VAW-121 was created out of "super squadron" VAW-12 on 1 April 1967. Flying the E-1B Tracer until the mid-1970s, VAW-121 transitioned to the new E-2C in July of 1975. In 1978, VAW-121 made its first deployment as part of CVW-7 on the newly commissioned USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69). During this period, VAW-121 changed its squadron call sign from “GRIFFIN” to “BLUETAIL” and adopted the unique tail design that you see today.
Over the years, the BLUETAILS have also served aboard the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CVN 67), USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73), and USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) and have served with distinction in actions from Bosnia and Kosovo to Partnership in the Americas, as well as Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. Additionally, VAW-121 provided critical support to recovery efforts during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and conducted several multi-national deployments and exercises from 2006 to 2008. In 2009 and 2010, the BLUETAILS deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69). In 2014 VAW-121 became the second fleet squadron to transition to the Navy’s newest command and control platform, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The BLUEAILS then deployed in 2017 aboard the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE as the first E-2 squadron to conduct combat DCA since 1991.
The squadron joined CVW-7 in February of 2018 and conducted advanced training events in Key West, Florida and Fallon, Nevada before completing an around-the-world deployment from April 2019 to January 2020 aboard USS ABRAHAM LICNOLN (CVN 72). This deployment turned into the longest nuclear-powered carrier deployment since the Vietnam War era, with the BLUETAILS flying missions in the North Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of OPERATION SENTINEL.