Few modern military aircraft have held the public’s attention like the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, so while this news is a little old, we thought our readers would enjoy hearing details about the unveiling late last year of a new monument celebrating the Tomcat’s heritage at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. It also pays homage to the memory of 68 aviators who lost their lives flying the legendary aircraft.
Members of the F-14 Tomcat Association sponsored the new monument, one of three around the nation, the others being at major Tomcat air stations in Virginia Beach, Virginia and San Diego, California. The unveiling ceremony took place on November 18th, 2020 just three days shy of that dramatic day 50 years ago when the first Tomcat took flight. The monument is sure to grab people’s attention, especially given its location just beneath the nose of YF-14A Bu.157984, the type’s fifth prototype, which has been poised dramatically on its plinth at the museum’s entrance since 1990.
The following news clip features the unveiling:
The Tomcat is well represented inside the museum too, with the forward fuselage of F-14A Bu.159825 on show, as well as F-14D Bu.161159. The latter aircraft flew the very last U.S. Tomcat combat mission when she trapped aboard U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) following a sortie over Iraq on February 8, 2006. This aircraft flew a total of 224 combat missions over Afghanistan and Iraq during its career!