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VMFA-212

World War II

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 212 was activated as Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212), the "Hell Hounds", at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii on March 1, 1942. Deploying in May to the South Pacific in their F4F Wildcats, the squadron was stationed at Tontouta on the island of New Caledonia, and later moved up to the island of Efate. As prepartions for the invasion of Guadalcanal increased, the squadron operated a detachment at Espiritu Santo until the arrival of VMO-251 ensured that the island was provided with adequate aerial defense. During the early part of the Guadalcanal campaign, VMF-212 sent detachments to operate with Cactus Air Force squadrons deployed to Henderson Field until the entire squadron was commited to the battle in mid-October. The squadron acquired an enviable record by destroying 64 1/2 enemy planes. Of this number, LtCol Harold "Indian Joe" Bauer, the squadron's first Commanding Officer, was credited with 11 kills and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor.

Korean War

VMF-212 was one of the first squadrons sent to Far East at the outbreak of the war. They remained in Japan until Marines were able to capture Kimpo Airfield after the Battle of Inchon. The squadron finally touched down in Korea on September 18, 1950 and were flying their first strikes by the 20th of September. The squadron was later moved to Yonpo Airfield in North Korea as the United Nations' forces continued their advance in the early winter of 1950. After the Chinese counterattack in late November of 1950, VMF-212 aircraft flew almost continuous close air support missions supporting the 1st Marine Division as they fought they way out of encirclment during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. After the fighting at Chosin, the squadron was ordered to operate from the USS Bataan (CVL-29) where they remained until March 5, 1951.

The Vietnam War & the 1980s

In April 1965, the squadron, now known as the "Lancers" sailed aboard the USS Oriskany to the coast of Vietnam to augment the power of the Naval Air arm at Yankee Station. The Lancers flew missions in North and South Vietnam. Later, in April of 1972, the squadron deployed from Hawaii to Da Nang, South Vietnam in an effort to blunt the massive North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam. VMFA-212 earned a Meritorious Unit Citation for its effort in Vietnam.

From 1974 until 1987, VMFA-212 deployed numerous times to Japan and the West Coast earning the CNO Aviation Safety Award, the Robert M. Hanson Award, and the Meritorious Unit Citation. During October 1988, VMFA-212 completed its seventh and final rotation in the UDP as an F-4 Phantom squadron. With the last F-4 sorties flown in August of 1988, over 23,000 accident-free hours had been accumulated. The F/A-18C Hornet was received at this time.

The Gulf War & the 1990s

In December 1990, the squadron deployed to Bahrain in support of Operation Desert Shield. From there, they flew air interdiction and close air support missions in support of coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm after January 17, 1991. On August 13, 1996 the Lancers took off for the final time from NAS Miramar enroute to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. After a successful six month cycle the Lancers became a permanent resident of MCAS Iwakuni.

VMFA-212 is now in Cadre Status awaiting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and is expected to return to operational flying at Miramar.


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