NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Six squadrons from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 will return to Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana March 9 and 10 following their six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The remainder of CVW-8's squadrons will return to their homebases of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., and NAS Whidbey Island, Fla.
The "Tomcatters" of Fighter Squadron (VF) 31 and the "Black Lions" of Fighter Squadron (VF) 213 will close a chapter in the history of naval aviation by completing the final combat deployment in the F-14D Tomcat aircraft. VF-213 will almost immediately begin to transition to the F/A-18F "Super Hornet," while VF-31 will remain operational until September 2006 when they will fly the last Tomcat in the Navy's inventory from NAS Oceana.
VF-31 will continue to operate the F-14D with CVW-8 throughout the spring and summer aboard Theodore Roosevelt during the ship's readiness and sustainment period. They will begin their transition to the F/A-18E "Super Hornet" in October.
Also returning will be the "Valions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15 and the "War Party" from VFA-87, both flying the F/A-18C Hornet, and the "Bear Aces" from Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124 with their E-2C Hawkeyes, and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40, Detachment 1, the "Rawhides" flying C-2A Greyhounds.
During CVW-8's deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism, their aircraft flew exactly 10,000 sorties and logged nearly 30,750 mishap-free flight hours. Of these, 3,300 flight hours were flown over Iraq delivering 52 bombs and air-to-ground missiles in support of coalition troops on the ground.
The E-2C Hawkeyes provided airborne command and control while the C-2A Greyhounds provided logistics support by delivering mail, parts and personnel from the ship.
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