VF-101 Disestablishment

At 1100 hours on September 15, 2005, the “Grim Reapers” of Fighter Squadron 101 were retired.  The original Grim Reapers were commissioned shortly after Pearl Harbor in 1942 as Fighter Squadron 10, flying F-4F Wildcats at Naval Air Station (NAS) San Diego.   During World War II, Fighter Squadron 10 was credited with 217 kills and an additional 24 probables and was the only squadron to operate Wildcats, F-6F Hellcats and F-4U Corsairs.  The squadron was decommissioned in November of 1945.

 

Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) was commissioned on 1 May 1952 at NAS Cecil Field.  In the FG1-D Corsair, the squadron participated in the Korean War.  The squadron eventually transitioned to the F2H-1 Banshee and F4D-1 Skyray. 

 

On 1 May 1966, VF-101 established a detachment at NAS Oceana to begin training individuals in the F-4B Phantom.  The squadron received the F-4J in August of 1967.  On 1 April 1971, the squadron officially moved to NAS Oceana from NAS Key West, leaving a permanent detachment at Key West for tactics training.

 

In January of 1976, VF-101 assumed the role of training F-14 Tomcat personnel.  In June of 1976, VF-101 began its first aircrew class in support of VF-41 and VF-84’s transition to the F-14 from the F-4.  On 5 August 1977, the squadron was separated into two distinct units, with VF-101 being designated as the East Coast F-14 Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS) and VF-171 being designated as the F-4 FRS.  VF-171 was decommissioned in June of 1984.

 

In April of 1988, VF-101 received the first F-14B Tomcat.  In September of 1994, the Grim Reapers became the sole FRS for the Navy as the West Coast FRS (VF-124) was decommissioned at NAS Miramar.  In the F-14 platform alone, the Grim Reapers trained 3,168 aircrew, logged 298,192 flight hours and completed 22,248 carrier arrested landings - with 3,031 of those occurring at night.  Ten Grim Reaper aircrew and maintainers gave their lives while operating or working on Tomcats.

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The backdrop for the disestablishment ceremony was F-14D aircraft AD-160 (Bureau Number 164601) and painted in a retroactive VF-101 scheme.  This aircraft performed the final F-14 Tomcat demonstration on September 18, 2005 as part of the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show.  Gunfighter 160 now resides at Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California.