Promotions here with the Red Rippers! Congratulations to all our sailors.
The oldest continuously active fighter squadron in the Navy. This page is updated by the Public Affairs Officer for the Families and Friends of The Red Rippers.
History Three distinct squadrons have been designated VF-11, and two distinct squadrons have been known as the Red Rippers. The first VF-11 (never known as the Red Rippers) was established in 1942, was redesignated VF-111 in 1948, and was disestablished in 1959. The second VF-11, known as the Red Rippers was established in 1927 and went through numerous redesignations before being disestablished in 1959. The third distinct squadron was established as VF-43 in 1950, was eventually redesignated VFA-11, and is the primary subject of this article. Officially, the US Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons if a new squadron is formed with the same designation. Often, the new squadron will assume the nickname, insignia, and traditions of the earlier squadrons. The first Red Rippers Early years The first Navy fighter squadron known as the Red Rippers (the second VF-11) was established as VF-5 on February 1, 1927 at Hampton Roads, Virginia flying the Curtis F6C-3 Hawk. From 1927 to World War II, the Rippers flew several propeller aircraft including the Boeing F3B-1 and F4B-1, the Grumman FF-1 and F3F-1 and also held the following designations (designations tended to change based on the mission; e.g., "S" for scout, "B" for bomber): VF-5S, VF-5B, VB-1B, and VF-4. 1940s On March 15, 1941, the Rippers were redesignated as VF-41. During World War II, they supported the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa, downing 14 Vichy French aircraft in the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat., and conducted air strikes against German forces in Norway in September 1943. The Red Rippers were redesignated VF-4 when they transferred to the Pacific Theatre in August 1943 aboard USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) and USS Essex (CV-9).For the fighter-bomber mission the Hellcat was fitted with wingroot pylons ,each of which could carry a 1,000 -Ib bomb or a 'Tiny Tim' rocket. Smaller rockets were carried on three zero-length launchers on each wing, as carried on the VF-11 'Red Rippers' aircraft.In the Pacific they flew the first air strikes against Tokyo in the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The Rippers also flew the F8F Bearcat for a time. In November 1946, the Red Rippers were redesignated VF-1A, and finally as VF-11 on August 2, 1948. 1950s After World War II, VF-11 entered the jet age, flying the McDonnell F2H Banshee during the Korean War from the USS Kearsarge (CV-33). During 1956 the Red Rippers deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and in November 1956, Coral Sea covered the Suez Crisis. In January 1958, the Rippers reported aboard USS Essex (CVA-9) flying the F2H-4 Banshee. In the Mediterranean, Essex supported the Marines landing in Lebanon on July 15 until the end of August. Essex then transited the Suez Canal, operated with the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and then returned to the East Coast via the Cape of Good Hope. In 1959, VF-11 moved to NAS Jacksonville and on February 15, the original VF-11 Red Rippers were disestablished, their men and equipment being disbursed to other squadrons and activities. The second/current Red Rippers 1950s On September 1, 1950, Fighter Squadron 43 (VF-43), known as Rebel's Raiders, was commissioned at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. They moved to NAS Cecil Field on September 18, 1950, and were initially outfitted with new F4U-5N Corsair night fighters. The squadron traded its night fighters for F4U-5s (day fighters) in October 1950. The squadron's first deployment was aboard USS Oriskany (CV-34) to the Mediterranean from April–October 1951. In February 1952, the squadron transitioned to the F4U-4 and deployed to the Med aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) In the mid-50s, the squadron transitioned to the F9F-8 Cougar. In April 1958, the squadron transitioned to the Chance-Vought F-8 Crusader. On February 16, 1959 (the day after VF-11 was disestablished), VF-43 was redesignated as VF-11, the second to be so designated. That squadron decided to adopt the traditions and insignia of the first Red Rippers (although they do not claim the lineage). 1960s The "new" VF-11 transitioned to USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42), where they helped quell the unrest in the Dominican Republic in 1961. VF-11 was the first operational squadron to receive the F8U-2NE, receiving its first aircraft on February 8, 1962. F-4 Phantoms from VF-11 launch from USS Forrestal (CV-59). In January 1966 the Rippers traded their F-8Es for F-8Ds. In the Fall of 1966, they moved to NAS Oceana and transitioned to the F-4B Phantom. The squadron saw its first combat on July 25, 1967 over North Vietnam from USS Forrestal (CV-59). The brief combat period on Yankee Station was cut short when, on July 29, 1967, the Forrestal fire occurred. VF-11 lost 47 men in the catastrophe. 1970s The squadron made several Med cruises in the 70s aboard Forrestal. In 1972, the landed an F-4 aboard HMS Ark Royal in a cross deck exercise. On August 20, 1973, the squadron received its first F-4J, beginning the transition from the F-4B. 1980s An F-14A from VF-11 intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 in 1985 The Red Rippers transitioned to the F-14 in 1980 and deployed two years later. The squadron’s combat debut occurred in early December 1983 when VF-11 F-14s engaged eight Syrian MiGs over Lebanon and were fired upon by Syrian surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. On December 4, 1983 the squadron flew combat air patrols over a Navy strike force from the carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), attacking Syrian positions in Lebanon. The strikes were in response to the Syrian SAM and AAA engagements. Two of the twenty-eight strong strike package were shot down, one A-7 from USS Independence (CV-62) and one A-6, the pilot of the A-6 crew died while the B/N was held prisoner by the Syrians for a year before being released. While they were deployed for operations in Lebanon, one aircraft sustained damage from a suspected surface-to-air missile. After three cruises with Carrier Air Wing Three and the Kennedy Battle Group, VF-11 and its sister squadron transferred to Carrier Air Wing Six and USS Forrestal (CV-59). In 1985 VF-11 Won the Battle E, and the Clifton wards. They deployed again in 1986, and stayed with CVW6/Forrestal until its last cruise in 1991, making a total of five deployments. 1990s In January 1992, VF-11 and VF-31 moved to NAS Miramar and transitioned to the F-14D Tomcat. VF-11’s F-14As were transferred to VF-24 and VF-211. In February 1994, VF-11 and CVW-14 deployed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), in support of Operation Southern Watch. The Red Rippers returned to NAS Miramar on August 15. In the Fall of 1994, VF-11 acquired Night vision goggles requiring substantial changes to the F-14's internal and instrument lighting. In 1995, VF-11 received upgrades to their mission computers, providing air-to-ground ordnance capability. VF-11 sent their first aircrews to Forward Air Controller school in September 1995. Also in 1995, VF-11 was aboard Carl Vinson when she visited Hawaii for the 50th anniversary of V-J Day (Victory over Japan.) In May 1996, CVW-14 deployed with Carl Vinson in support of Operation Southern Watch. On August 31 the Iraqi army attacked the town or Irbil in northern Iraq and several SAM missiles were launched against U.S. aircraft. The United States responded with Operation Desert Strike by attacking targets in the southern no-fly zone with cruise missiles launched from B-52s escorted by VF-11 Tomcats. Carl Vinson left the Gulf on October 1. Upon return from deployment, VF-11 moved to NAS Oceana as the US Marines took over Miramar. At the same time, VF-11 transitioned to the F-14B and changed air wings to Carrier Air Wing Seven. In 1997, VF-11 was awarded the Battle E and Clifton Awards as the squadron celebrated their 70th Anniversary. Also that year, VF-11 received the LANTIRN infrared targeting pod and dropped their first GBU-16 laser guided bomb. In February 1998, the Red Rippers deployed from Norfolk with CVW-7 aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) on its Maiden voyage/world deployment. They supported Operation Southern Watch, travelled to Australia and Pearl Harbor before the carrier arrived at its new home, Naval Air Station North Island. 2000s VF-11 made a deployment in 2000 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), in support of Operation Southern Watch. Seven hours after the September 11 terrorist attacks, VF-11 emergency sortied all squadron aircraft aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) to support Operation Noble Eagle. They deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in early February 2002, and employed the first JDAM bombs from F-14s in combat on March 11, 2002. In 2004 VF-11 deployed for the last time with the F-14 aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) in support of Iraqi Freedom. During that cruise, VF-11 F-14s participated in the bombing of Fallujah during a 48-hour period between April 28 and 29. On April 20, 2005, VF-11 delivered the last of their F-14s to the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The squadron reported to VFA-106 for F/A-18 Super Hornet transition training, completing on November 5, 2005. In May, 2006, VFA-11 deployed to the Caribbean Sea supporting the Partnership of the Americas for two months as part of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen. VFA-11 transferred to Carrier Air Wing Three and deployed with USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in November 2007 to the Persian Gulf[. VFA-11 and the rest of CVW-3 returned home on June 4, 2008. The Squadron recently swapped CVW's, Changing from Carrier Air Wing Three to Carrier Air Wing One. The Squadron deployed aboard ENTERPRISE from January to July 2011 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. While on deployment, the Rippers dropped the Navy's first GBU-54(v2) Laser JDAM.
Promotions here with the Red Rippers! Congratulations to all our sailors.
Frockings happening at VFA-11. Congrats! #RippinAintEasy
Merry Christmas from Ripperman and Santa!!
#vfa11 #merrychristmas #ripperman
Merry Christmas from the Red Rippers of VFA-11!
We’re very glad to be home this year, but please keep those who aren’t in your thoughts as you celebrate tonight.
Congratulations to the following sailors on their recent advancement!
IT2 Elias Carter
AM1 Alghie Dionisio
AT2 Michael Jones
YN1 Tracy Jones
NC1 Tiffany Mellin
CS3 Sean Miller
AO2 Blake Rardin
AO2 Cameron Ruiz
CS3 Charlemain Tejada
AT2 Donovan Whelan
AE2 Ethan Whitaker
Congratulations to our sailors that received awards at quarters this week!!
Congratulations to our sailors that received awards at quarters this week!
There’s always going to be some awesome history when you’re the oldest continuously active Squadron in the Navy.
The Navy issued its first contract for the Boeing F4B #OTD in 1928. There were four versions of the fighter produced, including the F4B-1 like that aircraft pictured here launching from USS Lexington (CV 2). The markings indicate its assignment to the VB-1B "Red Rippers." The squadron is now designated VFA-11 and flies another Boeing-built airplane, the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
“Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” — Douglas MacArthur
Thank you to all the veterans who have served and those who currently serve.
Pictured are a few of the many aircraft that The Red Rippers have flown over the years.
#theredrippers #rippinainteasy #herestous
Sunset Vibes #vfa11 #theredrippers #rippinainteasy #herestous #cvn75 #truman #somewhereintheGOO
Congratulations to all of our recent reenlistments and promotions! Keep on ripping Rippers! #vfa11 #herestous #theredrippers #rippinainteasy
Today the Rippers sent jet 100 off to TOPGUN, which was painted for our two aircrew attending! Best of luck at the course Philly and Boobie Miles!
Go Navy! #vfa11 #theredrippers @usnavalacademy
Congrats to LT Hooper on his final flight in the World Famous Red Rippers! Watch out TOPGUN, here comes Top Scope! #theredrippers #vfa11 #topgun #gunnerwantssomebubbly
“Sss” Is that a 🐍? ? Nope that’s VFA-11 representing the @usnavy by winning our third straight Aviation Safety “S” award. Rippin may not be easy but it sure is safe. ——
#navy #herestous #accelerateyourlife #forgedbythesea
@frankg90 wanted to say hi to his two favorite teams on his last flight before Topgun.
#flyeaglesfly🦅 #herestous #fa18superhornet #fa18hornet #aviationphotography
Join us over on Instagram as we catalog Frank Goldstein’s last flight! @rippin_aint_easy11!
It’s reenlistment season round these parts! #fourmoreyears #herestous
Where’s the most interesting place you’ve re-taken the oath??
Congrats AME3 Booker, LS2 Pedro Perezlopez, AO2 Guillemet, AZ2 Garcia, AD3 Davis, IS2 Wilson, AZ2 Barber, AME2 Ronnie-Garcia, AE2 Kreyer, LS2 Young, AE2 Maples, LS3 Vang, AE2 Rivera, AM3 Skinner, AM3 Smith, AME3 Lawson and PR3 Downs on getting frocked! There are more names coming so stay tuned! #herestous
LT Frank Goldstein talks about the importance of safety and how VFA-11 innovated Safety Standdowns in the July issue of Approach Magazine (pg.17).
Good luck at the Pentagon IADS!
We’ve got a celebrity in our midst! Let’s welcome Stu ‘Gizmo’ Whipkey to the Rippers. Our very own ‘Real TOPGUN instructor’.
TOPGUN instructor Stu Whipkey earned his pilot’s license before he graduated high school. Today, he’s a WSO, or Weapon Systems Officer flying high in the Nav...
Thinking about cooling down this weekend? Dam Neck Beach is open to all, including us sailors! Be safe and remember six feet means six feet!
‼️ DAM NECK ANNEX BEACH/MWR UPDATE ‼️
Effective Saturday 7/25, the Dam Neck Annex beach is open. Patrons MUST exercise physical distancing, with group size of ten or less, and assume responsibility for their own water safety. A lifeguard hiring process is underway. Thanks for your patience during the recreational closing.
The FRAGO pertains to public beaches, which are still off limits. Please contact your chain of command if further clarification is required.
Certain MWR services are also coming back online! More details coming next week.
Welcome back Rippers! Here’s a peak at some of cool things that went on during our deployment!
CDR Mcqueen Change of Command Program
Thanks for everything Skipper! Fair Winds and Following Seas!
Re-designation of jet 101.
Here’s to you! CDR McQueen and CDR McGee execute an airborne change of command with multiple flybys.
CDR McQueen’s Change of Command Ceremony.
Congratulations to CDR McQueen and CDR Enos! Here’s to You!
We’re on Instagram! Come check it out @Rippin_aint_easy11!
VFA-11 Change of Command. Here's To Us!
VFA-11 Change of Command. Here's To Us!
The Rippers are glad to be back home! We are taking some well deserved relaxation time. With that being said, CDR McQueen’s Change of Command Ceremony is Thursday July 2nd. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony is going to be broadcasted on Facebook Live. We will post the flyover around 9:15 with the actual remarks live-streamed from this page starting at 9:20. Hope to “see” you all there!
Although we would love to be home this Memorial Day weekend with our families and friends, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 continue to maintain a high state of readiness should our Nation require it. This high pace of operations has enabled our Skipper to continue crushing workouts and allowed individual Rippers to flourish, earning both Advancements and Awards. Congratulations to those who were recognized, and Happy Memorial Day to our friends and families back home!
Although our deployment has lasted longer than we thought it would, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 have maintained a high level of readiness should our nation require it. In doing so, we continue to recognize the accomplishments of our Sailors, who excel at operations aboard USS HARRY S. TRUMAN. We were not only able to recognize the “Of the Quarter” Awardees within our own command, but also had one of our own recognized as the “Give ‘em Hell” Warrior of the Day. Congratulations to AM3 and all the other Awardees!
Women's History Month is meant to highlight the contributions of women to history and contemporary society. Last month, the Red Ripper Multicultural Heritage Committee highlighted two of our own who have successfully broken down barriers and worked to change the role of women in the military.
Virginia Beach, VA
OPSEC RULES APPLY HERE OPSEC Rules: Don't discuss future destinations or ports of call! Don't discuss future operations / Exercises or missions! Don't discuss dates and times of when we will be in port or conducting exercises! Don't discuss readiness issues and numbers! Don't discuss specific training equipment or lack thereof! Don't discuss people's names and billets, Regiments in conjunction with operations! Don't speculate about future operations! Don't spread rumors about operations! Don't assume the enemy is not trying to collect information! Don't discuss Security Procedures, movements, or arms. BE AWARE! Be smart, use your head, and always think OPSEC when using email or phone! And be sure that you realize that information can be put together.. if you leak a bit here and a bit there, it doesn't take much to put it together for the whole pcture- and there are those out there with nothing but that goal in mind.. KEEP YOUR FAMILIES SAFE- Remember~ LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS And if you are not sure whether its okay to say.. DON'T
Rank/Rate Sailors Name VFA-11, Unit 200205 APO AE 09502
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