VF-111 Sundowners F-9F
A beautifully 16 inch solid wood F-9f Panther of the VF-111 Sundowners! Each model is carefully carved by master craftsmen and then meticulously painted to give a perfect piece of art!
3 distinct Navy squadrons have called themselves ‘Sundowners’. The U.S. Navy frequently has given the same designation to two or more aviation units, leading to lasting confusion. Officially, the U.S. Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new squadron is formed with the same designation. However, historical tradition within the Naval Aviation community is such that a new squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of the earlier squadron(s) with its designation.
World War II
VF-11 was established at NAS North Island California on 10 October 1942 equipped with F4F Wildcats, and on 23 October was on its way to Hawaii. To epitomize its spirit and tactical superiority over the Japanese, the squadron decided it would be called the ‘Sundowners’ and its insignia depicts two Wildcats shooting down a Rising Sun.
From April to July 1943 VF-11 downed 55 enemy aircraft in aerial combat at Guadalcanal. After return to the U.S. and re-equipping with F6F Hellcats, VF-11 deployed on USS Hornet in October 1944. From then until February 1945 the squadron engaged in strike and air-to-air combat missions resulting in the shoot down of 102 enemy aircraft with dozens more destroyed on the ground. As a direct result of its combat record, the squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
VF-11A equipped with F8F Bearcats was assigned to Carrier Air Group 11 (CVG-11) aboard the USS Valley Forge for her world cruise from 9 October 1947 to 11 June 1948
On 9 November 1950, early in the Korean War, Lieutenant Commander William T. Amen scored the first combat jet-on-jet kill in aviation history, downing a Soviet MiG-15 while flying a F9F Panther from the USS Philippine Sea. Two more Korean cruises were made in USS Valley Forge in 1951-52, then USS Boxer and USS Lake Champlain in 1953.
After Korea, VF-111 flew the F9F-8 Cougar and the FJ-3 Fury for three deployments to the Western Pacific aboard the carriers USS Lexington, USS Wasp, and USS Bennington.