Friday, February 28, 2014

The Friday Flyby - 28 February

F/A-18F Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Squadron Thirty-Two (VFA-32)
(The WSO's old outfit)
Naval Aviation. When you say that, most people think of this...

USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in the Persian Gulf
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes

But aircraft carriers and their embarked air wings are NOT the sum total of Naval Aviation. No Sir. No Ma'am.

Mustn't forget the hard working men and women of the maritime patrol squadrons! The P-3s...

P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) - "Golden Eagles”
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth L. Burke
...and the new kid on the block, the P-8.

P-8A Poseidon of Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16) - "War Eagles"
U.S Navy photo by Personnel Specialist 1st Class Anthony Petry

As most of you know, I'm all about military aviation, having served 24 years in the US Air Force. You might also remember that my youngest (The WSO) is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO, think back seater), currently assigned to VFA-2 "The Bounty Hunters" out in California. Her husband (Big Time) is a Naval Aviator (think pilot) assigned to VFA-122, "The Flying Eagles" as an instructor pilot, also in California. NAS Lemoore to be precise.

While Master Jet Base Lemoore doesn't have quite the same allure as Master Jet Base Oceana (in Virginia), it's kind of grown on me. Sure, no beaches anywhere in sight but hey, it has gray painted birds of prey which go very fast. That makes up for a lot!

F/A-18F Super Hornet of the "Bounty Hunters", Strike Fighter Squadron Two (VFA-2)
(The WSO's current outfit)
U.S. Navy photo by Midshipman John Ivancic

F/A-18E Super Hornet of the "Knighthawks", Strike Fighter Squadron One Three Six (VFA-136)
(Big Time's old outfit)
Photo by Nick Thomas

Of course, there are birds no longer in the fleet but I mention here because they served with distinction. (And the next photo is, of course, Tuna's old ride.)

S-3B Viking, Submarine hunter, surface warfare and tanker
Jack of many trades
E-2C Hawkeye, Airborne Early Warning, the carrier's "eye in the sky"
EA-6B Prowler, Electronic warfare and attack are it's specialties.
EA-18G Growler, Electronic warfare and attack - will eventually replace the Prowler
A-6 Intruder, Designed to put bombs on target.
First time, every time.
AV-8B Harrier of Marine Attack Squadron Two One Four (VMA-214)
The Black Sheep
U.S. Navy V-22 Osprey aircraft operate from the flight deck of the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7)
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mike Jones, U.S. Navy.
SH-60F "Seahawk" assigned to the "Eightballers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Eight (HS-8),
conducts plane guard maneuvers near the U.S. Navy nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Tina Lamb. 
CH-46 Sea Knight of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 (HMM-364), the "Purple Foxes"

While it's not glamorous and it doesn't fly in combat, how do you think the ship's company and the air wing get their mail while out at sea?

C-2 Greyhound (aka the COD, Carrier Onboard Delivery) of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 (VRC-30), the "Providers"
You've probably noticed by now that you've seen Marine and Navy aircraft up until this point. According to one source I've seen (and which I agree with) the Coast Guard flying units are also part of Naval Aviation. Hey, they go out in all kinds of weather to rescue folks, investigate suspicious goings-on at sea. Yeah, they deserve a mention here!

US Coast Guard MH 60 Jayhawk Helicopters
Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Miami.
And of course, no post on Naval Aviation would be complete without that arm's best recruiting tool...

The Blue Angels
This post is dedicated to the men and women of Naval Aviation and to the memory of...

CAPT Carroll "Lex" LeFon, US Navy (Retired)
Naval Aviator
Commanded Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA-94), the "Mighty Shrikes"
Executive Officer of TOPGUN (One word, all caps)
1960 -2012


  1. I liked the Eye in the Sky. Cool.

  2. Very cool pics...thanks!

  3. Those bring back a lot of memories - thanks!

  4. Nice've got me thinking, in 20+ years I don't think my brother was ever stationed on a ship...have to check with my SIL.

    1. I'm guessing it's quite possible seeing as how he was on Neptunes and Orions. Those are like Air Force aircraft, they need a nice long (concrete) runway!

  5. What!?! It's Friday already?

    Those Coastie MH-60s made me think flying helos in formation must be some nerve-racking stuff, what with all that whirly mass flyin' around.

    1. Yeah, it's Friday. Getting damn near Happy Hour here on the East Coast.

      I know, who da thunk helos, flying in formation? (Of course, those Coastie helo drivers are pretty good at what they do. Pretty damn good indeed!)

  6. Very nice dedication. And I love the pics too - they're so close, so big, so beautiful.

  7. Wonderful! Enjoyed it all - especially the last - dusty in here.

  8. In addition to the Intruder and Viking having long since retired, we can see the end of several others in the near future- the Phrogs are going quick, the SH-60F might have a single squadron that hasn't transitioned to MH-60S or MH-60R, P-3's and Prowlers of course, and the Blues are probably flying the last of the F/A-18Cs. Not sure how long it'll take to get the JSF up and running, but the Supers will be gone before we know it too. Time flies.

    1. The WSO actually had about 20 minutes at the controls of a Phrog at COTRAMID. The Marine pilot who took them up was from Massachusetts, and of course The WSO was going to college in Massachusetts.

      I'm thinking that the JSF is NOT going to happen any time soon. If ever. But we shall see.


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