“Obsolete weapons do not deter.”
– British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
We’re starting to find ourselves knee-deep in Grumman F-14 Tomcats, so anytime a truly important release catches the third arresting wire on our flight deck, we have to sit up and take notice. This month, we are expecting the latest in the Hobby Master stable of F-14s – an “A” variant that was attached to VF-84 “Jolly Rogers,” then embarked upon the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), during 1977 (HA5203).
Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (the Jolly Rogers) is a Strike Fighter Squadron flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is based at NAS Oceana.
In March 1993, VF-84 deployed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the only F-14 squadron in a reconfigured airwing that included Marine F/A-18, CH-53 and UH-1 squadrons. VF-84 flew critical TARPS reconnaissance missions during Operation Deny Flight, providing information about Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo. The squadron also flew in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
VF-84 returned to NAS Oceana in September 1993. It was to be the squadron’s last Mediterranean deployment.
Due to the downsizing of the Navy after the Cold War, the Navy disestablished several squadrons, and VF-84 was one of them. The squadron spent its last eighteen months of existence participating in several joint service operations, honing its skills in air-to-air combat, strike and TARPS. The squadron also made another memorable appearance in another motion picture, Executive Decision. VF-84 was disestablished on October 1, 1995, but VF-103 Sluggers adopted the name and insignia of the Jolly Rogers. From its transition to the F-14 until its disestablishment, VF-84 had been a part of CVW-8.