(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy in Southeast Asia.
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy in Southeast Asia.
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, was awarded a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy in Southeast Asia.
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while serving as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam.
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Captain Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Deputy Director of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations from October 1976 to April 1978. Responsible for coordinating the administrative requirements and plans for all naval aircraft and air-launched weapons programs during a period of severe budgetary constraints, Captain Rutledge demonstrated perceptive judgment, superb managerial ability, and inspiring leadership in accurately assessing the relative costs and merits of each naval aviation project. His capacity to collate all available data, reduce it to a meaningful format, and utilize it as a basis for knowledgeable decision making enabled the Division to apply rational and realistic priorities to naval aviation programs. In addition, Captain Rutledge's decisiveness in deriving solutions to ad hoc problems requiring difficult trade offs to be made among naval aviation programs earned him the utmost respect of his superiors and peers. By his imaginative approach to problem solving, astute foresight, and selfless devotion to duty, Captain Rutledge contributed immeasurably to increased fleet combat readiness and to the definition of vital naval aviation requirements, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain [then Commander] Howard Elmer Rutledge (NSN: 9932091/506435), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 28 November 1965, as a pilot of jet aircraft, serving with Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-ONE (VF-191), embarked in U.S.S. BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31), during aerial combat operations. Captain Rutledge led a flight of three aircraft which were participating in a two-carrier strike against the Ha Chanh Bridge in North Vietnam. Prior to reaching the target, his flight was diverted to the alternate target, a railroad and highway bridge near Thanh Hoa. Overcast conditions in the area forced Captain Rutledge to descend into an area of heavy ground fire before commencing his attack. Without regard for his personal safety, he led his group in a dive bombing attack in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, delivering his bombs squarely on the assigned target and inflicting severe damage. Captain Rutledge's courageous performance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Action Date: November 28, 1965 Service: Navy Rank: Captain Company: Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191) Division: U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31)
Active August 16, 1948 - September 30, 1994
Country United States
Branch United States Navy
Type Fleet replacement squadron
Part of Inactive
Fighter F-8 Crusader
Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124) was a fleet replacement squadron of the United States Navy. Known as the Gunfighters, they were active from 1958 through 1994. The squadron's task was the training of pilots for the F-8 Crusader and later the F-14 Tomcat.
VF-124 was established on 16 August 1948 as VF-53 and became VF-124 at NAS Moffet Field on 11 April 1958 due to a need for an increased number of flight training squadrons, itself necessary because of introduction of swept wing fighters into Navy service. VF-124 had three missions assigned, initial training of F-8 Crusader pilots, bringing them to a standard where they were ready to join a fleet squadron, refresher training for aviators returning to the Pacific Fleet, and also providing maintenance training for ground personnel on the F-8.
This last mission is often overlooked, but was a crucial part of the training provided by a Fleet Readiness Squadron. In addition to these training roles, VF-124 maintained its instructor crews as combat ready pilots in case of national emergency. Flying the F8U-1, TV-2 and F9F-8T the Gunfighters won the Safety S awards for 1958 and 1959.
After three years at Moffet Field VF-124 moved to Naval Air Station Miramar which would become their life for the rest of its existence. F-8 training continued throughout the years and by 1970 VF-124 became the Pacific Fleet training squadron for the new F-14 Tomcat. VF-124 stopped training F-8 pilots in August 1972 and responsibility for the small number F-8’s left was handed over to VFP-63. VF-124 received their first F-14A’s on October 8, 1972. A few days later the two first active fleet F-14 squadrons, VF-1 and VF-2 were commissioned. In December 1973, US Marine Corps officers reported to VF-124 to start training as instructors. USMC involvement continued until 1976 when it was decided that the F-14 was too expensive for the USMC to operate. The first set of replacements pilots trained by VF-124 took to sea in December 1974, flying day and night carrier qualifications of the deck of USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).
n 1976 personnel from the Imperial Iranian Air Force arrived to begin training on the F-14 until the overthrow of the Shah three years later. As a new decade began the role of reconnaissance was introduced to the F-14 with the TARPS pod. VF-124 began to teach air and ground crews how to operate the pod. By December 1988 VF-124 had trained 1502 aircrew, over 14.400 maintenance personnel and flown over 153,193 flight hours and VF-124 also achieved 124 days without any Foreign Object Damage.
With the introduction of the improved F-14D Super Tomcat, VF-124 was assigned the role of training air and ground personnel on the new aircraft and the first F-14D was accepted on November 16, 1990, with four aircraft undertaking the first fleet F-14D carrier qualifications on board the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on October 2, 1991.
On March 11, 1993 a VF-124 F-14 made the final landing on USS Ranger (CVA-61), Lieutenant Mark A. Garcia and Lieutenant Tim Taylor completed the carrier’s 330,683rd landing. With the downsizing of the F-14 squadrons in the early 1990s the Navy’s training squadrons were reduced and VF-124 was disestablished in September 1994 and the responsibility of all F-14 training went to VF-101. VF-124 would operate the F-14A Tomcat and the F-14D Super Tomcat as all F-14B Tomcats were flown by the Atlantic Fleet Squadrons.