This book covers the fifteen active Atlantic Fleet fighter squadrons and the two Naval Reserve units that flew the Tomcat during its thirty-two year career. Beginning in 1974, when the F-14 entered service with VF-14 “Tophatters,” VF-32 “Swordsmen,” and VF-143 “Pukin’ Dogs,” the Tomcat distinguished itself, first as an outstanding fighter and fleet defence interceptor, tactical reconnaissance aircraft, and later as strike aircraft in its “Bombcat” role. This compilation of squadrons includes eleven units that were assigned to the Atlantic Fleet for the entire time they flew the F-14. Two additional Atlantic Fleet squadrons were reassigned to the Pacific Fleet during the time they flew Tomcats before returning to the Atlantic Fleet during their final years in the F-14. Finally, two squadrons that began their F-14 operational service with the Pacific Fleet were later assigned to the Atlantic Fleet for their final years of Tomcat service, and these are also included.
A short history is provided for each of the seventeen fighter squadrons that summarizes the operational highlights and carrier assignments for the unit during the time it flew the Tomcat. Also included with the history is a review of the squadron markings the unit used on their aircraft. This explains 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 several very low visibility exteriors that were classified as tactical schemes.
Each unit section has a selection of photographs that chronicles the evolution of markings throughout the years the squadron flew the F-14. Included are 317 full colour, high resolution photographs, and 25 colour profiles.