Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20 [CVWR 20]
Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20 [CVWR 20] is the only Tactical Reserve Carrier Air Wing in the world today and is an integral part of the Navy 's 11 Carrier Air Wing force structure. With the disestablishment of the West Coast reserve air wing (CVWR-30), CVWR-20 is now the heart of tactical aviation in the Naval Air Reserve. The Wing is comprised of eight squadrons, located in six different states, whose primary mission is operational and training support for active forces.
Commander, Carrier Air Wing 20, located aboard Naval Air Station Atlanta, GA, has operational and administrative control of the Air Wing. CVWR-20 consists of more than 1,900 active duty and Selected Reservists (SELRES). The SELRES represent a unique personnel asset as a civilian/sailor who performs one drill weekend each month and up to twelve days of active duty each year. The squadron's active duty TAR (Training and Administration of Reserves) cadre is jointly responsible for SELRES training and the maintenance of unit readiness required for crisis response. In today's smaller Navy, Reservists are performing more duties once filled by active duty units. While Reservists are obligated to drill a minimum of two days per month and incur a two-week Annual Training session, Sailors in CVWR-20 far exceed that, averaging seven to 10 days a month, or about 100 days a year.
CVWR 20 is a mobilization asset of the United States Navy that will receive "Just in Time Training" and augmentation in any protracted conflict to deploy and operate as an integrated air wing. CVWR 20's primary mission during time of peace is training services, exercise support, counter narcotic operations and fleet contributory support that reduces the OPTEMPO/PERSTEMPO of the active duty Navy.
In addition to providing contributory fleet support in the form of adversary training and counter narcotic coverage, five of the air wing squadrons are also tasked with maintaining a pre-determined crisis response posture in the event of national crisis. In this aspect of the "Total Force" concept, CVWR-20 is able to provide a cost effective measure of military preparedness in support of the overall plan for security and defense of vital national interests. In conjunction with the Naval Air Reserve modernization program, CVRW-20 provides the flexibility to immediately integrate and operate with the regular operating forces. To strengthen this team concept, for several years in the mid-1990s USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) was designated as the Navy's operational reserve carrier for training, contributory support and crisis response.
The organization structure mirrors that of active fleet air wings, with the exception of a S-3 squadron, and the air wing is capable of immediate mobilization when directed to meet commitments required by higher authority. VMFA-142 (Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 142) has been designated the U.S. Marine Corps component of this reserve carrier air wing, supplementing the three existing VFA squadrons. The wing conducts USMC Integration with VMFA-142 "Flying Gators" every other year. HS-75 at NAS Jacksonville (with 6 SH-3H/2 UH-3H) upon Mobilization chops to CVWR-20. CVWR-20 is able to provide the flexibility to immediately integrate and operate with regular Navy counterparts.
VFC 12, VFC 13 and VAW 77 are designated solely as Fleet Support Squadrons. VFC-12 and VFC-13 are full time ADVERSARY Squadrons, and VFA-201, VFA-203, VFA-204 dedicate 50% of their flight program in support of FLEET ADVERSARY training. VAW-77 is the only squadron in Navy with a 100% Counter Narcotics (CN) mission.
CVWR-20 squadrons have operated from virtually every carrier deck in the Navy's inventory, including cyclic operations aboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) in 1971, 1996; USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) in 1978; USS LEXINGTON (AVT-16) in 1981; USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) in 1982; USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) in 1984, 1985, 1989; and USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) IN 1987. The air wing embarked USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) in June 1996 to conduct cyclic operations on the Navy's newest aircraft carrier. Regular operation deployments have been conducted at the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, NV, as well as numerous detachments to other Navy and Air Force installations. Additionally, overseas operations have been conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bermuda, Brazil, Denmark, France, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Panama, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Venezula to advance air wing tactics, readiness and fleet support.
The Air Wing is responsible for the training and maintenance of unit readiness required for crisis response. The staff and squadrons participate in a constantly changing training and readiness environment to ensure that current fleet tactical refinements are effectively incorporated into air wing objectives.
In FY 1996, the Naval Reserve reestablished Squadron Augment Units (SAUs) to help ensure an adequate supply of Fleet Reserve Squadron (FRS) pilots. This action enhanced fleet mobilization readiness and increases pilot training throughput with minimal cost growth. The SAUs established to support VFA-106 and VFA-125 consisted of 10 SELRES pilots, 2 TAR pilots, 25 TAR enlisted members, and 35 SELRES enlisted members per squadron.
The two Reserve Carrier Air Wings, CVWR-20 and CVWR-30, were established on 01 April 1970 followed by two carrier ASW group [CVSGR-70 and CVSGR-80] on 01 May 1968. This was a continuation of a program initiated in July 1968 to give Naval Air Reserve squadrons an improved combat readiness. The reorganization placed all carrier-type squadrons in two reserve carrier air wings and two carrier ASW groups. Twelve VP and 3 VR squadrons joined the carrier squadrons under the control of Commander Naval Air Reserve Force.
In 1996 CVWR-20 and its squadron, VF-201, VFA-203, VFA-204, VAQ-209, VAW-78 and HC-85 completed their much needed two week annual training aboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74). Much needed because CVWR-20 had not operated together as an airwing around the boat since 1989. They needed this refresher to keep them ready to go with JFK in time of crisis. VAW-78 successfully qualified three pilots for night CQ during this deployment, the first time in history the squadron qualified pilots for night CQ.
In the following two years, Naval Reservists of Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20 (CVWR-20) worked on the flight decks of multiple carriers. Some CVWR-20 aviators landed on the deck of every aircraft carrier on active duty today. But even this seasoned Wing and its Sailors broke new ground in April 1998 when they embarked on USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) for the ship's flight deck certification. Approximately 240 pilots, air crew and maintenance people from CVWR-20 embarked KITTY HAWK off the coast of Southern California for a busy 10-day underway period that included flight deck certification, Command Assessment for Readiness and Training II, Precision Aircraft Landing certification and an Afloat Training Group visit. The Wing and its inventory of seven F-14 Tomcats, two EA-6B Prowlers and one E-2 Hawkeye completed over 150 traps. This was the first flight deck certification Air Wing 20 has been involved in. In addition to a busy schedule, a large part of Kitty Hawk's Air Department had never conducted flight operations at sea. But the mission was accomplished in a very short time frame.
In the Summer of 1998 CVWR-20 completed a one month deployment to Incirlik, Turkey in support of Operation Deny Flight.
In May 2000 sailors of Carrier Air Wing Reserve TWENTY (CVWR-20) operated aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) for two weeks, supporting a series of tests evaluating the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system. CVWR-20 launched sorties in support of the evaluation and took advantage of the underway period to sharpen warfighting skills and achieve important qualifications as well. This detachment was especially important to VFA-201 because it was their first at-sea period since they transitioned to the FA-18 Hornet. Several pilots qualified in carrier operations for the first time in the Hornet, making arrested landings with an impressive boarding rate. VFA-201 also fired their first air-to-air missiles from the Hornet, launching three AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and two AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided missiles in a variety of profiles at a number of different targets. In another first for CVWR-20, five Marine Hornets from VMFA-142 joined them for CQ, qualifying all five pilots. Three of the Hornets then flew to Roosevelt Roads where they flew Orange Air missions in support of CEC.-
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