Called “VF-103 Jolly Rogers Combat Cruise 2004,” the following cool video features the squadron last deployment flying the iconic F-14 Tomcat.
As we have previously explained, following VF-84’s decommissioning in October 1995, the decision was made to retire the “Club and Cloverleaf” insignia of the VF-103 “Sluggers” and have Fighting 103 adopt the Jolly Roger insignia and the Tactical callsign, “Victory,” on Oct. 1, 1995. Prior to assuming the Jolly Rogers name and insignia, VF-103, commissioned in 1952, had consistently proven ready and willing to accomplish all assigned missions while flying successively more complex and more capable aircraft. VF-103 flew numerous sorties in the moonless skies over Vietnam and achieved the only night MiG kill of the entire conflict.
VF-103 made it’s last deployment flying the F-14B Tomcat in 2004 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), conducting missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and the squadron transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet in February of 2005, becoming re-designated VFA-103. In October 2006, VFA-103 deployed with CVW-7 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to the CENTCOM AOR in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and Horn of Africa Operations off the coast of Somalia. Returning in May 2007, the squadron completed and eight month surge period.
In 2008, the Jolly Rogers transited the Straits of Magellan aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) during the Partnership of the Americas deployment before beginning workups in June. The Jolly Rogers deployed again in February 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During five months of supporting coalition ground forces engaged in close combat with the enemy, the squadron led the air wing in kinetic effects.
Less than six months later, the Jolly Rogers returned to sea for a seven month surge deployment beginning in January 2010 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). VFA-103 continued their role as Carrier Air Wing SEVEN’s (CVW-7’s) go-to squadron for the most demanding combat and combat support missions. While deployed, the Jolly Rogers led the air wing in combat operations, flying over 1850 sorties and nearly 5900 hours.
The squadron’s relentless effort to prepare for operations on the tip of the spear culminated in the successful delivery of 14 precision weapons, over 600 rounds of 20mm, and more than 80 non-kinetic shows of force/presence in direct support of coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan.
The Jolly Rogers most recently completed a cruise for the ages, embarked upon the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). During this deployment the Jolly Rogers once again proved to be the most lethal squadron in the Air Wing (CVW-7), which saw them employing more Precision Guided Munitions (490 pieces of ordnance) than any other single squadron in Naval History.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
Source: VFA-103 and U.S. Navy
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