CVW 5 Readies for Upcoming Deployment with USS George Washington

CVW 5 Readies for Upcoming Deployment with USS George Washington

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 is currently preparing and training for its upcoming 2013 patrol with the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

CVW 5, forward-deployed to Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan, consists of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102, flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet; VFA 27, VFA 115 and VFA 195, each flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, flying the EA-18G Growler; Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 flying the Hawkeye 2000; Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Detachment 5, flying the C-2 Greyhound; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC), 12 flying the MH-60S Seahawk; and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM), 77 flying the MH-60R Seahawk.

 “I think it is important to know [CVW 5] is tasked and funded to be at full readiness twelve months out of the year,” said Capt. Michael Boyle, CVW 5 commander. “Our crews continually train to be ready at a moment’s notice.”

The air wing’s squadrons perform daily flight operations in order to maintain pilot, and air and maintenance crew proficiency. Air-to-air and large-force exercises, along with detachments this year to the U.S., Australia and other training areas in Japan, are utilized to maintain qualifications.

 “[Air crew] just returned from a month-long detachment to Australia where we knocked out a bunch of qualifications, and the entire air wing will soon conduct field carrier landing practice at Iwo To,” said Lt. Brian Sullivan, an aviator from the “Diamondbacks” of VFA 102. “This gives the air crew their last opportunity to practice landing on a ship; it’s the closest thing to actually landing on an aircraft carrier and it’s a requirement before flying out to George Washington.”

CVW 5’s ordinance training is augmented by valuable training opportunities, such as sending the “Eagles” of VFA 115 and VFA 102 to Australia for three weeks of air-to-ground training with their Australian counterparts.

 “Based on the exercises we’ve been doing, we’re up to speed and ready to rock and roll,” said Lt. Ryan Jaurejui, an aviator from the “Liberty Bells” of VAW 115. “Looking at our day-to-day operations, we’re more than ready to go on the cruise.”

With the farewell to the “Seahawks” of Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron (HS) 14, comes the arrival of two new helicopter squadrons: the “Golden Falcons” of HSC 12 and the “Saberhawks” of HSM 77.

 “It’s a lot different coming from home to here for most of us,” said Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) 3rd Class Mark Mendoza, from Los Angeles. “It’s such a different place and it has been a challenge adapting to the culture, but I think we’ve done a great job. Our leadership has been key in that and I think they’ve done a good job of motivating us and making sure everyone has everything that they need.”

CVW-5 currently plans to bring approximately 70 aircraft, a full compliment, to George Washington. These aircraft include 44 strike fighters, which according to Capt. Boyle “are the teeth of what we bring to the fight.”

The air wing is comprised of 1,900 personnel, which along with George Washington’s crew and embarked staff personnel, will bring the crew’s number to approximately 5,500 for the 2013 patrol.

 “We’re looking forward to the [2013 patrol],” said Boyle. “[Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer] and I work extremely well together, and we’re looking forward to getting back to the ship and working together as a team.”

George Washington and its embarked air wing, CVW 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Press Release, June 10, 2013; Image: US Navy