VA-176 was established on 4 June 1955 and equipped with the Douglas AD-6 Skyraider and assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. A year later the first deployment followed on board the aircraft carrier USS Randolph (CVA-15) to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Air Task Group Two (ATG-2). In 1958 the squadron was assigned to Carrier Air Group 17 (CVG-17), but was not deployed as CVG-17 was disbanded. The next curise in 1959/60 was aboard the USS Essex (CVA-9) as part of CVG-10. In November and December 1960 VA-176 was assigned to Carrier Anti-submarine Air Group 52 (CVSG-52) aboard the USS Wasp (CVS-18). After this short deployment VA-176 returned to CVW-10 and made three deployments to the Mediterranean Sea with the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) between 1962 and 1965.