This is an odd story: Museum’s fighter called back to duty
The Evergreen Aviation Museum was poised today to take the first step toward addition of a choice piece to its collection – an F-14D Super Tomcat, the fighter plane Tom Cruise flew in the hit film “Top Gun.”
But the flareup of violence between the Israeli army and Hezbollah and Hamas militias in Lebanon and Gaza led to a change in plans. The Navy, which had been planning to replace the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt’s F-14 Tomcats with newer, more multi-dimensional F-18 Hornets, has decided to instead dispatch the carrier to the Middle East with its current squadron of F-14s – including the one promised to the museum.
This seems to be the only place reporting this. At this time I cannot find any word of the Roosevelt’s sudden deployment, with or without Tomcats. Even if she’s going, would the Cats be making the trip? Is it even reasonable?
UPDATE: Murdoc checked with his buddy Instapinch, and he got this from “the F-14 guys down at Oceana”:
“Just that, a rumor. VF-31 going to the boat for CQ. It’s been in the plans for weeks. I’d say the story out of Oregon just got twisted around. Yes anything is possible with what’s going on in the Middle East but my sources at Oceana say no right now.”
“CQ” is “Carrier Qualifications”, which is Naval aviator for getting your driver’s license renewed. I knew that VF-31 had not yet made the transition to the Hornet, but I guess I didn’t know they were still taking the Cats out for qualifications. Cool.
Meanwhile, the Brits are sending the HMS Illustrious to the area. It will arrive tomorrow.
And here’s a pic of USS Iwo Jima taken today:
The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) conducts an underway replenishment with USNS Big Horn (T-AO 98) in the Central Command area of operations July 19, 2006. Iwo Jima will assist in the authorized departure of U.S. citizens from Lebanon. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Dawson, U.S. Navy. (Released)
Tomcat pic cropped from one at DVIC.
UPDATE 2: PInch, guesting over at OpFor right now, has more.