Attack Squadron 204 (VA-204) was established at NAS Memphis, Tennessee on 1 July 1970, flying the A-4C Skyhawk as part of a reorganization intended to increase the combat readiness of the Naval Air Reserve Force. The squadron was assigned to Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20 (CVWR-20). Shortly after transitioning to the A-4E Skyhawk in 1971, the squadron deployed for two weeks with CVWR-20 embarked on the USS John F. Kennedy, a Naval Reserve first.<br />
VA-204 won back to back CVWR-20 Bombing Derbies in 1971 and 1972. In May 1972, the squadron participated in exercise Exotic Dancer V, designed to test multiservice operations under a unified command organization. VA-204 received the CNO annual Safety Award for 1973, in recognition of over 5,000 hours of accident free flying for the year. In 1975, the squadron won the F. Trubee Davison Award as the "Best Tailhook Squadron in the Naval Reserve"