Last Naval Aviator with an air-to-air kill leaves the service
On Jan. 17, 1991, LCDR Mark I. Fox was flying an F/A-18 Hornet with Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (VFA-81, “Sunliners”) off USS Saratoga (CV-60). On that day, Fox shot down an Iraqi MiG-21.
Fox and his wingman, Lt. Nick Mongillo, were heading into Iraq on a bombing mission in the opening salvos of the Operation Desert Storm campaign to drive Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait.
Alerted by an Air Force AWACS of enemy aircraft in their path, the two aviators switched their mission control systems to air-to-air, acquired the approaching bogeys on radar, and shot both of them down with AIM-7M Sparrows .
Fox and Mogillo then switched back to air-to-ground and went on to drop a quartet of 2,000-pound bombs on an Iraqi airfield before returning to land aboard Sara.
The two MiG kills were the only Navy aerial victories in Desert Storm, and the last, despite 25 years of almost contact combat. Fox was awarded the Silver Star for that achievement.
Now, Vice Adm. Mark Fox (USNA 1978), after 100 combat sorties and 4,900 hours including 1,300 traps on 15 carriers, is retired.
Can I get a BZ.