The Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron THREE ONE (VFA-31) recently returned from their 2017 deployment with Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8) aboard the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). The deployment, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, also saw the Tomcatters participating in Exercise Saxon Warrior 2017 with the UK’s Royal Navy in the Atlantic Ocean. This cruise video, produced by VFA-31 and uploaded by YouTuber kekkats xD contains plenty of combat footage along with some sublime air-to-air footage.
VFA-31’s deployment began when the Bush and her Battle Group departed Norfolk on January 21st 2017. The squadron returned from deployment on August 21st. Port calls for the deployment included Souda Bay in Greece, Hidd in Bahrain, Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, Haifa in Israel, Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, and Mayport in Florida USA. Operating with the Bush were the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) and Hue City (CG-66), the Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG-58) and USS Truxton (DDG-103), the Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HMDS Peter Willemoes (F362) and the underway replenishment ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6).
For this deployment CVW-8 consisted of VFA-31 Tomcatters and VFA-87 Golden Warriors flying the single-seat Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, VFA-213 Black Lions flying the twin-seat Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, VFA-87 Bulls flying the Boeing F/A-18C Hornet, VAW-124 Bear Aces flying the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, VAQ-131 Lancers flying the Boeing EA-18G Growler, HSC-9 Tridents flying the Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk, HSM-70 Spartans flying the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk, and VRC-40 Rawhides Detachment 2 Bush Whackers flying the Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound. During this deployment, LCDR Michael Mob Tremel of VFA-87 shot down a Syrian SU-22 Fitter fighter.