Fighter Squadron 21 (FITRON 21)

VF-21 ĎFreelancersí

 

vf-21 freelancers crest insignia patch badge fighter squadron fitron us navy

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron fitron us navy f-14 tomcat aim-54 phoenix missile

 

STATUS:

established as VF-81 Free Lancers on March 2, 1944
VF-81 redesignated VF-13A on November 15, 1946
VF-13A redesignated VF-131 on August 2, 1948
VF-131 redesignated VF-64 on February 15, 1950

VF-64 redesignated VF-21 on July 1, 1959
disestablished on January 31, 1996

AIRCRAFT:

McDonnell F3H-2 Demon (1959-62)
McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II (1963-68)

McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1968-80)

McDonnell Douglas F-4N Phantom II (1980-83)
Grumman F-14A Tomcat (1984-96)

 

 

DEPLOYMENTS:

August 1959 - March 1960 with CVG-2 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

February 1961 - September 1961 with CVG-2 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

April 1962 - October 1962 with CVG-2 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

November 1963 - May 1964 with CVG-2 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

March 1965 - November 1965 with CVW-2 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

July 1966 - February 1967 with CVW-2 aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA 43)

September 1967 - October 1967 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

November 1967 - May 1968 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

October 1968 - May 1969 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

October 1969 - June 1970 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

October 1970 - June 1971 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

November 1972 - June 1973 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

May 1974 - October 1974 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CVA 61)

January 1976 - September 1976 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CV 61)

January 1979 - September 1979 with CVW-2 aboard USS Ranger (CV 61)

May 1981 - June 1981 with CVW-14 aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43)

August 1981 - March 1982 with CVW-14 aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43)

March 1983 - September 1983 with CVW-14 aboard USS Coral Sea (CV 43)

February 1985 - August 1985 with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64)

September 1984 - October 1986 with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64)

April 1987 - October 1987 with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64)

December 1988 - June 1989 with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64)

September 1989 - October 1989 with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64)

June 1990 - December 1990 with CVW-14 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

August 1991 with CVW-14 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

August 1991 - November 1991 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

April 1992 - October 1992 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

February 1993 - March 1993 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

May 1993 - July 1993 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

November 1993 - March 1994 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

July 1994 - August 1994 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

August 1995 - November 1995 with CVW-5 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

 

images

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron fitron f-14a tomcat carrier air wing cvw-5 uss independence cv 62

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1992

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1992

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-14 tomcat 1992

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-5) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1992

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-14a tomcat carrier air wing cvw-14 uss independence cv 62

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1991

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - Operation Desert Shield 1990

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron 1990

1990 - (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1990

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-14a tomcat uss constellation cv 64 cvw-14

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1988

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1988

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1987

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-14 tomcat cvw-14 uss constellation cv 64

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1986

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1986

 

vf-21 freelancers f-14 tomcat aim-54 phoenix missile

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) launches a AIM-54 Phoenix AAM - 1985-89

 

F-14A Tomcats (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - March 1985

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1984

 

F-14A Tomcats (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1984

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1984

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Constellation (CV 64) - 1984

 

fitron two one vf-21 freelancers

F-14A Tomcat (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1984

 

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-4n phantom II carrier air wing cvw-14 uss coral sea cv 43

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1983 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

vf-21 freelancers carrier air wing cvw-14 uss coral sea cv 43

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1983 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1983 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1983 (NNAM)

 

f-4n phantom vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron 1982

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1982 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 fighter squadron freelancers aircrew 1982 uss coral sea cv 43

VF-21 embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1982 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1982 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1982 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1982 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-4n phantom uss coral sea cv 43 aircrew

aircrew of VF-21 embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - circa 1982 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-4n phantom uss coral sea cv 43

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981

 

mcdonnell douglas f-4n phantom vf-21 freelancers

F-4N Phantom IIís (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

f-4n phantom ii vf-21 fighter squadron

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-4n phantom uss coral sea cv 43

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers carrier air wing cvw-14 uss coral sea cv 43

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-4n phantom cvw-14

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - 1981 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4n phantom san diego

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) over San Diego - 1980/81 (NNAM)

 

F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) was refueled by a KA-6 Intruder - 1980ís (NNAM)

 

11 F-4N Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1980/81 (NNAM)

 

aircrew of VF-21 - circa 1980 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4s phantom uss coral sea cv 43

F-4S Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f-4j phantom carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ranger cv 61

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-14) - 1979 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4j phantom sovjet tupolev tu-95 bear

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) with a Sovjet Tupolev Tu-95 Bear - 1970ís (NNAM)

 

f-4j phantom vf-21 freelancers

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers cvw-2 uss ranger cv 61

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1978 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1977 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron cvw-2 uss ranger cv 61 san diego

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) over San Diego - 1970ís (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1975 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1975 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1975 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ranger cv 61

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CV 61) - 1975 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers carrier air wing cvw-2 uss ranger cv 61 f-4j phantom

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4j phantom cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1974 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1973 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1973 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) with two USAF F-102 Delta Daggers - 1973 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1972 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1972 (NNAM)

 

comcarairwing 2 f-4j phantom vf-21

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1972 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-4j phantom cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) over USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1972 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1971

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) Oahu, Hawaii - 1971 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1971 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1970ís (NNAM)

 

f-4j phantom vf-21 vf-154 cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

F-4J Phantom IIís (VF-21 + VF-154 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1970

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1970 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1970 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4j phantom yokosuka japan

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - Yokosuka, Japan 1970 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - Yokosuka, Japan 1970 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1970 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4j phantom aim-7 sparrow missile

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) launches an AIM-7 Sparrow missile - circa 1970 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1968/69 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1968 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1968 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1968 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f-4b phantom cvw-2 uss ranger cva 61

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1968 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Ranger (CVA 61) - 1967 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4b phantom carrier air wing cvw-2 uss coral sea cva 43

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) - 1966/67 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) - 1966/67 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) - 1966/67 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) - 1966/67 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1966 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers f-4b phantom cvw-2 uss midway cva 41 vietnam war

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - Vietnam war - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - Vietnam war - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - Vietnam war - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1965 (NNAM)

 

f-4b phantom vf-21 freelancers uss midway cva 41 aim-9 sidewinder aim-7 sparrow aam missiles

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1965 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom IIís (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1960ís (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers carrier air wing cvw-2 uss midway cva 41 f-4b phantom

F-4B Phantom IIís (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1960ís (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom IIís (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1964

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1964 (NNAM)

 

F-4B Phantom II (VF-21 / CVW-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) releases an AQM-37A target drone - 1964 (NNAM)

 

personnel of VF-21 - 1964 (NNAM)

 

 

vf-21 freelancers fighter squadron f3h-2 demon carrier air group cvg-2 uss midway cva 41

F3H-2 Demon (VF-21 / CVG-2) after an emergency barricade landing on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1962 (NNAM)

 

F3H-2 Demon (VF-21 / CVG-2) after an emergency barricade landing on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1962

 

F3H-2 Demon (VF-21 / CVG-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1962 (NNAM)

 

fighter squadron vf-21 freelancers f3h-2 demon uss midway cva 41 cvg-2

F3H-2 Demon (VF-21 / CVG-2) embarked on USS Midway (CVA 41) - 1960 (NNAM)

 

F3H-2 Demon (VF-21 / CVG-2 / CVA 41) refueling from an USAF KB-50J Superfortress - 1960 (NNAM)

 

vf-21 freelancers t-28b trojan

T-28B Trojan training aircraft assigned to VF-21 - 1959 (NNAM)

 

 

history

VF-21 Freelancers was the third US Navy fighter squadron to be designated VF-21. The first was VGS-11, which was established in 1942, redesignated VF-21 in 1944 and disestablished in 1945. The second VF-21 was established in 1945 as VF-74A and became VF-21 in 1948. This squadron became attack squadron VA-43 Challengers on 1 July 1959, and VF-43 in 1973. It was disestablished in 1994.

VF-21 Freelancers was first established in 1944 as VF-81. In 1946 it became VF-13A, in 1948 VF-131. In 1950 it was again redesignated VF-64. The squadron was then reformed at Alameda, California on 1 July 1959 when VF-64 was redesignated as part of the United States Navy to ďtidy-upĒ the Carrier Air Groups. Operational control was given to Carrier Air Group 2 and VF-21 was part of Carrier Air Group 2 for the next 20 years. The VF-21 embarked on its major deployment with the McDonnell F3H-2 Demon on USS Midway (CV-41) in mid-1958. In June 1961 VF-21 was reassigned to Miramar. It was here VF-21 transitioned to the F-4 Phantom in 1963 and between November of that year to March 1964 it would be the last peace-time cruise for the next 10 years.

VF-21 returned to sea in March 1965 and were bound for the Vietnam war and VF-21's first aerial victories would be the first confirmed kills achieved by a U.S. Navy fighter squadron during the course of that long conflict. On June 17, 1965 Commander Louis Page and Lieutenant John Smith destroyed a MiG-17 with an AIM-7 Sparrow and moments later Lieutenant Jack Batson, jr and Lieutenant Commander Robert Doremus destroyed another MiG-17 with an Sparrow missile. VF-21 made six further deployments to the war zone aboard the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) and USS Ranger (CVA-61) between 1966 and 1973. In 1968 VF-21 upgraded to the F-4J and continued to operate this model until 1979.

Some important changes were faced by VF-21 in the end of the 1970s. By December 1979 VF-21 was re-equipped with the F-4S, but it was decided that the F-4S was not ideally suited to be used from the USS Coral Sea which VF-21 would deploy on the next cruise, and instead VF-21 deployed with the less effective F-4N which it was decided better suited for the Coral Sea. CVW-14 assigned control over VF-21 and the squadron returned to sea in 1981, spending seven months in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. A new deployment followed in 1983, where VF-21 was one of several squadrons that took part in the Coral Seaīs world cruise of that year which culminated in a change of fleet assignment to conduct operations in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The 1983 tour was also noteworthy in that it marked the last occasion on which US Navy 'Phantoms' were to deploy from a US base, VF-21 joining with sister squadron (VF-154, the Black Knights) in a nostalgic and impressive final "fly-in" to Miramar in mid-September. Although this was not the end of the F-4, some aircraft lingered on until November 4, VF-21 hosted a ceremony which honored "the end of an era" for the F-4 in fleet operations, VF-21 and VF-154 were the last US based squadrons to fly F-4s (although there were two forward deployed squadrons continued to operate the F-4). VF-21 now transitioned to the F-14 Tomcat, the process was managed by VF-124 and it was not until later half of 1984 that VF-21 was declared fully operational, the first cruise was with CVW-14 aboard USS Constellation (CV-64) in early 1985. A significant cruise for VF-21, this cruise was more memorable as the debut of the F/A-18 Hornet.

In 1987, VF-21 launched AIM-7 Sparrow missiles against an Iranian F-4 that had engaged a P-3 Orion in the Persian Gulf.

A number of cruises followed until 1990 when the squadron, with the rest of its air wing, moved to the USS Independence (CV-62). The carrier was the first to reach the Persian Gulf in response to Iraqís invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. VF-21 arrived on station in the Persian Gulf on August 5, 1990 and was part of the Carrier Group that was America's "First Response" to Iraq's August 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As Iraq prepared to cross over the Saudi border a 20-30 plane strike force launched from the USS Independence to stop Iraq's aggression. As a result the Iraq military stopped at the Saudi border. From here VF 21 maintained Combat Air Patrol "CAP" missions during the build up of the U.S. Forces to liberate Kuwait, this operation was known as "Desert Shield". However, the squadron (part the USS Independence battle group) was relieved on station by the Ranger and Midway Carrier battle groups at the onset of "Desert Storm". General Norman Schwarzkopf flew aboard the USS Independence to command the battle group; CBS Anchor Dan Rather reported from the USS Independence Flight Deck. VF 21 returned aboard the USS Independence to establish "Operation Southern Watch" immediately after Desert Storm.

In August 1991 the squadron moved to Japan, when USS Independence took over the role of USS Midway in being the only carrier home ported outside the USA, at Yokosuka. During this change the squadron stayed with the same carrier but moved air wings, from CVW-14 to CVW-5. This was, because the Midway air wing had been without Tomcats, as the older ship could not accommodate the F-14's size and weight. During the whole VF-21ís F-14 career, VF-21 has been partnered by VF-154. The last cruise of the Independence was not without incident or tension. Along with the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), Independence and her air wing were involved in operations to demonstrate US resolve in support of Taiwan. The 1995 Chinese military exercises once raised tension in the region and signaled China's opposition to Taiwans' Presidential Election. VF-21 returned from deployment on board the Independence in late 1995. Unfortunately this was their last at sea period and the squadron was soon after disestablished, the official ceremony was on the January 31, 1996.

 

source: wikipedia

 

patches

 

vf-21 freelancers crest insigniafighter squadron vf-21 freelancers patch badge insignia

vf-21 freelancers patch crest insignia badge fighter squadronvf-21 freelancers patch crest fighter squadron fitron

vf-21 freelancers banzai patch badgevf-21 freelancers fighter squadron patch crest badge insignia

 

 

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