Carrier Air Wing Three
|Carrier Air Wing Three|
|Active||1 July 1938 - Present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Type||Carrier Air Wing|
|Part of||Carrier Strike Group Ten|
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75)
|Engagements||World War II
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Desert Fox
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Decorations||Presidential Unit Citation
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (6)
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Service Medal (2)
Navy Unit Commendation (2)
China Service Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3), known as the "Battle Axe", is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The wing was created on 1 July 1938 and has seen service in World War II, Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Lebanon, against Libya, and since September 11, 2001. As of 2012, the air wing is routinely embarked aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) as part of Carrier Strike Group Ten. Captain Sara A. Joyner, USN, became the first woman to lead a U.S. Navy carrier air wing when she took command of Carrier Air Wing Three on 7 January 2013.
"To conduct carrier air warfare operations and assist in the planning, control, coordination and integration of seven air wing squadrons in support of carrier air warfare including; Interception and destruction of enemy aircraft and missiles in all-weather conditions to establish and maintain local air superiority. All-weather offensive air-to-surface attacks, Detection, localization, and destruction of enemy ships and submarines to establish and maintain local sea control. Aerial photographic, sighting, and electronic intelligence for naval and joint operations. Airborne early warning service to fleet forces and shore warning nets. Airborne electronic countermeasures. In-flight refueling operations to extend the range and the endurance of air wing aircraft and Search and rescue operations."
CVW-3 consists of 8 Squadrons
|VMFA-312||Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312||Checkerboards||F/A-18C Hornet|
|VFA-32||Strike Fighter Squadron 32||Fighting Swordsmen||F/A-18F Super Hornet|
|VFA-37||Strike Fighter Squadron 37||Ragin Bulls||F/A-18C Hornet|
|VFA-105||Strike Fighter Squadron 105||Gunslingers||F/A-18E Super Hornet|
|VAW-126||Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126||Seahawks||E-2C Hawkeye|
|VAQ-130||Electronic Attack Squadron 130||Zappers||EA-18G Growler|
|VRC-40||Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 Det. 1||Rawhides||C-2A Greyhound|
|HSC-7||Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7||Dusty Dogs||MH-60S Knighthawk|
|HSM-74||Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74||Swamp Foxes||MH-60R Seahawk|
The air wing was commissioned on 1 July 1938 and during World War II was assigned to the first carrier to bear the name (USS Saratoga (CV-3)). The wing was deployed on Saratoga until the ship was torpedoed in January 1942. Part of the wing was then deployed aboard USS Yorktown (CV-5) and helped cripple the Japanese carrier Soryu during the battle of Midway. The wing was also involved in the first carrier strikes against Tokyo.
The air wing was assigned to the USS Leyte (CV-32) in 1950 when she transited the Panama Canal en route to Korean War operations. The Wing flew in support of the Pusan Perimeter, the invasion on Wonsanand, and strikes on Hungnam Salient and Yalu River Bridges. The wing accumulated over 11,000 operational hours flying against the North Korean and Chinese Communist Forces.
At end of the 1960s the air wing took on Reserve Squadrons during the USS Pueblo incident. CVW-3 squadrons embarked with the Royal Navy's 892 Naval Air Squadron for two weeks, and flew in response to a number of events in the Mediterranean including; hijackings, internal fighting in Jordan, and the death of Egyptian President Nasser.
In the early 1970s CVW-3 began the task of testing the new CV Concept, to incorporating the missions of attack squadrons and anti-submarine submarine squadrons. After completing their missions successfully the CV Concept was validated and implemented. In 1972, CVW-3 was given 60 hours notice before deploying around South Africa en route to Vietnam. Operations there saw CVW-3 provide strike and support sorties in South Vietnam, Alpha strikes, AAW missions, and reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam. The wings first kill came on 21 June when an F-4J Phantom II downed a MIG-21. Dropping over 14,000 tons of ordnance, CVW-3 spent 175 days on the line engaged in combat operations against North Vietnam.
In January 1989, two CVW-3 F-14 Tomcats shot down two hostile Libyan MIG-23 fighters over international waters in the Central Mediterranean. In August 1990, CVW-3 and JFK departed on a no-notice Mediterranean/Red Sea deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield, and air crews later flew combat sorties in association with Operation Desert Storm against Iraq.
In 1994-95, CVW-3 made a single deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) to the Mediterranean Sea. For the next deployment in 1996-97, the wing transferred to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The wing concluded a successful 24th Mediterranean Sea/Persian Gulf deployment aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), in 1998-99. During this time, the wing aircraft participated in Operation Desert Fox, a four day strike campaign against Iraq in December 1998.
Global War on Terror
In 2000, CVW-3, was assigned to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on her maiden deployment. The early months of 2001 saw the air wing operating in the Persian Gulf, conducting Response Options strikes, to include the largest strike over Iraq since Operation Desert Fox, in support of Operations Southern Wact and Maritime Interception Operations. This was the longest period any carrier had spent in the Gulf since Operation Desert Storm. The Air Wing completed its 25th deployment and returned home on 23 May 2001.
On 5 December 2002, CVW-3 departed for its 26th deployment to the Mediterranean, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and on 20 March 2003, CVW-3 participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, taking part in defensive counter air missions in Western Iraq, launching aircraft off the coast of Egypt in the South Eastern Mediterranean. CVW-3 made four deployments aboard Harry S. Truman to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean between 2004 and 2010.
First female CAG
On 7 January 2013, Captain Sara A. Joyner, USN, took command of Carrier Air Wing Three, becoming the first woman to lead a U.S. Navy carrier air wing as well as the air wing's 57th CAG. Before assuming command of CVW-3, Joyner had served as its deputy commander.
2013-2014 OEF Cruise
CVW-3 completed its latest deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet in April 2014, after an arduous nine months at sea. The air wing successfully supported US and coalition troops in Afghanistan, operated with the French Navy carrier, FS CHARLES DE GAULE, and conducted multiple liberty-as-a-mission port calls to Bahrain, Dubai, along with France and Spain.
A memorable experience during the 2013-2014 OEF cruise was the rescue of distressed sea turtle by HSC-7 aircrew and SAR swimmers from the USS HARRY S TRUMAN. 
Rotary wing aircraft
- "Carrier Air Wing THREE (CVW 3)". Global Security.org. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
- "Useful Links". Carrier Strike Group Ten. 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Leona Mynes, USN (January 7, 2013). "Team Battle Axe Welcomes Navy's First Female Air Wing Commander". NNS130107-03. Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
- "Carrier Air Wing Composition". US Navy. Tailhook Association. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
- "History COMCARAIRWING Three". Carrier Air Wing Three. US Navy. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
- Mike Hixenbaugh (January 5, 2013). "First female commander of carrier air wing takes reins". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2013-01-07.