Call sign "Nickel"

Photo of Lt Vern Larson taken by Lt Bob Sandweg (VFP-63) over the PI

VF-211 Squadron Designation History



 1 May 1945

 VB-74 Established

 15 Nov 1946

 VB-74 Redesignated VA-lB

 1 Sep 1948

 VA-lB Redesignated VA-24

 1 Dec 1949

 VA-24 Redesignated VF-24

 9 Mar 1959

VF-24 Redesignated VF-211 (First F-8s)

 1 Oct 2004

 VF-211 redesignated VFA-211

On March 9th, 1959, VF-24 traded air wings and designations and became VF-211 Checkmates. In July 1959, the squadron got F-8s. In this era, the squadron patch as the F-8 community knew it (above) was designed. The first F-8 deployment was on the USS LEXINGTON. In 1961 the squadron moved to from Moffett to NAS Miramar which would be the Checkmates home for 35 years. The squadron deployed on the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) and Air Wing 21 in 1964 and began seeing extensive action in the Vietnam War. VF-211 made seven deployments during the Vietnam War, and VF-211 had eight confirmed kills in the F-8, which earned them the reputation as "The MiG Killers". However, the Crusader's days were numbered and on the 23rd of December 1975, VF-211 made it's maiden flight in the F-14A Tomcat. On Oct 1, 2004, the squadron was redesignated VFA-211 and started the transition to the F/A-18F Hornet. The patch has been modified to reflect ties to the original VB-74. Go here to read about the current squadron and about development of the new patch.

F-8 Commanding Officers

From To CO XO
Dec 1959 Jun 1961  CDR H.C. (Howard) Lovegrove, Jr LCDR Tom Hayward  
Jun 1961 Jun 1962  CDR H.R. (Herb) Poorman  CDR W.M. (Bill) Russell 

 Jun 1962

 Jun 1963

 CDR W.M. (Bill) Russell

Al Schaaf / Fred Newman

 Jun 1963

 Mar 1964

 CDR O.J. Ahlstrom

 CDR E.D. Kimble

 Mar 1964

 Aug 1964

 CDR E.D. Kimble

 Aug 1964

 Sep 1965

 CDR J.P. White

 CDR H.L. (Hal) Marr

 Sep 1965

 Sep 1966

 CDR H.L. (Hal) Marr

 CDR P.H. (Paul) Speer 
Sep 1966 Sep 1967 CDR P.H. (Paul) Speer   CDR R B. (Ralph) Rutherford
Sep 1967 Sep 1968 CDR R B. (Ralph) Rutherford CDR R.A. (Bob) Van Arsdol
Sep 1968 Sep 1969 CDR R.A. (Bob) Van Arsdol  

 Sep 1969

 Jun 1970

 CDR D.C. Paolucci

 Jun 1970

 Jun 1971

 CDR D.J. Perault

 Jun 1971

 Jun 1972

 CDR W.K. (Dusty) Rhodes, Jr

 CDR J.W. (Jimmy) Davis
Jun 1972 Jun 1973 CDR J.W. (Jimmy) Davis CDR J.P.O’Neill
Jun 1973 Aug 1974 CDR J.P.(JP) O’Neill LCDR Moon Vance
Aug 1974 Nov 1975 CDR J.A. (Jerry) Kuechman LCDR Terry Appelgate


CDR Dave Perault


CDR Dusty Rhodes


CDR Jimmy Davis

CDR J.P.O’Neill

CDR Jerry Kuechman

All F-8 deployments listed are with CVW-21
From To A/C Type Ship
Oct 1960 Jun 1961 F8U-1 (F-8A) USS LEXINGTON (CVA-16)

 2 Feb 1962

 7 Oct 1962

F8U-1 (F-8A)


 7 Jun 1963

 16 Dec 1963



 21 Oct 1964

 29 May 1965


10 Nov 1965 1 Aug 1966 F-8E USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
26 Jan 1967 25 Aug 1967 F-8E USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31)
18 Jul 1968 3 Mar 1969 F-8H USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
2 Aug 1969 15 Apr 1970 F-8J USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
22 Oct 1970 3 Jun 1971 F-8J USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
7 Jan 1972 3 Oct 1972 F-8J USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
8 May 1973 8 Jan 1974 F-8J USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)
18 Mar 1975 20 Oct 1975 F-8J USS HANCOCK (CVA-19)

The following pictures are from the 1966-67 WestPac cruise aboard USS Bon Homme Richard courtesy of Rodney Gonzales - click each to enlarge






Admiral Paul Spear and Ltjg. Joe Shea upon their return from MIG shootdown.

Admiral Paul Spear and Ltjg. Joe Shea upon their return from MIG shootdown.




Pilots 1968-69

Back (L to R) - Pat Scott, Chris Wilson, Taco Bell, Tom Blatner, Billy Foster, Dick Newton, Gary Williams, Al Aston, Bill Bertsch, Dave Metzler
Front kneeling (L to R) - Leon Swaim, Cole Pierce, MO Wright, Bob Van Arsdol, Dick Taylor , Steve Lambert

July 1972

Spring 1973

Back (L to R) - Jimmy Davis, Hank Livingston, Skip Carter, Kevin Dwyer, Curry Lawler, Phil Colson, Larry Pearson, Joe Rangus, Ben Woods, J.P. O'Neill
Front kneeling (L to R) - Gene Brotherton, Hugh Brooks, Greg Murrell, Wendell Brown, Ed McCarthy, Vern Larson, Rich Smith, Bob Hull

~ Fall 1973 - The "Crusader Sword"

Back (L to R) - Skip Carter, Joe Rangus, Phil Colson, Gene Brotherton, Curry Lawler, Larry Pearson, Mike Wasielewski, Hank Livingston, Phil Ceriani, Ben Woods
Front Sitting (L to R) - Vern Larson, Wendell Brown, Rich Smith, J.P. O'Neill, Moon Vance, Hugh Brooks, Greg Murrell, Jim Alderink, Bob Hull


Back (L to R) - Ben Woods, Larry Pearson, Phil Ceriani, Gene Brotherton, Curry Lawler, Moon Vance, Hank Livingston, Rich Smith, Joe Rangus, Ed McCarthy
Front kneeling (L to R) - Jim Alderink, Greg Murrell, Hugh Brooks, J.P. O'Neill, Wendell Brown, Vern Larson, Mike Wasielewski

1975 - Last F-8 Cruise

Back (L to R) - Rich Smith, Issac Richardson, Larry Pearson, Joe Rangus, Mike Long, Vern Larson, Mike Wasielewski
Front kneeling (L to R) - Ken Buchspics, Mike Halligan, Terry Appelgate, Jerry Keuchman, Jim Alderink, Steve Gunn


Jake's Yankee Station - USS Hancock Memorial Stories & History:

History and Restoration of 150683



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