Valley Center TOPGUN CDR now commands World Famous Golden Dragons

United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet
 CDR Dennis Duffy of Valley Center

CDR Dennis Duffy of Valley Center

The World Famous Golden Dragons of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE TWO (VFA-192) this week celebrated a new commanding officer — CDR Dennis Duffy of Valley Center.

This group of TOPGUN Navy Fighters fly F/A-18E Super Hornets out of Naval Air station Lemoore. They currently are assigned to the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73). This change of command occurred during the squadron’s Southern Seas deployment embarked on board the aircraft carrier after a port call to Valparaiso, Chile.

Duffy relieved CDR Brett Lassen of Spanish Fork, UT during an airborne change of command ceremony over the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Flying in formation

Flying in formation

The new skipper, CDR Duffy is a TOPGUN graduate and former VFA-122 Instructor Pilot. He has served in various squadrons on the West Coast and Japan including the VFA-113 Stingers, Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific, VFA-147 Argonauts, and the VFA-27 Maces

CDR Lassen assumed command on Aug. 7, 2014 in the midst of the squadron’s transition from legacy Hornets to Lot 23/24 Super Hornets. During this transition the Dragons brought numerous airframes back to flying status which hadn’t flown for a significant length of time, in some cases as long as five years.

CDR Lassen’s leadership was essential in the squadron’s selection as the 2014 Scott Kirby Award Winner which designated the best Avionics/Ordnance shop in the Pacific Fleet. As Dragon Skipper,

Change of command ceremony with traditional water splash on Lt. Lassen

Change of command ceremony with traditional water splash on CDR Lassen.

CDR Lassen successfully completed the transition to the new airframe and readied the squadron for its Southern Sea deployment, the inaugural deployment in the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

The World Famous Golden Dragons wish CDR Lassen fair winds and following seas as he departs for Naples, Italy where he will be the Special Assistant to Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Naval Forces Africa. CDR Lassen has accumulated over 2,400 flight hours and 534 traps throughout his career.

The Golden Dragons welcome CDR Gerald Tritz and his family as the new Executive Officer. SSHWFGD.

The squadron was established as Fighter Squadron 153 on 26 March 1945, flying the F6F “Hellcat.” The squadron’s first deployment was aboard USS ANTIETAM (CV-36) on 31 March 1947. Following the deployment, the squadron title was changed to Fighter Squadron 15A, then later to fighter Squadron 151. In 1949, the squadron began training in the F8F “Bearcat” at NAS Alameda, California.

The squadron took delivery of its first A-7E “Corsair II” in February 1970. On 6 November 1970, having finished a one year turnaround with its newly acquired A-7E aircraft, Attack Squadron 192 deployed again to WESTPAC, this time aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63).

During this highly successful cruise, VA-192’s “Laotian Highway Patrol” set an all time record for ordnance dropped on a single cruise, 15 million pounds, while flying more than 6,600 flight hours and amassing 2,901 arrested landings. Most significant is the fact that the Dragons delivered this record tonnage of ordnance on enemy supply routes day and night, in all kinds of weather, without losing a single man or aircraft.

In January 2003, VFA-192 deployed aboard Kitty Hawk to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron flew 339 combat missions and dropped 224,000 pounds of ordnance including 283 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and LGB bombs. After 100 consecutive days at sea, the Dragons returned to Japan in May.