Marine Fighter Pilots Become Crusaders Once Again

The “Werewolves” have become the “Crusaders” once again.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122) is returning to its traditional name, reverting to the “Crusaders” by which it was known for 50 years.

During a 70th anniversary party last month, officials from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 announced that the unit would be again known as the “Crusaders,” a moniker used by the unit from 1958 to January 2008.

When Marine LtCol William Lieblein took command in 2008, he was concerned the “notion of being a crusader” wouldn’t “float” in Iraq, to which the unit was to be deployed.  He reverted the unit to a World War II era mascot, and they became the “Werewolves.”

The new commander, LtCol Wade “WZL” Wiegel, made the decision with regard to the unit’s 70th anniversary as an act of heritage.

[Wiegel] doesn’t see the nickname as being politically incorrect, and the recent change was made out of deference to the unit’s history.

“It’s a way for our Marines to draw on the service of the Marines before them, and to make their own history under the same name,” [Wiegel] said. “My intent was to return the squadron to the Crusader name since 50 of the squadron’s 70 years were under that name. The name change is a reflection of our heritage.”

VMFA-122 became the “Crusaders” in 1958.  That’s when they transitioned from the FJ-3 Fury to the F-8A Crusader.  (A unit Lieutenant found their new mascot, a small armored knight named Mach Altus, in a second hand shop the next year.)

Michael Weinstein has previously sued the US Air Force because the 523rd Fighter Squadron went by the name “Crusaders.”  He even took credit for the unit closing down, though that decision was made prior to his complaint.  (As noted in his most recent failed lawsuit, he apparently has problems with the linear concept of time.)

Weinstein will likely take issue not only with VMFA-122, but also their sister unit at Beaufort MCAS, VMFA-251.  VMFA-251 transitioned from the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to Lucifer’s Messengers, and finally to the Thunderbolts.

Cue selective outrage from Weinstein in 3, 2…

Also at the Marine Times.