Perhaps no other community in aviation history had more pride than the F-14 Tomcat, one great way to tell is by the myriad of patches Tomcat aviators wore, often associated with aircraft upgrades. There are dozens of patch variants, but here is a brief history and summary of the patches shown:
1. Basic Tomcat patch - Drawn by a Grumman employee in the early 1970’s as requested by former Blue Angel Norm Gandia. The name “Tom” was taken from JCS Thomas Moorer and CNO Thomas Connolly, the “Cat” part of the name fell in line with Grumman’s long line of “Cat” Navy fighter aircraft.
2. ”Anytime, Baby…!” patch - This saying originated from Grumman aerospace in relation to the competition the F-14 had with the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle.
3. F-14A+ upgrade patch - The A+ upgrade featured a new GE F110-GE400 engine.
4. F-14B patch - The B was the re-designation of the A+, which also featured the AWG-9 radar.
5. F-14B+ patch - Further upgrades to the F-14B “Bombcat”. This was a mentality transition in the community from an exclusively air-to-air mindset to a more multi-role one. One saying of the air-to-air community was, “never a pound for air to ground”.
6. F-14D patch - The “Super Tomcat” had newer avionics systems, radars, and a glass cockpit.
7. Peeping Tom patch - TARPS upgrade, allowing the Tomcat to fulfill a reconnaissance role.
8. LANTIRN patch - A targeting and navigation pod upgrade.
9. NVIS patch - The NVIS upgrade, allowing increased night capability.
10. Rising sun patch - Worn by Tomcat aviators stationed in Japan.