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WWII Patch, USN, VF-1 VF-1B VB-4 VS-41 VB-41 #4 LEATHER

WWII Patch, USN, VF-1  VF-1B  VB-4  VS-41  VB-41  #4 LEATHER

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch  #4 -  LEATHER
USN Navy Tophatter & Highhatter Squadrons
VF-4--->VF-1 High Hatters
VT-5 ---> VP-4-1 ---> VF-4 ---> VF-1 ---> VF-1B ---> VB-2B ---> VB-3 ---> VB-4 ---> VS-41 ---> VB-41 ---> VB-4 ---> VA-1A ---> VA-14 ---> VF-14 ---> VFA-14 Top Hatters
torpedo & bombing squadron, patrol squadron, fighting squadron, bombing squadron, scouting squadron, attack squadron, fighter squadron, strike-fighter squadron
5 inches
Both the Hellcats of VF-1, and the Helldivers of VB-4 (and its predecessor units), bore the same identical "Top Hat" insignia.
However the squadrons went by different names. 
VF-1 was called the "High Hatters" and the VB-4 bombing squadron was called the "Top Hatters".
The tophat insignia was originally adopted in 1927. Devised by then commanding officer, LCDR Gerry Bogan. The unit emblem was meant to symbolize the very best, and to boost the morale of the aviators who were flying the notoriously difficult Boeing FB-5.
Insignia when used by the Highhatters as:
01 May 1943   established as VF-4
15 Jul    1943   redesignated VF-1
25 Oct   1945   disestablished

Insignia when used by the Tophatters as:
15 Jun 1920     VT-5       torpedo & bombing squadron
07 Sep 1921    VP-4-1    patrol squadron
23 Sep 1921    VF-4       fighting squadron
01 Jul  1922     VF-1       fighting squadron
01 Jul 1927      VF-1B     fighting squadron
01 Jul 1934       VB-2B     bombing squadron
01 Jul 1937       VB-3        bombing squadron
01 Jul 1939       VB-4        bombing squadron
15 Mar 1941     VS-41      scouting squadron
01 Mar 1943     VB-41      bombing squadron
04 Aug 1943     VB-4        bombing squadron
15 Nov 1946     VA-1A      attack squadron
02 Aug 1948     VA-14      attack squadron
15 Dec 1949     VF-14      fighter squadron
01 Dec 2001     VFA-14    strike-fighter squadron

VF-1 High Hatters History
- There was more than one VF-1
The original Fighter Squadron 1 was established on July 1, 1922, and operated as VF-1 until July 1, 1934, when it was then redesignated VB-2. One year later, on July 1, 1935, a second VF-1 was established and served for two years until it was redesignated to VF-6. During these years the pilots flew Curtiss TS-1, Boeing F2B and F3B, Curtiss F8C and BFC Goshawk and Boeing F4B. In January, 1925 it was decided that VF-1 would operate from battleships, their TS land planes were fitted with pontoons and new engines. The squadron's planes were assigned to eleven different battleships. On November 16, 1927 the Saratoga was commissioned and VF-1 was assigned to her. The third VF-1 was established on May 1, 1943, operating Grumman F6F Hellcats. They were assigned to the Pacific fleet and participated in numerous missions during World War II. In 1944, the squadron was reorganized, and assigned to perform attacks on Japan itself, taking an important role in assaulting airfields and Japanese shipping. After the war ended, the squadron was assigned to escort supply drops, until it was disestablished on October 25, 1945.

Since its inception the squadron has flown 23 different type aircraft, had its designation changed fourteen times, operated from 20 different aircraft carriers (and several battleships) and had 79 commanding officers (the 80th is now in command).  Over the years the squadron has been assigned many different missions, including patrol and observation in its early years, and scouting, attack, fighter, bombing and forward air control missions when it became associated with carrier-based operations. The squadron adopted the classic Top Hat as its squadron patch and called themselves the "High Hats".

VF-1B High Hatters Aerobatic Display Team
At the end of 1920's the High Hatters US NAVY Aerobatic Display Team is formed from VF-1B squadron, which is based on the
carrier USS Saratoga. The team flies with three Boeing F2B-1 planes (link). On some displays their planes are tied with ropes (photo), during all air display maneuvers. VF-1B Highhatters Aerobatic Display Team displayed mostly on the West Coast of USA. The aerobatic display team disbanded at the beginning of 1930.

Squadron # "Nickname" Start End A/C Carrier/Base Top Ace (kills w/ sqn) CO (kills w/ sqn) Kills #
VF-1   "High Hatters" Nov 1943 Aug 1944 F6F Yorktown CV-10 Richard Eastmond (9) B.M. Strean 100   3
  (the 3rd) Fighter Squadron 1 (VF-1) was an aviation Unit of the United States Navy.
History: 01 May 1943 established as VF-4 High Hatters
15 Jul 1943 redesignated VF-1
25 Oct 1945 disestablished

Lt. Roy A. Bechtol, of Lubbock, Texas
- "Beck had seen a great deal of war in his last few days," wrote famed, Navy Admiral Bernard N. "Smoke" Strean, on June 27th,1944, then a Commander and Squadron Leader of "VF-1, the Highhatters" a Hellcat fighter squadron stationed aboard the  aircraft carrier Yorktown. Lieutenant Bechtol,  the Oklahoma raised Lubbock transplant was Admiral Strean's former wingman. Together they flew the aptly named fighter "The Hellcat" that turned the tide of war against the Japanese. Beck had participated in six fighter sweeps and attacks on the Marianas, two in the Bonins, and (on June 19th, The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot) in which he shot down two Jap fighters for a total of four to his credit, and made a bombing run on the enemy fleet."  The next day, June 20th, Lt. Bechtol would release a single 500 lb bound strapped to the bottom of his Hellcat, onto the deck of a Japanese carrier as he watched his best friend Lt. M.M. "Tommy" Tomme, piloting his own F6-F Grumman Hellcat, fall from the sky as enemy bullets ripped through his canopy, plunging forever lost into the ocean's depths. Three days later young Roy, who the Admiral wrote enjoyed ribbing his fellow aviators to keep up morale, would meet a similar fate. June 23rd,1944:  "We commenced our dive (Over Pagan Island) from around 14,000 feet," strafing and intending to drop a bomb at approximately 3,000 feet,"  wrote Admiral Strean. "Beck's plane was badly hit in the tail by Jap anti-aircraft and went straight into the ground.  At the speed we were flying the whole thing happened in an instant.  He was alongside and slightly behind me when it happened. The third pilot in the division, Jack Hankins, observed it all. There is no possibility of Beck having gotten out of the plane."  see: Lt. Roy Bechtol's Hellcat & the Remains of MIA Naval Aviator Lt. Roy Bechtol Found on Remote Pacific Island After 60 Years
VB-4 Top Hatters Early years
The Tophatters began carrier operations on board the Navy's first aircraft carrier USS Langley in 1926. The squadron, then designated Fighter Plane Squadron One, set the record for carrier landings in a single day. Flying the TS-1, they logged 127 traps by the end of flight operations. In 1929 the squadron was assigned to USS Saratoga, where it began as a fighter squadron and transitioned to a bomber squadron. Throughout the 1930s, the Tophatters flew the FB-5, F2B, F8C-4 Helldiver, F4B, F11C Goshawk, BFC and the SB2U-1 Vindicator. In 1939, while flying the Vindicator, the Tophatters were transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and the USS Ranger.

World War II - The Tophatters proved to be formidable foes during WWII. While on the USS Ranger, the squadron provided air support for the invasion of North Africa in November 1942. During the four days of November 8-November 11, the pilots destroyed 16 enemy aircraft. Flying the SBD Dauntless dive bomber, the squadron participated in the first American naval air strike against German forces in Norway's inner channel.  In November 1944, the squadron transferred to the Pacific Fleet, and participated in the Leyte Campaign while attached to USS Bunker Hill. After transferring to USS Essex, the squadron bombed fortifications on Formosa in January 1945, supported the assault on Iwo Jima in February, participated in the first naval carrier strike on Tokyo, and completed Pacific combat operations with strikes on Okinawa in early March 1945.  After the war's end VB-4 made four cruises aboard USS Tarawa (CV-40), including a world cruise between 28 September 1948 and 21 February 1949, after which the squadron was based on the U.S. East Coast. On 15 November 1946 VB-4 became Attack Squadron 1A (VA-1A), and in August 1948 the squadron was again redesignated Attack Squadron 14 (VA-14) and transitioned from the SB2C-5 to the Vought F4U-4 Corsair. In December 1949 VA-14 was redesignated Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14).
TOP HATTERS Squadron linage
Date designation squadron type
Sep 1919 Pacific Fleet
Air Detachment
15 Jun 1920 VT-5 torpedo & bombing squadron
07 Sep 1921 VP-4-1 patrol squadron
23 Sep 1921 VF-4 fighting squadron
01 Jul 1922 VF-1 fighting squadron
01 Jul 1927 VF-1B fighting squadron
01 Jul 1934 VB-2B bombing squadron
01 Jul 1937 VB-3 bombing squadron
01 Jul 1939 VB-4 bombing squadron
15 Mar 1941 VS-41 scouting squadron
01 Mar 1943 VB-41 bombing squadron
04 Aug 1943 VB-4 bombing squadron
15 Nov 1946 VA-1A attack squadron
02 Aug 1948 VA-14 attack squadron
15 Dec 1949 VF-14 fighter squadron
01 Dec 2001 VFA-14 strike-fighter squadron

Price: $245.00 $210.00

Product Code: PatchUSN.001.VF1.VB4.VS41.VB41.v4.LEATHER
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