The 214th Squadron ( also known as Squadron 214 and Black Crows) is carrier-based multi-spacecraft equipped squadron (technically "multi-level force applicator") in UEE Military, which includes one F8 Lightning-, one F7A Hornet-, one Gladius- and an elite T8A Gladiator (aka Bravo Flight) -unit. The squadron was formally activated in 2675 as part of the military expansion that followed in the wake of Project FarStar. 214 has seen great success in their 270-year service history. The call name "Black Crows" now almost exclusively refer to this elite bomber unit that earned its fame in numerous successful short-range bombing missions against the Vanduul.
Anvil Aerospace dedicated their 2951 Invictus Launch Week presentation to the Squadron, where it was also announced that the squadron will soon transition to incorporating the F8 Lightning into their flights.
Bravo Flight is the designation of the unit's elite bomber ship. They have been active since the creation of the squadron. It consists of ground crews and flight engineers who claim a spotless record, and only confirmed ace pilots and gunners. The recent exploits of Bravo Flight in the Virgil Raid in 2932 have become so well known that references to the Black Crows now almost exclusively refer to this distinguished bomber unit. Bravo garnered attention during the Vanduul push after 2681. Battling the encroaching horde from Orion to Tiber, their Gladiators pulled double duty as S&R craft up to the last minutes of the Tiber pullout. Since that time, the ‘bloodthirsty birds' have found themselves forward-deployed to counter suspected Vanduul clan movements time and time again.
On the morning of August 9 2932, six gladiators of 214's Bravo Flight launched from the UEES Typhon to investigate a distress signal in the Virgil system. They found a Vanduul incursion force, and while outnumbered, the UEEN pilots outclassed the invaders. After the skirmish, the surviving pilots discovered that the distress signal had originated from a member of the 214 that had been lost decades earlier. They were able to return the bodies of all lost pilots, making them famous across the Empire.
The origin of the squadron's nom de guerre is still a mystery. Modern Black Crow pilots and their supporters claim that the name refers to the squadron's cleverness and penchant for vengeance (Earth crows, now found on over a dozen worlds, are capable of remembering and attacking offending Human faces for years). Historians say that the truth is somewhat less valorous. The squadron was originally known as “Branton's Braggarts,” a humorous reference to the unit's overly-vocal pride overachieving the first perfect score in a HARD+ rated simulated bombing run under their first commanding officer, Captain Charlotte Branton. Fed up with the squadron's braggadocio, ground crews began painting black birds on their spacecraft to show their distaste for 214's ‘constant cawing.' By the time Squadron 214 went into action, they were the Black Crows.