Sea Control Squadron TWENTY FOUR [VS-24]
Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR (VS-24) exists to support the accomplishment of the Navy's missions of forward presence, power projection, sea control, and on-scene crisis response. Specifically, VS-24 provides the operational commander with advanced command and control, surveillance, and battle space dominance. The Scouts accomplish this by ensuring the highest state of readiness and providing an all-weather sea strike and sea control platform that is highly capable in all warfare areas. Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR is an integral element to the successful execution of Anti-Surface Warfare, Electronic Warfare, Over the Horizon Targeting, Counter Targeting, and Organic Refueling.
Throughout the years, VS-24 has flown five different types of aircraft from fifteen aircraft carriers. The last airframe change for the Scouts occurred in August 1975 when the squadron transitioned from the prop-driven S-2G Tracker to the turbofan S-3A Viking. The squadron upgraded to the S-3B in September 1989. This modification added the capability to launch the Harpoon missile, added Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR), provided the ability to deploy electronic countermeasures and aerial refuel other aircraft, and improved the Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) and acoustic detection systems.
Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR traces its history back to 1 January 1943, when it was commissioned as Bombing Squadron SEVENTEEN (VB-17). The squadron embarked aboard USS BUNKER HILL (CVS-17) and USS HORNET (CVS-12) for action throughout World War II. The post-war period was one of great changes for the squadron. Its designation and tasking changed several times until 8 April 1960, when it was designated Air Anti-Submarine Squadron TWENTY-FOUR and assigned the Anti-Submarine (ASW) mission. In 1993, the squadron was redesignated Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR, which reflected the new multi-mission role of the Viking aircraft.
In 1991 the Scouts deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation DESERT STORM; VS-24 crews were responsible for the first S-3B land strike over enemy territory and the first sea strike against a hostile patrol craft. Following the war, Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR participated in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT rendering aid to Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraq.
In 1995 the Scouts deployed aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) for operations in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf supporting Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, and in the eastern Mediterranean in support of NATO strikes against Bosnian-Serb military targets. During Operation DELIBERATE FORCE, VS-24 became the first S-3B squadron to launch Tactical Air Launched Decoys (TALD) in support of overland strikes.
In 1997 VS-24 returned to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf to support the ongoing efforts of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, and participated in Operation DELIBERATE GUARD in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. During this deployment, the Scouts were the most heavily utilized squadron in the air wing accumulating over 2,300 flight hours while maintaining a 100 percent mission completion rate. Scout crews repeatedly proved the Viking to be the platform of choice for conducting Surface Warfare and Electronic Surveillance.
The movement of eight S-3 Viking anti-submarine aircraft 27 October 1997 began the relocation of Sea Control Squadron (VS) 24 from Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Fla. to NAS Jacksonville, Fla. The move is in compliance with the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which ordered NAS Cecil Field to be closed. The remainder of the S-3 wing was scheduled to relocate before the end of December 1997. A total of 48 aircraft and six squadrons ultimately made the move. Nearly 2,000 military and civilian employees moved with the wing.
Over the years, VS-24 has received many awards for excellence in operational readiness. These include the Captain Arnold J. Isbell trophy for ASW excellence, the COMNAVAIRLANT Battle Efficiency Award, the Silver Anchor Award for retention, the Golden Anchor Award for 1996, the Arleigh Burke Award for the most improved squadron, and the CVW-8 Santa Barbara Shrine Award for ordnance excellence. Most recently, Sea Control Squadron TWENTY-FOUR has received the Conventional Weapons Squadron of the Year, the Electronic Warfare Squadron of the Year, the Commander Sixth Fleet's Hook 'Em Award for 1997 for proficiency in Undersea Warfare, and the Carrier Air Wing EIGHT and Sea Control Wing Atlantic Golden Wrench Awards for maintenance proficiency.
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