Instapinch has some pics. The last 22 Cats roaring in all at once.
“If you could look behind the sunglasses of these pilots out here watching this, you’d see a lot of wet eyes,” Cmdr. Mark Black said. “I know that’s why I wore sunglasses today.”
I hope MO readers can forgive ol’ Murdoc for his Cat fascination. (And, FWIW, I think that “The Final Countdown” was a better Tomcat movie than “Top Gun“…) But I’m just an observer and a fan. The men who flew and worked on these great machines must each have a lump in their throats today.
Also of interest is Timmeh’s Flickr photostream. Timmeh has done a top-notch job and should be commended on keeping us all supplied with excellent Tomcat photography. Be sure to check out this shot, taken by a wingman, of Timmeh’s plane over Mosul. He and 204’s pilot, Puck, unfurled the Stars and Stripes for a desktop-worthy photo op. Plus, he’s got a shot of one of the F/A-18s his squadron will transition to, already in VFA-213 colors.
I hope that he keeps his photostream available and public as an archive of the Last Cruise of the Tomcat.
Yesterday afternoon was the fly-in. The last time deployed operational Tomcats bit the air. It was sad, I’m sure, for those directly involved with the F-14 past or present. Instapinch, a former Tomcat aviator, said he wore his sunglasses as well.
After they all landed, they did what I think is a class act – all the aircraft waited out on the runway hold shorts till everyone landed so they all could basically taxi in at once.
Friday was a day for joy and sadness. For laughing and clapping and tears.
Today is a day where no F-14 Tomcat anywhere patrols the skies, shadows our rivals, or rains down fire upon our enemy.
Saturday is probably just empty.