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A real Marine callsign, Spike with 13th MEU founded the virtual VMFA-531 in 1999 flying Jane's F/A 18. Coyote took the roll as the Executive Officer. We took the name of the Grey Ghosts due to real life deactivation in 1992.
As we all know, real life enters in and Spike was called away to serve overseas leaving Coyote in command and Raptor as the Executive Officer. After a short period waning of virtual Marine Aviators the Ghosts stood down with Raptor in command and Batman as the Executive Officer.
Two months passed as Gator was on leave, he returned to find that the squadron was in a stand down. Coyote was contacted by Gator and asked if like the Phoenix, the Virtual VMFA-531 could be raised from the ashes and fly once more. Coyote's reply, Hell yes! And with that, on November 10th 2000 the Virtual VMFA-531 began to fly once more.
In the 6th year as a virtual Marine squadron, the Ghosts looked back on it's real history and began to train in the Helldiver and F-4 Phantom utilizing Strike Fighters: Wings Over Vietnam, Pacific Fighters.
The 6 years of success of our online squadron doesn't go to any one person in it, but to the group acting as one, a team so to speak...That group throughout the years has grown to be one of the finest flying squadrons there is. Our numbers averaged around fifteen to twenty active pilots at any given time.
Aviators come and some go but the core element of the Virtual 5 3 1 has remained with Gator as the Commanding Officer and now Ghost as the Executive Officer.
Between entering the 7th to 11th year, our virtual pilots are in some way contributing towards the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. With Gator leaving the ranks as well as many others, the Virtual 5 3 1 is coming close to decomissioning once again. To all virtual pilots who see this history, be known that we are always looking for new members willing to take on the roll to commissioning the VMFA-531 once again.
We'd like to hope that our virtual existence flying as the Grey Ghosts of the VMFA-531 honor those that came before us in the real world.