The Red Rippers

The Red Rippers 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.[2], 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.

Although we would love to be home this Memorial Day weekend with our families and friends, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 con...

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 lev...

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, ...

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.

One of the best ways that a command can reward Sailors who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and hard work is to ...

One of the best ways that a command can reward Sailors who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and hard work is to Meritoriously Advance those Sailors on the spot. And, as we continue operations in the Fifth Fleet AOR, the Rippers have been able to do just that. Congratulations to the Red Rippers’ newest AM1, AT2, AE2, AM3s, and LS3!!

The hard work continues while deployed on board USS HARRY S. TRUMAN! And as that work continues, so does the achievement...

The hard work continues while deployed on board USS HARRY S. TRUMAN! And as that work continues, so does the achievement. Congratulations to those who have received awards or been promoted over the past month! Additionally, two of our very experienced Junior Officers flew their last flights with the Rippers off the deck of the Truman, after a very long and challenging tour. And, as always, thank you to the friends and family back home; without your support, we could not do what we do.

The Red Rippers's cover photo

The Red Rippers's cover photo

The Red Rippers have been busy over the past few weeks supporting USCENTCOM, to include flying combat missions into Afgh...

The Red Rippers have been busy over the past few weeks supporting USCENTCOM, to include flying combat missions into Afghanistan in support of Operations FREEDOM SENTINEL and RESOLUTE SUPPORT. That hard work has translated into awards for many Rippers, to include some sailors earning their Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) Wings as well as some being recognized as the Red Rippers’ “Of the Quarter” sailors in their respective categories. Finally, one of our Ripper Chiefs was recognized as the Carrier Air Wing ONE Chief of the Year. And, as has become tradition, the squadron was able to celebrate these accomplishments and take some time to relax with another “Smoke Em” on the fantail of USS HARRY S. TRUMAN. Here's to Us!

After spending the holidays on the boat, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 have been charging into the new decade, conducting fl...

After spending the holidays on the boat, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 have been charging into the new decade, conducting flight operations in the US Fifth Fleet Area of Operations. Our hard work led to three dedicated sailors being recognized as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight's “Right Hand Sailors,” which earned those sailors an opportunity to spend some time with the Admiral himself. We also had yet another Ripper choose to stay in the Navy and reenlist! Congratulations AD3! Here’s to Us!

Merry Christmas from the Red Rippers of VFA-11!

Merry Christmas from the Red Rippers of VFA-11!

The Red Rippers's cover photo

The Red Rippers's cover photo

Since we left almost a month ago, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 have been keeping busy abroad. After enjoying a well-cooked ...

Since we left almost a month ago, the Red Rippers of VFA-11 have been keeping busy abroad. After enjoying a well-cooked Thanksgiving meal about the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, the Rippers have been regaining our proficiency around the boat, both in the air and on the Flight Deck. As a result of all our hard work, we’ve gotten to frock, advance, and promote a few exceptional sailors, as well as spend some time relaxing as a squadron.

Red Ripper 85th Anniversary Silent AuctionThis year, the oldest continuously operating Navy fighter squadron, the VFA-11...

Red Ripper 85th Anniversary Silent Auction

This year, the oldest continuously operating Navy fighter squadron, the VFA-11 Red Rippers, celebrate our 85th year. We are currently deployed onboard the oldest operating aircraft carrier, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), for the legendary ship’s final cruise. Now is your chance to own a piece of this historic event. Throughout the next several months, friends of the Red Rippers will have the opportunity to participate in the silent auction of priceless Ripper memorabilia.

The first item in the Silent Auction series is a color photograph featuring the entire squadron that was taken as we embarked on the final voyage of ENTERPRISE. The photo is matted in red and blue and includes the signatures of all the officers who took part in this legendary cruise. The approximate size of the picture is: 11 x 14 inches. The actual frame is not pictured.

To place your bid for an item, simply send an email to [email protected] with the amount you are willing to pay for the item, your full name, and phone number. The highest bid that is submitted at closing will win the item.

The minimum bid is $90 to help cover the costs of the picture and shipping. The auction will run until August 25th. If you are the highest bidder, you will be notified via email and we will ship the picture to you when we return from deployment in November.

Good luck!

Red Rippers Combat Deployment 2012

Red Rippers Combat Deployment 2012

Red Ripper April Awards Quarters

Red Ripper April Awards Quarters

Rippers Awards Quarters

Rippers Awards Quarters

January 2012 Hail and Bail

January 2012 Hail and Bail

PR2 Rodney Reenlistment

PR2 Rodney Reenlistment

The Red Rippers's cover photo

The Red Rippers's cover photo


To all Red Rippers past and present,
As you know February represents our 85th anniversary. We have begun to get questions about when the Red Ripper 85th reunion will be held. Due to our Operational Commitments this year we are going to have to postpone the 85th reunion festivities until the summer of 2013. While there is a small opportunity this fall we have decided based upon some recommendations to hold it during the summer months. This will help ensure those who what to participate can and it doesn’t conflict with the busy holiday season. I hope everyone understands that out first duty is to the Nation’s Business and like all previous Red Rippers we will supporting the Men and Women on the ground in a few short months.
We have painted the 85th Anniversary logo on our jets and we will provide some photos and a Red Ripper celebration point of contact shortly. We all look forward to seeing all the Red Rippers together for our 85th Anniversary even if it is in our 86th year!
Here’s to us…
CDR Daniel Sullivan
76th Commanding Officer


Ripper Families, it is time for us to start looking for someone to fill the gap that will be left when our Super Star Ombudsman and her husband leave us in the all too near future. If you think you might be interested in this challenging and very important position, or just want more information about it, we would like to hear from you. Please contact Courtney have your Ripper let me know that you are interested and we will be in touch. CMC


Please take a moment to read this


Congratulations to our newest Plane Captain!


Red Ripper Friends and Families,
Thank you for making the Red Ripper Family Day such a great success. It was wonderful to see so many of our friends and families sharing a day with us. Hopefully everyone who wanted to attend got the chance. Remember we have the Red Ripper Tides night coming up. If you haven’t already gotten tickets you can always just get them at the gate the night of the game. We all hope to see you there! Don’t forget to wear your “Red” Ripper T-Shirts.


Congrats to AT Williamson our Red Ripper CPO Selectee!!!!


From the Commanding Officer


From the Commanding Officer


Advancements Updated

Enterprise Lands 400,000th Aircraft


An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 became the 400,000th aircraft to land o

Commanding Officer Daniel Sullivan

Commanding Officer Daniel Sullivan

Executive Officer Marcus Lopez

Executive Officer Marcus Lopez

Toby Keith signed the bomb, How do you like me now!

Toby Keith signed the bomb, How do you like me now!

Red Rippers of the YearPhoto provided VFA-11’s Sailors of the Year include (l-r), PR1(AW) Amy Sizemore, E-6 Red Ripper o...

Red Rippers of the Year
Photo provided VFA-11’s Sailors of the Year include (l-r), PR1(AW) Amy Sizemore, E-6 Red Ripper of the Year; AM2(AW) Randall Burgess, E-5 Red Ripper of the Year; AME3 Waldemar Martinez-Ruiz, E-4 Red Ripper of the Year; AN Jason Roseke, E-3 Red Ripper of the Year and AM3 Jeremy Shank, Plane Captain of the Year. Missing from the photo AOC(AW) Mark Meyers, Red Ripper Chief of the Year.


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

General information

Rank/Rate Sailors Name VFA-11, Unit 200205 APO AE 09502




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I just realized I mailed my boxes to Unit 200202 instead of Unit 200205.... what are the chances that my sailor will get his boxes??? 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️#epicfail!!!!!
Red Rippers on board USS Carl Vinson 1994
Glad to be a member
My Father was part of the Red Rippers upon the USS Forrestall Terry Oder
Old "RED RIPPERS" CO is taking command of the USS Gerald Ford. He was the CO of the RIPPERS back when in 2009 when I first checked aboard.
I had the privilege of meeting one of your pilots on a flight from Key west to Miami a few weeks ago,I would first like to say thank you for all you guys do to keep the peace in the world, I did not get his name but he was really nice and answered my questions thanks to him and thanks to all you guys.....Andy
My father, Lt Norman Frederick Randolph USNR, was a Red Ripper during WWII (VF-4/Fighting Squadron 4). He was on the USS Essex when his plane went down in the Pacific, on Nov 23 1944 during a training exercise - it was determined years later to be catastrophic failure of his plane. I have three pictures of the event, because the Navy was filming the exercise. The family was never told how or why he died. It was kept TOP SECRET. I only found out - 58 years later - how he died, at the NARA War Room, in College Park. I was able to have a Memorial Marker installed for him at Arlington National Cemetery; he is also commemorated at the Manila Memorial Cemetery, formerly called Ft McKinley, in Manila, Philippines. Two days later, on Nov 25 1944, the Essex was hit by a kamakaze, killing 16 men. I have pictures of that as well. This too was kept TOP SECRET. I never knew him, because I was born one month later. But I've always loved him. It broke my mother's heart because she and my father were true soulmates. I am attaching a picture of a Christmas card he sent to my uncle, Lewis Levy, who was in DDay at Normandy, and survived. As you can see, the card displays the Boar's Head logo of the Red Rippers. May God Bless all our servicemen and servicewomen everywhere.
Thanks for coming to Arkansas!! You guys are fantastic!
Sep 11, 2016 ovvero National Field.