Tags: f-14-tomcat, history, naval-aviation, tophatters, vf-14
I always enjoy listening to stories about peoples’ Military experiences. Everyone has a few things from their time served that stick out in their mind, whether good or bad. They always make for interesting footnotes in history, especially where given events were overlooked or misinterpreted several years down the line.
I’ve always had a special fascination with military aviation, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that my father was a Navy veteran back in the 60’s. A few years ago, I started helping him build an online community for VF-14 so that he and his friends could keep in touch.
My father worked on F-4 Phantoms back then. In the 70’s, they were replaced with the multi-roled F-14 Tomcat. All in all, the Tomcat was just a cool-looking plane. It was fast and maneuverable, and sported one of the most versatile payloads the Navy had, allowing it to be a formidable air-to-air fighter on the front lines and an even more formidable surgical bomber when the mission called for it.
A few years ago, the Navy decided to retire the F-14 Tomcat, opting for the inferior F-18 Hornet, which is not only slower, but has far less payload and flexibility. That decision has brought a lot of Tomcat-era veterans out of the woodwork, with blogs and photos, reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” of the F-14.
Of course, there are few stories of chaos and mayhem as well. On the 18th, Pinch detailed one of those not-so-good days back in November, 1988, complete with flight deck video and photos. Fortunately, no one was injured. Still, I can’t help but feel bad seeing that Tomcat with its nose ripped off, and wondering what happened to Hooter because of it…