The squadron’s first insignia, designed by Walt Disney, was approved by Chief of Naval Operations on 25 June 1945, consisting of a black torpedo and a winged cherub wearing a green helmet. A new squadron insignia was approved on 17 September 1956 and is still in use. The squadron was known as the Arabs from the 1950s to 1979, at which time they were renamed the Eagles. During the squadron’s deployment to the Indian Ocean in 1989, they temporarily changed their nickname back to Arabs to enhance the esprit de corpswhile operating in the Arabian Sea.
On October 10, 1942, Torpedo Squadron Eleven (VT-11) was commissioned at NAS San Diego, flying TBF Avenger, a carrier based torpedo bomber known in the fleet as the "Turkey." Over the next five years, the squadron upgraded through several models of TBF and TBM Avengers.
Members of VT-11 at Guadalcanal in May 1943.
The crews of VT-11 on USSHornet, 8 December 1944.
In January and February 1943, a detachment of 6 squadron aircraft were sent to Kanton Island for antisubmarine defense and search missions. The squadron's first combat was flown from Honiara International Airport during the Guadalcanal in April-May 1943 as part of Carrier Air Group Eleven (CVG-11). The squadron was landbased at Guadalcanal, and in June 1943, VT-11 pilots conducted the first daylight raids on Bougainville and theSolomon Islands. They flew patrol, search, spotting, strike, and night mine-laying missions.
On 5 May 1944, squadron aircraft were involved in an antisubmarine attack off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii. The attack against the enemy submarine was assessed as "probable" by the squadron commander. From 29 September 1944 to 1 February 1945 VT-11 was deployed aboard the aircraft carrierUSS Hornet. In October 1944, the squadron participated in the first strikes against Okinawa and two weeks later converged on Leyte Gulf to protect the landing and supply ships engaged in the liberation of the Philippines. On 25 October, the Japanese Fleet converged on Leyte to oppose the landings. Squadron TBMs were launched from 550 km (340 mi) away (well beyond normal range) to strike the fleet. The TBMs struck the retiring Japanese ships, scoring hits on a battleship and two cruisers. All the squadron’s aircraft returned, completing a 1.000 km (600 mi) round trip. Seven Navy Crosses were awarded to VT-11 aircrews during this campaign.
In November and December 1944, the squadron continued to provide support for the cccupation of Leyte, striking targets on Luzon in support of the landings on Mindoro. In January 1945, the squadron struck ships and targets onFormosa and Luzon in support of the landings in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. The squadron participated in operations in the South China Sea (the first time an American Task Force had entered these waters since the beginning of the war), striking targets at Cam Ranh Bay and a convoy off Qui Nhon, French Indo-China, shipping at the Pescadores Island, and Hong Kong.
VA-12A TBM-3s on the USSValley Forge during the 1947/48world cruise.
After the war, Naval Air Station San Diego became VT-11's new homeport, and the squadron was redesignated as Attack Squadron 12A (VA-12A) in November 1946. VA-12A, along with its Carrier Air Group (CVAG-11), underwent extensive training and embarked in USS Valley Forge, the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier. In June 1948, VA-12A deployed on a world cruise, a first for a U.S. Navy air group and milestone for the squadron. A symbolic globe later became part of the squadron's official insignia to commemorate the cruise.
On July 15, 1948, VA-12A was redesignated Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115), and in December, the squadron transitioned to the DouglasADSkyraider. The squadron upgraded models of the "Spad" several times for the next ten years.
In July 1950, VA-115 deployed aboard USS Philippine Sea for nine months conducting strikes in Inchon, South Korea in preparation for landings in September 1950. During and after the invasion the squadron flew deep support missions and also encountered MIG-15s. On 31 December, 1951, VA-115 provided close air support for American troops in the Chosen Reservoir area and flew combat missions against North Korean rail, transportation, communication, industrial and supply targets. VA-115 flew 2,268 combat missions over both Korea deployments. For this outstanding performance, the squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
In February 1955, the squadron flew air cover missions during the evacuation of over 26,000 personnel from Tachen Islands which had come under bombardment by the People’s Republic of China in January. In August and September 1958, the squadron was part of the task force that provided support to the Republic of China during the shelling of the Quemoy Islandgroup by the Chinese Communists.In June 1952, the squadron participated in coordinated strikes against North Korean hydroelectric power plants - the first heavy attacks conducted against these installations. Nine different hydroelectric power plants were struck. VA-115 made two deployments to Korea in 1950/51 and 1951/52 aboard the USS Philippine Sea. It returned to Korea shortly after theArmistice Agreement in July 1953 aboard the USS Kearsarge. This was followed by another deployment on the Kearsarge in 1954/55.