Local 7032

Aerospace Unit Minutes

Oct 28th 2006

Dec 2nd 2006

Feb 20th 2007

July 14th 2007

 

VMFT-401

Unit Insignia

 

In recognition of the squadron’s mission, squadron members chose the name “SNIPERS” and designed the insignia which was approved in February 1987. The Sniper Pilot is the highest grade of all former Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) pilots. Highly trained, motivated and capable, he represents the best our former cold-war adversaries had to offer. The design in our insignia is an adaptation of the crest from the Sniper Pilot’s Wings. The aircraft in the center of the shield is a likeness of the Israeli F-21 KFIR, the aircraft first used by the squadron.

History of VMFT-401

Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401), the Marine Corps’ first and only Adversary Squadron, was activated on 18 March 1986 at MCAS Yuma, Arizona with LtCol B. B. Knutson in command. The mission of the squadron is to enhance the combat readiness of the Marine Corps by providing “Superior” Adversary support to the Fleet Marine Forces.


In March 1987, final details were concluded with Israeli Aircraft Industries setting forth the delivery of 13 F-21A KFIRs. On 25 June 1987, the first five aircraft, flown by VMFT-401 pilots, arrived in Yuma. Five days later the “SNIPERS” published their first flight schedule and commenced local flight operations.


The F-21A KFIR was officially inducted into Marine Corps service during an Inauguration Ceremony on 13 August 1987 where General A. M. Gray Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, attended as the guest of honor. The remainder of the squadron’s aircraft was delivered on 1 September 1987. Within the first year of operation, VMFT-401 flew over 4000 accident free sorties in support of 59 different units while participating in 16 major exercises. Outstanding accomplishments during this period earned the squadron a Meritorious Unit Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.


On 24 June 1988, VMFT-401 held its first change of command ceremony whereby LtCol B. B. Knutson Jr. passed on the squadron colors to LtCol E. P. Hay Jr. During 1989, VMFT-401 transitioned from the Israeli-built KFIR to the U. S. Air Force F-5E Tiger II and continued the aggressor role.


The squadron’s versatility and utility was widely recognized during 1989-1990 in preparation for the pending conflict in the Persian Gulf. By the end of 1990 and into 1991 the U. S. was at war with Iraq and the fruits of VMFT-401’s labor was recognized as U. S. pilots handily defeated Iraq’s Air Force.


The Squadron was awarded the “Pete Ross” Safety Award in September 1993 in recognition of its outstanding safety record.


Throughout the nineties and into the new millennium, the “SNIPERS” have provided adversary support for a multitude of fleet and training squadrons, both fixed wing and rotary wing, within the Marine Corps and Navy. Since October 5, 1995, the Snipers have flown over 47,000 sorties including over 40,000 mishap free flight hours.


Whether flying a single sortie in support of a new aviator or flying in a complex multi-plane scenario, the “SNIPERS” have proven repeatedly the relevance of the Marine Adversary program. Throughout it’s history, VMFT-401 has set the pace as a prime example of the “Total Force” concept at work.


VMFT-401 received its first F-5N June 30, 2004 and currently has nine F-5N aircraft on board. By 2007 the squadron will have 13 F-5N aircraft to fly until the year 2020.

SNIPER COMMANDING OFFICERS

LTCOL B.B. KNUTSON

LTCOL EDWARD P. HAY JR.

LTCOL ROBERT K. LUNDAY

LTCOL JERRY P. BREEN

LTCOL STEVEN W. RAWSON

LTCOL HENRY C. DEWEY III

LTCOL EARL S. WEDERBROOK

LTCOL MICHAEL J. MANUCHE

LTCOL ARTHUR T. STURGEON

LTCOL CURTIS M. ROGERS

LTCOL BRANTLEY A. BOND

26 FEB 86 – 23 JUN 88

24 JUN 88 – 20 SEP 90

21 SEP 90 – 03 FEB 92

04 FEB 92 – 22 JUL 94

23 JUL 94 – 03 JUL 96

04 JUL 96 – 10 JUL 98

11 JUL 98 – 11 JUL 00

12 JUL 00 – 11 JUL 02

12 JUL 02 – 06 AUG 04

07 AUG 04 – 14 JUL 06

15 JUL 06 – PRESENT