Sea Control Squadron 21

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Sea Control Squadron 21 (VS-21)
Sea Control Squadron 21 (US Navy) insignia 1999.png
Active 26 March 1945 - 28 February 2005
Country United States
Branch United States Navy
Role Anti-submarine warfare
Size squadron
Nickname(s) Fighting Red Tails
Equipment TBM-3 Avenger
S-2 Tracker
S-3 Viking
VT-41 USN VT-41 emblem 1945.png
VS-21 (1955) Anti-Submarine Squadron 21 (US Navy) isignia c1977.png

Sea Control Squadron 21 (VS-21) was an aviation unit of the United States Navy. It served from 1945 to 2005 and was mainly tasked with anti-submarine warfare while operating from aircraft carriers.


VS-21 was previously designated Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 21 (VS-21), Composite Squadron 21 (VC-21), Attack Squadron 1E (VA-1E), and Torpedo Squadron 41 (VT-41). It was established in the final year of World War II, and served after the war aboard Badoeng Strait helping to develop hunter-killer ASW tactics for the U.S. Navy, and ultimately operated from full-size aircraft carriers in the sea control role, capable of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. It was the only squadron to receive the designations VA-1E, VC-21, or VS-21.[1]

The squadron was established as Torpedo Squadron 41 (VT-41) at Naval Air Station Seattle, Washington (USA), under the command of Lieutenant Joseph P. Keigher, with the General Motors-built TBM-1, TBM-1C, and TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber as part of Escort Carrier Air Group 41 (CVEG-41). Commander Air Force Pacific Fleet had designated the squadron upon formation as having anti-submarine warfare as its primary mission. On 15 November 1946, as part of a service-wide reorganization, VT-41 was redesignated Attack Squadron 1E (VA-1E). This was translated into "1st attack squadron ("VA-1") based on escort carriers ("E")", while CVEG-41 was simultaneously redesignated Escort Carrier Air Group 1 (CVEG-1). The group, which consisted of VA-1E and fighter squadron VF-1E, was assigned on 4 December 1946, to the escort carrier Badoeng Strait. VA-1E was identified by the tail code "BS" (call sign "Beef Steak"). In 1947-1948, VA-1E conducted regular ASW exercises aboard Badoeng Strait between the U.S. West Coast and the Western Pacific. The squadron saw extensive service in ASW trials and tactics development aboard Badoeng Strait.[1] When the US Navy turned back to the designation system used before November 1946, both CVEG-1 squadrons VA-1E and VF-1E were merged into Composite Squadron 21 (VC-21) on 1 September 1948, creating one of six new anti-submarine squadrons. The squadron was redesignated Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 21 (VS-21) and obtained the nickname "Redtails" on 23 April 1950. After putting the S-3B Viking into service in 1991, on 1 October 1993, the squadron was redesignated Sea Control Squadron 21 (retaining the abbreviated form VS-21). VS-21 was finally disestablished on 28 February 2005.[2]

Commanding officers[edit]

  • Lt. Joseph P. Keigher: 26 March 1945 (acting commander)
  • Lt. Charles A. Collins: 29 April 1945
  • LCdr. Kent M. Cushman: 14 September 1946
  • LCdr. Harold A. Robinson: 24 November 1947

Aircraft Assignment[edit]

A TBM-3S in VA-1E colors
A squadron S2F-1 in flight
Profile of an S-3A during the squadron's service aboard the USS Constellation

Air Wing Assignments[edit]

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons.

  1. ^ a b Grossnick, Roy A. (1995). "VA-1E" (pdf). Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons. Naval Historical Center. 1. Washington, DC: Department of the Navy. p. 17. 
  2. ^ Donald, David; Lake, Jon (1992). US Navy & Marine Corps Air Power Directory. Aerospace Publishing. 

External links[edit]