The Trijicon scope crisis that occurred a few weeks ago got to thinking about the Crusaders. No, not the guys in armor suits freeing the Holy Land. The United States Marines of VMFA-122, an F-18 Squadron of genuine USMC pilots and machines. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see the shield on the tail and the sword on the external fuel tank.
Crusaders they were, with the shield and the cross as their logo. A name they wore from 1957 onward, when they were the first Marine unit to fly F-8’s. Here’s the Unit History from the Marines.mil website. I don’t know who noticed, or at what level the decision was made, but their name was changed in 2008 and now they are the Werewolves of VMFA-122. A perfectly good nickname for a fighter squadron, if you were looking for one. Still, if I was sending a group of Marine fighters to war, and I wanted to have the maximum impact of the current selection of enemies, I think I would have kept the old name. I don’t think the new one will have the same meaning.
I didn’t know the name had been changed until I went looking for an official image for this post. My original intent had been to ask why the Trijicon markings were a big deal when there was a Marine Corps Fighter Squadron called the Crusaders. Now that’s not a question any more. The Crusaders are gone.
A country without a memory is a country of madmen.