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380th AEW Photos

Refueling a legacy: Hornet’s final carrier deployment
F/A-18C Hornet pilots Capt. Conner “Dirty” Landry (left), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323) pilot training officer and Lt. Col. William “Skull” Mitchell (right), VMFA-323 commanding officer, prepare to continue their mission after refueling their aircraft from a KC-10 Extender assigned to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. VMFA-323 is assigned to the Carrier Air Wing 17 on the USS Nimitz, which is part of Carrier Strike Group 11 (CSG-11). This is the last deployment of the legacy aircraft aboard U.S. Naval carriers. VMFA-323 was the first U.S. Marine Corp F/A-18C Hornet squadron to deploy on an aircraft carrier in October of 1985. In the future, the Navy will deploy the F/A-18E/F/G models of the aircraft on carriers, but the Marine Corp will transition to the F-35C Lightning II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)