Young men full of piss and vinegar trying to sound fierce and scary or just different. Christianity had absolutely nothing to do with it any more than some perceived Satanic leanings.
What about VF-31 "the Flying Meataxers" . . . shall we worry for the knife-making industry?
The original Helldiver was a biplane dive bomber in the 1930's, the SBC, named by the manufacturer, Curtiss Aircraft. All Curtiss dive bombers thereafter retained the moniker.
How about VF-11, the Sun Downers. Full disclosure, my father designed their insignia (see my avatar). A red sun setting in the ocean being shot down by two F4F fighters. Obviously the symbolism of shooting down the Japanese sun, but also in the sailing navy, sun downers were a crew that worked beyond when the sun passed the yardarm and thus did not splice the main-brace until just about sundown . . . implying a hard working crew that kept at it as long as there was light.
How about VF-42, they didn’t even have a name, but their insignia dated back to the early 1920’s when it was a float-plane scout squadron with a goose wearing a flight helmet and googles striding along with pontoons on his feet . . . that’s scary.
Worried about Hellcats? That plane’s predecessor was the F4F Wildcat, its successor was the F8F Bearcat and let us not forget the concurrent F7F Tigercat . . . traditionally Grumman fighter type aircraft were XXXXcat . . . with a slight break for F9F Panthers and such, the last Grumman fighter in service was the F-14 Tomcat. Oh, and I’d point out that one definition of Hellcat is a bad-tempered, spiteful, woman; a shrew, though it could also be complimentary in the right context. Also a mythical being that haunts certain southern swamplands and northern woods.
And the USN officially began assigning names to its aircraft in October 1941, generally keeping what came unofficially before, but retaining the right to name aircraft, rather than letting the manufacturers make the call.
This becomes a question of just how much one wants to read into, or parse out of, an aircraft's or unit’s nickname.
Let’s see . . . going through Barrett Tillman’s US Navy Fighter Squadrons in World War II (Specialty Press, 1997), where he mentions a named nickname/moniker or where I can throw some light . . .
VF-1 ‘High Hatters;’ VF-2 (the first one) ‘Flying Chiefs’ (which refers to Chief Petty Officers as the squadron rank and file pilots were largely enlisted Naval Aviation Pilots); VF-2 (the second one) ‘Rippers,’ later ‘Tall Dogs;’ VF-3 not really named after him, but sported a insignia showing Felix the Cat carrying a bomb; VF-4 ‘Red Rippers,’ (and, no, ‘red’ had nothing to do with Satan, it was a large tusked hogshead; VBF-6 ‘Whistling Death; VF-9 (1st-3d tours) ‘Cat o’ Nines,’ (4th tour) ‘Hellcats;’ VF-10 ‘Grim Reapers;’ VF-11 ‘Sun Downers;’ VF-12 ‘Corsairs’ later ‘Thunderbirds;’ VF-13 ‘Black Cats;’ VF-14 ‘Iron Angels;’ VF-15 ‘Fighting Aces;’ VF-16 ‘Pistol Packin’ Airdales;’ VF-17 ‘Jolly Rogers;’ VF-19 ‘Satan’s Kittens;’ VF-31 ‘Flying Meataxers;’ VF-32 ‘Outlaw’s Bandits’ (Eddie Outlaw was the squadron commander); VF-40 ‘Flying Boars;’ VF-41 (an earlier incarnation of VF-4, above, also ‘Red Rippers;’ VF-44 ‘Crusaders’ a nice Christian moniker, eh; VF-46 ‘Men-O-War;’ VF-47 ‘Fighting Cocks;’ VF-49 ‘Forty Niners;’ VF-50 ‘Devil Cats;’ VF(N)-53 AND VF(N)-63 ‘Sleepless Knights” ("(N)” denotes a night unit); VF-72 ‘Fighting Wasps;’ VF-74 ‘Flying Wolfhounds;’ VF-80 ‘Vorse’s Vipers” (Albert Vorse was the 1st of 3 squadron commanders); VF-81 ‘Freelancers;’ VF-83 ‘Kangaroos;’ VF-85 ‘Sky Pirates;' VF-86 ‘Wild Hares;’ VBF-86 ‘Vapor Trails;’ VF-88 ‘Gamecocks;’ VBF-88 ‘Gringos;’ and lastly VF(N)-90 ‘Bats’.
I could go through the same exercise with VB, VT, and VP/VPB squadrons and probably the Marines as well, but I’ll refrain. Interested parties can count up the suspected Satanic type messages in the above squadron nicknames as opposed to the humorous, say ‘Wild Hares’ or even the angelic, ‘Iron Angels.’ My count is three, four at a stretch, out of some 40 squadrons or squadron nicknames listed might use words associated with the dark side.
I’d point out that Jim Flatley, the first commander of VF-10, came up with the ‘Grim Reapers’ nickname was a devout Catholic. I’d also suggest his thinking on such matters was not atypical of the times. He wrote of his thoughts and words to his pilots on the eve of VF-10’s entry into combat in October 1942 to which I commend to your reading, see Stanley Johnson, The Grim Reapers, Dutton and Company, 1943, pages 121-123.
So, what is the worry about, what, less than 10% of the squadron names found and noted, hardly what one might term "heavily loaded". I’d suggest that this was a typical rate. And this is evidence of a tilt towards Satanism and away from Christianity just, how? Further, the 21st century tendency to parse every word of the past for criticism never crossed the minds of anyone in the 1940’s. No offense was intended, none should be found.
And does anyone want to tackle the USAAF unit nicknames?
Also, there was no VF-191 in WW2, you perhaps mean the WW2 era designation VF-19; likewise there was no VMA-241, that squadron is a lineal from VMSB-241 of the WW2 era.