posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 11:45 PM
I live a few blocks away from the Bethpage Grummans Facility that Built the F-14 Tomcat. I have fond memories of this fighter and others but the
Tomcat was the top dog.
I have a story but want to paint a picture for you, of growing up around the Grumman Facility.
Imagine it's 1985 you are a 10 year old boy walking into your backyard on Saturday at 9am in August. Here on Long Island it's around 87 degrees,
it's gonna be a hot one today. As you grab your bike and make your way out of the backyard to go meet your best friend around the block you hear
this noise... It's the sound of propellers! And before ya know it your looking up at an E-2C Hawkeye Tactical Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft
fly overhead to go do it's rounds out on the Atlantic, possibly o rendevous with the Carrier it'll call home for the next few years. If you've
heard the plane once you'll never forget it But when the plane is only 100 feet overhead BOY is it a sight.
Just growing up with that in itself is a memory that kept the Cold War, and the Military in the back of your mind but made you feel safe.
Ok now same day, round 1pm you're out playing baseball in the park, or hanging out under the front awning of Robby's house and you hear this high
pitched whistle in the distance.... and it gets louder, then faints a bit, then louder again until all of a sudden it's a constant whistle in the
near distance. All of a sudden the throttle is tuned up and you hear the roar of the twin engines, then louder, and louder still, until you have to
yell for Robby to hear what your saying. 2 minutes later the roar of the engines silences and again you hear the whistle.... slowly becoming faint,
eventually to an abrupt stop.
That's what we heard ALL the time, Grummans testing the Tomcat Engines. And I have to tell you, it was amazing everytime you heard it, sometimes you
could feel the shockwaves let out by the roar of those engines when they throttled up and down. It was powerful, monstrous even, and awe inspiring as
If you were able to paint the mental image then you have just relived with me a memory I hold very dear to my heart growing up in tomcat territory.
The Tomcat took made most test flights from the Calverton LI Facility out East on Long Island and I unfortunately did not get to see the plane as much
as I would have liked, BUT when that fighter flew overhead to land at Bethpage OH MY GOD it was like routing for the Yankees! As a kid we were
saluting, yelling, YEAH MAN GO GET EM'!!! waving hands in the air and pumping fists!
I truly miss the Tomcat and the Intruder. I miss the E-2C Hawkeye flying overhead. We still have Nassau County Police Department's Helipad here VERY
near the old Grumman airstrip which is all but gone and can only be seen by satellite photo. But it isn't the same. The choppers were always here,
and do little more then remind me of the air celebrity we had only 20 some odd years ago.
I was and am truly sad to see the Tomcat go. I'm sad to have seen Grummans go, a place that employed most of my neighborhood, and created a small
town feel in Bethpage of Hicksville giving us a really special sense of community and family.