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Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW 17)

Air Group SEVENTEEN came into existence 1 April 1944 during World War II. Following the war the Air Group was redesignated CVG-17, and until it was deactivated in September 1958, Air Group SEVENTEEN operated continuously with the Atlantic Fleet and deployed in USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, USS WASP, and USS CORAL SEA. Air Wing SEVENTEEN was reactivated in November 1966 and assigned to the USS FORRESTAL (CV-59). Throughout the next 15 years the FORRESTAL/CVW-17 team remained intact, conducting ten Mediterranean deployments.

When the FORRESTAL entered a three year Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in November 1982, CVW-17 crossdecked to the USS SARATOGA (CV-60). During Operation DESERT SHIELD, CVW-17 and SARATOGA maintained deployed to the Red Sea, and launched combat strikes against Iraq almost continuously over the 43 days of Operation DESERT STORM. In June 1994, upon returning from yet another successful deployment in the SARATOGA, CVW-17 was transferred to USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) homeported in Norfolk, VA. The following September, CVW-17 moved it's headquarters to NAS Oceana, VA. The Air Wing was composed of VF-103 flying the F-1 4B TOMCAT, VFA-81,VFA-83 and VFA-34 flying the F/A-18C HORNET, VAW-125 flying the E-2C HAWKEYE, VS-30 flying the S-3B VIKING, VAQ- 132 flying the EA-6B (ICAP II) PROWLER, HS-15 flying the SH6OF and HH-60H SEAHAWK, and VQ-6 flying the ES-3A SHADOW.

Six aircraft squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 returned to their home bases at Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., Dec. 12 and 13, 2004, following a six-month deployment aboard the Mayport, Fla.-based aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). CVW-17, deployed June 7, 2004. During the deployment, the squadrons flew sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Returning to Chambers Field at Naval Station Norfolk were the "Tigertails" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, flying the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, and a detachment from the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40, operating C-2A Greyhound aircraft. F/A-18 Hornet squadrons returning to NAS Oceana were the "Blueblasters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34; the "Rampagers" of VFA-83; and the "Sunliners" of VFA-81. Fighter Squadron (VF) 103, the "Jolly Rogers," completed their final deployment in the F-14 Tomcat aircraft. The squadron was to then begin its transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet in February.

Aircraft from the air wing played key roles in supporting coalition ground forces during the operations in Fallujah, Iraq, that began Nov. 7. As coalition forces swept through Fallujah, clearing it of insurgents, CVW-17 joined Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft in striking key positions. During the height of operations, CVW-17 aircraft flew an average of 38 missions a day in support of ground troops.

Together, the squadrons of CVW-17 flew 8,296 sorties for a total flight time of 21,824 hours. Of that total, 4,396 sorties and 11,607 flight hours were in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In all, they dropped 54,000 pounds of ordnance. The VFA-34 "Blueblasters" dropped the Navy's first two 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), during combat operations over Iraq. The JDAM provides the war fighter with more flexibility and helps reduce collateral damage.




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