I was in San Diego this week and was treated to seeing three carriers in port for at least part of my visit - Stennis, Reagan and Vinson. "Carrier Row" is clearly visible from the tourist areas across the bay, and I was surprised to see the Reagan had an F/A-18 on deck. Upon checking my pictures, I'm a little confused.
First, why would there be an aircraft on deck while in port? Doesn't the air wing normally fly off before coming into home port?
Second, although the image quality is poor due to the distance from which I was shooting, this doesn't look to match the markings of any F/A-18 squadron in CVW-14. In fact, it almost looks like a preserved aircraft with panels hanging open - are the engines even still intact?
Anyone have any idea the story behind this aircraft?