VF-24 Squadron History
VF-24 Fighting Renegades
On December 9th 1975 VF-24 received it's first F-14A Tomcat,
replacing F-8J Crusaders. More F-14's followed and after time to
workup on their new mounts VF-24 conducted their first deployment
onboard USS Constellation (CV-64) from April to November 1977. The
speed with which they mastered their new mount was shown by the fact
that in 1977 VF-24 won the Mutha Trophy, being acknowledged by their
peers as the best Pacific fleet fighter squadron. At this time the
squadron was known as 'Red Checkertails' rather than 'Fighting
Renegades', the name change not occurring until the mid 1980's. The
name change was due to the location of both VF-24 'Red Checkertails'
and VF-211 'Flying Checkmates/Checkertails' as part of the same air
wing. Such similar names could easily cause confusion and so the
dispute was referred to higher authorities. The outcome seems to
suggest VF-24 'lost' the battle to keep their original name, although
VF-211's also became more solidly known as 'Flying Checkmates' rather
than 'Flying Checkertails'.
VF-24 Commanding Officers
From 1978 until 1988 most of VF-24's cruises took place onboard
Constellation, but on at least two occasions the air wing deployed to
other carriers, the USS Ranger (CV-61) for a cruise in 1983-84 and the
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) in 1985. The move to Ranger was due to
Constellation entering refit at Bremerton yards, coming out with F/A-18
capability added. The Ranger cruise was one of the less favoured
cruises, acquiring the nickname "Danger for Death PAC '84" and
resulting in the loss of 11 crewmen. The move from Ranger to Kitty
Hawk was for the same reason. On this cruise one of the F-14's (BuNo.
159593) became the first of it's type to log 3000 flight hours and VF-24
became the first F-14 squadron to be mission capable for 45 days.
|Cdr. P.E. Puch||Jun 55-Feb 57|
|Cdr. D.C. Davis ||Feb 57-May 58|
|Cdr. W.A. Golden||May 58-Mar 59|
|Cdr. R.V. Raehn||Mar 59-Apr 60|
|Cdr. W.D. Emerson||Apr 60-Oct 61|
|Cdr. D.W. Henderson||Oct 61-Oct 62|
|Cdr. W.N. Sims||Oct 62-Sep 63|
|Cdr. G.H. Price||Sep 63-Aug 64|
|Cdr. C.J. Talmadge||Aug 64-Jul 65|
|Cdr. W.J. Post||Jul 65-Jun 66|
|Cdr. R.F. Aslund||Jun 66-Jun 67|
|Cdr. D.J. Ellison||Jun 67-Jul 68|
|Cdr. M.H. Isaacks||Jul 68-Jun 69|
|Cdr. R.J. Cavicke||Jun 69-Jul 70|
|Cdr. B.R. Boland||Jul 70-Jul 71|
|Cdr. J.R. Batzler||Jul 71-Jun 72|
|Cdr. D.P. Morris||Jun 72-Jun 73|
|Cdr. J.B. Nichols III||Jun 73-Nov 74|
|Cdr. J.R. Ruchala||Nov 74-Dec 75|
|Cdr. J.T. Kryway||Dec 75-Apr 76|
|Cdr. J.K. Ready||Apr 76-Jul 77|
|Cdr. J.R. Graffman||Jul 77-Sep 78|
|Cdr. R.M. Vance||Sep 78-Jan 80|
|Cdr. C.R. Brokaw||Jan 80-Apr 81|
|Cdr. W.H. Switzer III||Apr 81-Jul 82|
|Cdr. W.P. Bertsch JR||Jul 82-Oct 83|
|Cdr. D.J. Shewell||Oct 83-Apr 85|
|Cdr. R.J. Naughton||Apr 85-Aug 86|
|Cdr. G.V. Sottile||Aug 86-Dec 87|
|Cdr. J.D. Mcarthur JR||Dec 87-May 89|
|Cdr. T.E. Prendergast||May 89-Dec 90|
|Cdr. W.T. Cook||Dec 90-Mar 92|
|Cdr. T.M. Carson||Mar 92-May 93|
|Cdr. R.E. Adamson III||May 93-Jul 94|
|Cdr. Jason .A. Leaver||Jul 94-22nd Sep 95|
|Cdr. Robert J. Wilson||22nd Sep 95-31st Aug 96|
1988 saw a change of carrier for VF-24 (and the rest of CVW-9),
when the USS Nimtz (CVN-68) shifted from the Atlantic to Pacific fleet.
Another important change began on the 14th of April 1989, when VF-24
received it's first example of the F-14A+ (as it was then termed, now
F-14B), believing it to be an interim variant. This it was to prove to
be, but not quite in the way VF-24 (and many other F-14 squadrons)
imagined. Instead of being an interim variant before upgrading to the
definitive Tomcat, the F-14D, the F-14B's were relinquished by 1992,
having been replaced by F-14A's. This was due to the decision to
terminate F-14D acquisition and re manufacturing and the Navy's
decision to consolidate all F-14B's with Atlantic squadrons, while Pacific
squadrons would operate F-14D's and F-14A's.
As with all Navy F-14 squadrons VF-24 were Bombcat qualified,
carrying "dumb" munitions such as Mk 80 series bombs, Mk20 cluster
munitions, air laid sea mines, TALD surface to air missile decoys and
practice bombs. LGB's could be carried, but had to be designated for by another source.
For all of it's time with the F-14 Tomcat VF-24 was paired with VF-
211 as part of CVW-9. Their last cruise took place in November 1995 to May 1996, onboard
the USS Nimtz (CVN-68). But due to draw downs VF-24 disestablished on
the 31st of August 1996, although the official ceremony had taken place
in late June. This ended 21 years of Tomcat operations. The Rage was over.
Squadron markings were a check on the tail (which resembles an
italicised letter V), with the 'NG' tail code carried towards the top of
the tail in small letters. On most aircraft these marks appear to be in dark grey, however I believe on the boss and CAG birds ("200" &
"201") the check is in red and at times has been carried against an
entirely black tailfin.
Prior to their 1995-96 cruise all of the VF-24 aircraft had markings that simply featured a dark grey check,
except for aircraft '200', which had a black check shadowed in red. During the course of the cruise all
aircraft had red shadowing added to their checks, tailcodes (NG) and nose modex numbers. The '200' aircraft
became even more noticable with a black tail, shadowed in red and NG tailcode highlighted in light grey.
Returning to NAS Miramar for the last few months of existence saw a plethora of different colour schemes in a short space of time.
Aircraft '200' kept the cruise markings. Number '201' gained a black tail, white rudder and 1970's style check and tailcode.
The modex was black, shadowed in red. This aircraft was later to be one of the stars of the 1996 NAS Miramar airshow and was the last VF-24 aircraft,
finally transferring to TOPGUN in summer 1996. Aircraft '206' gained a black tail with check and tailcode in red, while '207' had grey markings with red shadowing for
a short while, but was then repainted to match '206'.
The images below show two completely different forms of VF-24 markings, the first shows
how the squadron first marked its F-14A's. Of note is the 9 surrounded by a circle of colours,
each colour representing a different squadron in CVW-9.
Image Courtesy of Torsten Anft
The second image shows a unique VF-24 desert camoflage scheme, this aircraft was repainted for a VF-24 detatchment
to NAS Fallon in late 1991. The colours on these aircraft, the 'Thief of Baghdad' (below) and 'Camel Smoker' (not shown)
were based upon WWII German desert paint schemes. While at Fallon this aircraft and the rest of the squadron worked
upon air to ground weapons delivery tactics. One month later it was tranferred to an East Coast squadron and was later destroyed in an
accident that sadly cost both crew their lives.
Image Courtesy of Torsten Anft
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[Pacific Fleet Squadron Histories]
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