NAS Fallon to say goodbye to F-14 fighter planes | NevadaAppeal.com

NAS Fallon to say goodbye to F-14 fighter planes

BURKE WASSON
Nevada Appeal News Service

They were once the U.S. Navy’s premier fighter planes. Now they’re staring at extinction.

By Friday, F-14 Tomcats will be nothing more than a distant memory at the Naval Air Station in Fallon.

The Navy plans to phase out all F-14s from its operations by spring or summer of 2006 to focus on the new, more cost-effective F/A-18 Super Hornets.

The last 20 F-14s to land at NAS Fallon will fly out of the base on a staggered schedule between Wednesday and Friday on their way to NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

NAS Oceana will be the final stop for the last of the 633 F-14s, which have been built for the Navy since 1970.

Some will be kept intact as displays in museums and military bases. Most will be dismantled in junkyard shredders.

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According to the Navy, the cost of maintaining an F-14 is nearly three times the amount needed to maintain an F/A-18.

The planes’ slow demise has been bittersweet to many squadron members who have manned them.

“I’ve wanted to fly since I can remember, definitely after seeing F-14s in ‘Top Gun’ in 1986,” said VF-31 Lt. Taylor Grant. “I just think it’s an awesome jet. It’s kind of a man’s jet – kind of a burly jet. It’s going to be sad to see it go.”

Squadrons VF-31 and VF-213 are the last two Tomcat squadrons to fly out of NAS Fallon.

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