Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron [VAW-123]
The Screwtops of VAW-123 have achieved an impressive record throughout its history. As of 1999 the squadron had more than 61,000 flight hours and over 14,000 carrier arrested landings, without suffering a Class-A Mishap in over 30 years. The squadron was presented with the Golden Wrench Award for outstanding maintenance-evidence of the team spirit for which the "World Famous" Screwtops have always been known.
Line Division is the largest division in the squadron and is responsible for various tasks, such as training personnel as plane captains, providing servicing on the aircraft, communicating between the flight deck and pilot, and act as brake riders on the aircraft during aircraft moves.
The Power plants work center is responsible for the engines, propellers, and related systems. They carry out preventive and phase maintenance as well as troubleshooting in order to keep the engines, propellers, and related systems fully functional. Parachute Riggers/Aviation Structural Mechanics Safety Equipment are in charge of the upkeep and specialized maintenance of aircrew life-support equipment, parachutes, survival gear, aircraft pressurization, air conditioning, and assorted safety equipment. The Avionics Work Center maintains all electronics and electrical equipment. They perform both preventive maintenance and troubleshoot/repair equipment. The AT and AEs interact heavily with the NFOs and help to keep the radar and other mission system fully capable. The Corrosion Shop performs corrosion inspection, prevention, and treatment on E-2C Hawkeye.
The Aviation Storekeepers of Maintenance Control are responsible for ordering parts, flight gear, and all other equipment the squadron needs. The AKs manage the squadron's budget and ensure proper management of funds. The AKs are also responsible for distribution of tools to the various shops in the command. The Maintenance Administration division establishes and controls a central maintenance reporting and record keeping system for the Maintenance Department. The AZs implement all technical directives involving aircraft maintenance and administrative directives concerning distribution, retention, and disposition of records and reports.
Quality Assurance is comprised of senior enlisted who are responsible for final checking of maintenance sign-offs and the programs of other work centers. QA is responsible for monitoring maintenance sign-offs, work center records, and the tool check program.
The Administrative Department is a support department, which exist to provide administrative services necessary for the efficient management of the squadron. It coordinates the administrative activities of the squadron, advises on administrative matters, conducts liaison with PSD for the command, controls outgoing and incoming correspondence and directs and supervises other functions as assigned.
The Training Petty Officer is responsible for various training projects within the command. He runs command-wide programs in field such as Electrical Safety and Damage Control as well as schedules various schools. The training petty officer works closely with the training officer to make sure that all training requirements are met. The Operations Petty Officer handles message traffic, radio messages, and other communications with the squadron. In addition he records all flights in aircrew logbooks and handles various other ops functions. The Safety Petty Officer is responsible for the implementation of the safety program in the squadron. He monitors flight deck safety during launch and recovery evaluations, workplace safety (NAVOSH), tracks CPR qualifications, Flight Deck Qualification/Physicals, Mishap reports, Safety Hazard reports, and conducts safety training.
The history of VAW-123 begins in 1945 with the commissioning of VC-12, officially known as Composite Squadron Twelve. VC-12 was redesignated VAW-12, Carrier Airborne Warning Squadron Twelve, in 1956. During its history, the organization of VAW-12 changed internally many times. The last change resulted in the establishment of Carrier Early Warning Wing Atlantic and the commissioning of all E-2A detachments as independent squadrons. As a result of this reorganization, VAW-12 Detachment 59 was commissioned VAW-123 in April 1967.
Initially attached to CVW-17 aboard the USS Forrestal (CV-59), the squadron became an integral part of CVW-3 aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-60) and remained there throughout the 1970s. In October 1980, the squadron transferred to CVW-11 aboard the USS America (CV-66). Following a 1981 Indian Ocean deployment, VAW-123 transferred to CVW-1 on 12 November 1981. Since that time, the Screwtops have made several extended Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and North Atlantic deployments as an integral part of the CVW-1/CV-66 team, until the decommissioning of the USS America in the Spring of 1997.
Throughout the years, VAW-123 has consistently been at the forefront of the Airborne Early Warning community. In addition to being recipients of many awards, including eleven Battle "E's" and nine "Safety S's," the eleventh Battle "E" being awarded for CY 1999. Highlights of the command's history include the successful employment of the E-2C in 1972 and the first operational deployment of the E-2C ARPS (Advanced Radar Processing System) in 1978. In March 1996, the Screwtops became the first E-2 squadron on the East Coast to transition to the E-2C Group II aircraft, with its significantly upgraded avionics and engines. In November 1998, the Screwtops again led the way by becoming the first operational squadron on the East Coast to accept delivery of the Navigation Upgrade E-2C Group II's.
The Screwtops have successfully met many challenging assignments and maintained a watchful eye on world events, ever ready to support national policy. The Screwtops were key participants in the 1986 Gulf of Sidra operations off the coast of Libya, and were directly involved in the first combat use of the HARM (High speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and Harpoon weapon systems. The Screwtops supported Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and were the only E-2 squadron to operate in both the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. The Screwtops have also flown in support of Operations Deny Flight and Deliberate Force over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation Southern Watch over Iraq.
The Screwtops, along with the rest of Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1), attached to the USS George Washington (CVN-73) for one deployment cycle, returning home on 2 April 1998.
On 18 May 1998, Carrier Air Wing One transferred off the USS George Washington, bringing the Screwtops to their new home aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). During July and August 1998, VAW-123 detached to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, in support of the United States' ongoing efforts to stem the flow of narcotics through the Caribbean.
In November and December 1998, the Screwtops detached to the newly commissioned USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) in support of her shakedown cruise and Orange Air operations against the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group.
The Screwtops deployed with the USS John F. Kennedy in September of 1999 and returned from a 6-month cruise to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf in early 2000.
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