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Fighter Squadron 53
Fighter Squadron 53 (US Navy) insignia c1968.png
VF-53 squadron insignia
Active 20 July 1950 – 29 January 1971
Country United States
Branch United States Navy
Role Fighter aircraft
Part of Inactive
Nickname(s) Iron Angels
Engagements Korean War
Vietnam War
Aircraft flown
Fighter F-9F-2 Panther
F2H-3 Banshee
F4D-1 Skyray
F3H Demon
F-8 Crusader

Fighter Squadron 53, or VF-53 Iron Angels was an aviation unit of the United States Navy in service from 20 July 1950 to 29 January 1971. Originally established as reserve squadron VF-721 on 20 July 1950, it was redesignated as VF-141 on 4 February 1953 and then redesignated as VF-53 on 15 October 1963. The squadron was disestablished on 29 January 1971. It was the fourth US Navy squadron to be designated as VF-53.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Korean War[edit]

VF-721 F-9F-2 Panthers over Korea in 1951

VF-721 equipped with the F-9F-2 Panther was assigned to Carrier Air Group 101 (CVG-101) aboard USS Boxer for a deployment to Korea from 2 March to 24 October 1951.[2] During this deployment the squadron lost 2 aircraft.[2]:88

The squadron deployed on USS Kearsarge from 11 August 1952 to 17 March 1953.[2] During this deployment the squadron lost 4 aircraft and two pilots killed.[2]:88


VF-141 F2H-3 Banshee aborts a landing on USS Randolph in 1954
VF-141 F3H Demon landing on HMS Victorious (R38) in 1961

VF-141 equipped with the F2H-3 Banshee was assigned to Carrier Air Group 14 (CVG-14) aboard USS Randolph for a deployment to the Mediterranean from 3 February to 6 August 1954

VF-141 equipped with the F4D-1 Skyray was assigned to Carrier Air Group 5 (CVG-5) aboard USS Bon Homme Richard for a deployment to the Western Pacific from 12 July to 9 December 1957. The squadron was assigned to Carrier Air Group 14 (CVG-14) aboard USS Ranger for a deployment to the Western Pacific from 3 January to 27 July 1959.

VF-141 equipped with the F3H Demon was assigned to CVG-14 for a deployment to the Western Pacific aboard USS Oriskany from 14 May to 15 December 1960. The squadron deployed aboard USS Lexington for a deployment to the Western Pacific from 9 November 1961 to 12 May 1962.


VF-53 F-8J Crusader in 1970

VF-53 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5) and was deployed to Vietnamese waters aboard USS Ticonderoga three times: 3 January to 15 July 1963; 14 April to 15 December 1964 and 28 September 1965 to 13 May 1966.[3]

VF-53 was deployed on the carrier USS Hancock from 5 January to 22 July 1967.[3] On 25 March 1967, a squadron F-8E crashed at sea on a non-combat mission, the pilot Lieutenant j.g. James Hise was killed in action, body not recovered.[4][5]

VF-54 was deployed on the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard three times: from 27 January to 10 October 1968; from 18 March to 29 October 1969 and from 2 April to 12 November 1970.[3] On 29 July 1968, LTCDR Guy Kane flying an F-8E shot down a Vietnam People's Air Force MiG-17.[3]:101

Home port assignments[edit]

Notable former members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fighter Squadron Lineage". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Thompson, Warren (2014). F9F Panther Units of the Korean War. Osprey Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 9781782003502. 
  3. ^ a b c d Mersky, Peter (2012). F-8 Crusader Units of the Vietnam War. Osprey Publishing. p. 102. ISBN 9781782006527. 
  4. ^ "LTJG James Hamilton Hise". The Virtual Wall. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Unaccounted-For from the Vietnam War (Sorted by Name) Prisoners of War, Missing in Action and Killed in Action/Body not Recovered" (PDF). Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 

External links[edit]