Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 204 was originally commissioned as Attack Squadron (VA) 204 flying A-4C Skyhawks at NAS Memphis, Tennessee, on July 1, 1970. VFA-204 began its long list of tactical accomplishments by winning back to back CVWR-20 Bombing Derbies in 1971 and 1972. VA-204 received the CNO annual Safety Award for 1973. The award represented more than 5,000 hours of accident free flying for the year. In 1975 the River Rattlers won the F. Trubee Davison Award as the "Best Tailhook Squadron in the Naval Reserve."
In March 1978, the squadron moved from NAS Memphis to NAS Ne wOrleans and began transitioning to the A-7B aircraft. With transition and relocation complete, VA-204 began establishing enviable records of operational readiness and safety and in 1980 won the CNO Safety Award.
The squadron earned the CNO Safety Award again in 1982 and 1983, and was nominated for the Noel Davis (Battle "E") in 1983. The tradition of excellence continued in 1984 by winning the CVWR-20 Golden Wrench Award and the Battle "E".
In 1986, VA-204 transitioned to the A-7E Corsair II and in 1990 earned its fifth CNO Safety Award. The next four years saw the River Rattlers establish a high level of tactics and excellence in the Corsair II. During this period, the squadron completed seven weapons detachments, three carrier qualification evolutions, air wing active duty to NAS Fallon and embarkation on USS Fporrestal (CV 59) and USS Dwight D. Wisenhower (CVN 69).
The last year of A-7E operations in CVWR-20, 1990, was one of the squadron's best years ever. Though severely hampered by numerous aircraft transfer and acceptance inspections, VA-204 flew 113% of its original flight hour program and conducted seven deployments away from NAS New Orleans. On Jan. 28, 1991, VA-204 celebrated ten years of FOD free operations. For their operational achievements and safety programs, the River Rattlers earned the CVWR-20 nomination for the Battle "E" and received the CNO Safety Award for 1990.
Attack Squadron 204 was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 204 on April 1, 1991 and accepted its first FA-18, thus ending twelve years of flying A-7 Corsair. The squadron officially completed its transition to the F/A-18 Hornet in March 1993, and the next month began initial adversary training at NAS Oceana, VA. In October the squadron became the first Reserve Strike Fighter Squadron to provide adversary support to the active-duty fleet during a one-week detachment to NAS Key West. In 1993, VFA-204 received its sixth CNO Safety Award, completing 13 years and 50,000 Class-A mishap free flight hours.
The squadron received and overall grade of 98.2 on its Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection (CWTPI) in 1994, the highest score ever achieved by a Reserve Strike Fighter Squadron, and earned its second Battle "E" as well as the squadron's second F. Trubee Davison Award as 'Best Tailhook Squadron in the Naval Reserve'.
The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to the squadron in 1995 for its extremely successful transition from the A-7E to the FA-18 which the unit still flies today.
The River Rattlers continue to set the bar high, proving that the experience and expertise resident in this naval Reserve squadron rival those of any unit, anwhere, anytime.
|VFA-204||Phone (Area Codes 504)|
|Command Master Chief||678-3319|
|VFA Maintenance Dept.|
|Aircrew Survival Equip Shop||678-9613|
|IMRL Manager/Tool Control||678-3296|