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"Tigertails" Return to Naval Station Norfolk

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070523-15
Release Date: 5/23/2007 5:54:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kieshia Savage, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Family members and friends filled the sky with U.S. flags and applause as four E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft made a fly-by formation entrance to Chambers Field at Naval Station Norfolk May 22 carrying the “Tigertails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 home from a seven-month deployment.

“This deployment was a little longer than usual, but they’ve done really well and accomplished a lot,” said the wife of VAW-125’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Kyle Ketchum, a few minutes before the Tigertails made their appearance. "We’re just really happy they’re coming home.”

The Tigertails served as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), operating in support of the global war on terrorism during the deployment.

“We are an airborne command and control platform,” said Cmdr. Ketchum. “We operated in a role of support for our coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

During the deployment, the Tigertails assisted CVW-7 in conducting combat operations that included combat air support, reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions. The wings aircraft also delivered 145 laser-guided bombs and joint attack munitions and performed 69 strafing runs using 20mm cannons on numerous varied targets.

“I think the deployment went really well and we did a lot of good work,” said Lt. Lucas Jong, the Tigertails avionics division officer. “I’m especially proud of my division because they worked incredibly hard to keep those planes up and running with very limited resources.”

By the end of the cruise, CVW-7 had completed 10,397 arrested landings or traps and flew a total of 31,273 flight hours.

“Overall we had an outstanding cruise,” said Ketchum. “We achieved all our goals from a flying standpoint, and personnel were able to achieve their goals whether it was warfare qualifications, making rate or PACE classes.”

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