By Mike Heilman and Ed Wells
U.S Navy’s VFA-2 Fighter Squadron is used to being at the tip of the spear, after all, they were the very first fighter squadron deployed on America’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley (CV-1). The squadron was established in 1922 and began flying the Vought VE-7SF Biplane. It would be 1925 before the USS Langley, also known as the “Covered Wagon,” would take seven pilots and 42 enlisted personnel from VF-2 out to sea for the very first time in maneuvers off the coast of California.
In 1927, the squadron was named the “Flying Chiefs” and was considered by many as the “Hottest outfit afloat.” The “Flying Chiefs” would not see combat until the start of World War II. In 1942, the squadron was deployed aboard the USS Lexington (CV-2) during the Battle of the Coral Sea. It would be the first ever battle between aircraft carriers. The unit would claim 11 kills, but the Lexington would be so crippled from torpedo damage that the Navy would have to scuttle the ship so it wouldn’t be captured by the Japanese.