VF-211 Insignia Courtesy of Darryl Shaw
VF-211's origins trace back to VB-74, which was established upon the
1st of May 1945. The squadron acquired it's present designation on the
9th of March 1959. Before receiving the F-14A Tomcat VF-211 flew the
Navy's last all gun fighter, the famous F-8J Crusader, becoming widely
known due to their attractive and visible markings. However, the
Crusader's days were number after the 23rd of December 1975, when
VF-211 made it's maiden flight in the, at that time, brand new and
highly advanced F-14A. VF-211 was the ninth squadron to receive the
F-14A, following VF-124, VF-1, VF-2, VF-14, VF-32, VF-142, VF-143,
and VF-114. Within six months VF-211 was flying the F-14A in that most
difficult of Navy arts: carrier landings, the first taking place on the
USS Constellation (CV-64) in June of 1976. The squadron's first cruise
(with VF-24 as part of CVW-9) was also on board Constellation,
beginning in April of 1977. Regular cruises on board Constellation
followed, until in October 1980 VF-211 was selected to pick up the
reconnaissance mission, with the "interim" TARPS pod. The original
plans envisaged the introduction of a recon version of the F/A-18
Hornet within a few years, but VF-211 (and the rest of the F-14
community) are still performing this vital mission today.
July of 1983 saw the first cruise on board another carrier, as CVW-9 shifted to the USS Ranger (CV-61), due to the USS Constellation going into the Naval Shipyard at Bremerton to have a refit and update that would install the F/A-18 avionics and maintenance areas. VF-211 shifted again in 1985, this time to the USS Kitty Hawk so that Ranger could have the F/A-18 update. The Kitty Hawk cruise lasted from July to December of 1985. After this cruise VF-211 renewed it's association with the Constellation, then in early 1987 moved to the Kitty Hawk again, being aboard from January to June 1987. Following this cruise the whole of CVW-9 moved to the USS Nimtz (CVN-68), newly transferred from the Atlantic fleet.
In 1986 VF-211 took part in trials of experimental water based camouflage schemes, painting at least four aircraft in temporary schemes that consisted of browns and greys, three different shades of each colour being used. These paint schemes were found to weather fairly quickly and on different aircraft the underlying TPS greys and squadron markings could be seen to differing extents. The paint took around four hours to apply and ten to remove, resulting in some of the most interesting F-14 schemes to date.
VF-211 Insignia Courtesy of LCDR Dave Baranek
In this second image the white has gone from the camouflage and the tailcode has reduced in size. Later changes would see the red, white and blue tail markings replaced with grey, as would be the blue canopy hood and the red underfuselage strake.
From the time we began flying Tomcats in 1975, the Fighting Checkmates painted our aircraft
tails with checkerboard rudders, horizontal stripes at top and bottom of rudders, and the air
wing letters, NG. Around the canopy we painted a dark anti-glare panel, known as a "bandit
stripe." Several people have asked about recently seen changes, so I offer the following
In July 1996, outgoing Commanding Officer CDR Gerry Beaman announced at his change of command that he was adding a "check-mark" to the center of the tail. This served two purposes:
Honored the soon-to-decommission Fighting Renegades of VF-24, long-time sister squadron of VF-211. Many VF-24 personnel joined VF-211 to complete their prescribed sea duty. VF-24 decommissioned in August 1996.
Recalled one of the tail designs VF-211 had used while flying F-8 Crusaders in the 1960s.
Each squadron was allowed to paint 2 aircraft in color. On these aircraft the check-mark was red, outlined in dark blue; the horizontal stripes were red, white, and dark blue; rudder checkerboards were red and white. The bandit stripe was dark blue. On the remainder of our aircraft, the markings were dark gray. We painted NG100 and NG101 in color; some photos show other side numbers in color, since side numbers occasionally changed as aircraft were transferred in or out of the squadron.
The next C.O., CDR J. D. Oliver, did not change the tail design during his tour as C.O.
Shortly after I became C.O. in August 1997 we went on deployment. In September I directed that the check-mark be removed, so the design reverted to VF-211ís traditional Tomcat design. Since the squadron was deployed during the Christmas Holidays, we painted a Christmas-theme design on the tails of NG101. During the 1995-96 deployment this had been "the Grinch" cartoon character. For 1997-98, it was the character from squadron logo, dressed in a Santa Claus suit. Noting the high quality of this tail design (applied by AMSAN Mike Kreisher, under the supervision of AMS1 Patricia Shannon), I directed that the character from the squadron logo be applied to NG101ís tails upon return from deployment.
In March 1998 COMFIT-WINGLANT further standardized paint schemes on Tomcats, eliminating anti-glare panels and limiting squadrons to painting one aircraft in color. Many squadrons painted their "CAG bird" in color, but I had my jet (NG101) painted in color, with the logo character.
CDR David Baranek, USN
|BuNo.||Modex (late 96)||Modex (20/05/98)|
[Main Page] [F-14A] [F-14B] [F-14D] [Tomcat 21] [Atlantic Fleet Squadron Histories] [Pacific Fleet Squadron Histories] [F-14A Images] [F-14B Images] [F-14D Images] [F-14 Model Kits] [US Navy Air Wings] [A-6 images]