the recipient of the Commander, Fleet Logistics Support Wing's Retention Excellence Award.
For service during Operation Desert Shield VR-57 was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation by the Secretary of the Navy.
The U.S. Navy Reserve, which operates and maintains the aircraft, was the first customer for the newest member of the Boeing 737-700C Next-Generation family.The Clipper was ordered by the U.S. Navy to replace its fleet of aging C-9B Skytrain IIs. The C-40A is the first new logistics aircraft in 17 years to join the U.S. Navy Reserve. Currently, the Navy Reserve provides 100 percent of the Navy's worldwide in-theater medium and heavy airlift.
The Clipper meets or exceeds international noise and environmental requirements that plague the current fleet of Naval Reserve C-9s. It is also more fuel-efficient and offers increased range and payload capabilities. The 737-700C aircraft is certified to operate in an all-passenger (121 passengers), all-cargo or combination ("combi") configuration that will accommodate up to three cargo pallets and 70 passengers on the main deck.
The Navy purchased the airplanes using standard commercial practices, and ordered six of the 737-700C models. The first two of four aircraft were delivered on 21 April 2001 to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Nine (VR-59) at the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. The remainder later in the year. The fifth and sixth aircraft were delivered to in August 2002 to VR-58 at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. A seventh one was acquired on 22 November 2004,the eighth was in February 2005,and the ninth was on 25 May 2006that were delivered to VR-57 at the Naval Air Station North Island, California. The Navy plans to purchase up to 23 additional Clippers as it continues to replace its aging fleet of C-9B aircraft. The C-40A provides superior fuel efficiency, range and payload and meets or exceeds international environmental and noise restrictions.