Fighter Squadron 33 (FITRON 33)

VF-33 ‘Tarsiers / Starfighters’

 

vf-33 tarsiers starfighters crest patch badge insignia fighter squadron us navy

vf-33 tarsiers starfighters fighter squadron fitron us navy f-14 tomcat

 

STATUS:

established as VF-33  on October 12, 1948

VF-33 disestablished on October 1, 1993

   

Nicknames: Tarsiers (1948-81) / Starfighters (1981-93)

AIRCRAFT:

Vought F4U Corsair (1949-53)

Grumman F9F Cougar (1954)

North American FJ-3 Fury (1955-57)

Grumman F11F Tiger (1959-61)

Vought F8U Crusader (1961-62)

Vought F-8E Crusader (1962-64)

McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II (1965-67)

McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1968-81)

Grumman F-14A Tomcat (1982-93)

 

 

DEPLOYMENTS:

April 1949 - May 1949 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

May 1950 - August 1950 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

September 1950 - February 1951 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

July 1951 - August 1951 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

September 1951 - December 1951 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

August 1952 - February 1953 with CVG-3 aboard USS Leyte (CV 32)

January 1954 - August 1954 with CVG-6 aboard USS Midway (CVA 41)

October 1955 - April 1956 with CVG-6 aboard USS Lake Champlain (CVA 39)

May 1957 - June 1957 with ?? aboard USS Leyte (CVS 32)

July 1957 - August 1957 with CVG-6 aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11)

September 1957 - October 1957 with CVG-6 aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11)

February 1959 - August 1959 with CVG-6 aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11)

June 1960 - February 1961 with CVG-6 aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11)

June 1961 - March 1962 with CVG-6 aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11)

June 1962 - October 1962 with CVG-6 aboard USS Enterprise (CVAN 65)

October 1962 - December 1962 with CVG-6 aboard USS Enterprise (CVAN 65)

February 1963 - September 1963 with CVG-6 aboard USS Enterprise (CVAN 65)

February 1964 - October 1964 with CVW-6 aboard USS Enterprise (CVAN 65)

May 1965 - July 1965 with CVW-6 aboard USS America (CVA 66)

November 1965 - September 1966 with CVW-6 aboard USS America (CVA 66)

November 1966 - September 1967 with CVW-6 aboard USS America (CVA 66)

April 1968 - December 1968 with CVW-6 aboard USS America (CVA 66)

September 1969 - October 1969 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CVA 62)

June 1970 - February 1971 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CVA 62)

September 1972 - March 1972 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CVA 62)

June 1973 - January 1974 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CVA 62)

July 1974 - January 1975 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CVA 62)

October 1975 - May 1976 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

March 1977 - October 1977 with CVW-7 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

January 1978 with CVW-7 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

June 1979 - December 1979 with CVW-6 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

November 1980 - June 1981 with CVW-6 aboard USS Independence (CV 62)

May 1982 - July 1982 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1982 - November 1982 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

December 1982 - June 1983 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

April 1984 - November 1984 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1985 - October 1985 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

March 1986 - September 1986 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

March 1988 - May 1988 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

February 1989 - November 1989 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

December 1990 - April 1991 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

August 1991 - October 1991 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

December 1991 - June 1992 with CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66)

 

images

 

vf-33 starfighters fighter squadron f-14a tomcat carrier air wing cvw-1 uss america cv 66 oparation desert storm 1991

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) during Operation Desert Storm - 1991

 

fighter squadron vf-33 starfighters f-14a tomcat cvw-1 uss america cv 66 desert storm

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) during Operation Desert Storm - 1991

 

f-14a tomcat vf-33 starfighters cvw-1 uss america cv 66

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) during Operation Desert Storm - 1991

 

vf-33 starfighters f-14a tomcat carrier air wing cvw-1 uss america cv 66

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1991

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1991

 

vf-33 starfighters fitron f-14a tomcat us navy

F-14A Tomcats (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1990

 

fighter squadron vf-33 starfighters f-14 tomcat cvw-1 uss america cv 66 1987

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1987

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1987

 

vf-33 starfighters f-14a tomcat uss america operation el dorado canyon lybia 1986

F-14A Tomcats (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) during Operation El Dorado Canyon (Lybia) - 1986

 

F-14A Tomcats (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) during Operation El Dorado Canyon (Lybia) - 1986

 

f-14a tomcat vf-33 starfighters launches an aim-7 sparrow aam missile

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) launches an AIM-7 Sparrow AAM - 1986

 

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1985

 

fighter squadron vf-33 starfighters carrier air wing cvw-1 uss america cv 66 1982

F-14A Tomcat (VF-33 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - 1982

 

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1981

 

vf-33 tarsiers fighter squadron f-4j phantom carrier air wing cvw-6 uss independence cv 62

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1979

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers f-4j phantom cvw-6 uss independence cv 62

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1979

 

vf-33 tarsiers f-4j phantom II cvw-6

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) - 1979

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-7) embarked on USS Independence (CVA 62) - 1977

 

vf-33 tarsiers f-4j phantom hms ark royal r09

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-7) embarked on USS Independence (CV 62) was launched from HMS Ark Royal (R09) - 1975 (National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers f-4j phantom cvw-7 uss independence cva 62

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-7) embarked on USS Independence (CVA 62) - 1972 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

Aircrew of VF-33 embarked on USS Independence (CVA 62) - 1971-72

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-7) with a Royal Navy Phantom FG.1 from 892 Naval Air Squadron aboard USS Independence (CVA 62) - 1970 (NNAM)

 

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-7) embarked on USS Independence (CVA 62) - 1970 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

vf-33 tarsiers f-4j phantom cvw-6

F-4J Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) - 1960’s

 

vf-33 tarsiers f-4b phantom II cvw-6 uss america cva 66

F-4B Phantom II (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS America (CVA 66) - 1960’s

 

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers f-8e crusader carrier air wing cvw-6 uss enterprise cvan 65

F-8E Crusader (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) - 1964

 

vf-33 tarsiers fighter squadron f-8e crusader uss enterprise cvan 65

F-8E Crusader (VF-33 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) - 1964

 

vf-33 tarsiers f8u-1e crusader cvg-6 uss intrepid cva 11

F8U-1E Crusaders (VF-33 / CVG-6) embarked on USS Intrepid (CVA 11) - circa 1961

 

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers f11f-1 tiger carrier air group cvg-6 uss intrepid cva 11

F11F-1 Tigers (VF-33 / CVG-6) embarked on USS Intrepid (CVA 11) - 1960 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

vf-33 tarsiers f11f-1 tiger cvg-6 uss intrepid cva 11 us navy fighter squadron

F11F-1 Tiger (VF-33 / CVG-6) embarked on USS Intrepid (CVA 11) - 1960 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

vf-33 fighter squadron f11f-1 tiger barrier crash landing uss intrepid cva 11

F11F-1 Tigers (VF-33 / CVG-6) barrier crash aboard USS Intrepid (CVA 11) - 1960 (courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

 

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers fj-3 fury

FJ-3 Furys (VF-33) - 1957

 

FJ-3 Fury (VF-33 / CVG-6) - 1950’s

 

fighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers f4u-4 corsair carrier air group cvg-3 uss leyte cv 32

F4U-4 Corsair (VF-33 / CVG-3) embarked on USS Leyte (CV 32) - 1952

 

 

history

Korean War:

A second Fighter Squadron 33 was established on 11 October 1948 and equipped with the Chance-Vought F4U-4 Corsair. It was assigned to Carrier Air Group Three (CVG-3) and made two deployments on the aircraft carrier USS Leyte (CV-32). The first was to the Mediterranean Sea in mid-1950 quickly followed by a combat deployment to Korea from September 1950 to February 1951. For its action in the Korean war VF-33 earned the Navy Unit Citation. The squadron called themselves the "Tarsiers", which was a fierce monkey. The squadron affectionately called their Tarsier "Minky".


Jet transition:

Following its deployment to Korea VF-33 returned to the U.S. East Coast and transitioned to the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar. The squadron was assigned to Carrier Air Group Six (CVG-6) and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Midway (CVA-41) in 1954. After this tour the Tarsiers again transitioned to the North American FJ-3 Fury and made three deployments in 1956 and 1957 to the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, this time aboard the carriers USS Lake Champlain (CV-39), USS Leyte (CVS-32), and USS Intrepid (CVA-11). Aboard Intrepid VF-33 took part in the NATO exercise Operation Strikeback. As part of a series of exercises to simulate an all-out Soviet attack on NATO, Operation Strikeback was tasked with two objectives. Its initial objective was the deployment of NATO's naval forces (designated the "Blue Fleet") against other NATO forces attempting to simulate an "enemy" navy that featured a large number of submarines (designated the "Orange Fleet"). Its other objective was to have the Blue Fleet execute carrier-based air strikes against "enemy" formations and emplacements along NATO's northern flank in Norway. Operation Strikeback involved over 200 warships, 650 aircraft, and 75,000 personnel.

In 1958 VF-33 transitioned to the supersonic Grumman F11F-1 Tiger and was renamed Astronauts. As part of CVG-6 VF-33 made two tours to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Intrepid.

In early 1961 the squadron changed already to its fourth jet fighter in seven years, the Vought F8U-1E Crusader, and changed its name back to Tarsiers. VF-33 took its F8U-1E (F-8B) again aboard Intrepid to the Med in 1961-62 and was then equipped with the F8U-2NE (F-8E) version. The squadron was then deployed aboard the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), to the Mediterranean Sea in August 1962. However, Enterprise was recalled in October to reinforce the naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963 Enterprise and CVW-6 were again deployed to the United States Sixth Fleet, before taking part in Operation Sea Orbit in 1964. This was the around-the-world cruise of the United States Navy's Task Force One, consisting of USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), USS Long Beach (CGN-9), and USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25). This all-nuclear-powered unit steamed 56,606 km (30,565 nm) unrefuelled around the world for sixty-five days.

In 1964 the unit transitioned to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II and would fly the Phantom for the next seventeen years alongside its sister squadron VF-102. The first VF-33 Phantom was the F-4B, which they flew until 1967 at which time they moved up to the F-4J which featured better radar, higher thrust engines, slatted tailplanes, extra fuel cells and a larger main wheels to handle the increased weight. Between 1965 and 1968 Carrier Air Wing Six made the shakedown cruise and three deployments aboard the USS America (CVA-66).


Vietnam operations:

It would not take long until VF-33 deployed to combat in South-East Asia aboard USS America. During their time in the theatre VF-33 would drop over three million pounds of ordnance, flying 4000 combat hours over a period of 5 months. On July 10, 1968 VF-33 downed a MiG-21, the first air-to-air kill by an East Coast Fighter Squadron over North Vietnam.


Middle East crises:

After their return, VF-33 was re-assigned to Carrier Air Wing Seven, and made eight deployments aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) to the Mediterranean Sea between 1969 and 1981.


In September 1970 Independence, USS Saratoga (CVA-60), and USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) were deployed to the Middle East in case of any crisis evolving after the death of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. A real crisis finally evolved in 1973 when Israel took heavy losses during the Yom Kippur War. To support Israel the U.S. initiated Operation Nickel Grass, which was a was an overt strategic airlift operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Military Airlift Command of the U.S. Air Force shipped 22,325 tons of tanks, artillery, ammunition, and supplies in C-141 Starlifter and C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft between 12 October and 14 November 1973. The USAF planes only flew over international waters and were escorted by U.S. Navy fighters over the Mediterranean, provided by CVW-1 (on John F. Kennedy), CVW-6 (on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42)) and CVW-7. The carriers operated about every 500 km, Independence operating as the eastern-most carrier off Crete. The carriers also served as refueling stops for Douglas A-4E Skyhawk fighters, which were taken from U.S. Navy stocks to replace the losses of the Israeli Air Force.

VF-33 won several awards including the CNO Safety Award in 1969 and 1970 and during the 1975–1976 cruise they won the Golden Tailhook Award as the Navy recognised their skill at carrier landing. In February 1979 VF-33 had flown three years without accident. In early 1979 VF-33 also operated from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) during that carrier's shakedown cruise.


Tomcat transition:

In 1981 VF-33 transitioned to the Grumman F-14A Tomcat along with VF-102 and joined Carrier Air Wing One assigned to USS America (CV-66). Until 1992 VF-33 made twelve deployments with CVW-1 aboard the America to the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Their first deployment was a grueling North Atlantic NATO deployment (Northern Wedding) between August and October 1982. VF-33 has used stars as part of their tail markings since the Crusader days and settled on a large star for their latter F-4 tenure and as the main symbol on the Tomcat. In 1987, they abandoned "Minky" and changed their name from Tarsiers to Starfighters, which was their radio callsign. The new patch featured a large star with a head-on view of a Tomcat. On 20 August 1985 VF-33 was the first squadron to complete 50 missile firings without a single failure.


Gulf of Sidra operations:

In March 1986 VF-33 would bring their F-14s into a combat environment for the first time on board USS America with Carrier Air Wing 1 as they took part in Operation Attain Document in the Mediterranean Sea alongside the Saratoga and USS Coral Sea (CV-43). VF-33 engaged two Libyan MiG-25s with intent on shooting down the F-14s, but the Tomcats outmaneuvered the Libyans and ended behind the Libyan fighters, but the pilots did not have permission to open fire. Along with VF-102 they provided air cover during the operation as the carrier group moved into the Gulf of Sidra, which was claimed by Libya to be the Line of Death. Libya claimed its territorial waters extended across the entire Gulf of Sidra as opposed to the internationally recognised limit of 12 miles, and because of this claim, any airplane or ship within these waters was in Libyan territory and liable to attack. US carriers occasionally challenged this assertion resulting in the first VF-41 Tomcat engagements with Libyan fighters in August 1981.

On 15 April 1986, after a terrorist attack on disco hall La Belle in Berlin, killing two American servicemen and a Turkish woman, President Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes, called Operation El Dorado Canyon, against targets in Libya. F-111 bombers based at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Upper Heyford in the United Kingdom attacked targets in Tripoli while U.S. Navy A-6 Intruders from America and Coral Sea attacked targets in Benghazi. Navy and United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets and Navy A-7’s attacked surface-to-air missile sites with AGM-88 HARM missiles. F-14 squadrons deployed in the Mediterranean, including VF-33, flew cover for the strike force. In 1986, VF-33 flew 895 continuous sorties without an abort.

In 1987 VF-33 made a short cruise on board the Navy’s newest carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). After workups in 1988, VF-33 deployed on board America to the North Atlantic in February 1989, and again for a six-month Med-IO cruise from May through November. In February 1990 VF-33 made a two and a half month transit from San Diego to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard providing fighter protection as the carrier made the journey around the southern tip of South America. VF-33 took part in several joint exercises with South American nations during the transit.


Desert Storm operations:

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, four aircraft carriers were deployed to the region to provide carrier based air support for Operation Desert Shield. As the deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait approached in January 1991, Theodore Roosevelt and America deployed to the region via the Suez Canal. VF-33 deployed with USS America arriving just as Operation Desert Storm commenced. America flew sorties alongside John F. Kennedy and Saratoga in the Red Sea before moving to the Persian Gulf to join USS Midway (CV-41), USS Ranger (CV-61) and Theodore Roosevelt. VF-33 and her sister squadron VF-102 were the only Tomcat squadrons to fly missions from both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.


Disestablishment:

In 1993 a VF-33 airframe became the first F-14 to log 5,000 flight hours. When the Navy decided to assign only a single TARPS Tomcat squadron per carrier air wing after the end of the Cold War, VF-33 was not TARPS capable and despite the squadron's success in Desert Storm, it was disestablished on 1 October 1993.

 

source: wikipedia

 

patches

 

vf-33 tarsiers crest patch badge insignia fighter squadron us navyfighter squadron vf-33 tarsiers insignia patch badge crest

VF-33 Tarsiers patches

 

 

 

vf-33 starfighters patch crest insignia badge fighter squadron us navy   fighter squadron vf-33 starfighters patch badge crest insignia tomcat

VF-33 Starfighters patches

 

 

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