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CVW-17 Arrives Aboard JFK

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040120-04

Release Date: 1/20/2004 11:57:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Leah N. Smith, USS John F. Kennedy Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (NNS) -- Sailors from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 set foot -- and tailhook -- on their temporary home aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) recently.

CVW-17 began their move aboard Big John, homeported in Mayport, Fla., right after the holidays. Personnel and supplies crowded the hangar decks, overwhelming many Kennedy Sailors.

"Watching the air wing move aboard was like watching a large family move in next door," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Sara J. Wright of Kennedy's supply department. "I never thought they would finish moving aboard, but now they're all settled and part of the crew."

Kennedy, its crew and air wing support personnel got underway for the first time as a team Jan. 12. Later that afternoon, aircraft from CVW-17 landed on JFK's flight deck.

Kennedy's Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald H. Henderson Jr., was first in line to welcome them aboard.

"We are now one team with one mission," said Henderson. "We can now begin the training cycle that will make us a carrier/air wing team ready to meet any and all national tasking."

When the air wing came aboard, so did longer chow lines and crowded passageways. But JFK Sailors still welcome their counterparts with open arms.

"Well, it has made everything a little bit harder," said Wright. "The lines are a bit longer, but it is something we all have to get used to. We are a team out here, and we all have to make sacrifices."

Operations Specialist 3rd Class Dave Maddox, assigned to JFK security, agrees with Wright.

"Sacrifice is inherent with the Navy," said Maddox. "We have a long honeymoon ahead of us with CVW-17. The crowded passageways, heads and long lines are just part of the growing pains of getting where we need to be - working together as one, cohesive team."

CVW-17 Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Guadagnini says it is time to train for combat success.

"In less than six months, JFK and CVW-17 will set sail for foreign waters," said Guadagnini. "Right now is the time to prepare for that. We are ready to do our part in the war against terrorism, but it takes a lot of training and teamwork to be an effective, fighting force from the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea."

As Kennedy steams off the east coast, many minds are already focused on the future of the JFK/CVW-17 team.

"Sure, we've got to finish this training cycle. But most of us are already mentally prepared to get back to the war on terrorism," said Maddox. "We spent a long time pent up in Mayport. It's time to get out and stretch our muscles, so they're ready to flex when the time comes."

"The JFK and CVW-17 team, currently in 'spring training,' will be the best trained team to step out onto the playing field," said Henderson. "We will support and defend our nation as one team -- with tenacity and pride."

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