Carrier Air Wing FIVE
As the Navy's only forward-deployed Air Wing in the world, Carrier Air Wing FIVE consists of eight squadrons and one detachment. The Air Wing is permanently attached to USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), homeport Honshu Yokosuka, Japan. When underway, Carrier Air Wing FIVE deploys aboard the carrier. In port, the Air Wing returns back to her home base at Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan.
The air wing now consists of eight squadrons and one detachments: VF-154, VFA-27, VFA-192, VFA-195, VAQ-136, VAW-115, VS-21 and HS-14. The aircraft detachment is: VRC-30.
The Staff of CVW-5, coordinates, manages, and supports all aspects of squadron's operations. The Administration Department maintains the constant flow of all administrative and personnel issues through out the chain-of-command, as well as orchestrating the quality admin support from eight squadrons and one detachment. The core of Carrier Air Wing FIVE's administrative team includes over 45 years of Naval technical expertise, are the key ingredient in completion of a myriad of tasking from day to day.
Maintenance Department's personnel are selected senior professionals from each maintenance rate. From the flight deck to the hanger bay, Maintenance is hard at work with parts, programs, readiness, all accomplished with professional aviation management. Operations Department plays a key role in the mission of Carrier Air Wing FIVE: Projection of Air Power. Combining individual squadron capabilities with joint mission efforts takes a supreme effort day in & day out.
The Intelligence Department utilizes state of the art technology to provide the "Tip of the Spear" with the latest information available. CVW-5's own medical staff combines their "Flying Surgeons" into the medical readiness effort of the battle group. CVW-5 Ordnance provides the "punch" to a potent platform. Ordnanceman from multiple aircraft communities join together in delivering various levels of strike force to diverse targets. The Chaplain community supports the members of CVW-5 and provides the "steady keel" required for the level of intensity CVW-5 experiences. Finally, Information Systems keeps technology flowing to each department. Technical challenges in support of CVW-5 Staff continues to grow as does the proficiency of all Carrier Air Wing FIVE endeavors.
Being a member of CVW-5 is different from being a member of a stateside battle group. First of all, Atsugi is the only base in the world where the entire air wing is in one location. In stateside battle groups, the squadrons are located around the country, with different aircraft at different bases. This central location allows for year-round cooperative training and makes it so that personnel from different squadrons and different backgrounds get to know each other much better than in battle groups where the squadrons come together very infrequently.
Second, being forward deployed permits CVW-5 to operate on a different deployment schedule than stateside battle groups. Since lengthy transit time across the Pacific is not required to get the USS KITTY HAWK into its theater of operations, shorter deployments than the typical six month deployments assigned to stateside battle groups is the norm. In addition, CVW-5 strives to conduct its operations based on a yearly calendar, with the same deployments coming at the same time each year. Although worldwide events sometimes require variations on this commitment, CVW-5 typically has shorter at-sea periods than their stateside counterparts.
Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) has a long and rich heritage in Naval Aviation. Originally commissioned as Carrier Air Group FIVE (CVG-5) in 1943, the new air group rapidly became embroiled in the war in the Pacific. Homeported in San Diego, California, after the war, Air Group FIVE quickly recorded a number of firsts, including the first squadron to land a jet aircraft aboard a carrier (1948).
CVG-5 was the first air group to enter the Korean War, and after serving 18 months in the combat zone, had compiled more combat time than any other air group in the Korean War. CVG-5 was renamed CVW-5 in 1963 when the Navy reclassified its air groups. In 1964, CVW-5 was called to action in the Gulf of Tonkin for a total of eight combat cruises.
In 1973, CVW-5 embarked on USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) to become part of the first carrier/air wing team permanently forward deployed overseas. CVW-5 completed 111 continuous day on station in the North Arabian Sea in 1984, guarding the Straits of Hormuz and guaranteeing th continued flow of vital oil to Japan and Western Europe.
CVW-5 began its final cruise aboard MIDWAY in October 1990 as part of Operation DESERT SHIELD. From November to January 1991, the air wing participated in numerous multinational exercises and operated continuously in the Arabian Gulf. On January 17, 1991, Operation Desert Storm began as CVW-5 aircraft launched a night strike deep into Iraq. For the next 43 days the air wing flew 3,383 combat sorties and expended more than four million pounds of ordnance. CVW-5 and Midway contributed significantly to the liberation of Kuwait and the minimization of allied casualties.
In August 1991, the USS Independence (CV-62) replaced the Midway. Also, in 1991, in consideration of the surrounding communities the field carrier landing practices, known in Japan as NLP's, was moved to the island of Iwo Jima, 650 miles away as an interim measure until another landing field could be situated within 100 nautical miles of the base.
USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) deployed to the Arabian Gulf in mid-1992 and started the Southern Watch operation, a multi-national mission to monitor Iraqi compliance with the "no-fly zone" below the 32nd parallel. In August 1995, Independence and Carrier Air Wing 5 deployed to The Arabian Gulf for a third time in support of Operation Southern Watch.
On 23 January 1998, the 39-year-old aircraft carrier got underway from its forward base homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, for a new Arabian Gulf assignment. USS Independence (CV 62), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Charlotte (SSN 766) arrived in the Arabian Gulf on 05 February 1998. Carrier Air Wing 5 was embarked aboard the Navy's most experienced aircraft carrier. Squadrons assigned to the wing include: Fighter Squadron (VF) 154, Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 27, 192 and 195, Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 136, Carrier Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, Helicopter Squadron (HS) 14, Sea Control Squadron (VS) 21, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 5 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
In July 1998, CVW-5 moved again, to USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63).
USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) left its berth at Fleet Activities Yokosuka in early April 2000 to begin a routine deployment to the Western Pacific. The carrier had spent the previous five weeks in Yokosuka following a 12-day sea trial in February and March. America's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier first journeyed to Guam to rendezvous with Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5), which was participating in the Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program at Andersen Air Force Base until 18 April 2000. In addition to Guam, the ship made port calls throughout the Western Pacific and participated in Exercise Cobra Gold with the military forces of the Republic of Thailand -- a busy two months from start to finish. Operating from Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base and Kitty Hawk, CVW-5 completed approximately 500 of the deployment's overall 2,101 sorties during Cobra Gold. The air wing's F/A-18 "Hornets," F-14 "Tomcats" and E-2C "Hawkeyes" were involved in training flight operations throughout the exercise.
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 concluded their participation in Exercise Foal Eagle 2000 on 31 October 2000 in the Sea of Japan. Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 joined the exercise 25 October 2000 and comprised the striking arm of the carrier's battle group, Battle Force 7th Fleet. The Hawk/FIVE team trained in numerous warfare mission areas including strike, air, surface, undersea and naval special warfare. The primary emphasis was on airborne support of US and Republic of Korea allied forces on the ground in theater. This included both interdiction missions as well as close air support being flown by the F/A-18 squadrons, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192, VFA-27 and VFA-195. Fighter Squadron (VF) 154's F-14s flew missions as airborne forward air controllers and all the fighter squadrons defensive counter air missions to defend the air space over US forces operating in country. The EA-6Bs of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 136 were employed supporting U.S. Navy, Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force aircraft with electronic protection. Support missions for the SEALS as well as anti-submarine warfare missions were flown by Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14, while the S-3B's from Sea Control Squadron (VS) 21 flew anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions in support of the combined naval forces commander in addition to their normal tanking duties. Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 flew airborne early warning as well as command and control missions in the E-2C throughout the exercise and Fleet Logistics Squadron (VRC) 30 kept mail and parts coming with timely logistic support from both Japan and the Republic of Korea.
USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), embarked Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5), and the ships underway in the carrier battle group joined elements of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) on 10 November 2000 to mark the beginning of Hawk's participation in Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 12G. Approximately 8,000 personnel from the U.S. participated in the yearly exercise, which focuses on improving the military-to-military relationship between the U.S. and Japan. ANNUALEX 12G, which continued through 17 November 2000 in the waters around Japan, combines air, undersea and surface warfare components to enhance bilateral U.S. and Japan skills that would be required to jointly defend Japan against outside aggression. There are no connections to other regional events during the training. Kitty Hawk, America's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, and the rest of its battle group returned to Yokosuka 20 November 2000.
While ANNUALEX surged forward on the ocean, the skies were filled with U.S. and Japanese aircraft participating in Exercise Keen Sword, which also ended 17 November 2000. Keen Sword is a bilateral defense exercise designed to practice defending Japan against foreign aggression. The goal of the exercise is to accomplish interoperability between the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF), U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and to exercise command and control systems of the JASDF. Keen Sword is a real cohesive team effort, with no single squadron standing above the others, but rather all squadrons acting as a single defensive force. The air wing has really comes together for this exercise. There's no single squadron that does one single event. They are always with another squadron, using tanker support, battle group assets, air controllers and Aegis cruisers.
With ANNUALEX and Keen Sword complete, Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka 20 November 2000. In addition to enjoying rest and relaxation with family and friends, Sailors prepared for another regularly scheduled deployment during in the Spring of 2001. Since the tragic terrorist events of 11 September 2001, the US Navy has tested the metal of Carrier Air Wing FIVE. Being America's only "911" Carrier Air Wing, CVW-5 immediately stepped up to the plate and prepared to lead the "War on Terror." A detachment of CVW-5 personnel and aircraft embarked on the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) to serve as an Afloat Staging Base for US joint forces in support of Operation "Enduring Freedom." The elements of CVW-5 on the Kitty Hawk were not, however, the only hard working members of the Air Wing. During this four-month period the Air Wing operated out of eight different locations, including CV-63. Detachments of CVW-5 operated out of Bahrain, Guam, Okinawa, Diego Garcia, Singapore, and Iwakuni, in addition to normal daily operations at NAF Atsugi, Japan.
The Kitty Hawk/CVW-5 team got under way Oct. 1, 2001 with a mere 24-hour turnaround, after an accelerated sea trials and carrier qualifications period, carried out on short notice following the events of Sept. 11. The Air Wing contingent included eight F/A-18 Hornets with pilots and aircraft from VFA-192, VFA-27 and VFA-195, three S-3 Vikings from VS-21, and two SH-60 Seahawks from HS-14. The initial plan for CVW-5 was to provide air defense during the Kitty Hawk's transit to station. The Air Wing was able to work around the Special Operations mission, however, and established a more offensive mission for themselves. Air Wing aviators flew 600 missions over Afghanistan in support of the United States' War on Terrorism, including more than 100 combat sorties during this at sea period.
At the same time, two C-2A Greyhounds from VRC-30 Detachment 5 were shore based out of Bahrain providing logistical support to all four carriers on station, the Kitty Hawk, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). The Providers from VRC-30's Detachment 5 were the only C-2A squadron in the region qualified for night operations, proving once again that CVW-5 gets the job done. The Providers lived up to their name, supplying the four carrier battle groups with 1500 passengers and 350,000 pounds of cargo.
From 30 October through 16 November 2001, the strike element of the Air Wing participated in a weapons training detachment at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. The Air Wing completed 50 sorties per day for the entire three-week period with a 98% sortie completion rate. In all there were 640 sorties flown for a total of 1040 flight hours and over 250 tons of ordnance dropped. In spite of this rigorous training schedule, there were no mishaps or incidents of foreign object damage (FOD), and no liberty incidents. All this was done despite being uncoupled from the Air Wing's maintenance support, housed on the Kitty Hawk.
A detachment of Sailors and aviators from Carrier Air Wing Five spent the month of August 2002 operating out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, conducting strike weapons training on Farallon de Medinilla. CVW 5 trained in two phases with 16 aircraft present during each phase.
Phase one included 14 F/A-18 Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 27 and 192. Phase two consisted of seven F-14 Tomcats from Fighter Squadron (VF) 154 and seven Hornets from VFA 195. Two E-2C Hawkeyes from Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 participated in both Phases one and two.
Each phase began for the strike aircraft with basic bombing to improve accuracy. Aviators used metal containers, the size of a small trailer, as targets. As the phase progressed, bombing scenarios became more complicated to closer simulate real combat situations.
VFA-102 replaced the "Black Knights" of Fighter Squadron (VF) 154 as part of the U.S. Navy's only permanently forward-deployed air wing in November 2003. The first four F/A-18F aircraft from the squadron arrived at NAF Atsugi on November 13, 2003 and the remaining nine aircraft were due to arrive by mid-December 2003.
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