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Wing Sharpens Skills with Ship

Kitty Hawk Press Release

Release Date: 10/28/2002

By: JOSN David Beyea

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 resumed training with USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), America's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, after the ship left Yokosuka, Japan, October 25.

CVW 5's training with Hawk is essential since the Hawk/5 team must work together in order to provide the powerful punch of air-to-ground and air-to-air power from sea the team is capable of delivering.

After more than four months in port, the Hawk/5 team began reuniting during sea trials in mid October when the ship received flight deck certification.

With sea trials over, and Hawk's at-sea period beginning, CVW 5 continues its training with carrier qualifications. Carrier qualifications take up to four days and will involve both day and night evolutions. Over 100 pilots from CVW 5 will each perform four to six carrier arrested landings on Hawk during this time, explained Lt. j.g. Nicole Kratzer, CVW 5's public affairs officer.

"It's a very dangerous job, landing aircraft, but we do it very well," said Carrier Air Wing 5 Command Master Chief Master Chief Kenneth L. Green, "We have to operate in that dangerous environment, and we have to train ourselves how to do it. And I think we do it pretty well."

Carrier qualifications are only the beginning of CVW 5's underway training. For its time aboard Hawk, CVW 5 will be focusing on three main training goals, explained Lt. Nathan White, a pilot for Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195.

According to White, the first two weeks at sea will be dedicated to getting acclimated to Hawk. "A lot more attention is required when you're operating on a ship," White explained. "There's a lot more traffic overhead, where you don't have a controller, versus on shore, where you have air-to-air controllers that are keeping you de-conflicted."

Once the air wing is acclimated to Hawk, they will move on to their air-to-ground training.

"We're going to be focusing on sharpening up our air-to-ground skills," said White. "We have a lot of ordnance we'll be dropping."

CVW 5's third training goal for the fall underway period will be its air-to-air combat training.

"We're going to do four weeks of dedicated air-to-air training, where we'll be doing integrated operations with the Air Force," said White.

These three training goals -- being skilled around the Hawk, and sharpening both air-to-ground and air-to-air skills -- are necessary so CVW 5 and Hawk to accomplish any mission.

"They're all important," explained White. "If we can't operate safely around the boat, then we can't accomplish any air-to-ground missions or air-to-air missions. And as far as the importance of air-to-ground or air-to-air, that's what we do as a military role."

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