A behind the scenes view of US Navy Adversary Squadron: VFC-111 'Sundowners'


Jeff Bolton visits the US Navy’s VFC-111 ‘Sun Downers’ at its Naval Air Station Key West home

A F-5N Tiger of VFC-111, nose number 115, breaks away from the formation in the surrounding area of home station, NAS Key West
Ted Carlson

With more than 100 years of combined fighter pilot experience, an eight-ship gaggle of ‘Sun Downers’ F-5N Tigers sit idling in a symmetrical row on the active ramp at Naval Air Station Key West. All the pilots wear identical flight helmets featuring their squadron’s historic ‘Setting Sun’ artwork, in addition to a large red star on the back crown identifying them as adversary or ‘bandit’ pilots, as they are colloquially known. Squadron flight equipment personnel have also taped their individual callsigns neatly on the bottom back of their helmets, just above the nape of the neck: Baffle, Roy, LC, CYNDI, Clifford, Stevie, Yort and CJ were the names visible.

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