During 2011 the United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) celebrated the centennial of naval aviation (CONA). Throughout the year there were special events held at Naval Air Stations (NASs), Marine Corps Air Stations (MCASs) and Coast Guard Air Stations (CGASs) to honor and respect the past and look forward to the future. One highlight for Avgeeks all over the country was seeing current USN, USMC, and USCG aircraft painted in “heritage” colors- colors that hadn’t been used on Navy, Marine, or Coast Guard aircraft in some cases for more than 70 years.
Strike fighters, electronic warfare aircraft, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, even trainers and transports wore eye-catching paint schemes and were showcased at air shows and gatherings all around the country.
One other way the CONA was celebrated was by the Strike Fighter (VFA) community. Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic (SFWL or STRKFIGHTWINGLANT) produced their 2011 Strike Fighter Ball video both as a review of the year 2011 in their community but also as a look back at the past 100 years of their existence. Featured in the video are the F/A-18s and crews of VFA-11 Red Rippers, VFA-31 Tomcatters, VFA-15 Valions, VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, VFA-34 Blue Blasters, VFA-211 Checkmates, VFA-106 Gladiators, VFA-32 Swordsmen, VFA-143 Pukin’ Dogs, VFA-83 Rampagers, VFA-213 Black Lions, VFA-81 Sunliners, VFA-37 Ragin’ Bulls, VFA-87 Golden Warriors, VFA-105 Gunslingers, VFA-131 Wildcats, VFA-136 Knighthawks, and VFC-12 Fighting Omars. Like most “cruise” videos these are easy on the eyes and feature pounding soundtracks. Please enjoy these two videos (parts one and two).
Part 2- Lots of blowing stuff up (it’s part of what strike fighters do) and chasing baskets but also more great air-to-air footage.
Bonus Video- Flybys of warbirds and contemporary Navy, Marines Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft (with some Air Force birds thrown in) shot during the Parade of Flight at the 2011 CONA Open House, NAS North Island in San Diego.