The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was one of the most iconic naval fighter aircraft of the latter half of the twentieth century. Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part 2: Pacific Fleet and Reserve Squadrons is a comprehensive look at the paint schemes and unit markings used by operational F-14 squadrons assigned to the Pacific Fleet from 1972 through 2004.
The book covers the fifteen active Pacific Fleet fighter squadrons and the two Naval Reserve units that flew the Tomcat for over thirty years. Beginning in 1972 when the F-14 entered service with VF-124 “Gunfighters,” the Tomcat distinguished itself, first as an outstanding fighter and fleet defense aircraft, and later as a strike aircraft.
This compilation of squadrons includes eleven units that were assigned to the Pacific Fleet for the entire time they flew the F-14. Four of the Pacific Fleet squadrons covered in this book also served with the Atlantic Fleet during part of the time they were operational with Tomcats. The “Red Rippers” of VF-11 and the “Tomcatters” of VF-31 were originally Atlantic Fleet squadrons that were transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1992, at which time they upgraded to the F-14D version of the Tomcat. VF-11 would serve with the Pacific Fleet until 1997, when it was reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet. VF-31 would serve in the Pacific until 2004 before returning to the Atlantic Fleet. The other two squadrons to serve with both fleets while flying Tomcats were the “Fighting Checkmates” of VF-211 and the “Fighting Blacklions” of VF-213. Both of these squadrons spent almost their entire time in Tomcats with the Pacific Fleet, and the colors and markings used on their F-14s during their Pacific Fleet service are included in this publication. VF-211 transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in 2002 and only flew Tomcats two more years before transitioning to the Super Hornet. VF-213 also transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in 2002, and it continued to fly Tomcats until 2006.
Each of the seventeen fighter squadrons are covered by a short history of their years flying the Tomcat, including both operational highlights and a good look at the squadron markings with which each unit adorned their aircraft. How those markings evolved over time as the Navy moved from the Light Gull Gray over Insignia White paint scheme, to the overall Light Gull Gray scheme, and finally to the group of very low visibility exteriors that were classified as tactical schemes is illustrated for each squadron with color photographs and art profiles.
The move from the gray over white scheme, which featured some of the most colorful aircraft markings ever displayed on U. S. Navy aircraft, to the lower visibility schemes led to a much more drab and understated look for the F-14. Yet even throughout the latter stages of its career, special aircraft in each unit, including the X00-coded Tomcat assigned to the Carrier Air Wing Commander (CAG) or the X01-coded aircraft assigned to the squadron commander (CO), allowed the display of colorful squadron markings to continue. Each unit section has a selection of photographs that chronicle the unit marking evolution throughout the years it flew the F-14.
The digital edition of Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part 2: Pacific Fleet and Reserve Squadrons has 215 pages, 340 full color, high resolution photographs, and nine color profiles.