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The first known actions for the Hammerheads took place during the Great War, when pilots from the squadron were launched from the GTD Bastion in Delta Serpentis to assist in the assault on the SD Lucifer in the subspace tunnel to Sol. The pilots who survived that combat remained forever in the Sol system.
The squadron was eventually transferred to the Aquitaine, but no data is available on their activities until just prior to the Second Great War, when the 53rd Hammerheads oversaw the evacuation of Cygnus Prime and later encountered the NTF Iceni, buried within the Boadicea Installation in the Deneb asteroid belt. They were then sent to intercept the Iceni at the jump node as it escaped Deneb, but they failed due to bad jump in coordinates and Command's decision to pull the blockade. After the Iceni's escape, the Hammerheads engaged and destroyed two cruisers with the help of the GVD Psamtik, the NTC Impervious and the NTC Glorious.
The 53rd is the first squadron the player joins in FreeSpace 2.