Posted By RichC on August 11, 2006
Although I heard about this when it happened, it wasn’t until I saw the photo above (click it for full size) taken by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Laird made me want to include the bit of history in my blog. I grew up with a secret desire to be a Naval officer and would dream about both the sea and aviation. (I sort of still do — although the dreams are a bit more realistic) The one aircraft that stood apart was the F-14 Tomcat. Maybe it was just movies like “Top Gun” where Tom “Maverick” Cruise flew an F-14 … but then I’m not that young.
Late last month while completing Joint Task Force Exercises, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) along with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) launched the last of the F-14 fighters. A F-14D Tomcat (number 112) assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron Three One (VF-31) was the last F-14 catapulted from the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on July 28, 2006. Although this is the last scheduled launch, the Navy won’t officially retire the F-14 until September 2006. The F-14 Fighter has had 32 years of exceptional service. I would be remise to not offer a ‘thank you’ to all who had a hand in designing, maintaining and flying this tremendous aircraft; thank you for your service.