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CVW-11 Changes Command in Air

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070816-25
Release Date: 8/16/2007 4:16:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Duane DeVorak, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, held a unique change of command ceremony on Aug. 1.

Capt. Thomas Downing became the new Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, when he relieved Capt. David Woods in an airborne change of command ceremony over the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

Woods, a native of Ogden, Utah, assumed command of CVW-11 Dec. 16, 2005. His next assignment will be Commander, Joint Counter Radio-controlled Electronic Warfare Composite Squadron 1 at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq.

“I’m excited to go to Iraq,” said Woods. It’s another opportunity to be in charge of another command. I think they’re at a turning point there and I’m glad I get to be a part of that.”

His tour included leading the 1,500-person air wing through fleet readiness program training and a highly successful Western Pacific/Persian Gulf deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

Downing graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1984 and was designated a naval aviator in April 1986.

“[Downing] is a great combat leader and one of the best fighter pilots in the Navy,” Woods said. “He is ultimately ready.”

Downing previously served as deputy commander, CVW-11, since July 2006. This is Downing’s second command assignment. He previously commanded Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136, an F/A-18 Hornet squadron based out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, leading them on deployment in support of OIF.

“The main thing I’ve learned from Woods is patience, and that’s something I need to make sure I use a lot of as the new CAG,” Downing said.

CVW-11 is currently on a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf on board Nimitz. During this cruise, CVW-11 has flown more than 860 sorties in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

The squadrons of CVW-11 include the “Black Aces” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, the “Tophatters” of VFA-14, the “Sunliners” of VFA-81, the “Red Devils” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, the “Black Ravens” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, the “Wallbangers” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, the “Indians” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6 and the “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.

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