Paying Tribute to the People Who Took Aviation
from the Flight Deck of a Navy Carrier to Man's First Steps on the Moon
A Short History of the Tomcat at Grumman Memorial Park
The F-14A Tomcat that serves as a tribute to the Grumman Corporation is a veteran of nearly 20 years service with the United States Navy. As the 331st F-14 manufactured, Bureau Number 160902 made its first flight at the Grumman Flight Test Facility in Calverton, New York on July 6, 1979, with Grumman Aerospace test pilots J. Thomas Gwynne as Pilot, and Roger Ferguson manning the rear cockpit as Weapon System Officer (later changed to Radar Intercept Officer).
Delivered to Fighter Squadron One-Hundred-One (VF-101), "Grim Reapers" on September 27, 1979, shop #331 was subsequently transferred to the "Tophatters" of Fighter Squadron 14. This F-14’s career began with a mid-air collision with another Tomcat from VF-14 on December 5, 1979. Although #331 managed to return to USS John F. Kennedy, the other F-14 was lost at sea. Photo #1 by David F. Brown.
In March 1986, BuNo 160902 was transferred to the "Jolly Rogers" of VF-84 as part of Carrier Air Wing 8 aboard USS Nimitz. Shown here at NAS Oceana in 1986, Victory 200 sports a tactical gray camouflage scheme with modex AJ-200, making it the mount of the Air Wing Commander, or CAG. Photo #2 by David F. Brown, via Cyril Avinens and Tom Kaminski.
In late 1995, Bu No 160902 was transferred to the "Black Aces" of VF-41. Our Tomcat, as most cats do, has certainly led several lives. In the accompanying photo, Fast Eagle 105 is shown at NAS Oceana on April 20, 1996. Photo #3 by Tom Kaminski.
In 1996, Bu No 160902 was back with VF-101, but soon reassigned to the "Swordsmen" of Fighter Squadron 32. Gypsy 107 remained with Fitron 32 at NAS Oceana until 1997. Photo #4 via Tom Kaminski.
In 1997, #331 rejoined VF-101. Final flight took place in January of 1998 when a VF-101 aircrew flew "Gunfighter 134", its squadron call sign, to Gabreski Airport at Westhampton, New York. From there the aircraft was transported to a temporary home in an unused hangar at the old Calverton facility where it was prepared for outside display by a team of retired Grummanites and volunteers. Photo #5 by GMP staff member.
At 11:00 am on the morning of October 28, 2000, F-14A BuNo 160902, shop #331, AD-134, was unveiled to the public formally opening Grumman Memorial Park, dedicated to legacy of the Grumman Corporation. "Gunfighter 134" is the only F-14 to permanently return to its birthplace. Welcome home, Tomcat! Photo #6 by W.C. Barto