The Black Knights of Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154) began as Naval Reserve squadron VFB-718, activated on July 1st, 1946 at Naval Air Station Floyd Bennett, NY, flying the F-6F Hellcat and F-4U Corsair. After re-designating as VF-68A and VF-837, the squadron conducted combat operations during the Korean War, flying the F9F-2 Panther off the USS Antietam (CV 36). On February 4th, 1953, while passing under the Golden Gate Bridge onboard USS Princeton (CV 37), VF-837 was officially re-designated as the "Grand Slammers" of VF-154 with the insignia of a flaming panther.
VF-154 acquired the F-3J Fury, followed by the F-8 Crusader in 1957. The new F-8 became the first aircraft capable of nighttime missions, inspiring VF-154 to change its insignia and name. The new insignia, designed by popular cartoonist Milton Caniff, was the Black Knight, armed with a sword to strike down the enemies of peace and justice, and a shield to protect those unable to protect themselves. After years of flying the F-8, VF-154 later deployed aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43) and USS Ranger (CV 61) for three deployments, flying the F-4 Phantom II during the Vietnam War.
VF-154 transitioned to the F-14A Tomcat in October 1983 and deployed in 1985 aboard the USS Constellation (CV 64). After supporting Operation Desert Shield, VF-154 transitioned to USS Independence (CV 62) in 1991, leaving NAS Miramar for NAF Atsugi, Japan, becoming the Navy's first forward deployed F-14 squadron. While stationed in Japan, VF-154 became the first F-14 squadron to deploy with an air-to-ground bombing capability. Upon cross-decking to USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in 1998, VF-154 flew the oldest Tomcats in the fleet from the flight deck of the oldest carrier in the Navy while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2003, the Black Knights left Atsugi and ended their proud tenure in Japan and twenty years flying the venerable Tomcat. In October 2003, VF-154 was re-designated VFA-154 and transitioned to the Navy's newest Strike Fighter, the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
The squadron completed its first Super Hornet cruise in the summer of 2005 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), as part of Carrier Air Wing 9 supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron deployed again with CVW-9 in 2007, again supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, this time aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). VFA-154 completed one more deployment with CVW-9 in 2009, before upgrading to its current aircraft; Lot 30/31 Super Hornets. The change of aircraft also brought a switch to CVW-14 aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for one deployment. After the disestablishment of CVW-14, the Black Knights switched to its current air wing, CVW-11 in 2012 and twice deployed aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
The Black Knights are currently honing their skills and strengthening their resolve in preparation for their 2020 deployment with CVW-11 and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
Looking to the future, the Black Knights will continue to press forward with determination and diligence, and when required, will conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any enemy. The Black Knights have a proud tradition of being the finest squadron in the air and on the ground. Regardless of platform, mission, or home base, one thing has never changed: BKR!
BLACK KNIGHTS RULE!