VF-1 Wolfpack Plaque
A beautifully carved and painted 14 inch plaque of the VF-1 Wolfpack.
Fighter Squadron 1 was a fighter squadron of the United States Navy. Known as the “Wolfpack” the squadron saw combat during World War II, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm. The squadron was de-activated and its personnel reassigned in 1993 when its carrier, the USS Ranger (CV-61), was decommissioned.
Fighter Squadron 1 was originally established on July 1, 1922, and operated until July 1, 1934, when it was then redesignated VB-2. One year later, on July 1, 1935, a second VF-1 was established and served for two years until it was redesignated to VF-6. During these years the pilots flew Curtiss TS-1, Boeing F2B and F3B, Curtiss F8C and BFC Goshawk and Boeing F4B.
In January 1925 it was decided that VF-1 would operate from battleships, their TS land planes were fitted with pontoons and new engines. The squadron’s planes were assigned to eleven different battleships. On November 16, 1927 the Saratoga was commissioned and VF-1 was assigned to her.
The third VF-1 was established on May 1, 1943, operating Grumman F6F Hellcats. They were assigned to the Pacific fleet and participated in numerous missions during World War II. In 1944, the squadron was reorganized, and assigned to perform attacks on Japan itself, taking an important role in assaulting airfields and Japanese shipping. After the war ended, the squadron was assigned to escort supply drops, until it was disestablished on October 25, 1945.
The fourth VF-1, “Wolfpack” was established on October 14, 1972 at NAS Miramar, at the same time as VF-2, these units were the first F-14 fighter squadrons. They received the first F-14As on July 1, 1973. The squadron’s insignia was a red wolf’s head designed by Grumman Commercial Artist, George M. Kehew who himself is a WWII combat veteran. The Squadron Insignia is registered in the Library of Congress.
The first cruise came in September 1974 onboard Enterprise. The end of the cruise saw the first Tomcat’s combat debut, as VF-1 and VF-2 flew cover over Saigon for evacuation of US personnel in April 1975 as part of Operation Frequent Wind.
In September 1980, VF-1 and VF-2 changed carrier air wings, moved to the Ranger and flew various cruises with her until they shifted carriers once again in 1984 to the Kitty Hawk. They stayed with Kitty Hawk for one cruise. In 1984, VF-1 had achieved the impressive 22,000 flight hours without a single accident. By 1986, they returned to the Ranger and were with the carrier during Operation Desert Storm where VF-1 scored the only F-14 air-to-air kill during the war, an Iraqi Mil Mi-8 helicopter was downed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder.
On 14 January 1992, VF-1 lost NE112 (BuNo. 160887) in a crash at Fallon Nevada. Both aircrew members, (Eddie “Neal” Jones and Scott “Dinger” Waldinger) were killed in the crash.
The Ranger’s last foreign port of entry was Sydney Australia in January of 1993 after having spent New Year’s Eve 1992 in Melbourne Australia.
The Ranger was decommissioned in 1993 and VF-1 was left without a carrier. They operated out of NAS Miramar until VF-1 itself was disestablished on 1 October 1993.