Tomcats called to duty?

This is an odd story: Museum’s fighter called back to duty

This from the News Register out of McMinnivlle, OR:

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.


  1. Heya Murdoc, I wonder if this hits upon that age old question of whether this news should be reported? I could be totally wrong, but wouldn’t the Navy prefer to announce such deployments after a Carrier left port? On a side note: I wonder if Somalia would have turned out a bit different, if we had taken Israels approach to conflict? ‘Islamic militia advances on Somali government’ Here’s a lovely quote. ‘A recent recruiting video issued by militia members shows foreign militants fighting alongside the local extremists in Mogadishu, and invites Muslims from around the world to join in their ‘holy jihad.”

  2. Maybe the Navy thinks it will need their best air superiority fighter available in the Persian Gulf next week for some reason?

  3. Murdoc, Cool pic of the F-14 tearing a hole through the space-time continuum… or is it a hyperspace window? I get my StarTreks and Stargates confused sometimes. Followup to Brams post – Navy Tomcats versus Iranian Tomcats would make for an intersting matchup. I think I would bet Navy.

  4. Given their maintenance condition, I think a Hellcat could out fly an Iranian Tomcat at this point.

  5. I agree with Bram on that one. The Iranians would take off, crash and then try to blame us for killing their pilots… who are obviously civilians. Hence America would get the blame. (I presume everyone here is familiar with the Herc that crashed recently- which was blamed on the US)