There are hundreds of Inactive US Navy aircraft squadrons dating back to before World War II (the U. S. Navy operated aircraft prior to WWI, but it did not organize them in squadrons until after that war). To be more accurate: there are hundreds of former U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been disestablished and there are approximately 40 or so U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been deactivated and which are currently inactive.

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  • There are hundreds of Inactive US Navy aircraft squadrons dating back to before World War II (the U. S. Navy operated aircraft prior to WWI, but it did not organize them in squadrons until after that war). To be more accurate: there are hundreds of former U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been disestablished and there are approximately 40 or so U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been deactivated and which are currently inactive. These disestablished and/or deactivated squadrons are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "decommissioned" squadrons, but proper usage prior to 1998 was that squadrons were "established" and "disestablished" and after 1998 squadrons are "established", "deactivated" and sometimes "reactivated". It has never been correct to refer to US Navy aircraft squadrons as being "commissioned" and "decommissioned", ships are commissioned and decommissioned, US Navy aircraft squadrons are not.Tracking the history and lineage of US Navy aircraft squadrons can be difficult because of the system of designating squadrons that existed prior the issuance of Chief of Naval Operations Instruction (OPNAVINST) 5030.4E dated 19 March 1998. Prior to that instruction; when dealing with a squadron's lineage, the only correct terms to use were "establishment," "disestablishment" and "re-designation." Under those old rules (prior to OPNAVINST 5030.4E) a squadron's history and lineage began when it was established and ended when it was disestablished. Once a squadron had been disestablished or re-designated its former designation was then available to be used again for a newly established or re-designating squadron, just as the name of a decommissioned ship such as USS Enterprise for example, was available to be used for a new ship. A newly established or re-designated squadron bearing the same designation as a previous squadron could carry on the traditions, nickname and or the insignia of the previous squadron, but it could not lay claim to the history or lineage of that previous squadron any more than a newly commissioned USS Enterprise could lay claim to the history of a former ship of that name.A squadron could however undergo numerous re-designations during the period between its establishment and disestablishment with no impact on its lineage. Throughout the history of Naval Aviation many US Navy aircraft squadrons have been re-designated, meaning their designation (example: VF-1) has been changed. Many squadrons have been re-designated numerous times. The current VFA-14 for example has undergone 15 re-designations between its establishment in September 1919 and the present day. The basic designation (VF) could have remained the same and only the number changed (VF-151 re-designated to VF-192) or the entire designation could have changed (HS-3 re-designated to HSC-9), in either case the re-designation of a squadron had no impact on its history or lineage. It is important to understand that re-designation does not mark the end of a squadron. For example: On 15 July 1948 Fighter Squadron 153 (the second squadron to use the VF-153 designation) was established. On 15 February 1950, the squadron was re-designated to VF-194. When that happened VF-153 did not disestablish and VF-194 establish, the squadron simply changed its designation and that same squadron continued to exist under that new designation. On 4 May 1955 it was again re-designated, this time to VA-196, meaning that it had transitioned from being a fighter squadron to being an attack squadron. Again, the squadron did not disestablish, it continued its existence under its new designation of VA-196. On 21 March 1997 the squadron was finally disestablished. When looking back at the history of VA-196 it should be seen that the squadron was established on 15 July 1948 and disestablished on 21 March 1997. It was one single squadron with three different designations; it was not three different squadrons.Since March 1998 with the issuance of OPNAVINST 5030.4E (and its subsequent updates) US Navy aircraft squadrons are no longer disestablished, instead they are now "deactivated." The difference being that a deactivated squadron still exists, though in an inactive status and only "on paper", awaiting possible future "re-activation". Its last held designation along with all former designations are not available to be used for a newly established squadron, and should a deactivated squadron ever be re-activated its lineage would resume and trace back past the re-activation date all the way back to the squadron's original establishment date and would include the entire period during which it was in the inactive status. The current update of OPNAVINST 3050.4 contains a list of all current active and deactivated US Navy aircraft squadrons. The rules governing re-designation of squadrons have not changed, squadrons can still be re-designated without any impact on their history or lineage.Squadrons that have not been disestablished or deactivated are in the List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons. (en)
  • There are hundreds of US Navy aircraft squadrons which are not currently active dating back to before World War II (the U.S. Navy operated aircraft prior to World War I, but it did not organize them in squadrons until after that war). To be more accurate: there are hundreds of former U.S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been disestablished and no longer exist and there are approximately 40 or so U.S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been deactivated and which currently exist only "on paper" in an inactive status. These disestablished and/or deactivated squadrons are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "decommissioned" squadrons, but proper usage prior to 1998, was that squadrons were "established" and "disestablished" and after 1998, squadrons are "established", "deactivated" and sometimes "reactivated". It has never been correct to refer to U.S. Navy aircraft squadrons as being "commissioned" and "decommissioned", ships are commissioned and decommissioned, U.S. Navy aircraft squadrons are not. (en)
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  • There are hundreds of Inactive US Navy aircraft squadrons dating back to before World War II (the U. S. Navy operated aircraft prior to WWI, but it did not organize them in squadrons until after that war). To be more accurate: there are hundreds of former U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been disestablished and there are approximately 40 or so U. S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been deactivated and which are currently inactive. (en)
  • There are hundreds of US Navy aircraft squadrons which are not currently active dating back to before World War II (the U.S. Navy operated aircraft prior to World War I, but it did not organize them in squadrons until after that war). To be more accurate: there are hundreds of former U.S. Navy aircraft squadrons which have been disestablished and no longer exist and there are approximately 40 or so U.S. (en)
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  • List of inactive United States Navy aircraft squadrons (en)
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