End of an era: Navy’s legacy Hornets to fly off into the sunset

By: Mark D. Faram

The Navy will say farewell to its last operational F/A-18C Hornet fighter jets in a special ceremony at Naval Air Station Oceana on Feb. 1.

Naval Air Forces Atlantic announced Wednesday that the remaining single-seat, twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable Hornets will take their last flight with Strike Fighter Squadron 34.

The “Blue Blasters” are the lone Hornet squadron that has not transitioned to Boeing’s F/A-18E Super Hornet.

They notched the F/A-18Cs last combat deployment, a three-month tour on board the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson that ended in April. In October they recorded their last carrier qualifications with the jets, according to Naval Air Forces Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht.

“Their [carrier qualification] was a standard underway, air wing CQ earlier in the month,” Hecht said “The last trap was toward the end of the month.”

But you might not have seen the last of America’s legacy Hornets.

They’ll continue to be used by Navy reservists playing the role of adversary aviators.

And until they’re replaced by Super Hornets or new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, the Marines plan to keep flying their F/A-18Cs.

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