|Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One One Two|
April 20, 1967 – May 1970
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Type||Airborne early warning|
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing 9|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Station Point Mugu|
|Nickname||The Golden Hawks|
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|CDR Aaron Brodsky|
|Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye|
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One One Two (VAW-112) is a United States Navy airborne early warning (AEW) squadron. Nicknamed Golden Hawks, they fly the E-2 Hawkeye. The squadron is based out of Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California and deploy as part of Carrier Air Wing 9 on board the USS John C. Stennis.
To provide effective Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control services to Fleet, Joint and Coalition forces during peace and combat.
1960s – 1980s
The squadron was established April 20, 1967 and assigned to Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9). The squadron made three combat deployments operating the E-2A Hawkeye in the western Pacific in support of the Vietnam War aboard the USS Enterprise.
In May 1970, the squadron was temporarily disestablished and placed in a "stand down" status until reactivated on July 3, 1973. The Golden Hawks, now flying E-2Bs, were assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2) and made three Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployments on board the USS Ranger, before assignment to Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8) aboard the USS Nimitz, for a Mediterranean and Indian Ocean deployment.
In May 1979, the squadron transitioned to the E-2C and again became part of CVW-9 in February 1981. As part of CVW-9, VAW-112 made three Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployments on board USS Constellation, USS Ranger and USS Kitty Hawk. During this period, VAW-112 was awarded the Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award for 1979 and 1985. During 1989, VAW-112 deployed aboard USS Nimitz for NORPAC 89, and in August 1989, they became the first West Coast squadron to transition to the E-2C Plus aircraft.
In February and March 1990, VAW-112 deployed aboard USS Constellation for an "Around the Horn" of South America to Norfolk, Virginia cruise. Then in September 1990, the squadron deployed to Howard Air Force Base, Panama, for a Joint Task Force Four counter narcotics operation. The squadron finished the year and entered 1991 with the CVW-9 workup schedule on board the USS Nimitz.
In March 1991, the squadron departed for the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, Northern Persian Gulf cruise in support of Operation Desert Storm aboard the USS Nimitz. In December 1991, VAW-112 deployed again to Howard Air Force Base, Panama for another Joint Task Force Four counter narcotics operation. The squadron participated in joint and combined exercises in 1992 including Roving Sands in May 1992.
In February 1993, VAW-112 deployed aboard USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, flying more than 1,000 hours. Upon returning, VAW-112 transitioned to the E-2C Plus Group II. In November 1993, VAW-112 deployed to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The year of 1994 was a year of numerous detachments for VAW-112, due to the Nimitz’ dry dock period. These included Red Air and Red Flag exercises during February; JADO/JEZ trials in March; Roving Sands and Maple Flag in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada in June; and another Joint Task Force Four counter narcotics operation detachment in August. Following a rigorous work-up cycle in 1995, the squadron departed San Diego for the Persian Gulf aboard the USS Nimitz in December.
After remaining on station for three months, VAW-112 departed the Persian Gulf to support United States foreign policy off the coast of Taiwan. After returning home in May, the squadron then headed for Puerto Rico in mid July for counter narcotics operations at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads.
During a 1997 work-up cycle for an "Around the World" deployment in late July, the squadron participated in a Pacific Fleet Surge Exercise. The squadron provided battle space command and control to the battle group for more than 96 continuous hours. It was during this time that VAW-112 also surpassed a safety milestone – 27 years and more than 57,000 mishaps-free flight hours. They departed San Diego in September 1997 on another "Around the World" deployment. In 1997, the Golden Hawks were presented the Battle "E", the CNO Safety "S" Award, and the coveted Airborne Early Warning Excellence Award. The Golden Hawks deployed in July 1998 for a short detachment to Hawaii aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and later transferred the newest E-2C Plus Group II Navigation Upgrade aircraft to VAW-115 home bases at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.
Following a work up period in 1999, the Golden Hawks deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis in January 2000 for a Western Pacific/Indian Ocean cruise that included flight operations in support of Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. The squadron wrapped up 2000 with counter narcotics operations in Puerto Rico in September and a carrier qualification detachment to Mazatlán, Mexico in December.
In 2001, the Golden Hawks executed several aircraft control detachments including detachments to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida; Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia and Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. While still continuing their workup cycle leading to a 2002 deployment, the Golden Hawks also participated in Fleet Battle Experiment India, providing air control services to the battle group participating in the highest profile Navy exercise in many years. The squadron was called to defend the country after the September 11th terrorist act on the World Trade Center in New York City and on The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Around the clock, the Golden Hawks stood alerts and flew combat missions for the air defense of the entire western coast of the U.S. in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
Immediately following their actions in Operation Noble Eagle, the Golden Hawks left for Air Wing Fallon in Fallon, Nevada. The squadron finished an accelerated training schedule and deployed two months early in mid-November 2001 along with the rest of CVW-9 aboard the USS John C. Stennis. After an expedited transit across the Pacific the squadron commenced combat operations over Afghanistan in mid-December. The squadron accumulated over 2,095 hours, 500 sorties, and logging 666 arrested landings in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Golden Hawks returned home to NAS Point Mugu at the end of May, 2002.
Upon returning home, VAW-112 completed training to transition to the Mission Computer Upgrade and Advanced Controller Indicator Set (MCU/ACIS) Navigation Upgrade version of the E-2C Plus. This new version of the Hawkeye featured new display scopes and interfaces for aircraft controllers and mission commanders, along with a new, more powerful mission computer. In addition, the aircraft's navigation system is significantly more reliable.
After four short months at home, VAW-112 was called upon again to ready itself for the possibility of an early deployment. In October 2002, the Golden Hawks commenced an unannounced, compressed inter-deployment turnaround cycle and left for NAS Fallon, Nevada to complete both Strike Fighter Advance Readiness Program (SFARP) and Air Wing Nine Fallon Det in a record span of three weeks. The Golden Hawks returned home for three weeks and readied themselves for COMPTUEX PLUS on board the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). In January 2003 the Golden Hawks deployed to the Western Pacific on board USS Carl Vinson, seven months ahead of schedule to serve as a deterrent force in the global war against terrorism. During the West Pac 2003 cruise the Golden Hawks visited Hawaii, Guam, Pusan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Perth, and Hong Kong. When CVW-9 returned home in November 2003, it had been deployed, embarked, or detached for twenty-one of the previous twenty-seven months making the air wing the most deployed Naval Aviation unit since the events of September 11, 2001. In January 2004, the Golden Hawks departed once more on the USS Carl Vinson for a three-week Tailored Ships Training Availability (TSTA) exercise. This was repeated again in June 2004 and served as the beginning of the next workup cycle in preparation for deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Following TSTA the squadron again detached to NAS Fallon, Nevada on two different occasions – first for three weeks to complete SFARP and again two months later for Air Wing Fallon for four weeks. The workup cycle also included a three-week return to the USS Carl Vinson for the carrier's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) which brought the entire strike group together into one cohesive fighting unit in preparation for actual combat operations.
In January 2005, VAW-112 prepared for an "Around the World" deployment on board the USS Carl Vinson and after a three-week Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), promptly headed west in support of OIF. After port calls in Guam and Singapore, the USS Carl Vinson and CVW-9 arrived in the Persian Gulf where VAW-112 immediately began flying missions over Iraq. The Golden Hawks served as an airborne battlefield communications relay for the troops and convoys in country. VAW-112 carried out over 480 sorties, accumulating nearly 1,500 hours with a 98 percent sortie completion rate.
The Golden Hawks returned from their "around the world" deployment in August 2005. With the end of their deployment, VAW-112 and CVW-9 transferred to the USS John C. Stennis as the USS Carl Vinson entered a complex overhaul cycle at Newport News, Virginia. In November 2005, the Golden Hawks became the first squadron on the West Coast to incorporate the NP2000 eight blade modification for its propellers. In April 2006 the Golden Hawks began work ups for their scheduled 2007 deployment. Beginning with the Hawkeye Advance Readiness Program (HARP), 112 honed their skills in the aircraft in preparation for that May's SFARP, Strike Fighter Advance Readiness Program, at NAS Fallon. The Golden Hawks returned to sea that June on board the John C. Stennis for Tailored Ships Training Availability (TSTA). Enjoying a few well-deserved weeks at home, the Golden Hawks returned to NAS Fallon in August to complete Air Wing Fallon. In September 2006, the squadron modified their aircraft to incorporate both the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Intra Battle Group Wireless Network (IBGWN), which they first employed during COMPTUEX. Following CSG-3's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), the Golden Hawks returned to Pt. Mugu for the holidays and prepared for their upcoming January deployment.
In January, 2007, VAW-112 again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Golden Hawks served as an airborne battlefield communications platform coordinating close air support and tanking missions. VAW-112 carried out over 950 sorties, accumulating over 1,800 hours with a 98 percent sortie completion rate. After five months in the Northern Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, the Golden Hawks returned to NAS Point Mugu, California to complete a seven-month deployment. For their efforts in the air and on the ground, VAW-112 was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award or ‘Battle E’ from Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Upon return from deployment, VAW-112 received four new Hawkeye 2000 aircraft. This platform incorporates new electronic and flight systems increasing the Golden Hawk's ability to provide accurate and timely airborne command and control.
On 18 December 2011, the final command-and-control mission for U.S. forces over Iraq was flown by an E-2C Hawkeye (pictured) from Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112 (VAW-112), catapulting off the carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) at 7:32 a.m. and returning at 11:04 a.m, both local time. This mission effectively ended U.S. naval support for Operation New Dawn.
- "USS John C. Stennis Launches Navy's Final Air Mission over Iraq". NNS111220-02. USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs. December 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-20.