Carrier Air Wing Five
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2011)|
|Carrier Air Wing Five|
|Active||15 February 1943 - Present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Part of||Carrier Strike Group Five|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Facility Atsugi
USS George Washington (CVN-73)
|Engagements||Second World War, Korean War
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. It was initially formed in 1943. It has participated in the Second World War, the Korean War, the Gulf War, Operation Southern Watch, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq.
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-5 consists of 9 Squadrons
|VFA-27||Strike Fighter Squadron 27||Royal Maces||F/A-18E Super Hornet|
|VFA-102||Strike Fighter Squadron 102||Diamondbacks||F/A-18F Super Hornet|
|VFA-115||Strike Fighter Squadron 115||Eagles||F/A-18E Super Hornet|
|VFA-195||Strike Fighter Squadron 195||Dambusters||F/A-18E Super Hornet|
|VAW-115||Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 115||Liberty Bells||E-2C Hawkeye 2000|
|VAQ-141||Electronic Attack Squadron 141||Shadowhawks||EA-18G Growler|
|VRC-30||Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 Det. 5||Providers||C-2A Greyhound|
|HSC-12||Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12||Golden Falcons||MH-60S Seahawk|
|HSM-77||Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77||Saberhawks||MH-60R Seahawk|
Originally commissioned as Carrier Air Group Five (CVG-5) in 1943, the new air group rapidly became embroiled in the war in the Pacific. Homeported in San Diego, California, after the war, Air Group Five quickly recorded a number of firsts, including the first squadron to land a jet aircraft aboard a carrier (1948), the first jet aircraft in the Navy to shoot down enemy aircraft when Cmdr. Lamb VF-52 shot down a Yak fighter of 3 July 1950, the first to arrive in Yellow Sea, the first to launch jet aircraft against enemy, and the first to include both jet squadrons VF-51, VF-52 with F9F1 Panther jets, VF-53 with F4U Corsairs, VA-54 and VA-55 with AD-1 Skyraiders.
CVG-5 was the first air group to enter the Korean War, and after serving 18 months in the combat zone, had compiled more combat time than any other air group in the Korean War. CVG-5 was renamed CVW-5 in 1963 when the Navy reclassified its air groups.
On 5 December 1965, a Broken Arrow incident occurred aboard the USS Ticonderoga, upon which CVW-5 was embarked. A Douglas A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft of VA-65 carrying a nuclear weapon fell into the sea. On the 31st day after departing Subic Bay, the attack jet fell over the side during a training exercise while being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator. The pilot, Lieutenant (junior grade) Douglas M. Webster, the aircraft, A-4E BuNo 151022, (a re-designated A4D-5), of VA-56 Champions, and the B43 nuclear bomb were never recovered from the 16,000 ft (4,900 m) depth. The accident occurred 80 miles (130 km) from Okinawa.
In 1973, CVW-5 embarked on USS Midway (CVA-41) to become part of the first carrier/air wing team permanently forward deployed, to Yokosuka, Japan. The wing completed 111 continuous days on station in the North Arabian Sea in 1984, which the wing's official site describes as 'guarding the Straits of Hormuz and guaranteeing the continued flow of vital oil to Japan and Western Europe.'
CVW-5 began its final cruise aboard the Midway in October 1990 as part of Operation Desert Shield. From November to January 1991, the air wing participated in numerous multinational exercises and operated continuously in the Persian Gulf. On 17 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began as CVW-5 aircraft launched a night strike deep into Iraq. For the next 43 days the air wing flew 3,383 combat sorties and expended more than four million pounds of ordnance.
In August 1991, the USS Independence (CV-62) replaced the Midway. Also, in 1991, in consideration of the surrounding communities the field carrier landing practices, known in Japan as NLP’s, was moved to the island of Iwo Jima, 650 miles (1,050 km) away as an interim measure until another landing field could be situated within 100 nautical miles (200 km) of the base.
USS Independence (CV 62) deployed to the Persian Gulf in mid-1992 and started the Southern Watch operation, a multi-national mission to monitor Iraqi compliance with the "no-fly zone" below the 32nd parallel north. In August 1995, Independence and Carrier Air Wing 5 deployed to The Persian Gulf for a third time in support of Operation Southern Watch.
In July 1998, CVW-5 moved again, to USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). The Kitty Hawk left its berth at Fleet Activities Yokosuka in early April 2000 to begin a routine deployment to the Western Pacific. The carrier had spent the previous five weeks in Yokosuka following a 12-day sea trial in February and March. She first journeyed to Guam to rendezvous with the air wing, which was participating in the Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program at Andersen Air Force Base until 18 April 2000. In addition to Guam, the ship made port calls throughout the Western Pacific and participated in Exercise Cobra Gold with the Royal Thai Armed Forces.
Afghanistan and Iraq
Kitty Hawk with CVW-5 got under way 1 October 2001 with a mere 24-hour turnaround, after an accelerated sea trials and carrier qualifications period, carried out on short notice following the events of 11 Sept. The air wing contingent included eight F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from VFA-192 and VFA-195 and pilots from VFA-27. Also in DET A were three S-3 Vikings from VS-21, and two SH-60 Seahawks from HS-14. The initial plan for CVW-5 was to provide air defense during the Kitty Hawk’s transit to station. The Air Wing was able to work around the Special Operations mission, however, and established a more offensive mission for themselves. Air Wing aviators flew 600 missions over Afghanistan in support of the United States’ War on Terrorism, including more than 100 combat sorties during this at sea period.
At the same time, two C-2A Greyhounds from VRC-30 Detachment 5 were shore based out of Bahrain providing logistical support to all four carriers on station, the Kitty Hawk, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). The Providers from VRC-30’s Detachment 5 were the only C-2A squadron in the region qualified for night operations. The Providers lived up to their name, supplying the four carrier battle groups with 1500 passengers and 350,000 pounds of cargo.
From 30 October through 16 November 2001, the strike element of the Air Wing participated in a weapons training detachment at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. The Air Wing completed 50 sorties per day for the entire three-week period with a 98% sortie completion rate. In all there were 640 sorties flown for a total of 1040 flight hours and over 250 tons of ordnance dropped. In spite of this rigorous training schedule, there were no mishaps or incidents of foreign object damage (FOD), and no liberty incidents. All this was done despite being uncoupled from the Air Wing’s maintenance support, housed on the Kitty Hawk.
In 2003 was the final cruise with the F-14 Tomcat. CVW-5 deployed to the Persian Gulf and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom flying from the Kitty Hawk. VF-154 Black Knights deployed several aircraft to Al Udeid in Qatar and supported Special Operations Forces in Iraq alongside the USAF and Royal Air Force aircraft deployed to that airbase. Later that year, VF-154 departed NAF Atsugi to transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet, and VFA-27 transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet while VFA-102 became part of CVW-5, flying the F/A-18F.
In the 2010s, the wing's squadrons were modernized by the addition of new aircraft. During the fall of 2010, VFA-195 transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet. In March 2012, VAQ-136 was replaced by VAQ-141, equipped with the EA-18G Growler.  Thus, CVW-5 became the first U.S. Navy carrier air wing flying only variants of the F/A-18 Super Hornet as strike aircraft. In 2013, the wing's helicopter squadrons were replaced. The MH-60S Seahawk-equipped HSC-12 replaced HS-14, and HSL-51 was replaced by HSM-77, flying the MH-60R Seahawk
On 14 January 2014, the U.S. Navy announced that the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) will replace the USS George Washington (CVN-73) as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five. The George Washington is scheduled to undergo its mid-life complex refueling and overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Carrier Air Wing Five will continue to be assigned to Carrier Strike Group Five. As USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is scheduled to finish her RCOH in November 2016, this change will probably not take place until 2017.
Rotary wing aircraft
- "Carrier Air Wing Five History". CVW-5. US Navy. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
- "Carrier Air Wing Composition" (PDF). US Navy. Tailhook Association. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
- "Ticonderoga Cruise Reports" (Navy.mil weblist of Aug 2003 compilation from cruise reports). Retrieved 2012-04-20. "The National Archives hold[s] deck logs for aircraft carriers for the Vietnam Conflict."
- "LTJG Douglas M. Webster". A4skyhawk.org. 5 December 1965. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- Broken Arrows at www.atomicarchive.com. Accessed 24 Aug 2007.
- (transcription in YouTube caption) USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) Deck Log (Report). "National Archives"(previously at Washington Navy Yard: Deck Log section). 5 December 1965. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lFHjcMf3s4&feature=related. Retrieved 2012-04-18. NOTE: The Joe Baugher aircraft listing for this A-4 mistakenly identifies different waters (South China Sea near Vietnam) from those specified by the Deck Log's coordinates (E of Ryukyu Islands).
- Gibson, James N. Nuclear Weapons of the United States – An Illustrated History. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1996, Library of Congress card no. 96-67282, ISBN 0-7643-0063-6, p. 130.
- Winchester, Jim, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk: Heineman's Hot Rod. Barnsley, Yorkshire, United Kingdom: Pen & Sword Books, 2005, ISBN 1-84415-085-2, p. 199.
- Stars and Stripes 25 September 2008
- Erik Slaven. "Navy announces major changes to GW's carrier air wing" - Stars and Stripes. 14 September 2012.
- "Navy Aircraft Carrier Moves Underscore Pacific Rebalance Strategy". NNS140114-15. U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. January 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
- Carrier Air Wing Five Official site