Grumman F-14 Tomcat
Designed in 1968 to take the place of the controversial F-111B, the F-14A Tomcat used the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines and AWG-9 system and carried the six Phoenix missiles that had been intended for the F-111B. From its first flight on 21 December 1970, the F-14A 'Tomcat' caps a long line of Grumman Cats. It provided the carrier task force with its first-line offense and defense against any enemy air threat in the tradition of its predecessors.
Packing a MK-61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon, marking a return of the gun-fighter, and the AWG-9 weapons system coupled with an impressive array of ordnance, ensured the F-14 Tomcat was a potent multi-mission medium-range strike aircraft for almost forty years! For non-airborne targets, the Tomcat could also carry a combination of 500 lbs to 2 000 lbs iron bombs, MK-20 cluster bomb and Laser Guided bombs.
The Establishment of Command ceremony for the second squadron to bear the number VF 191 was held on 4 December 1986 with Commanding Officer, CDR Robert J. Sears. The squadron received their first Tomcat the following year, on 17 February 1987. Even this was only temporary, as after maintenance it was transferred it to VF 124. The newly formed VF 191 was put together with a crew hand picked from the F-14 community. The planes, however, were not so top rate, coming from other Tomcat squadrons, with long standing maintenance discrepancies. The squadron not only got every aircraft operational, but consistently met their flight schedules. But despite this or because of it, after all the hard work put in, the planes were sent to other squadrons!
Their first permanent aircraft was accepted 1 March 1987, and after a functional check flight, VF 191 became operational on June 1, 1987 when Executive Officer Cmdr. J. R. Davis and Lt. Cmdr. John Hart flew the first official operational sortie. Once commissioned and operational, VF 191 succeeded with every training exercise that were assigned.
The VF 191 was assigned to the newly formed CVW 10, and was scheduled to board USS Independence (CV 62) in Virginia and ride it around South America and up to its new homeport of San Diego. In preparation for that cruise, VF 191 and VF 194 boarded USS Enterprise (CVN 65) on 24 July 1987. VF 191 had only four aircraft. In this time, working with F/A-18s and EA-6Bs, they logged 103 Tomcat traps. The cruise lasted two weeks, traveling to Seattle, Washington for the annual SEAFAIR Week. They performed carrier qualifications and training in transit, spending five days in Seattle, and flying Carrier Air Patrol training on the return journey.
Towards the end of the year, VF 191 visited NAS El Centro for the Fleet Fighter ACM Readiness Program (FFARP). The squadron set a Fighter Town first, by completing the program with only five aircraft. They flew 114 sorties in twelve days for a 97% sortie completion rate. VF 191's opponent was the new F-16N, making its debut appearance. An excellent crew performance and innovative tactics saw the squadron defeat this formidable opponent.
In December, along with VF 194 and VAW 11, the squadron attended Topgun's Fleet Air Superiority Training (FAST) for CVGB training.
When the decision was made to decommission the airwing, the squardon had a few months to transfer their aircraft and disassemble all that they had built. VF 191 made their last visit to Enterprise on the 27 February, where they made their final trap - a nightime landing. The last operational sortie was flown on the 21 March 1988.
The squadron personnel were transferred to other Tomcat squadrons. The official disestablishment occured in April 1988, twenty months after the establishment ceremony. Although VF 191 and it's sister squadron VF 194 were the two shortest lived F-14 squadrons in history, the squadron was finally retired flying a Grumman 'cat capable of dog-fighting!
Air Group 19 today
Since the end of World War II, the US Navy has been reduced in strength, with naval avaition taking many cuts. One squadron from the original air groups still flys on. VT 19, is now Strike Fighter Squadron One Nine Five (VFA 195), part of CVW 5 and is currently based in Japan.
A short note about squadron lineage...
Throughout its history, the size of the US Navy has grown and shrunk to meet current political climate. The aviation arm has been no expection. The number of squadrons has changed over the years, with squadrons being formed, disbanded, re-assigned and so on. The terminology used to describe the formation of a squadron is quite specific. A new squadron is always established. During the period of establishment, the squadron may be re-designated a new number, such as when VF 19 became VF 19A, then VF 191. It may also have it 'role' changed, for example over the years, "Bombing Nineteen" VB 19 eventually became VFA 192. When a squadron is disestablished, its history is closed. No other squadron can claim another's history. Battle honours, awards and so on belong to the origina squadron only. Squadron names, mascots and 'traditions' can adopted by another squadron, though with offical approval.
Therefore, technically, the VF 191 established in 1986 has no connection with the one disestablished twenty years earlier. It was allowed to used the name " Satan's Kittens" and "cat" mascot, its history began in 1986 and ended in 1988, making it one of the shortest establishment for a Tomcat squadron.