Strike fighter squadron based at NAS Oceana to be featured in upcoming movie

VFA-32, The Fighting Swordsmen, is News 3's Squadron of the Month
Posted at 10:27 AM, Nov 13, 2022

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — In its nearly 80 years of existence, the Fighting Swordsmen of Strike Fighter Squadron 32 have stood ready to answer the call of battle. The present-day squadron traces its roots to what once was VBF-3 in 1945.

Over the years, the Swordsmen have been called to duty to defend the nation in several major operations, including Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. For its efforts, VFA-32 has won the Safety "S" for the outstanding performance and mishap free operation and the coveted CVW-3 Golden Wrench award for have a completion rate of over 99.7% in two back to back line periods, among other awards.

Part of the squadron's history is about to be told to present-day moviegoers. At the outbreak of the Korean conflict, pilots from what was then "VF-32" participated in strikes against Korean targets. A significant event for the Swordsmen occurred on December 4, 1950, during a strike against the Chosin Reservoir. According to the Navy's website:

ENS Jesse L. Brown, the first black Navy fighter pilot, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and forced down in North Korean territory. A squadron mate, LTJG Thomas Hudner looked down and saw his friend trapped in his aircraft, reaching up to Hudner for help as the plane caught fire. LTJG Hudner crash landed his aircraft alongside ENS Brown in an attempt to rescue him, but his efforts were in vain. The President awarded LTJG Hudner the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic effort and ENS Brown the Distinguished Flying Cross.

A movie about the two men and what happened that day is about to be released. "Devotion" stars Jonathan Majors, Glen Powell, Christina Jackson, Thomas Sadoski and Joe Jonas. The film debuts in theaters November 23.

"I think when we see that on the big screen, and we see the level of aviation that was required flying in those horrible weather conditions, with a massive number of enemy, I think we'll really get to see what this squadron is all about," says CDR Michael Miller, the squadron's executive officer.

Much like they did decades ago, modern-day Swordsmen are meticulous about training, preparing to answer whenever and wherever duty calls. Most days, that involves doing routine maintenance on the squadron's F/A-18F Super Hornets. The woman in charge of that maintenance is MCPO Megan Newberry, who's worked at NAS Oceana for 23 years.

"I just got selected for Master Chief," Newberry says. "I sit back and I go, wow, I did this, I made it. I couldn't have done it without the help of everybody around me."

Recently, members of VFA-32 took part in a training exercise in Key West, Florida, practicing what they could be called on to do in a real-life battle.

"Now's our chance to teach the guys how to maintain those systems, check the electrical connections, and make sure that aircrew can then train up and employ them," CDR Miller says. "So if we have to use it, just like you see in the movies, we know that when someone pulls the trigger with the right parameters, that missile is going to come off and be successful."



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