Over the weekend President George H W Bush (41st US President) passed away. President Bush (41) is a former US Navy pilot flying the Grumman TBF Avenger in World War Two. POTUS Bush (41) is also the only President so far to fly in combat. With his death, the US Navy is sending 30 FA-18 “Hornets” to do a missing man formation.
21 aircraft will be involved with the missing man and 9 operational support if needed. A naval aviation official told USNI News that a missing man formation of this size is unprecedented and reflects Bush’s legacy as a naval aviator and ongoing relationship with the Navy’s carrier strike group community.”
U.S. Navy Captain Kevin McLaughlin from Newport Beach, California, Commodore of the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, will fly lead position in the massive memorial formation in a VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers” F18. Capt. McLaughlin’s F/A-18F Super Hornet carries special markings for the memorial flight that read, “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 the U.S. Navy, Capt. McLaughlin has over 3,700 flight hours and 875 arrested landings onboard 10 different aircraft carriers.
According to the U.S. Navy, a total of eight squadrons will participate in the memorial formation. The units involved in the giant aerial tribute include 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”; and Strike Fighter Squadron 87 (VFA-87), the “Golden Warriors. According to the U.S. Navy, the memorial flyover and missing man formationjets will be over President and First Lady Bush in College Station, TeAS, at 16.15 CST Thursday.