Strike Fighter Squadron TWO ONE ONE [VFA-211]
Fighter Squadron TWO ONE ONE [VF-211]
The Fighting Checkmates excel in the mission areas of counter-air, aerial reconnaissance, and strike warfare. VFA-211 is based at NAS Oceana in Virginia. They were redesignated VFA-211, from VF-211, in 2004 to reflect their transition training to the F-18E/F Super Hornet. The Checkmates had previously flown the F-14 Tomcat.
The squadron logo depicts a character known as "Brutus" holding a rocket, from the original logo for VB-74. Eleven stars are arranged in groups of seven and four to mark the original squadron's numerical designation, "seven four". This design was brought to the attention of present day Checkmates during the 50-year reunion in 1995. The shield recalls the squadron's 16-year association with the F-8 Crusader. The definition "Checkmate" states that you are leaving your enemy with no options, which is the perfect example of how "Team Checkmate" operates.
On 01 May 1945 Bombing Squadron SEVENTY FOUR was formed, beginning the lineage of the present day Fighter Squadron TWO ONE ONE, the Fighting Checkmates. On 1 December 1949 the unit was re-designated Fighter Squadron TWO FOUR. In 1959 VF-24 traded airwings and designations with VF-211, and the present day VF-211 Checkmates were born. In 1961 the Fighting Checkmates moved to NAS Miramar, their home for the next 35 years.
In 1975 VF-211 transitioned to the F-14A Tomcat. In 1989 the Fighting Checkmates upgraded to the more powerful F-14A+. During this period, VF-211 deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation DESERT STORM, providing critical air superiority and tactical air reconnaissance imagery to coalition forces. Since transitioning back to the F-14A in 1992, the Fighting Checkmates have deployed twice more to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, flying daily sorties over Iraq enforcing the UN imposed no-fly-zone and providing invaluable photo reconnaissance imagery. August 1996 again found the Fighting Checkmates based at NAS Oceana in conjunction with the turnover of Miramar to the U.S. Marine Corps. VF-211 remains attached to Carrier Air Wing Nine, deploying aboard CVN-74 John C. Stennis.
VF-211 FIGHTING Checkmates and their ten F-14A Tomcats departed on a millennium cruise aboard the JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) as a component of Carrier Airwing NINE on 07 January 2000. The cruise took the Checkmates to several ports in the Far East before they head to the Persian Gulf, where they conducted missions for several months. The Checkmates then returned to the United States after a few liberty calls to Austrailia before a brief stop in Hawaii to pick up family members for a Tiger Cruise. After the Fighting Checkmates returned from their millennium cruise in July 2000, they took a break. Following, they had several detachments scheduled prior to their next IDTC (Inter-Deployment Training Cycle).
In December 2001, VF-211 was sent to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Anaconda. For their precision and innovation in strike warfare they were selected as the "Sweetpea" Allen Precision Strike award winner for 2002. The Checkmates returned home after flying 1,250 combat missions. For their achievements they were awarded the West Coast Battle "E" for battle efficiency, the Grand Slam for excellence in air-to-air employment, and the Clifton Award for the most outstanding overall performance in battle efficiency and employment. Since its establishment, as of 2004, VF-211 has completed 40 deployments.
In October 2004, the Fighting Checkmates became VFA-211 as they began their transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet at NAS Lemoore, CA. Upon their return, VFA-211 became the first operational East Coast Super Hornet Squadron. Calendar year 2005 was another milestone year as the Checkmates began training for a 2006 deployment in support of the Global War On Terrorism. VFA-211's hard work and effort was rewarded as the command was named the first East Coast Super Hornet Battle "E" squadron by Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
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