In its 13 years of service. Fighter Squadron 54 (VF-54) spent much of its life flying attack aircraft. Known first as the Copperheads and after 1951 as Hell’s Angels, VF-54 gained fame in the skies over Korea and off the hostile coast of China.
The squadron was established on 26 March 1945 as VBF-153 at NAS Wildwood, New Jersey, initially equipped with F4U-1 Corsairs. In September, the squadron switched to the F6F-5 Hellcat. The Copperheads joined the Pacific Fleet in August 1946 and were redesignated VF-16A on 15 November. VF-16A deployed on board the Antietam (CV-36) in March 1947 for the squadron’s first of seven deployments to the Western Pacific.
In October 1947, VF-16A switched to F8F-1 Bearcats, and on 15 July 1948 were redesignated VF-152. After upgrading to the F8F-2 in May 1949, VF-152 switched to the F4U-4B Corsair in December. On 15 February 1950, the Copperheads were redesignated VF-54.