Happy President’s Day! CV-42 edition

An F-4N Phantom II (BuNo. 151008) of Fighter Squadron (VF) 111, the “Sundowners,” part of Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19), launching from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV 42) operating in the Mediterranean Sea. This marked the final cruise for the aging Midway-class carrier, the first named for a President of the United States.

This photo was taken 45 years ago this month, in February 1977.

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.253.7279.033

While the above was a magnificent photo of a beautiful full-color bird, there were lots of changes on the way.

On 30 June 1977, CVW-19 was disestablished.

FDR decommissioned on 30 September 1977 and was later sold for scrap.

As noted by Bob Hill of FDR’s 76-77 cruise:

It was a deployment of lasts (and a first)

The Sundowners, “Illegitimus Non-Carborundum,” was disestablished in 1995, although the aggressor squadron, VFC-111, continues the unit’s traditions if not its lineage, down at NAS Key West.

Even BuNo. 151008, the Phantom above, is listed as “Crashed with VF-171 off Norfolk, VA Nov 20, 1978.”

However, on my desk is a well-worn but tangible reminder of Big Frankie.


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