Composite Squadron 10

 "Challengers", "Proud Pelicans"



1. December 1943 VJ-16 Established at NAS Isla Grande
15. November 1945 VJ-16 was redesignated VU-10
1. July 1965 VU-10 was redesignated VC-10
14. August 1993 VC-10 Disestablished at NAS Guantanamo Bay


1946 - 1956 UL
1956 - 1993 JH



ca. 1948 - ca. 1955



1954 - 1958



1958 - 1964



19?? - 1963



1962 - 1966
F-8A, B



1966 - 1968



1968 - 1969



1969 - 1974



1976 - 1993



1963- 19??
VC-10 Deployments 
- none - - - - -
VJ-16, VU-10,VC-10 Commanding Officers 
? ? ?
CDR James J. Drew ? 17. Mar. 1981
CDR Francis P. Riordan 17. Mar. 1981 ?


The squadron was established on 1 December 1943 as Utility Squadron SIXTEEN at NAS Isla Grande in San Juan, Puerto Rico. VJ-16's mission was to provide gunnery target tow services, radar tracking, search and rescue, and photographic services to ships and aircraft in the Caribbean area. As was typical for most of its service, the squadron was equipped from the outset with a variety of aircraft types. Initially, the squadron's inventory consisted of Grumman J2F-5/6 Duck, Consolidated PBY-5/5A Catalina, Grumman TBF-1 Avenger, Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless and North American SNJ-4 aircraft.

After a brief move to NAAF Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in April 1944, VJ-16 settled in at NAS Miami, Florida in May 1944 and added Martin JM-1/2 Marauder, Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, General Motors FM-2 Wildcat and Grumman TBM-1J/3J Avenger aircraft to its roster. For the remainder of World War II, the squadron operated detachments in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Brazil, Cuba, Panama and Trinidad. VJ-16 consolidated its operations at NAS Guantanamo Bay/McCalla Field, Cuba in April 1945 and was redesignated as Utility Squadron TEN on 15. Nov 1945.

Over the next fifteen years, VU-10 variously operated JD-1, UF-1, Martin PBM-5A Marine, Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina, Douglas R4D-5 Skytain, Beechcraft SNB-5, Grumman F6F-5D Hellcat, Grumman F7F-2D Tigercat, Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, Grumman F9F-6/8 Cougar and North American FJ-3 Fury aircraft, as well as Grumman F6F-5K Hellcat, Culver TD2C, and Radioplane KD2R-5 target drones. In 1957, VU-10 also established an operating detachment at NAS Jacksonville, Florida that was absorbed into Utility Squadron FOUR (VU-4) in 1963.

With the closure of McCalla Field, VU-10 moved to the nearby NAS Guantanamo Bay/Leeward Point Field in January 1960 and added defense of the base as one of its missions after Communist rebels took over the Cuban government during the Cuban Revolution. During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, VU-10's Vought F-8A Crusader fighters became the front line defense force for the base against both Cuban and deployed Soviet forces. The squadron, which acquired Grumman US-2C Trackers and, in succession, Vought F-8B/D/A/C/K Crusaders, was redesignated as Fleet Composite Squadron 10 on 1. July 1965.

Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk IIs modified to carry air-to-ground ordnance and AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles replaced the last of VC-10's F-8 Crusaders in 1976, augmented by a Douglas EA-4F Skyhawk II in the late 1980s. VC-10 continued to provide aerial target services for fleet training and dissimilar air combat maneuver training (DACT) for fleet aircraft during Atlantic Fleet carrier battle group deployment work-ups.

VC-10 was disestablished at NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 14. August 1993 as part of a post-Cold War reduction in naval forces and the transfer of the composite squadron mission to the Naval Air Reserve


last update 22. February 2013

written 10. Juni 2010


- Corrections, additions and remarks please send to the Web master Michael E. Fader -
- If information from this site is used as source material please credit  -
- If this page does not have a navigational frame on the left, click HERE to see the rest of the website. -