Carrier Air Wing Eleven [CVW 11]
Carrier Air Wing Eleven has completed numerous highly successful deployments onboard USS KITTY HAWK, USS ENTERPRISE, USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN and USS CARL VINSON. On 13 May 1997 Carrier Air Wing Eleven was reassigned to Commander, Carrier Group THREE and the USS CARL VINSON. Additionally, Carrier Air Wing Eleven was the first Air Wing Staff in San Diego to relocate to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California in conjunction with the base realignments and closures. Lemoore is the new home for all the West Coast Air Wing Staffs.
Carrier Air Wing Eleven is comprised of VF-213 with 8 F-14D aircraft stationed at NAS Oceana, VA. Onboard NAS Lemoore are squadrons VFA-97 with 15 F/A-18A, VFA-22 with 12 F/A-18C aircraft and VFA-94 with 12 F/A-18C aircraft. Stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. is VAQ-135 with 5 EA-6B aircraft. NAS Point Mugu, CA. is home for VAW-117 and 6 E-2C aircraft. From NAS North Island, CA. is HS-6 with 4 SH-60F and 1 HH-60H aircraft, VS-29 with 7 S-3B aircraft and VRC-30 with 2 C-2A aircraft. The Carrier Air Wing Eleven Staff is comprised of 17 selected Officers and 20 Enlisted personnel.
Commissioned on Navy Day, 1942, the Air Wing has recorded a significant number of "FIRSTS" in attaining its place as one of the Navy's top fighting organizations. In June 1943, the pilots of Air Group Eleven conducted the first daylight raids during fighting in the Solomon and New Georgia operations of World War II. They also took part in the Air Strikes on Leyte Gulf, Indochina, Formosa and the China Mainland. For the above operations, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the Air Group for its extraordinary achievements against the enemy. During the Korean conflict, Carrier Air Group Eleven was the first Naval Air Group to engage and down MIG jet fighters. The Air Group was instrumental in keeping the Pusan Perimeter from collapsing in the early phases of the conflict, and participated in other significant actions such as the Inchon Invasion, the Wonson Landing and the highly successful movement from the Chosin Reservoir. With the addition of the RA-5C Vigilante, A-6A Intruder and E-2 Hawkeye, Air Group Eleven deployed onboard the USS KITTY HAWK to the Seventh Fleet on October 1965 with the most modern, complex strike group ever assembled and evaluated under wartime conditions.
During the period of December 1965 to May 1966, the Air Wing conducted Air Strikes against targets in North and South Vietnam and delivered more ordnance than any other Strike group. The Navy Unit Commendation was awarded to the USS KITTY HAWK and Air Wing Eleven IN November 1966 for their superior performance. In August 1967, Air Wing Eleven and USS KITTY HAWK were again awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for their efforts in the Vietnam Conflict from December 1966 to May 1967. The Attack Carrier and Air Wing Eleven became the first Ship/Air Wing to receive the Presidential Unit Commendation for performance during the Vietnam Conflict. The Citation for USS KITY HAWK/Air Wing Eleven was approved for operations conducted from December 1976 through June 1968 as part of the United States Seventh Fleet. Carrier Air Wing Eleven set numerous records for the Vietnam Conflict, foremost of which was a 61 day line period, longest for a war. Prior to the limited bombing announcement, Air Wing Eleven ranged the length of North Vietnam striking enemy power plants, rail yards, and lines of transportation and communications and were instrumental in the defense of Khe Sanh.
During Attack Carrier Air Wing Eleven's sixth WESTPAC deployment (November 70-July 71) she again broke all previous records for combat sorties flown and ordnance delivered. This record was short lived, however, for during her seventh deployment she again broke all records. Deployed early due to the 1972 Communist offensive, USS KITTY HAWK and Air Wing Eleven deployed with 107 aircraft to form the world's largest Air Wing under the new CV concept. This new concept, TACAIR and ASWAIR on the same carrier, was implemented and deployed to WESTPAC in November 1973 for a most successful cruise highlighted by an Air Power Demonstration for the Shah of Iran and the Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff while operating in the Indian Ocean. The first CV deployment of a West Coast carrier demonstrated the flexibility of simultaneous TACAIR and ASW employment. Following her first non-combat cruise since 1965, in July 1974, USS KITTY HAWK and Air Wing Eleven made two more deployments to the Western Pacific on USS KITTY HAWK in 1975 and 1977. Air Wing Eleven incorporated the Navy's newest aircraft at that time, the F-14 Tomcat and S-3 Viking as well as the A-6E TRAM and the E-2C prior to the 1977 deployment.
In 1979 and again in 1981, the Air Wing deployed to the Mediterranean aboard the USS AMERICA. The Air Wing/ENTERPRISE team deployed four more times together to WESTPAC from 1982 to 1990. The high points of the deployments include: FLEETEX 84, a three carrier operation in the Northern Pacific; a world cruise in 1986 compiling 23,000 flight hours and 9,000 arrested landings while conducting operations in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. On April 18, 1988, while deployed in the North Arabian Sea, Air Wing Eleven, in coordination with Battle Group FOXTROT units, conducted a major strike against Iranian Naval Warships and facilities in the Persian Gulf. The attacks, launched in retaliation for Iranian mining international waters and the subsequent damage to USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS, were highly successful. Air Wing Eleven accounted for repelling a Boghammer fast attack boat raid on the Mubarak Oil Platform, the sinking of the frigate "SAHAND" and severely damaging the frigate "SABALAN." Carrier Air Wing Eleven was subsequently awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for their actions.
The end of an era came when Air Wing Eleven made the final cruise aboard USS ENTERPRISE from September 1989 to March 1990. Highlights of the world cruise included exercises: PACEX, ANNUALEX 89 and VALIANT BLITZ 90 which heralded the largest assemblage of U.S. Naval Air and Sea Power since World War II. Coordinated operations involving triple carrier battle group (USS ENTERPRISE, USS CARL VINSON, and USS CONSTELLATION) and dual battle force (USS ENTERPRISE, USS CARL VINSON, USS NEW JERSEY and USS MISSOURI) units on conjunction with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy and Air Force, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps provided highly successful joint training.
In December 1989, Air Wing Eleven and Battle Group FOXTROT joined forces with Battle Group ALPHA led by USS MIDWAY near Manila Bay in support of Operation CLASSIC RESOLVE, standing ready to conduct contingency operations in support of U.S. interest following the Philippine coup attempt. Air Wing Eleven returned home through the North Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean leaving their old teammate, the Big "E", in Norfolk, Virginia to undergo refueling.
Air Wing Eleven underwent major changes during the 1990. A-7E's were replaced the F/A-18 Hornets, SH-3's were replaced with SH-60 Sea Hawks, two of which are specially configured for combat search and rescue. Other aircraft underwent major upgrades which include the E-2C and the A-6E SWIP. The Air Wing deployed on the Navy's newest carrier USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) on its maiden voyage around South America enroute to its new home base in Alameda, California. Highlights of this voyage include interactive exercises with the Military forces of Argentina and Chile.
The outbreak of Desert Storm in the Arabian Gulf, required the Air Wing/LINCOLN training schedule to be greatly compressed for an early deployment. In May 1991, Carrier Air Wing Eleven deployed to the Arabian Gulf. Prior to reaching the Gulf, the Air Wing/LINCOLN team was instrumental in supporting Operation FIERY VIGIL, the evacuation of U.S. dependents from Subic Bay during the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions in the Phillipines.
Battle Group FOXTROT became the first carrier battle group to operate in the Gulf during the summer months, enduring the extreme heat of the region coupled with the reduced visibility due to Kuwait oil fires. During the postwar period, Air Wing Eleven established bonds of friendship and military interoperability with the Gulf Coast nations and multinational coalition which will stabilize this critical region and benefit the United States interest for years to come.
Carrier Air Wing Eleven, in cooperation with USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, completed two Arabian Gulf Deployments (July 1993 and October 1995) and flew thousands of missions into Iraq in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Upon the Air Wing Eleven departure from the Persian Gulf, it conducted a 24-hour notice high speed transit to the coast of Somalia and provided air support to the United Nations during Operation RESTORE HOPE, and remained on station until November 1993.
Upon completion of their cruise with USS LINCOLN, Carrier Air Wing Eleven was reunited with her first carrier the USS KITTY HAWK and made an intense one year turnaround training cycle before embarking on another six month deployment to the Western Pacific/Persian Gulf. During the deployment, Air Wing Eleven/KITTY HAWK team provided three months of support to Operation SOUTHERN WATCH supported United Nations Security Council Resolution 986 - Oil for Food - and also conducted bilateral operations with Kuwait and Pakistan.
On 09 November 1998, the Carrier Air Wing Eleven team embarked USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) for another six month deployment. During this WESTPAC cruise, Carrier Air Wing Eleven completed 8698 sorties and 17,398.3 flight hours with a 94.7 percent completion rate. Carrier Air Wing Eleven/USS CARL VINSON team was highly successful in support of Operations DESERT FOX and SOUTHERN WATCH protecting the interests of the United States and enforcing United Nations resolutions. Carrier Air Wing Eleven completed a highly successful WESTPAC with all personnel and aircraft returning safely home in May 1999.
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