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CQs complete, Kennedy wins race to Election Day

USS John F. Kennedy Release

Release Date: 11/05/2002

The basic rights of U.S. citizens include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Big John Sailors will enjoy additional liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness ashore, thanks to the successful completion of carrier qualifications (CQs), three days ahead of schedule. The early return affords Sailors the opportunity to exercise another right - the right to vote. Kennedy returned to homeport before noon today, giving Sailors a chance to get to the polls.

Meanwhile, the time at sea, just over one week, was productive, qualifying over 30 of the Navy's newest pilots for carrier operations.

"Our carrier qualifications were successful due to the hard work and training of all Kennedy Sailors," said LCDR Danny Hernandez, Kennedy's public affairs officer.

There were 1,367 arrested landings, according to EM3 Joshua Little, of Kennedy's Air Department.

During CQs, three different types of pilots underwent qualifications. Pilots from Fleet Readiness Squadrons (FRS), Training Command (TRACOM) students and TRACOM instructors flew day and night missions to accomplish their qualifications.

FRS pilots flew F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18 Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers and E-2C Hawkeyes. They flew their first night and day traps in the planes they will fly when they join the fleet. In less than a week, 91 pilots were qualified during the day and 41 at night.

TRACOM students flew, only during daylight, in either T-45 Goshawk or T-2C Buckeye training aircraft, many of them, making their first carrier landing. 33 TRACOM pilots qualified during the CQs, three of whom were instructors-under-training, and the rest received currency, according to Lt. George Landis, the ship's assistant air operations officer.

"The folks in Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) did a great job controlling the aircraft," said Lt. Joel Doane, CATCC officer. "We have a very experienced group, after flying almost every day for six months on deployment. The Kennedy hasn't slowed down for two years, so we've got a great crew. The Sailors working in CATCC are responsible for a large part the success that was enjoyed during the recent CQ period." The personnel in CATCC tracked the numerous aircraft surrounding Kennedy, and coordinated the launches and recoveries.

The underway period was originally planned to last ten days, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of Kennedy's crew the ship made it safely home in just over a week, and in time for nearly 3,000 Sailors to cast their votes on Election Day.

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