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Royal Maces Achieve Safety Milestone

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051122-14
Release Date: 11/22/2005 6:35:00 PM

From Strike Fighter Squadron 27 Public Affairs

ABOARD USS KITTY HAWK (NNS) -- The Sailors and pilots of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 celebrated their 80,000th Class ‘A’ mishap-free flight hour Nov. 9, while deployed aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). The event represented a sustained achievement over the course of 18 years and more than 47,000 sorties.

The Royal Maces were conducting flight operations in the Sea of Japan in support of Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 2005 when they reached the milestone.

Cmdr. Kevin Mannix, VFA-27 commanding officer, observed the occasion by praising the contributions of his entire squadron. “This was definitely a team effort,” said Mannix. “It took attention to detail, diligence and a conscious effort to promote safe operations on the part of all hands.”

Airborne at the time of the milestone were Lt. Cmdr. Todd Huber and Lt. Luke Babbitt. “I knew we were getting close,” said Huber. “But I didn’t expect it this early in the deployment. So it was a surprise when I found out.”

VFA-27 operations officer Lt. Cmdr. Tom Rich notified the command of the monumental achievement after totaling the day’s flight hours. “This is one of those achievements that everyone can take pride in,” said Rich. “You can’t fly this much, this safely, and for this long without the support of every single person in the squadron.”

The Maces have several more weeks at sea before completing their fall underway period. The fast-paced environment of carrier-based flight operations is keeping them humble.

VFA-27 safety department head Lt. Cmdr. Will Gotten said, “We’ll take a minute to reflect on this achievement, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to stay focused and continue the Royal Mace tradition of doing the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.”

VFA-27 is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 and operates out of Atsugi, Japan.

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