Post by Charlie Wolf
IIRC, there where two guys who came up with the original design - both
named Tom. The name Tomcat came from that origin. I believe the
"Turkey" reference would be a derivative of that - i.e., Tom Turkey.
I might be wrong.
Post by Wlengel
I have a friend (golfing buddy) who was a engineer back in the beginning
phase of the F-14. I mentioned that I had notice on this NG that it
was referred to as the Turkey. He wasn't happy with that a said it was
no Turkey, great plane. What is the origin of the nick name? I believe
it is an affectionate and not a derogatory name, true?
The most-told story (take your choice of "Toms"):
"VADM Thomas F. Connolly. Serving as Deputy Chief of Naval
Operations for Air, ADM Connolly was under the strictest orders from
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's civilian team to support McNamara's
concept of a single fighter aircraft design for both the Air Force and
the Navy. This was the infamous TFX in its initial stage (subsequently
designated F-111B for the Navy) which arose from a concept of saving
money on paper without any documentation on how that could be
accomplished in practice, while providing income for a Texas based
aerospace company to help the political fortunes of the vice president
at the time."
"Following years of work and millions spent, it was apparent to
the Navy that the F-111B would never fly from a carrier. A Navy team had
been working surreptitiously on an alternative that would be equipped
with the same weapon system, but no one on the McNamara team would
listen to professional opinion. Finally, in a showdown with Congress on
the budget, following hours of testimony from Secretary of the Navy Paul
Ignatius about how great the F-111B design was, Sen. Stennis asked ADM
Connolly his personal opinion about the aircraft design, assuming it was
equipped with more powerful engines. ADM Connolly leaned forward and
said in the strongest terms that 'There is not enough thrust in all of
Christendom to make a carrier fighter out of this aircraft.'"
"Sen. Stennis took money from the budget for the F-111B on the
spot and authorized what was to become the F-14 or 'Tomcat' which serves
in the fleet today. In his words, ADM Connolly thought he was going to
be fired and thinks Sen. Stennis saved him from that -- but he lost any
chance for his fourth star. Throughout, he was supported in his end run
around the Navy secretary since the chief of naval operations, ADM Tom
Moorer, had authorized such candor prior to the hearings."