This was VFA-34’s final deployment flying the F/A-18C Legacy Hornet. They’ll be the last U.S. Navy squadron to transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet
U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 ‘Blueblasters’ returned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana on Apr. 11, 2018 after a historic record-setting deployment.
The unit in January to join their air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).
According News 3 TV during the deployment the squadron flew its 10 F/A-18C jets, some of the last Legacy Hornets in the naval force, for 653 sorties while logging more than 1,044 flight hours and 659 carrier arrested landings, or “traps”.
Furthermore while on the deployment, the USS Carl Vinson completed the first port visit in the Western Pacific by a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier since the Vietnam War.
“Most of our guys weren’t even born yet when the war was going on,” said squadron Cmdr. Perry Solomon to Stars and Stripes.
To prepare for their visit, they holed-up in the Vinson’s ready-room and watched Ken Burn’s documentary series, “The Vietnam War.”
“We watched it all,” Solomon said.
Vietnam was its own kind of war – bitterly unpopular at home, 58,000 Americans killed in a foreign civil war, fighting for the side that ultimately lost.
More than 40 years later, wounds can still run deep for aging veterans and the families whose loved ones never came home. But improved relations between the U.S. and today’s Socialist Republic of Vietnam are “important for stability in the region,” Solomon said. “That’s why we went.”
The aviators went ashore in Danang in March, and spent four days doing the meet-and-greet.
“The people were very warm,” Solomon said, “and the food was great.”
This was also VFA-34’s final deployment flying the F/A-18C Legacy Hornet. They’ll be the last U.S. Navy squadron to transition to the F/A-18E Super Hornet.
Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano / U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com