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Location: /Squadron Patches/USN NAVY Squadrons

WWII Patch, USN, VF-17 Jolly Rogers #1

WWII Patch, USN, VF-17 Jolly Rogers  #1

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch #1
USN VF-17 Fighting SQ
Navy Fighter Squadron 17
Jolly Rogers

4.25 inches

Squadron # "Nickname" Start End A/C Carrier/Base Top Ace (kills w/ sqn) CO (kills w/ sqn) Kills #
Aces
VF-17 "Jolly Rogers" Oct-43 Mar-44 F4U Solomons Ike Kepford (16) Tom Blackburn (11) 152   11
Link takes you to write up re: Lt. Cdr. John T. "Tommy" Blackburn - C.O. of Jolly Rogers, Fighting Squadron 17 (VF-17) - Navy Corsair ace, downed 11 Japanese aircraft over the Solomons in WWII
One of the great ones, whether shooting down Zeros, motivating a bunch of cast-offs, smuggling cases of beer in the squadron's Corsairs, or strafing a Japanese officers' cat house, Tommy Blackburn epitomized the hard-driving, hard-playing fighter pilot of times past.  He was the heart and soul of VF-17 - the famous Jolly Rogers.

VF-17 Jolly Rogers (1943-1959)
The first incarnation of the Jolly Rogers was established on 1 January 1943 at NAS Norfolk, as VF-17. Initially based on the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), the unit saw combat as a land-based squadron in the Solomon Islands in 1943-44, flying the F4U Corsair. The squadron was broken up in April 1944, but a new unit, with new personnel and aircraft, was formed with the same squadron designation. This new VF-17 served aboard the USS Hornet (CV-12), and flew the F6F Hellcat in the final drive across the Pacific in 1945.  The first VF-17 had 11 aces and was credited with 152 victories; the second had 12 aces and 161 victories. Together VF-17 was the highest-scoring Navy squadron of World War II.
VF-17 was re-designated as VF-5B in 1946, and as VF-61 in 1948. It was disestablished on 15 April 1959.

VF-84 Wolf Gang (1944-1945)

On 1 May 1944, the first VF-84, known as "Wolf Gang" was established. It was formed around a nucleus of veterans of VF-17 (the original "Jolly Rogers"), an F4U Corsair squadron land-based in the Solomon Islands in late 1943 and early 1944. The new squadron's commanding officer was Lt. Cdr. Roger R.Hedrick, former executive officer of VF-17.
VF-84 was assigned to the USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), the original home of VF-17.  As part of Task Force 58, the carrier and its air group (including VF-84) participated in the final drive across the central Pacific. Roger Hedrick was promoted to head CAG-84 on the combat loss of the air group's commanding officer, and Lt. Cdr. Raymond "Ted" Hill took over the fighter squadron.

VF-84 took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima; raids on Tokyo and other targets in Japan; the discovery and sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest warship in the world; and support of the invasion of Okinawa, including combat air patrol over the invasion fleet to defend against kamikaze attack, ground support, and combat air patrol over targets on Okinawa.
On 11 May 1945, while off Okinawa, two Japanese kamikazes struck the carrier in quick succession. A bomb carried by one penetrated to the pilots' ready room. 22 members of VF-84 lost their lives in the attack. Both the carrier (then the flagship) and its air group were knocked out of the war. Although VF-84 was reformed in July as an F6F Hellcat squadron, the war ended while it was still at its base in the United States. The squadron was disestablished on 8 October 1945.
While with the task force, the pilots of VF-84 were credited with 92 shootdowns for a loss of 4 Corsairs in air-to-air combat, a ratio of 48:1. Nine of the squadron's pilots became aces.


Insignia History
Three distinct U.S. Naval Aviation squadrons have used the name and insignia of the Jolly Roger: VF-61 (originally VF-17), VF-84, and VFA-103. While these are distinctly different squadrons that have no lineal linkage, they all share the same Jolly Roger name, the skull and crossbones insignia and traditions.
1). The first incarnation of the Jolly Rogers was established on January 1, 1943 at NAS Norfolk, as VF-17, flying the F4U Corsair. Inspired by the piratical theme of the aircraft's name, VF-17's commanding officer Tommy Blackburn selected the Jolly Roger as the squadron's insignia. VF-17 was redesignated as VF-5B in 1946, and as VF-61 in 1948. While in existence, VF-61 flew the F6F-5 Hellcat, F4U-1 Corsair, F8F-2 Bearcat, F9F-2/4 Panther, F9F-8 Cougar, and F3H-2M Demon, and was disestablished on April 15, 1959.
2). The second squadron to be called Jolly Rogers was VF-84, activated on July 1, 1955. This squadron was initially known as the Vagabonds, but assumed the Jolly Rogers name on April 1, 1960. This squadron flew the FJ-3 Fury, F-8C Crusader, F-4B/J/N Phantom II, and F-14A Tomcat before deactivation on September 29, 1995.[1]
3). After disestablishment of VF-84, the Jolly Rogers name and insignia were adopted by VF-103, which later became VFA-103, the subject of this article. There has only been one squadron designated VF-103.


    VF-17 was established on January 1, 1943, and during WW II it produced an outstanding record as a fighter squadron. The Jolly Roger insignia was adopted during this period. On Nov. 15, 1946, all Navy squadrons were re-designated and VF-17 became VF-5B. Subsequently, it was re-designated VF-61 on April 28, 1948, and then disestablished on April 15, 1959. Commander Hoppe was the C.O. of VF-61 when it was disestablished. The Jolly Roger insignia had been used by VF-17/VF-5B/VF-61 from 1943 until April 15, 1959.
    On July 2, 1955, VA-86 was established and on the same day was re-designated VF-84. This squadron was equipped with the FJ Fury and adopted the nickname Vagabonds. An insignia consisting of a lightning bolt striking the world in the area of Norfolk with a sword behind the bolt, was approved on September 27, 1955. The squadron operated under this name and insignia until it replaced the FJs with F8U Crusaders in 1959. Two days after the disestablishment of VF-61 -- the Jolly Roger squadron -- Cdr. Hoppe, the last C.O. of VF-61, assumed command of VF-84. He initiated the request to have VF-84 adopt the old Jolly Roger insignia, which was now no longer active. This request was approved by CNO on April 1, 1960. There is no direct connection between the former Jolly Roger squadron (VF-17/VF-5B/VF-61) and VF-84, which adopted the Jolly Roger insignia. 
    VF-103 Lineage: Established as VF-103 on 1 May 1952. Jolly Roger Insignia approved: 11 October 1995.  The squadron adopted the old insignia used by VF-17 (WW-II) and VF-84 (post WW-II). However, the history and lineage of VF-103 are not part of the history and lineage of VF-17 or VF-84.  Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VF-103), nicknamed the Jolly Rogers is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1952. VFA-103 flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet  and is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia (USA). The squadron's radio callsign is Victory and it is assigned to Carrier Air Wing Seven.


Citation For Award of The Navy Cross
KEPFORD, IRA CASSIUS
(First Award)  Synopsis: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Ira Cassius Kepford, Ensign, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron SEVENTEEN (VF-17), in action on 11 November 1943, while deployed over the Solomon Islands. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Home Town: Muskegon, Michigan
Awards: 2@ Navy Crosses (WWII)

KEPFORD, IRA CASSIUS
(Second Award)  Synopsis:  The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Ira Cassius Kepford, Ensign, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron SEVENTEEN (VF-17), in action on 29 January 1944, while deployed over the Solomon Islands. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Home Town: Muskegon, Michigan
Awards: 2@ Navy Crosses (WWII)

LANGDON, NED W.
Synopsis:  The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Ned W. Langdon, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron SEVENTEEN (VF-17), embarked from the U.S.S. HORNET (CV-12), in action on 6 April 1945, while deployed over Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

WATTS, CHARLES EDWARD
Citation:  The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Charles Edward Watts, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Division Leader in Fighting Squadron SEVENTEEN (VF-17), attached to the U.S.S. HORNET (CV-12), in action against enemy Japanese forces in Kure Bay, Japan, 19 March 1945. Participating in a daring fighter strike on major units of the Japanese Fleet, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Watts dived through intense enemy antiaircraft fire to press home a strafing attack on a Japanese aircraft carrier. Unable to release his bomb, he recovered altitude and led his division in a bombing attack on a cruiser. Subsequently, he aided in strafing a large tanker which was left burning, and assisted in an attack on an airfield which resulted in the destruction of six parked aircraft and the infliction of severe damage on airfield installations and hangars. He took part in strafing and exploding a locomotive and then joined in two strafing runs on a seaplane base, destroying two four-engined patrol planes and two single-engined seaplanes and inflicting serious damage on seven others. His courage and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Watts and the United States Naval Service.

Price: $155.00 $125.00


Product Code: PatchUSN.017.VF17.v1
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