The last US Navy F/A-18C Hornet made its official final active-duty flight at Naval Air Station Oceana on October 2, 2019, marking the official retirement from active duty for the aircraft within the Navy.

During its entire 31-year service life, the Legacy Hornet number 300 had been part of the Strike Fighter Squadron 106 also known as the "Gladiators" at Cecil Field, Florida. For that last flight, the fighter jet that completed its first acceptance check flight in 1988 was operated by Lieutenant Andrew Jalali, also born in 1988, the Navy says. It took off from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia and was escorted by three F/A-18F Super Hornets for a one-and-a-half-hour flight. The aircraft will now be stripped of all its usable parts and be scrapped.

Captain Brian Becker, Commodore of the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, praised the service of the aircraft in the Navy. “Its technological innovation was continued on the F/A-18 E/F/G aircraft and helped the U.S. Navy transition from 4th to 5th generation aircraft,” he said.

Boeing was awarded an up to up to $73 million  contract to modernize the U.S. Navy F/A-18 fleet, extending the life of existing Super Hornets from 6,000 to 9,000+ flight hours, the company announced on March 1, 2018.

Now that the Navy F/A-18A/C Hornets have been replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, about 50 of the fighter jets were transferred from the Strike Fighter Squadron 106 to various Navy Reserve and U.S. Marine commands. The reserve should use it as an adversary aircraft during training while the Marine Corps will fly it until the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter comes as a replacement, around 2030. 

Some surplus Hornets have also joined the famous “Boneyard” of Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, where they are preserved, ready to be reactivated if needed.

Since 2017, the German government has been actively looking to replace its aging fleet of Panavia Tornado aircraft. The strike aircraft that entered service in the 1970s is now even too old to participate in NATO missions. After eliminating the Lockheed F-35 and the Boeing F-15 SE, the German Ministry of Defense could now be favoring the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet over its homemade fighter jet, the Eurofighter Typhoon. In a scenario reminiscent of the Belgian procurement, external commitments could have been a determining factor.