USMC’s ‘Silver Eagles’ conclude final legacy Hornet deployment

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 (VMFA-115) ‘Silver Eagles’ departed Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni in Japan on September 28, marking the conclusion of a six-month Unit Deployment Program (UDP) tour in the Indo-Pacific region with Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12).

The sun sets on F/A-18C (BuNo 165201/VE-201) - VMFA-115's CAG-bird - as it prepares to take-off from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, for the final time on September 28. Having completed this final deployment, VMFA-115 will now focus on its transition to the F-35C.
The sun sets on F/A-18C (BuNo 165201/VE-201) - VMFA-115's CAG-bird - as it prepares to take-off from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, for the final time on September 28. Having completed this final deployment, VMFA-115 will now focus on its transition to the F-35C. USMC/Cpl Ryan Ulibarri

This departure marks the end of the squadron’s UDP with the legacy F/A-18C Hornet, which has been operated by the ‘Silver Eagles’ since 1985. Based at MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina, VMFA-115 is scheduled to become the last of four USMC units to transition to the F-35C Lightning II – the traditional catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR)-configured variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) family – in 2026.

Upon its departure from Iwakuni, the squadron was relieved by VMFA-232 ‘Red Devils’, which arrived from MCAS Miramar in California on September 24.