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.
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)
- Last Phantom deployments for VF-51 and VF-111
- Last fleet deployment for the E-1 Tracer (RVAW-110)
- Last deployment for the Rosie
- Last deployment for VA-215, VA-153, and VA-155 (Silver Foxes later revived briefly as an Intruder squadron).
- First (and only) deployment of the AV-8A in the CV environment (VMA-231).
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.