VF-1 Squadron History

VF-1 Squadron Patch

VF-1 Insignia Courtesy of Darryl Shaw

VF-1 Wolfpack
Base:NAS Miramar

Listing of F-14's Assigned to VF-1

Established on the 14th of October 1972 at NAS Miramar, at the same time as VF-2, the squadron received it's first F-14As on 1st July 1973. Squadron markings take the form of a stylised wolf's head, either red (for the CAG and boss bird) or low vis grey.
The squadron made the first Tomcat cruise on USS Enterprise (CVN-65) from September 1974. The end of this cruise saw the Tomcat's conflict debut, as VF-1 and VF-2 flew air patrols over Saigon in April 1975 to cover the final evacuation of US personnel.
During 1976 and 1977 VF-1 (along with VF-2) took part in trials of prospective new camouflage schemes for the Tomcat. While I am unsure as to how many aircraft were actually repainted, one I definitely know about is BuNo. 158979, at the time VF-1's CAG bird. The scheme was devised by aviation artist Keith Ferris in an attempt to break up the aircraft outline. Due to it's look it became known as "splinter" scheme. While it was originally intended to make the aircraft less visible, I believe that trials showed it to have the opposite effect, the sharp edges and high contrast in the pattern actually making aircraft more visible! The colours used were dark grey, FS36118, on the top and tails, with a medium grey, FS36231, on the top and bottom surfaces. The remainder of the aircraft, the sides and areas of top and bottom, were painted in a mix of light grey, FS16440 (90%), and white, FS17875 (10%). An image of the colour scheme can be seen below.

Image Courtesy of Torsten Anft

VF-1 then changed from CVW-14 to CVW-2, entailing a move of carrier to the USS Ranger (CV-61) in September 1980. The squadron flew several successful cruises then shifted to USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) for a single cruise in 1984. In 1984 VF-1 achieved the impressive total of 22,000 hours of flying without accident. By 1986 VF-1 had returned to Ranger and was still with the carrier when she participated in Desert Storm in 1991. A plane from the squadron scored the F-14's only air to air kill of the war when NE-103 (BuNo.162603) shot down an Iraqi Mil Mi-8 Hip using an AIM-9 Sidewinder.
With the decommissioning of Ranger in 1993 the squadron was left without a carrier assignment and so operated out of NAS Miramar. I believe at one point the squadron was due to convert to the F-14D Super Tomcat, however, due to a lack of airframes and the Navy's decision to reduce the number of F-14 squadrons per carrier from two to one, VF-1 was disestablished on the 1st October 1993.
Traditionally VF-1's markings have been very colourful, reflecting the Wolfpack theme strongly. Below can be seen an image of their CAG aircraft in an early, full colour scheme. At this time the tailcode was carried on the inside of the vertical tails. The later low vis schemes removed almost all of the colour, until in the end all that was left was the wolf's head on the tail in low vis grey. At times the tailcode was carried behind the wolf's head, between the horizontal lines on the outisde of the tail, while other periods saw it shifted to the more usual inside tail position.

Image Courtesy of Torsten Anft

Click for a higher resolution image.
VF-1 CAG bird for CVW-14 assigned to the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in the late 70s.
Image Copyright Jamie R. Wilcox

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