VF-24 Squadron History

VF-24 Squadron Patch

VF-24 Insignia Courtesy of Darryl Shaw

VF-24 Fighting Renegades
Base:NAS Miramar

VF-24 Webpage(Unofficial)

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
Cdr. P.E. PuchJun 55-Feb 57
Cdr. D.C. Davis Feb 57-May 58
Cdr. W.A. GoldenMay 58-Mar 59
Cdr. R.V. RaehnMar 59-Apr 60
Cdr. W.D. EmersonApr 60-Oct 61
Cdr. D.W. HendersonOct 61-Oct 62
Cdr. W.N. SimsOct 62-Sep 63
Cdr. G.H. PriceSep 63-Aug 64
Cdr. C.J. TalmadgeAug 64-Jul 65
Cdr. W.J. PostJul 65-Jun 66
Cdr. R.F. AslundJun 66-Jun 67
Cdr. D.J. EllisonJun 67-Jul 68
Cdr. M.H. IsaacksJul 68-Jun 69
Cdr. R.J. CavickeJun 69-Jul 70
Cdr. B.R. BolandJul 70-Jul 71
Cdr. J.R. BatzlerJul 71-Jun 72
Cdr. D.P. MorrisJun 72-Jun 73
Cdr. J.B. Nichols IIIJun 73-Nov 74
Cdr. J.R. RuchalaNov 74-Dec 75
Cdr. J.T. KrywayDec 75-Apr 76
Cdr. J.K. ReadyApr 76-Jul 77
Cdr. J.R. GraffmanJul 77-Sep 78
Cdr. R.M. VanceSep 78-Jan 80
Cdr. C.R. BrokawJan 80-Apr 81
Cdr. W.H. Switzer IIIApr 81-Jul 82
Cdr. W.P. Bertsch JRJul 82-Oct 83
Cdr. D.J. ShewellOct 83-Apr 85
Cdr. R.J. NaughtonApr 85-Aug 86
Cdr. G.V. SottileAug 86-Dec 87
Cdr. J.D. Mcarthur JRDec 87-May 89
Cdr. T.E. PrendergastMay 89-Dec 90
Cdr. W.T. CookDec 90-Mar 92
Cdr. T.M. CarsonMar 92-May 93
Cdr. R.E. Adamson IIIMay 93-Jul 94
Cdr. Jason .A. LeaverJul 94-22nd Sep 95
Cdr. Robert J. Wilson22nd Sep 95-31st Aug 96
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.
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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