To participate in the largest memorial flyover and missing man formation to honor the passing of the former President George H.W. Bush, US Navy has dispatched almost thirty F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet jets from their various units.
The formation flyover will consist of 21 aircraft with 9 aircraft being used for the support role in the mission.
The news of this memorial mission was announced by U Navy on Tuesday when the aircraft started to leave from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The ceremony will b held on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.
Former President Bush passed away on November 30th, 2018. He himself was decorated naval aviator who in World War II flew a Grumman TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bomber with Torpedo Squadron Fifty-One (VT-51) from the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL-30). Bush flew in a total of 58 combat missions and also survived beings shot down in 19944 over the Pacific Ocean.
He at that time was 18 years old and was regarded as one of the youngest combat aviators in the U.S. military. He was commissioned into the military on June 9th, 1943.
From the year 1976 to 1977, President Bush also served his position as the Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency under the reign of then-President Gerald R. Ford. Bush himself was elected as the 41st President of the United States of America back in 1988 and served the nation from 1989 to 1993.
The lead for this massive formation flight will be held by U.S. Navy Captain Kevin McLaughlin from Newport Beach, California, Commodore of the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. He will fly in a VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers” jet.
His F/A-18F Super Hornet carries the special markings for this memorial flight, that reads as, “President George H.W. Bush, 41” as the pilot’s name on the canopy rail and “Barbara, First Lady” on the systems operator’s position.
According to records of US Navy; Capt. McLaughlin has over 3,700 flight hours and 875 arrested landings onboard for 10 different aircraft carriers.
US Navy also revealed that a total of eight squadrons will take part in this massive memorial formation and the names of the units involved are as follows.
- Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VFA-103), the “Jolly Rogers”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143), the famous “Pukin’ Dogs”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 32 (VFA-32), the “Swordsmen”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 83 (VFA-83), the “Rampagers”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 131 (VFA-131), the “Wildcats”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 105 (VFA-105), the “Gunslingers”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 31 (VFA-31), the “Tomcatters”
- Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87), the “Golden Warriors