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When the Tomcat Deployed for the First Time it Was a Happening

During the Tomcat’s First Deployment, VF-1 and VF-2 Were Still Learning the New Jet

VF-2 F-14A in flight during 1973. Image via US Navy

The film “F-14A Tomcat Progress Report 7- The Tomcat Deployed” was produced by Grumman Aerospace Corporation in 1974 to tout the Navy’s newest fleet defense interceptor- the Grumman F-14A Tomcat. During the making of the film Fighter Squadron ONE (VF-1) Wolf Pack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters were preparing for their first deployment with Carrier Air Wing ONE FOUR (CVW-14) aboard the carrier USS Enterprise (CVNA-65). The film was uploaded to YouTube by Jeff Quitney.

The Tomcat first flew on 21 December 1970. The twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter was developed to meet the Navy’s Experimental (VFX) program after the ill-fated F-111B program was dropped. Developed using the experiences of fighter crews fighting MiGs in the skies over Vietnam, the F-14A reversed the no-gun mindset that produced the Navy versions of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. Of course the Tomcat went on to serve for 32 years as the ultimate fleet defender, reconnaissance platform, and later as a highly effective ground attack platform when adapted to do the job. Tomcats compiled a 5-1 composite win/loss ratio in US Navy use (Navy 4 Libya 0). The only other country to operate the F-14A, Iran, claims a composite win/loss ratio of 130-8.

VF-1 F-14A. Image via US Navy

During their WestPac deployment aboard the Big E for Operation Frequent Wind (from 17 September 1974 to 20 May 1975) CVW-14 consisted of VF-1 Wolf Pack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters flying the Tomcat, VA-27 Royal Maces and VA-97 Warhawks flying the Vought A-7E Corsair II, VA-196 Main Battery flying the Grumman A-6A and KA-6D Intruder, VAQ-137 Rooks flying the Grumman EA-6B Prowler, VAW-113 Black Eagles flying the Grumman E-2B Hawkeye, RVAH-12 Speartips flying the North American RA-5C Vigilante, Detachment 65 from VQ-1 World Watchers flying the Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior, HS-2 Golden Falcons flying the Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King, and a Detachment from HC-7 Sea Devils flying the Sikorsky HH-3A and SH-3G Sea King.

VF-1 and VF-2 F-14As on deck. Image via US Navy

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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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