Mission: To Preserve the History of the Greatest Fighter Jet the United States Navy Has Ever Flown.

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President’s Message – Feb 2019

 

Dear Tomcat Flyers, Fixers, and Fans,

Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope you had a pleasant and restful holiday season.  

As I reflect back upon 2018, I’m thankful for a great San Diego reunion (more on that later), and it occurs to me that it is important to reflect on where we’ve been as an Association.  Starting with Art Martin’s vision to form an F-14 Tomcat Association that would be similar to the Intruder Association, back around 2002, a small group of us formed an exploratory committee, drafted by-laws, and did the legal work to be a non-profit (Art Martin did most of that work).  Finally, the first Board of Directors met and adopted the Association By-Laws at a meeting held 17 December 2003.  

  • President – Mike “Rabies” Rabens, Capt USN (Ret.)
  • Vice President – Mark “Beaver” Swaney, Capt USN (Ret.)
  • Treasurer – Rob “Udog” Underwood, Capt USNR (Ret.)
  • Secretary – Art Martin, Grumman Employee and Tomcat Devotee

Art was the driving force for starting the association, and for 11 years was the driving force to reach out to people, to conduct bi-annual reunions, and to grow the group.  Art was born June 20, 1945 in New York. He joined the Navy in 1963 and served honorably until 1967, then joined the Grumman Corporation, later Northrop Grumman.  On July 7, 2014, at 9:20 p.m., the world lost a great man when Art passed away from complications of a surgery.  His lovely wife Donna still lives in Camarillo California.  We all miss Art – may he rest in peace. 

Three of us original members are still on the board.  I announced at this year’s reunion that I will be stepping down as your President as soon as the next President is elected. We intend to hold elections early in 2019 as our by-laws require.    

Read more: President's Message - Winter 2019

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President’s Message – August 2018

Dear Tomcat Flyers, Fixers, and Fans,

Greetings! We have three fantastic topics to describe in this newsletter, so please read all the way to the end.

In case you weren’t aware, we are conducting our reunion in the same hotel and on the same weekend as the F-8 Crusader association.  We are joining forces on some events, and have de-conflicted others to maximize your fun for the weekend.  See details below.

Attention to brief – item#1.  It is time to register for the 2018 Reunion in San Diego.  Do not delay, do not procrastinate, just finish reading this and go to the F-14 Association website, click the Flight Schedule button, or use this link:  http://www.f-14association.com/form/6-2018-tomcat-reunion-registration.html and sign up.  You do not need to be a current member (but you know that you should be). 

We have a fantastic plan for this year, at the beautiful San Diego Marriott La Jolla.  You can book your room by clicking Hotel Registration Link  or call (800) 228-9290 and ask for Group Reservations – F-14 Tomcat Group.  Do not delay – the Hotel reservations and registration cutoff date is September 4, 2018.

General schedule:

Date F-14 Tomcat Association F-8 Crusader Association
Wednesday PM Welcome reception – Ready Room at the hotel Ready Room open
Thursday day Tour of Midway Free time
Thursday night Gunfighter Happy Hour Reception
Friday Day VIP Airshow Chalet – DOD day at Miramar
Friday Night Banquet Dinner - RADM Fred Lewis Squadron dinners
Saturday Day

Group Breakfast then Symposia:

  

-Fighting against the Tomcat – the Adversary Pilot panel led by Jim “Guido” DiMatteo

-Testing the Tomcat – Developmental and Operational Test stories

General Business Meeting

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Golf Tournament

High Tea for ladies

Board Meeting

Saturday night Informal Squadron Dinners Last Annual Crusader Ball

Read more: President's Message - Summer 2018

Dear Tomcat Flyers, Fixers, and Fans,

This year is the 11th anniversary of the Tomcat Sunset. The retirement of the world’s most capable Fighter, and later Strike/Fighter. I dare say that it lives on in our hearts and minds just as strongly today as back then.

Highlights since the last update:

  • Your Board of Directors have been very busy working with museums on their F-14 static displays to help preserve them. We have been providing technical information, and our artisans have developed/produced two different nose gear strut braces to keep the Tomcat in the proper “perch”.
  • The 2016 Virginia Beach reunion last September was one for the books.  Highlights included:
    • NAS Oceana Air Show
    • Visit to the Military Aviation Museum
    • Happy Hour and Panel Discussions with great friends and fans.  Dennis Romano told the riveting tail of the F-14/F-15 fly-off at Andrews AFB that resulted in the sale of the F-14 to the Shah of Iran’s Air Force. Other panelists shared their tales as well.
    • Banquet Dinner at the Doubletree Hotel featuring guest of honor David Grumman, and featured guest speaker Dave “Bio” Baranek
    • David Grumman, the son of LeRoy Grumman, had a front row seat to the designing of many incredible Grumman aircraft, including the F-14. He told some very interesting stories about his father and some of the early days, even preceding the formation of Grumman, as well as sharing some fascinating photographs. Thank you, David!
    • Bio Baranek wowed the crowd with anecdotes from his Topgun days and other wonders of flying at Miramar. 
  • We updated our web site and online tools so that you can get more from your membership and are working on a store to buy your favorite F-14 patches, and memorabilia. Note that you can pay your dues, read interesting stories, search for other members, and keep up with planned reunions and various Tomcat related activities around the country.
Read more: President's Message - Summer 2017

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Dear Tomcat Flyers, Fixers, and Fans,

Greetings! The annual Tailhook reunion was last month, and we had four board members represent the Association manning a booth, attending events, and conducting our annual general business meeting.  One of our objectives is to participate in Naval Aviation events to ensure that the attendees and members of the Tomcat community know about the association. To that end, several new connections were made and many existing connections were renewed. We plan to be there at future Tailhook conventions and hope you’ll look for the F-14 Association banner.

Read more: President's Message - Fall 2017

Dear Tomcat Flyers, Fixers, and Fans,logoplus10

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Tomcat Sunset. The retirement of the world’s most capable Fighter, and later Strike/Fighter, was a sad occasion for most of us, and the only way to commemorate such an event is to meet with fellow aficionados of this great aircraft. The 2016 reunions are fast approaching! Yes, that “s” at the end of reunions isn’t a misprint – we are doing both an east coast and a west coast event this year. Details included below, but first let’s step back and debrief 2015.

The Pensacola reunion in April came off beautifully, thanks to the hard work of several board members, particularly Mark “Beaver” Swaney. Highlights included:

  • Blue Angel practice show onboard NAS Pensacola, hosted by Training Air Wing SIX Commodore, Captain Ted “Tag” Heflin and his amazing staff
  • Memorial Service at the Veteran's Memorial Park with the NAS Color Guard
  • Happy Hour and Panel Discussions to include T&E highlights, presented by Tom Reilly and Maintenance tales by many
  • National Naval Aviation Museum -- Guided tour of the Museum and Flight Academy
  • Winging ceremony in the Atrium
  • Banquet Dinner at the Mustin Beach Officer's Club

The speaker for the banquet was RADM Mike “Nasty” Manazir. Nasty is the Director, Air Warfare (OPNAV N98) where he is responsible for the development, programming, and budgeting of all U.S. Naval aviation warfighting requirements, resourcing and manpower. He was qualified in the F-14A/D and has flown more than 3750 hours and 1200 arrested landings during 15 deployments aboard aircraft carriers on both coasts. The talk was highly entertaining, extremely motivating, and left all with the satisfaction of knowing that Naval Aviation is strong, vibrant, and ready to defend American interests throughout the world. Thank you Nasty!

Read more: Presidents Message - April 2016
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