VF-211 Fighting Checkmates F-14 Tomcat Tail
Fly with the VF-211 Fighting Checkmates with this handcrafted F-14 tail! 20 inches
VF-211 Lineage: Established as VB-74 on 1 May 1945 Redesignated VA-1B on 15 November 1946 Redesignated VA-24 on 1 September 1948 Redesignated VF-24 on 1 December 1949 Redesignated VF-211 on 9 March 1959 Insignia approved: 12 January 1998
On the first day of May 1945, Bombing Squadron 74 (VB-74) Bomb-a-Toms was born, destined to become the present day Strike Fighter Squadron 211 (VFA-211) Checkmates. The Bomb-a-Toms began life at NAAF Otis Field, Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, with 36 Naval Aviators flying SBW-4E Helldivers. The squadron soon transferred to East Field, NAS Norfolk, Virginia, and made their arrested landings on 31 October 1945 aboard the newly commissioned USS Midway (CV 41).
During 1946, VB-74 became Attack Squadron 1B (VA-1B) and transitioned to AD-1 Skyraiders. Less than two years later, the Navy again reorganized, and VA-1B became Attack Squadron 24 (VA-24), flying AD-2 Skyraiders. Skyraider aircraft were soon grounded because of engine problems, requiring a hasty transition to the F4U-4 Corsair a mere six weeks before departing on deployment aboard the USS Coral Sea (CV 43). After this deployment VA-24 moved to NAS Oceana, Virginia, and on 1 December 1949 was redesignated Fighter Squadron 24 (VF-24).
Following a move to NAS Alameda, CA, VF-24 made two back-to-back deployments to Korea inflicting heavy damage on enemy emplacements, rail yards, bridges, warehouses, and airfields. Following the second deployment, VF-24 relocated to NALF Santa Rosa, CA, and transitioned to the F9F-2 Panther, the squadron’s first jet aircraft. In February 1952, VF-24 deployed aboard the USS Boxer (CV 21) and headed to Korea for their third combat tour.
Throughout the 1950s, VF-24 flew a number of aircraft, including the FJ-3 Fury, the F3H-2M Demon, the F-11F Tiger, and finally the F-8 Crusader.
On 9 March 1959, VF-24 traded air wings, insignia, and designations with Fighter Squadron 211 (VF-211), the Checkmates. In 1961, the Checkmates moved to NAS Miramar, California, their home for the next 35 years. On seven deployments during the Vietnam War, VF-211 pilots earned the title of “The MiG Killers,” having downed eight enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements.
In December 1975, VF-211 transitioned to the revolutionary new F-14A Tomcat. The Checkmates completed numerous WESTPAC deployments during the 1970s and 1980s and in 1989, upgraded to the more advanced F-14B. In 1991, the Checkmates deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation DESERT STORM., providing air superiority and aerial reconnaissance imagery for coalition forces.
Transitioning back to the F-14A in 1992, the Fighting Checkmates deployed to the Arabian Gulf in 1993 and 1995-96. In August 1996, the Checkmates moved back to NAS Oceana, VA, in conjunction with the turnover of NAS Miramar to the U.S. Marine Corps, VF-211 remained attached to Carrier Air Wing Nine.