In 1996 the VF-103 Jolly Rogers became the first Tomcat unit to deploy with the low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night system that provides a precision ground attack capability to the F-14 community.
The author is grateful to Cdrs, Gary Williams, Craig Roll (former CO) and Dave Landess; Lieutenant Commander Tony DeSmet and all VF-103 Jolly Rogers officers and enlisted personnel.
At the time of this writing, the Jolly Rogers were deployed with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 aboard George Washington (CVN 73) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Caption: The author (and photographer) snaps a selfie during his 2005 flight with the VFA-103 Jolly Rogers (Photo courtesy of Rick Llinares)
The Jolly Roger aircrews I have flown with make it look so easy.
Jolly Rogers with historical significance can be valuable today.
HMS Astute's Commander Gareth Jenkins explained the real significance of Jolly Rogers to submarine crews for the last 100 years, saying: "The technology was so new and the work so secret that our submarines' achievements must have been largely misunderstood a century ago.
Yet a verbal broadside he delivered in 1901 was to spawn one of the Submarine Service's most loved and deeply ingrained traditions - the flying of the Jolly Roger flag to mark the victorious return from a successful patrol.
After bidding farewell to their beloved F-14B Tomcats in January, the Strike Fighter Squadron 103 Jolly Rogers have now completed their transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet, receiving their safe-for-flight accreditation in July.
After spending five months in training at the VFA-106 fleet replacement squadron, the Jolly Rogers now have to prepare for their workup cycle and next deployment.
On 26 January the last two Jolly Rogers
Tomcats touched down at Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.