Order of Battle
F-14 Units

VF-41 Black Aces

VF-41 Tail
Status: Redesignated VFA-41, flying F/A-18Fs
Nickname: Black Aces
Callsign: "Fast Eagle"
Tailcode: AJ
Homebase: NAS Oceana
VF-41 Insignia

VF-41 was established at NAS Oceana, 1 September 1950. Subsequently flying F2H-3 Banshee, F3H-2 Demon, F-4B and N before transferring to the F-14A in April 1976. Their first cruise with F-14s was on the USS Nimitz in September 1977.

1980 VF-41 was on high alert during the Iran hostage crisis and the subsequent attempted rescue. The unit spent 144 days at sea.

During preparations for a cruise in 1981 an EA-6B crash-landed on the deck of the Nimitz, slamming into fuelled up Tomcats, resulting in a huge fire which destroyed three F-14s of VF-41. 19 August 1981, while on patrol over the Gulf of Sidra, two Libyan Su-22s were intercepted at shot down. The first combat kill for the Navy since the Vietnam War and the first for the F-14A. Aircraft involved were Fast Eagle 102 (160403) and 107 (160390).

November 1982, VF-41 was deployed off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon and again in 1985 in response of hijacking TWA Flight 847.

In 1988 the unit switched to the USS Theodore Roosevelt on which it entered the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. VF-41 was involved throughout the first Gulf War, flying over 1500 combat hours. After the war the unit stayed in the Gulf and later the Red Sea in support of Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq.

162703 / AJ-100, F-14

In 1995 when VF-84 was disestablished, VF-41 took over the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) mission capability. In that year VF-41 supported Operation Deliberate Force, Deny Flight (over Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Operation Southern Watch. 600 combat hours and 530 sorties were logged.

162608 / AJ-100, F-14

1996 and 97 VF-41 was deployed on the USS John C. Stennis and later the USS John F. Kennedy again in combat over Bosnia (Operation Deliberate Guard) and Iraq (Operation Southern Watch). In 1999, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, VF-41 was the first to strike Pristina, Kosovo on April 6. This in support of Operation Allied Force (NATO operations in the former Yugoslavia). After that the carrier was send to the Gulf to once again support Southern Watch. During both operations 1100 hours, 384 sorties and 160 tons laser guided bomb drops were logged.

April 2001, VF-41 embarked on their final F-14 cruise aboard the USS Enterprise in support of Operation Southern Watch. While heading home, the carrier was ordered to turn around in response of the September 11 attacks (Operation Enduring Freedom). During the build up of the Afghan War, VF-41 flew TARPS missions over the Pakistani / Afghan border. October 8, the squadron attacked Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan dropping 202 laser-guided bombs.

This was the last combat action for the F-14, as the unit transitioned to the F/A-18F shortly after returning home. The unit was re-designated VFA-41.

VF-51 Screaming Eagles

VF-51 Tail
Status: Disestablished March 1995
Nickname: Screaming Eagles
Callsign: "Eagles"
Tailcode: NL
Homebase: NAS Miramar
VF-51 Insignia

VF-51 received its first F-14A, replacing the F-4N, 16 June 1978. First cruise was aboard the USS Kitty Hawk to the Western Pacific. The ship moved to the Indian Ocean and was put on alert after the seizure of the US embassy in Iran and the following hostage crisis. The unit together with VF-111 flew missions, interception Iranian and Soviet aircraft in the region.

After one more cruise, in 1983, the unit switched to the newly commissioned USS Carl Vinson for training along the east coast.

As VF-51 spent most of its time in the Pacific and the Bering sea, the squadron was not involved in all conflicts in the Middle East as the units described above. With its location the squadron was able to note the first F-14 intercept of the Su-15 Flagon, MiG-23 Flogger and Tu-26 Backfire, using the Tomcats Television Camera Sight (TCS).

160687 / NL-113, F-14

160660 / NL-101, F-14

160667 / NL-114, F-14

In 1985, while at NAS Miramar, VF-51 participated in the filming of Top Gun. Some of the aircraft got fictional squadron markings. For aerial sequences the aircraft were equipped with camera pods mounted to the Phoenix missile pallets.

Cruises followed in 1986-87 to the Bering Sea and in 1990 to the Western Pacific and Indian Sea, both aboard the Carl Vinson.

VF-51 (and VF-111) was designated to become the first squadron transitioned to the F-14D Super Tomcat. However, these plans were cancelled in December 1991. VF-51 kept its F-14As until the unit was disestablished in March 1995.

VF-74 Bedevilers

VF-74 Tail
Status: Disestablished 30 April 1994
Nickname: Bedevilers
Callsign: "Devil"
Tailcode: AA
Homebase: NAS Oceana
VF-74 Insignia

The Bedevilers also originate back to WW2. The F-14A was introduced into the squadron from 1983 and the first cruise was made a year later on board the USS Saratoga.

160918 / AA-112, F-14

In 1985, VF-74 became famous, together with VF-103, during the aftermath of the hijacked Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. When the ship arrived in Syria, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijackers made it to Egypt where the boarded a plane in return for the hostages lives. President Ronald Reagan decided to intercept the Egypt Air 737. Four F-14s and a E-2 were launched from the Saratoga and intercepted the plane Southeast of Crete (it took four interceptions to find the correct plane). They forced the plane to land at Sigonella, Sicily. The hijackers were arrested.

In 1986, the unit participated in Operation Attain Document (Territorial dispute with Libya over the Gulf of Sidra) and Operation El Dorado Canyon (Bombing of Libya in retaliation of the Berlin discotheque terrorist attack). After that regular cruised were made to the Mediterranean Sea.

August 1988, VF-74 was the first squadron to receive the upgraded F-14A+, later called F-14B.

In 1990,VF-74 took part in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. First onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and later the USS Saratoga they took station in the Red Sea. After 8 months they returned to NAS Oceana to return the next year on board the Saratoga. During that time (mid 1992) they also assisted in United Nations aid operations in former Yugoslavia.

After returning to the US, the squadron worked up to deploy on the USS Constellation and Saratoga. Both fell through and the Saratoga left with one squadron as VF-74 was non TARPS, and son not equipped for the needed missions. VF-74 never took another cruise again and stayed in the US in the role of aggressor. In 1994 the aggressor squadron was deployed to NAS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico just before the unit was disestablished after 50 years of service on 30 April 1994.

161434 / AA-102, F-14

VF-84 Jolly Rogers

VF-84 Tail
Status: Disestablished 1 October 1995
Nickname: Jolly Rogers
Callsign: "Victory"
Tailcode: AJ
Homebase: NAS Oceana
VF-84 Insignia

Fighting 84 or Jolly Rogers was one of the most famous F-14 units in the US Navy, this mostly because of their squadron markings: the skull and bones, and the appearance in the movie The Final Countdown. The unit mascot, displayed in a glass case with a real skull and bones, supposed to be from a WW2 downed pilot called Jack Ernie. His last wish was to be remembered with the skull and cross-bones which his family delivered to the unit.

160393 AJ-200, F-14

The unit transferred from Phantom to F-14A early 1976, with a first cruise aboard the USS Nimitz. They were the first to receive the TARPS pods in 1979 and were considered pioneers on this part. During the early 80s they stayed in the Mediterranean in assistance to the Iranian hostage crisis and the failed attempt to rescue them. In 1983 they were positioned near the coast of Lebanon after the hijacking of TWA flight 847.

162702 / AJ-201, F-14

December 1990, VF-84 joined Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Air patrols and escort sorties were made as well as TARPS missions to assess bomb damage. In total 468 combat missions were flown. After the Gulf War, the unit made 111 sorties under operation Provide Comfort, to defend Kurds fleeing Northern Iraq.

160411 AJ-205, F-14

March 1993 the unit was deployed again aboard the Roosevelt in support of Operation Deny Flight, the no-fly zone over Bosnia. Fighting 84 gathered information on Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo. They also flew support missions for Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

The unit was disestablished October 1995, with VF-103 (operating F-14Bs) taking over the name and insignia of the Jolly Rogers.

VF-101 Grim Reapers

VF-101 Tail
Status: Deactivated in 2005, re-designated VFA-101 with F-35C
Nickname: Grim Reapers
Callsign: "Gunfighter"
Tailcode: AD
Homebase: NAS Oceana / Miramar
VF-101 Insignia

The squadron was founded May 1952. Flying F2H Banshee, F4D Skyray and F-4J, before transferring to the F-14A. Training of the unit began January 1976.

The unit was rewarded with four CNO aviation safety awards for 36 months of accident free operation. In 1977 the unit was split. VF-101 continued with the F-14, while the unit still occupied with training pilots on the F-4J was re-designated VF-171.

In 1986 the unit completed three years without incidents, when they started to transfer to the F-14A+ (later called F-14B). Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s the unit was focused on training and weapons training in particular. A wide range of weapons was used, like: general-purpose bombs, cluster bombs, laser-guided bombs, air-launched decoys, and JDAM. In 1994 a detachment was created at NAS Miramar to supply crew and ground-personnel training. In 1996 this detachment was disestablished.

In 1996 the unit once again transferred to the latest F-14D update. 30 September 2005 the unit was deactivated in a ceremony at NAS Oceana. (See photo's from the last VF-101 F-14D airshow apperance at NAS Oceana)

VF-102 Diamondbacks

VF-102 Tail
Status: March 2002, re-designated VFA-102 with F/A-18s
Nickname: Diamondbacks
Callsign: "Dback"
Tailcode: AB
Homebase: NAS Oceana
VF-102 Insignia

When the unit was founded in NAS Jacksonville it flew the F2H Banshee. Later replaced by the F4D Skyray and later the F-4J. The Phantom was replaced by the F-14A in the summer of 1981. In addition to the up to then fighter role, the unit also started photo reconnaissance mission using the TARPS pod.

The squadron was deployed aboard the USS America participation in NATO exercises in the European theater North of the UK. During this deployed they encountered Tu-95s on many occasions. In 1983 they moved to the Indian Ocean flying TARPS mission over Somalia. During one of these missions two VF-102 F-14As were fired upon by SA-2 SAM and AAA guns. The aircraft returned without damage.

March 1986 the unit was deployed to the Gulf of Sidra aboard the USS America, joining the USS Saratoga and USS Coral Sea. A VF-102 F-14 was the first to be fired upon by a Libyan SA-5 while patrolling the so called Line of Death, during Operation Attain Document. A month later the unit flew cover for the bomber attack during Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Late 1990, VF-102 joined operation Desert Shield in the Red Sea, logging over 1400 combat hours. In 1991 the unit remained deployed in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. August 1993 during the third deployment in the Mediterranean, the unit joined operation Provide Promise and Deny Flight of the coast of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that busy year two more combat missions would follow, October Operation Restore Hope, a UN mission to provide humanitarian aid for Southern Somalia, and mid December Operation Southern Watch, Iraq.

162695 AB-100, F-14

163221 / AB-112, F-14

June 1994, the unit returned to NAS Oceana to transfer to the F-14B. The first cruise with the new Tomcats was made to the Mediterranean during 1995-96. The unit was involved in Operation Deliberate Force, NATO interventions in Bosnia. After that they proceed to the Persian Gulf to assist in Operation Southern Watch, before going back in December to support US ground forces in Bosnia.

In 1997, while redeployed on the USS George Washington, they sailed for the Persian Gulf again, at the time Saddam Hussein was blocking UN weapon inspectors from entering the country. Before it escalated the unit returned to Norfolk.

In 1999 they returned for Operation Southern Watch, with VF-102 attacking AAA- and radar sites and conduction TARPS missions. September 2002 they joined Operation Enduring Freedom (also known as the War on Terror), in which they flew 5000 combat hours, dropping 680 bombs. With this they hold the record of most hours flown and most bombs dropped of any squadron during the War in Afghanistan.

March 2002 the unit transferred to the F/A-18F, and was re-assigned VFA-102.

VF-103 Sluggers / Jolly Rogers

VF-103 Tail
Status: Re-designated VFA-103 with F/A-18s
Nickname: Sluggers / from 1991 Jolly Rogers
Callsign: "Victory"
Tailcode: AA
Homebase: NAS Oceana
VF-103 Insignia

Established in 1952, the Sluggers transferred to F-14A January 1983, being one of the last units to transfer to the Tomcat.

In October 1985, VF-103 participated in the interception of a hijacked Egyptian Boeing 737 and forcing it to land at Sicily. Early 1986 VF-103 participated in Operation Attain Document, the confrontation between the US and Libya on the Gulf of Sidra. Later followed by Operation El Dorado Canyon, the bombing of Libya.

Just before the Gulf conflict started, the Sluggers start transferring to the F-14B (then called F-14A+). When Kuwait was invaded August 1990, VF-103 aboard the USS Saratoga was deployed to the Red Sea. When Operation Desert Storm started January 1991, they conducted fighter escorts, recognizance and bomb damage assessments as well as air patrol missions. On day 4 of the war a Sluggers F-14A+ (BuNo 161430) was shot shown by a SA-2 surface to air missile. After ejecting the aircraft the pilot was able to stay clear of the Iraqi’s and was rescued the next day. The RIO was captured and held as a POW until the end of the war.

163219 / AA-201, F-14

163219 / AA-201, F-14

163219 / AA-201, F-14

October 1995, VF-103 took over the name and insignia of the then disestablished VF-84, Jolly Rogers unit. This to prevent the famous “Jolly Rogers” from fading away from the US Navy.

In 1995, the unit evaluated the LANTIRN targeting pod for use with the F-14. The pod was adopted and the unit was the first to use it during the next deployment aboard the USS Enterprise in 1996. The pod radically improved the F-14s strike capability.

In 2002, fighting 103 supported Operation Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch. Enduring Freedom, also known as the war on Terror. Close Air Support, Forward Air Controller and TARPS missions were flown over Afghanistan to support coalition forces. After returning home, VF-103 returned to the Persian Gulf with the USS John F. Kennedy. They directly joined the 2nd Gulf war bombing insurgent positions and in October 2004 participated in the battle for Fallujah.

161435 / AA-103, F-14

After the return to Oceana in December 2004, the unit started transition to the F/A-18F. In February 2005 the unit was re-assigned VFA-103.

VF-111 Sundowners

VF-111 Tail
Status: Disestablished 31 March 1995
Nickname: Sundowners
Callsign: "Sundowner"
Tailcode: NL
Homebase: NAS Miramar
VF-111 Insignia

VF-111 was established 4 June 1956. They were heavily involved in the Vietnam War flying several versions of the F-8 Crusader. They hold the sad record of highest combat losses of the F-8 units deployed to Vietnam. At the end of the war they transferred to the F-4 Phantom.

160684 / NL-211, F-14

April 1977 the unit began transition to the F-14A. May 1979 they were deployed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk where they assisted after the seizure of the US embassy in Iran and the following hostage crisis. They operated in the Indian Ocean patrolling the Iranian coast before being relieved by the USS Nimitz.

During the 80s several tours were made aboard the US Kitty Hawk and especially USS Carl Vinson. The 90s were pretty much uneventful as well when it comes to combat operations. The unit was involved in Operation Restore Hope, Somalia and Southern Watch, guarding the no-fly zone over Iraq.

After a last deployment to the Pacific in 1994, the unit was disestablished 31 March 1995, with its aircraft transferred to other units.

VF-114 Aardvarks

VF-114 Tail
Status: Disestablished 30 April 1993
Nickname: Aardvarks
Callsign: "Aardvark"
Tailcode: NH
Homebase: NAS Miramar
VF-114 Insignia

The units history dates back to World War II, when it was established as Bombing Fighting Squadron VBF-19, 20 January 1945. 1950 they were re-designated VF-114. Before transferring to the F-14, the unit flew F6F Hellcat, Corsair, Panther, Banshee, Demon and F-4 Phantom. With the F-4 they were involved in the Vietnam War aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. They had losses, but were also able to mark some Vietnamese kills, 2 An-2s and 2 MiG-17s.

15 December 1975 the unit transferred to the F-14A, followed by the first Western Pacific deployment aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. 1979 a cruise was made aboard the USS America to the Mediterranean.

1982, VF-114 aboard the USS Enterprise participated in the largest naval exercises since World War II, together with the USS Coral Sea and USS Midway. More exercises followed, before moving to the Gulf of Sidra, Libya in 1986. The unit flew combat air patrol mission for two months.

1987 the unit was back on dry land, training at NAF El Centro and NAS Fallon. In 1988 they returned to the Persian Gulf participating in Operation Praying Mantis. A retaliation attack in Iranian territorial waters for mining the Persian Gulf and subsequently damaging a US frigate. 1989 the unit made an around the World cruise aboard the USS Enterprise.

159637 / NH-104, F-14

25 September 1990 the unit transferred to the brand new USS Abraham Lincon. 1991 the unit was involved in the evacuation of military personal after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Philippines. After that they sailed for the Persian Gulf. The carrier arrived too late to participate in combat missions for Operation Desert Storm (1st Gulf War).

The unit was disestablished at a ceremony on 30 April 1993 at NAS Miramar.

Tail illustrations by Erik Hess.