Posted by lex, on July 29, 2006
From the Navy news service:
ABOARD USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS) — A long, storied chapter in naval aviation history came to a close July 28 with the final aircraft carrier flight operations for F-14 Tomcats, fighter jets that have spent more than 32 years in the fleet but are now retiring and making room for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
The final aircraft carrier operational launch for Tomcats happened aboard the Norfolk-based Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) when aircraft No. 112 from the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron (VF) 31, piloted by Lt. Blake Coleman and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Cmdr. Dave Lauderbaugh, made its way down catapult No. 3 at 4:42 p.m.
“Bittersweet is a perfect term for this,” said Tomcatters’ Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jim Howe. “As a career F-14 pilot, I would be much happier flying the Tomcat until the end of my days in the Navy. But instead we have to enjoy this as long as we can.”
Somebody get that man a tissue.
Three thumbs up from the troubleshooters under the port wing – Mirabile dictu!