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GUESTBOOK

Copyright 1997
the
VF Project Team

VF-24 FIGHTING RENEGADES

Command History

  • Fighter Squadron 24 was originally commissioned as the VF-211 "Red Checkertails" in June 1955. Flying the FJ-3 Fury out of NAS Moffett Field, California, the squadron completed just one cruise aboard the USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31) before transitioning to F-8U Crusaders in 1957.
  • Then on 9 March 1959, the squadron exchanged numerical designations with their sister squadron and became the VF-24 "Red Checkertails."
  • After four cruises on board the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41), the squadron shifted to the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) and Air Wing 21 in 1964 and began seeing extensive action in the Vietnam War. Cruising to Yankee Station, they were one of the Navy's first "Ace" squadrons. On 19 May 1967, LCDR Bobby C. Lee and LT Phillip R. Wood each shot down a MiG-17, each using an AIM-9 Sidewinder. Two months later, on 21 July, XO CDR Marion H. "Red" Isaacks, LCDR Robert L. Kirkwood, and LTJG Phil Dempewolf all downed MiG- 17's on a Combat Air Patrol.
  • After nine combat cruises to Vietnam, the squadron returned in 1975 from Operation FREQUENT WIND, covering the American pullout from Vietnam.
  • The Checkertails then transitioned to the F-14A, receiving their first aircraft on December 9 of that year. They mastered the Tomcat quickly, and in 1977 became the first F-14 squadron to win the coveted "Mutha" Trophy, awarded annually to the most spirited Pacific Fleet flighter squadron.
  • From 1977 to 1981 the squadron deployed four times aboard the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) as part of Carrier Air Wing Nine and in August 1979 the squadron changed its name once again, becoming the VF-24 "Fighting Renegades".
  • During the 1980 cruise, the Renegades participated in Operation EAGLE CLAW, the tragic attempt to rescue the US hostages held by Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. This four-year period also saw VF-24 win its second consecutive "Mutha" Trophy, the Admiral Joseph Clifton Award for operational excellence, the Battle 'E' Award (1978), the CNO Aviation Safety Award(1980), two Sea Service Deployment Awards and they completed over 22,000 mishap-free flight hours.
  • VF-24 and CVW-9 were reassigned to the USS RANGER (CV-61) in 1983 and deployed as part of Battle Group ECHO to Central America and the Indian Ocean. The RANGER's 122-day line period was the longest to date for a conventional-powered aircraft carrier.
  • In August 1984, the Renegades and Air Wing Nine became part of Battle Group BRAVO, deploying aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean in 1985.
  • In April 1986, VF-24 was called upon to execute Operation COYOTE. This involved positioning four fully mission capable F-14's as well as 150 maintenance personnel and all required spare parts over 2,000 miles away within 48 hours of notification. The Renegades completed the journey to Adak, Alaska in less than 30 hours. The operation continued for seven days and the Renegades executed numerous long-range intercepts of Soviet reconnaissance aircraft while enduring the difficult flight conditions of Alaskan airspace.
  • VF-24 deployed in January 1987 aboard the USS KITTY HAWK for a six month around-the-world cruise, the KITTY HAWK's last before entering SLEP.
  • Then in September 1988 the Renegades cruised aboard the USS NIMITZ (CVN- 68) to the Northern and Western Pacific, being an integral part of the 1988 Seoul Olympics as part of Battle Group BRAVO's Operation OLYMPIC PRESENCE. Next, they helped escort and protect tankers in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation EARNEST WILL. The squadron also participated in exercises with the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) and the Singapore, Malaysian and Royal Thai Air Forces. To top off 1988, the Renegades received the CNO Aviation Safety Award for the second time in three years.
  • In April 1989, the Renegades became one of the first Pacific Fleet squadrons to receive the new F-14B with improved GE F110 engines, providing more thrust and better stall resistance. The Renegades tested their new aircraft in some very harsh territory, spending June of that year in the Bering Strait aboard the NIMITZ as part of NORPAC '89. The squadron also captured the 1989 Boola Boola award, which goes to the Pacific Fleet's most proficient missile shooters.
  • August 1990 saw the Renegades again setting the pace for the fleet, becoming the first fleet F-14 squadron to drop air-to-ground ordnance, dropping four Mk 84 two thousand-pound bombs, and signifying a new age and an emerging new role for the F-14.
  • The Renegades deployed again in February 1991 and they arrived in the Persian Gulf in time to participate in post-DESERT STORM and Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, flying over the still dangerous territory of Iraq. In June of 1991, the Renegades completed over nine years and 36,000 hours of mishap-free flying, a Pacific Fleet fighter squadron record.
  • In 1992 the Renegades transitioned back to flying F-14A's, as all F- 14B's were centralized in NAS Oceana, Virginia. The squadron exercised their familiar steeds in an aggressive turnaround cycle, participating in RED FLAG, QUICK FORCE and ROVING SANDS '92.
  • The Renegades went back to the Persian Gulf in 1993 to participate in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, enforcing the "no-fly" zone over Southern Iraq and flying over 800 combat sorties and 1300 flight hours. The squadron also covered the American forces in Somalia and executed detachments to Qatar and Bahrain.
  • Upon returning, VF-24 kept up the pace with CORONET SENTRY '94, two CQ detachments aboard the USS KITTY HAWK and winning 1994's Fighter Derby. The squadron also visited Nellis AFB twice to provide support for RED FLAG and the USAF Fighter Weapons School, as well as ROVING SANDS '94.
  • After spending most of 1995 in workups, the Renegades departed San Diego on December 1st aboard the USS NIMITZ for their last WestPac. In January the Renegades participated in Exercise INSPIRED ALERT with the Pakistan Air Force, performing multiple ACM engagements and defending the NIMITZ against simulated air attacks. Two weeks later the Renegades were once again in the Persian Gulf, flying missions in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH over Southern Iraq. This time,
    however, the Renegades and the NIMITZ were called out of the Gulf to move to the South China Sea to be a stabilizing influence as Taiwan experienced its first free democratic election. Finally, the NIMITZ/Air Wing NINE team steamed home, returning triumphantly to waiting friends and family in mid-May.
  • After returning, the Renegades continued to fly training missions to maintain aircrew proficiency, including a deck certification of the USS CONSTELLATION and a detachment to Nellis AFB, Nevada. The Renegades continued flying until mid-August, and officially distestablished on 31 August 1996. The personnel rotated to other commands and the squadron slowly transferred their jets until VF-24 finally became a part of Naval Aviation history.
  • The squadron may disestablish, but the Renegade spirit will never die.

RAGE ON!!


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