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Navy Fighter Wing Closes its Doors

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041012-03
Release Date: 10/12/2004 11:42:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Jennifer Crenshaw, Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Another chapter was added to the F-14 Tomcat history book Oct. 1, when Fighter Wing Atlantic officially disestablished its headquarters at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.

Originally established in July 1971 as Fighter Wing 1, the command was responsible for overseeing the operations of the Navy's fighter aircraft at three air stations: Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Calif., former NAS Miramar, Calif., and NAS Oceana. In 1996, the west coast Tomcat squadrons relocated to NAS Oceana, and the command was redesignated Fighter Wing Atlantic.

"It's symbolic in the fact that we're bringing closure to a phenomenal aircraft that since 1975 has served our country faithfully," said Capt. William Kervahn, Fighter Wing Atlantic's last commodore.

Fighter Wing Atlantic maintained operational and administrative control of six fleet F-14 squadrons and one replacement squadron. Those squadrons will now be under the command of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic as the remaining F-14s continue to transition to the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

"It's like an old car," said Kervahn. "You know you can only drive that old car so far before you have to make a decision to invest in a new one."

"I hate to see the F-14 go," said retired Rear Adm. Jerry Riendeau, a former commodore of Fighter Wing Atlantic, "because to me, it's the Cadillac. The F/A-18, I don't know enough about. It might be an upgraded Cadillac, but there's a sense of loss when you see a plane you love so well replaced by a new one."

A highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling of a headstone at the NAS Oceana Officers' Club. Headstones have traditionally been placed in front of the club signifying the last resting place of aircraft squadrons and commands.

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