USS Yorktown
The historic USS Yorktown resides in Charleston, S.C. as a museum. Friday, February 12, 2016, The Flight Deck Veterans Group (FDVG) began the much anticipated restoration project of an F-14 Tomcat. FDVG CEO Jared Ashley, CO Chris Wills, and Bill Parks joined a half dozen members of the organizations most promising state chapter, the Carolinas crew, to begin the work of returning the aircraft to its former glory.

“The Flight Deck Veterans Group and Board of Directors have been planning this day for the past 6 months and we’re excited it’s finally here,”Says Bill Parks FDVG’s Command Master Chief. “To have our CEO and commanding officer here, sanding and working alongside the Carolinas chapter members, just shows this organization means business.” A key tenet of the fraternal organization’s mission is naval aviation historical preservation.

Founder and CEO Jared Ashley said, “I’ve been out of the Navy 15 years and to be around a carrier and on a flight deck was amazing. There’s no better feeling than hanging with other members, doing what we love, and sharing this experience with like-minded folks.” Countless FDVG members have considered the camaraderie and return to those brother-like relationships one of the most rewarding aspects of the FDVG.

In addition, Ashley said, “The passion the staff of the USS Yorktown has for this carrier and its planes is encouraging and exciting. The future is very bright for the flight deck of the USS Yorktown.”

“One of the coolest parts of this whole weekend was the fact that our members showed up to work and were eager and excited to restore this F-14,” said Chris Wills, the FDVG’s CO. “I retired after 32 years of service to our country and felt very moved by the passion our members expressed this weekend. It made me very proud to be part of this group.”

The restoration project will last through March. The FDVG is seeking more volunteers and support. All available and qualified members are welcomed to join the effort whenever they can. Any state chapters are encouraged to send teams as well.