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Strike Fighter Squadron 136 (VFA-136) also known as the "Knighthawks" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. The "Knighthawks" are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet. They are attached to Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) and homeported at NAS Lemoore. Their tailcode AB and their radio callsign is Hawk.
The squadron's "Knighthawk" insignia and nickname were approved by Chief of Naval Operations on 23 May 1985 and have remained unchanged.
Strike Fighter Squadron One Three Six was established on 1 July 1985 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California under the instruction of VFA-125. The squadron received their first F/A-18A Hornet on 7 January 1986, and a month later they moved to their new homeport of Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida.
VFA-136 first deployed in September 1987 with Carrier Air Wing Thirteen on board the USS Coral Sea. One year later, they joined Carrier Air Wing Seven on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
During the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Centennial Cruise" in 1990, the squadron participated in exercises with French, British, Italian and Tunisian forces. The cruise took a serious turn after Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. In support of Operation Desert Shield, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was on station in the Red Sea within 36 hours, becoming the first carrier to conduct sustained operations in the area. After returning from deployment in November 1990, the squadron upgraded to the new Lot XIII Night Attack F/A-18C. The squadron became the first fully operational night strike Hornet squadron in the Navy.
In October 1991, the squadron and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower were back in the Persian Gulf enforcing the peace accords set after Operation Desert Storm. Upon completion of those operations, the team transitioned to the North Atlantic to participate in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Exercise "TEAMWORK '92". This would be the largest NATO exercise in over three years.
The squadron next deployed aboard the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, USS George Washington for her maiden cruise in May 1994. USS George Washington was the flagship for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, hosting President Bill Clinton. During the cruise, the squadron participated in NATO Operations Deny Flight (over Bosnia-Herzegovina), Southern Watch and Vigilant Warrior (both in the Persian Gulf). In addition to supporting NATO, the squadron also participated in exercises in England, France, Sicily, Jordan, Tunisia, Bahrain and Oman. The squadron returned from deployment in November 1994.
The squadron deployed again aboard USS George Washington in January 1996 in support of Operation Decisive Endeavor over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation Southern Watch.
In February 1998, VFA-136 embarked on the maiden deployment of USS John C. Stennis. This "world cruise" included a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch and culminated in the arrival of USS John C. Stennis in their new homeport of San Diego, California.
Immediately following this deployment, the squadron relocated to Naval Air Station Oceana in December 1998 as mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure decision.
In February 2000, the squadron embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Mediterranean. In March 2000, the squadron flew in support of the Dayton Accords governing the peace between the former warring factions in Bosnia and other parts of the Balkans. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower then proceeded to the Persian Gulf, in support of Operation Southern Watch, returning to Norfolk on 18 August 2000.
In August 2010 the squadron won the Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL) Bombing Derby trophy for the first time in the squadron's history. The squadron also won the 2010 CVW-1 Top Hook Award.
In January 2011, the squadron embarked on a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, the North Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf aboard USS Enterprise. While deployed, the squadron flew combat sorties in the skies over Afghanistan in support Operation Enduring Freedom and over Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn while also supporting anti-piracy operations and special forces in multiple theaters. The squadron won their tenth straight CVW-1 Top Hook Award posting a 3.706 with a 96% boarding rate for the duration of cruise.
Following deployment the squadron were awarded their second straight Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL) Bombing Derby trophy. In 2011 the squadron won the Battle Effectiveness Award for the first time in the squadron's twenty-six year history.
In the summer of 2016, the squadron was moved from NAS Oceana to NAS Lemoore.