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The Red Rippers’ Last Tomcat Cruise

VF-11 Transitioned To The F/A-18F Super Hornet After Their Momentous OEF / OIF Cruise in 2004

Official US Navy Photograph

When US Navy Fighter Squadron ELEVEN (VF-11) Red Rippers returned from their 2004 deployment with Carrier Air Wing SEVEN (CVW-7) aboard the carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), an era came to an end for the Red Rippers. During that eventful Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment the Red Rippers flew repeated bombing sorties over Fallujah west of Bagdad in central Iraq for 48 hours. After the squadron returned from deployment to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia they began transitioning to the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18F Super Hornet. This video, produced by the Red Rippers and uploaded by YouTuber Scooter B, chronicles the last VF-11 Tomcat Cruise.

Official US Navy Photograph.

Carrier Air Wing SEVEN (CVW-7) deployed aboard the carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) from January 20th 2004 to July 26th 2004. During this deployment CVW-7 consisted of VF-143 Pukin’ Dogs and VF-11 Red Rippers flying the Grumman F-14B Tomcat, VFA-136 Knighthawks and VFA-131 Wildcats flying the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet, VAQ-140 Patriots flying the Grumman EA-6B Prowler, VAW-121 Bluetails flying the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, VS-31 Topcats flying the Lockheed S-3B Viking, and HS-5 Nightdippers flying Sikorksy HH-60H Rescue Hawk and SH-60F Seahawk helicopters. On April 20th 2005 VF-11 delivered the last of their F-14B Tomcats to the AMARG “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) near Tucson in Arizona, ending 24 years of Tomcat operations.

Official US Navy Photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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