VA-304 “Firebirds” Attack Squadron Home » NAS Units » VA-304 “Firebirds” Attack Squadron

va-304-a7-corsair-ii-patchAttack Squadron (VA-304) was established at Naval Air Station Alameda on 1 July 1970. The squadron consists of twelve Ling-Temco-Vought A-7B Corsair II’s. VA-304 is a squadron of Reserve Carrier Air Wing Thirty (CVWR-30), also headquartered at NAS Alameda.

Since its inception, the squadron has built a reputation as the performance leader in the Naval Air Reserve Community. In LATWINGPAC Bombing Derby competition, held at NAS Fallon, NV, VA-304 captured the Silver Bomb Award as the best A-7A/B squadron in four of the six derbies in which it competed.

VA-304 has received the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award, presented by the Chief of Naval Reserve to the most outstanding Naval Air Tailhook squadron in the United States. In addition, the squadron has twice won the Noel Davis trophy as the most efficient attack squadron in the Naval Air Reserve.

VA-304 was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) by Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf for the period of 1 November 1973 through 30 November 1975, for distinguishing itself by meritorious achievement as the Outstanding Naval Air Reserve Squadron.

Attack Squadron 304 was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award (Navy “E” Ribbon) for the period 1 July 1974 through 30 September 1976, winning the fleet-wide eighteen month competitive cycle of exercises, testing all phases of battle readiness.

During the tenure of Commanding Officer CDR John R. Hines Jr. (20 May 1990 – 16 November 1991) VA-304 was awarded the Golden Anchor for retention and two consecutive “Silver Bullet” Awards for Ordnance Department Excellence.

Chronology of Significant Events

1 Jul 1970: VA-304, a reserve squadron, established as part of a reorganization intended to increase the combat readiness of the Naval Air Reserve Force. Elements of reserve unit, VA-20G3, were used to form the newly established VA-304.

28 Sep 1982: the squadron exceeded eight years and 27,500 accident free flight hours. This safety milestone is the second longest sustained record for both Active Fleet and Naval Air Reserve A-7 squadrons.

May 1987: VA-304 operated from the Canadian Forces Base at Edmonton, Alberta, while participating in exercise Rendezvous 87-Bold Warrior. The exercise was a mock full-scale battle between elements of the Canadian Armed Forces with VA-304 acting as an aggressor force.

Aug 1988: Attack Squadron 304 transitioned to the Grumman A-6E Intruder, becoming the first Naval Air Reserve squadron to do so.

Commanding Officers

Commanding Officer Date Assumed Command
CDR John H. Thompson 1 July 1970
CDR Peter L. Hammes 1 Jul 1971
CDR Jerry V. Kirk 21 Jan 1973
CDR Raymond G. Blake 20 Jul 1974
CDR David M. Boaz 17 Jan 1976
CDR Matthew A. McCarthy Jan 1978
CDR Frank J. Bender 20 Oct 1979
CDR R. F. Bush Jun 1981
CDR D. B. Ashworth Mar 1983
CDR Thomas A. Hearn Sept 1984
CDR Donald K. Simmons 20 Apr 1986
CDR Daniel R. Kestly 26 Apr 1987
CDR Michael F. Dibello 16 Oct 1988
CDR John R. Hines, Jr. 20 May 1990
CDR Robert S. Mull, Jr. 16 Nov 1991
CDR William A. Roig 22 May1993
CDR Craig C. Groom 25 Jun 1994

Aircraft Assignment

Type of Aircraft Date Type First Received
A-4C Jul 1970
A-7A 6 Aug 1971
A-7B Sep 1977
A-7E Sep 1986
KA-6D Jul 1988
A-6E Aug 1988

Air Wing Assignments

Air Wing Tail Code Assignment Date
CVWR-30 ND 1 Jul 1970

Unit Awards Received

Unit Award Inclusive Dates Covering Unit Award
MUC 1 Nov 1973 30 Nov 1975
NAVE 1 Jul 1974 30 Sep 1976
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Links

— provided by Mr. Robert M. Cieri

3 thoughts on “VA-304 “Firebirds” Attack Squadron

  1. I am now working with the Fort Worth Aviation Museum restoring aircraft. We have an A7B here that has the VA-304 Firebird colors Call sign #412 and is a veteran of Vietnam. you can see her new pictures at http://www.fortworthaviationmuseum.com I have spent a lot of time getting her fixed up since she was in my squadron of VA-304.

    AQ-2 Rich Garrett -Plane Captain as well.

    1. You can see pictures of VA-304, A-7B # 412 on Facebook , Fort Worth Aviation Museum. This aircraft has a dual paint scheme. VA-304 on port side and VA-215 Barn Owls on the starboard side. This aircraft served in several squadrons and these were the two she spent the most time in and is also sponsored by CMDR Steve “Jake” Jacobson and Capt “Muddy” Rivers as well. Both served in VA-304 and CMDR “Jake” Jacobson was in VA-215 as well.

      rich@fortworthaviationmuseum.com
      OR texrgbargg@aol.com

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