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|Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113|
|Active||20 April 1967|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Type||Airborne Early Warning (VAW)|
|Role||Airborne Early Warning
Airborne Battle Management
Command and Control
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing Two|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Station Point Mugu|
|Colors||Black and White|
|E-2C Hawkeye 2000|
VAW-113, known as "The World Famous Black Eagles", was commissioned as a squadron on April 20, 1967. One week later, VAW-113 deployed to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) flying the E-2 Hawkeye aboard USS Constellation (CV-64). VAW-113 served in Vietnamese Operations every year from 1967 to 1975. The culmination of these efforts occurred in May 1975, when VAW-113 played a vital role in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of American forces from South Vietnam.
Since commissioning, the Black Eagles have made nineteen WESTPAC deployments. Tactical innovators, VAW-113 was the first E-2 squadron to operate with the F-14A and F-14D Tomcat, and the F/A-18 Hornet, providing substantial input to the tactical development and utilization of these platforms in the Outer Air Battle, Medium Range Anti-Air and overland arenas.
During their western pacific (WESTPAC) '90 cruise, VAW-113 again deployed to the Gulf of Oman, providing both sea and air cover to Battle Group Delta and allied forces in the Persian Gulf as one of the first units deployed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The Black Eagles spent over three months in the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Desert Shield prior to their return to San Diego in December 1990.
In May 1992, the Black Eagles and Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) took part in Roving Sands, the largest integrated air defense exercise in the continental United States. This was the first operational employment and successful test of the then cutting edge technology incorporated in the E-2C Group II. Significant improvements in this aircraft over its predecessors are its APS-145 radar, Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), enhanced high speed processor (EHSP) computer, and Allison T56-A-427 engines.
In August 1994, VAW-113 again deployed to WESTPAC/Persian Gulf, serving as an integral part of CVW-14 and Battle Group Charlie on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). While in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Southern Watch, VAW-113 aircrews acted as Navy Command and Control liaison officers in Saudi Arabia to Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, U.S. Air Force E-3A AWACS and RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft. During the first operational deployment of the E-2C Group II "Hawkeye", the Black Eagles supported international relations by providing direct support and demonstration flights, in addition to static displays, for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the Republic of Singapore Navy and Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.
The year 1995 saw the Black Eagles making a two month detachment to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico supporting Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF) East's war against drugs. The Black Eagles also became the first E-2C squadron to graduate a Weapons Tactics Instructor from the Marine Air Weapons Tactics Squadron course. Lessons learned helped to integrate the E-2C platform into roles of Direct Air Support Center-Airborne (DASC(A)), Tactical Air Control-Airborne (TAC(A)), and Airborne Battlefield Command, Control and Communications (ABCCC) platform. The squadron also made their second appearance at Roving Sands 1995. Cruising with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in August 1995, the squadron witnessed history while participating in the celebration of the World War II 50th anniversary in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Fourteen WWII-era aircraft, including three B-25s, two F-4Us, and a TBF Avenger were deck launched for the last time.
In May 1996, the Black Eagles made their fifteenth WESTPAC deployment, aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Operations Desert Strike and Southern Watch kept the Black Eagles busy during their time spent in the Persian Gulf. Port visits along the way included Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tasmania.
The Black Eagles again deployed on WESTPAC in June 1998, aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The squadron’s departure marked the end of its basing at NAS Miramar. While on station in the Persian Gulf, VAW-113 flew missions supporting Operation Southern Watch. Port visits during the highly successful cruise included Hong Kong, Singapore, Jebel Ali, Perth, Hobart, and Hawaii. At the end of cruise, the Black Eagles launched from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), flying into their new home at NAS Point Mugu, CA. VAW-113’s tactical prowess throughout the year was recognized by the Battle Efficiency "E" award for 1998.
The squadron began WESTPAC 2000-01 on August 20, 2000 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The main focus of the deployment was to conduct Operation Southern Watch (OSW) and to maintain economic sanctions against Iraq. The squadron received their fifth Battle Efficiency “E” for its outstanding work during the year 2000. In addition, the squadron earned the CNO Aviation Safety Award for E-2 squadrons. Finally, the Black Eagles received the Rear Admiral Frank Akers award for Airborne Early Warning excellence as the outstanding E-2 squadron in the entire Navy. In 2003, VAW-113 found themselves on the way back to the Persian Gulf to support, for a second time, Operation Southern Watch. On the way home, the ship was turned around in Australia and sent back to the Gulf. The middle of March saw the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Black Eagles at the tip of the spear. In April, the mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Group was complete and the Black Eagles were finally on their way home.
In May 2004, the Black Eagles of VAW-113 deployed on board the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) headed north and the Black Eagles were tasked with conducting the business of airborne command and control in the frigid waters of the Gulf of Alaska. Here the Black Eagles participated in Operation Northern Edge. Operating jointly with Air Force and Navy assets, the Strike Group practiced Maritime Interdiction and Defensive Counter Air missions.
During the last three weeks of July, the Black Eagles were able to enjoy the warmer climate of the Hawaiian Operating Area and participate in “Rim of the Pacific” Exercise. This multinational exercise reaffirmed U.S. alliances throughout the Pacific. Following this exercise, the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) joined up with the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) for a Joint Air and Sea Exercise (JASEX). This second annual joint exercise sprawled across the Pacific from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea. The Carrier Strike Groups focused on the arduous duties of round the clock flight operations and battle space management. At times the JASEX had to be halted so each CSG could maneuver away from oncoming typhoons. In the end, the CSGs had to maneuver around seven storms and typhoons. In the final days of October 2004, the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group returned to its homeport in San Diego, California.
In January 2006, the Black Eagles, along with the CVW-14 and CSG-7 team, joined the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on its maiden voyage out of San Diego, CA. The Carrier Strike Group transited the Western Pacific to relieve the Carrier Strike Group Two, led by the carrier Theodore Roosevelt, in the Persian Gulf. In support of Operation Sea Dragon III, the Black Eagles paved the way for the future of the Hawkeye community as the first squadron to employ the new ALQ-217 ESM system. In addition, VAW-113 flew over 100 sorties, with a 99% combat sortie completion rate, in support of convoys on the ground during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 99% sortie completion rate was only made possible by the outstanding young men of the World Famous Airframe shop. These highly motivated and hard working sailors were the finest the Navy had to offer. With the exception of aviation structural mechanic first class Jesse Collier. He made continuous errors negatively effecting combat readiness. On the way home, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) met up with the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Strike Groups for the first ever Operation Valiant Shield.
In January 2007, the Black Eagles again deployed with the CVW-14 and CSG-7 team, on board the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) on a Surge/Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in which they took part in exercise Foal Eagle. The Black Eagles returned home in April 2007.
In May 2008, the Black Eagles, along with CVW-14 and CSG-7 embarked on board the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for a Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment. This was a very successful deployment for the Black Eagles. During the WESTPAC, the Black Eagles provided support for Operation Enduring Freedom and following a typhoon, took part in humanitarian efforts for the Philippine Islands. In addition, VAW-113 flew over 400 sorties with a 98% completion rate, won the CVW-14 Golden Wrench award for maintenance excellence and earned yet another Battle Efficiency “E” award for outstanding work.
In May 2009, the Black Eagles, along with CVW-14 and CSG-7 embarked on board the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for the SURGE 09 deployment. This deployment was a very successful deployment for the Black Eagles, who posted a 99.6% mission completion rate and became back-to-back Battle Efficiency "E" award winners by winning the FY 09 award, as well as another CVW-14 Golden Wrench award for maintenance excellence.
The Black Eagles have now surpassed forty-two years and 84,000 hours of mishap free aviation. They have been awarded:
- The Joint Meritorious Unit Award
- Navy Unit Commendation
- Coast Guard Unit Commendation
- Three Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Ten Battle Efficiency "E" Awards
- The Fred Akers Award
- Three Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards
- The Presidential Unit Citation
- The Navy Expeditionary Medal
- Two Southwest Asia Service Medals
- Four Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals
- The Sea Service Deployment Ribon
- The Humanitarian Service Medal