June 1955 - 31 August 1996
Fighter Squadron 24 was originally commissioned as Fighter Squadron 211 in June 1955 at NAS Moffett Field. Flying hte FJ-3 Fury, the squadron deployed aboard USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). In 1957 the squadron transitioned to the F8U Crusader, and on 9 March 1959 was redesignated Fighter Squadron 24. Making deployments to the Western Pacific aboard USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) and USS Hancock (CVA-19) from 1959 to 1975, the squadron earned the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation (2 awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation (5 awards), Battle Efficiency Award (1972), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3 awards), and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
On 19 May 1967, while deployed aboard USS Bon Homme Richard as part of CVW-21, LCDR Bobby C. Lee and Lt Phillip R. Wood became the first VF-24 pilots to shoot down MiG aircraft over North Vietnam. Both MiGs were downed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. On 21 July 1967, CDR Marion H. Issacks (XO) and LCDR Robert L. Kirkwood scored the 3rd and 4th MiG kills for VF-24 with 20 mm guns and Sidewinder missiles. Ltjg Philip W. Depewolf scored a probable kill. The Fighting Renegades established their reputation early as MiG Killers by becoming one of the Navy's first "Ace" squadrons.
In 1975, VF-24 made it's last F-8 Crusader cruise aboard USS Hancock and upon return to San Diego, transitioned to the F-14A Tomcat and received their first aircraft on 9 December 1975. In March 1977, VF-24 became the first F-14 squadron to win the coveted Mutha Trophy, presented annually to the best Pacific Fleet Fighter Squadron. In 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981 the squadron deployed to the Western Pacific aboard USS Constellation as part of CVW-9. During this period the squadron won it's second consecutive Mutha Award, the Admiral Joseph Clifton Award, the Battle Efficiency "E" (1978), the CNO Aviation Safety Award (1980), 2 Sea Service Deployment Awards and completed over six years and 22,000 flight hours accident free.
VF-24 and CVW-9 were reassigned to USS Ranger and deployed in July 1983 as part of Battle Group ECHO. This deployment was highlighted by Central American operations and a 122 day WestPac and Indian Ocean line period, the longest for any conventional powered aircraft carrier. In August 1984, VF-24 and CVW-9 were again reassigned, this time to USS Kitty Hawk as part of Battle Group BRAVO, completing a WestPac/Indina Ocean cruise in December 1985.
In April 1986, VF-24 was called upon to execute Operation Coyote which involved positioning four fully mission capable F-14A aircrat, accompanying aircrew and over 150 maintenance personnell and necessary spare parts over 2,000 miles away within 46 hours. From the time of execute order to go, aircraft were on deck in Adak, Alaska in less than 30 hours. This fast paced, strategically significant mission continued for seven days, despite limited command and control assets and an extremely difficult environment at Adak. Mission intercepts, employing innovative planning and tactics, of Soviet reconnaissance aircraft were well beyond expected range and were determined to be an overwhelming success.
In October 1986, the Fighting Renegades surpassed the 3 years FOD free mark; an accomplishment no other F-14 fighter squadron had attained.
VF-24 deployed in January 1987, aboard USS Kitty Hawk for a six month around the world cruise. The Fighting Renegades were awarded the 1986 CNO Aviation Safety Award, completed over 20,500 mishap free flight hours, achieved a record setting 97 consecutive days Full Mission Capable aircraft readiness, initiated air-to-air banner gunnery launches from the deck of USS Kitty Hawk and completed it's 3rd consecutive FOD free cruise. Upon returning to Miramar, VF-24 was again selected to deploy to Adak, Alaska for their second Operation Coyote mission. VF-24 was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation and Navy Expeditionary Medal for the 1987 deployment.
The Renegades kept busy during 1988, spending over 70% of the year deployed. For the first time, VF-24 and CVW-9 joined USS Nimitz, which immediately formed a highly capable combat team. Numerous detachments, many of which were embarked, were used to hone the skills of aircrews and technicians.
In September 1988 the squadron began a 6 month deployment to the Northern and Western Pacific, and Indian Oceans. The squadron was an integral part of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games during Battle Groups BRAVO's operation "Olympic Presence", as well as Passing Exercises with USS Midway, and the Singapore, Malaysian and Royal Thai Air Forces.
Concluding a great year, the Renegades received the 1988 CNO Aviation Safety Award for the 2nd time in three years and the 3rd time in history.
VF-24 in April 1989, was one of the 1st 2 Pacific Fleet Fighter Sqaudrons to accept the new and much improved F-14B aircraft.
VF-24 deployed in June 1989, aboard USS Nimitz for amonth long operation in the Bering Straits. NORPAC 89 was a strategically significant mission demonstrating the Air Wing's capability of flying in an extremely difficult environment at Adak. Upon arrival in San Diego, the Renegades began transitioning to the F-14B with 11 months of ACM detachments.
In August 1990, VF-24 achieved a significant milestone in the history of Naval Aviation as it became the first Fleet F-14 squadron to drop air-to-ground ordnance.
Septermber 1990 marked the beginning of the Renegades' deployment training as VF-24 led the first air-to-ground strikes during Integrated Air Wing Training at NAS Fallon.
In November 1990, the Renegades began carrier operations in preparation for deployment. Upon completion of Battle Group BRAVO training exercise in January 1991, the Renegades began WESTPAC 1991 aboard USS Nimitz with CVW-9 enroute to the Persoan Gulf in February 1991. The Renegades became one of only 2 west coast squadrons to deploy in the F-14B. VF-24 began flying missions in Iraq and Kuwait in April 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort. The Renegades concurrentyl participated in ACM detachments to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
In June 1991, the fighting Renegades completed over nine years and 36,000 flight hours mishap free, a west coast fighter squadron record.
After returning to NAS Miramar in August 1991, the Renegades participated in Fleet Week '91 aboard USS Nimith in October 1991.
The Fighting Renegades began an aggressive turnaround cycle by participating in Red Flag at Nellis AFB in February 1992. VF-24 flew sorties as "red air" against a coordinated multi-national strike team.
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.
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