Carrier Air Wing Five

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Carrier Air Wing Five
CVW-5 Insignia
Active15 February 1943 – Present
Country United States of America
BranchUnited States Navy Seal United States Navy
Part ofCarrier Strike Group Five
Garrison/HQNaval Air Facility Atsugi
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
USS Ronald Reagan
Tail CodeNF
EngagementsSecond World War, Korean War
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
WebsiteCVW-5 Official site

Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.[1] 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.

The wing's officially stated mission is '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.'[2]

The fixed-wing squadrons of the air wing transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture in 2017 and early 2018.[3][4] [5]

Subordinate units[edit]

CVW-5 consists of eight Squadrons and one Fleet Logistics Squadron Detachment[6]

CVW-5 aircraft in 2012.
CVW-5 aircraft flying over the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in 2019
Code Insignia Squadron Nickname Assigned Aircraft
VFA-27 Strike Fighter Squadron 27 (US Navy) insignia c1998.png Strike Fighter Squadron 27 Royal Maces F/A-18E Super Hornet
VFA-102 Strike Fighter Squadron 102 (US Navy) insignia 2009.png Strike Fighter Squadron 102 Diamondbacks F/A-18F Super Hornet
VFA-115 Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (US Navy) insignia 1996.png Strike Fighter Squadron 115 Eagles F/A-18E Super Hornet
VFA-195 Strike Fighter Squadron 195 (US Navy) insignia, 2016.png Strike Fighter Squadron 195 Dambusters F/A-18E Super Hornet
VAW-125 Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 (US Navy) patch.png Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 Tiger Tails E-2D Hawkeye
VAQ-141 Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (US Navy) insignia c1986.png Electronic Attack Squadron 141 Shadowhawks EA-18G Growler
VRC-30 Logo vrc30.gif Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 Det. 5 Providers C-2A Greyhound
HSC-12 Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 (US Navy) patch 2009.png Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 Golden Falcons MH-60S Seahawk
HSM-77 Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 (US Navy) insignia, 2016.png Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 Saberhawks MH-60R Seahawk


Originally established 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, Carrier Air Group Five was re-designated CVAG-5 on 15 November 1946 in accordance with the Navy's new Carrier Air Group designation scheme and on 1 September 1948 it reverted to Carrier Air Group five (CVG-5) when the Navy again changed the Carrier Air Group designation scheme. The Air Group quickly recorded a number of firsts, including the first squadron to land a jet aircraft aboard a carrier (1948),[2] the first jet aircraft in the Navy to shoot down enemy aircraft when two F9F-3 Panthers from VF-51 shot down two Korean People's Air Force Yak-9 fighters on 3 July 1950,[7] 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 F9F-2 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 redesigned Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) on 20 December 1963 when the Navy reclassified its carrier air groups as carrier air wings.[2]

Vietnam War[edit]

In 1964, CVW-5 was called to action in the Gulf of Tonkin for a total of eight combat cruises.[2]

On 5 December 1965, a Broken Arrow incident occurred aboard USS Ticonderoga, upon which CVW-5 was embarked. A Douglas A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft of VA-56 carrying a nuclear weapon fell into the sea.[8] On the 31st day after departing Subic Bay,[8] 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.[9] 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[10] from the 16,000 ft (4,900 m) depth.[11] The accident occurred 80 miles (130 km) from Okinawa.[12][13]

In 1973, CVW-5 embarked on USS Midway 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.'[2]

Gulf War[edit]

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.[2]

In August 1991, USS Independence replaced Midway. Also, in 1991, in consideration of the surrounding communities the Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP), known in Japan as NLP,[citation needed] 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.[2]

USS Independence 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.[2]

In July 1998, CVW-5 moved again, to USS Kitty Hawk. 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.[2]

Afghanistan and Iraq[edit]

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 September. 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 as part of the attacks, including more than 100 combat sorties during this at sea period.[2]

At the same time, two C-2A Greyhounds from VRC-30 Detachment 5 were based at Naval Support Activity Bahrain providing logistical support to all four carriers on station, Kitty Hawk, USS Enterprise, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Carl Vinson. 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.[2]

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 1,040 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.[2]

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 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 August 2008, USS George Washington replaced Kitty Hawk as the U.S. Navy's forward deployed carrier and CVW-5 was reassigned to George Washington.[14]

EA-18G Growler of VAQ-141 taxies after landing at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan in August 2016

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.[15] Thus, CVW-5 became the first U.S. Navy carrier air wing flying only variants of the F/A-18E/F 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[16]

On 14 January 2014, the U.S. Navy announced that USS Ronald Reagan would replace George Washington as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five. George Washington was scheduled to undergo its mid-life complex refueling and overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Carrier Air Wing Five continued to be assigned to Carrier Strike Group Five.[17] The hull swap was scheduled for 2015,[18] and in August 2015, CVW-5 cross-decked to Ronald Reagan at San Diego.[19]

In October 2015 Ronald Reagan and CVW-5 along with it moved to their new home base of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The carrier was home-ported at Yokosuka and CVW-5 at Atsugi Naval Air Facility.[20]

Current force[edit]

Aircraft of CVW-5 in the hangar bay of USS Ronald Reagan in September 2015.

Fixed-wing aircraft[edit]

Rotary wing aircraft[edit]


  1. ^ "Zero to Full Speed": Carrier Air Wing 5, George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications, story number: NNS150524-12 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paolo Bayas, release date: 24 May 2015. Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces 29 May 2015,, retrieved 2 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Carrier Air Wing Five History". CVW-5. US Navy. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
  3. ^ Moriyasu, Ken US Navy needs touch-and-go practice strip May 13, 2016 The Nikkei Retrieved 31 August 2016
  4. ^ Reducing military jet noise August 9, 2015 Japan Times Retrieved 10 August 2016
  5. ^ Commander Navy Region Japan Public Affairs Office Final Japan-Based CVW-5 Jet Squadrons Fly-in to MCAS Iwakuni March 28, 2018 Commander, US 7th fleet Retrieved 26 August 2019
  6. ^ "Carrier Air Wing Composition" (PDF). US Navy. Tailhook Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2006.
  7. ^ Grossnick, Roy (1997). United States Naval Aviation 1910–1995. University of Michigan Library. p. 767.
  8. ^ a b "Ticonderoga Cruise Reports". Archived from the original ( weblist of Aug 2003 compilation from cruise reports) on 7 September 2004. Retrieved 20 April 2012. The National Archives hold[s] deck logs for aircraft carriers for the Vietnam Conflict.
  9. ^ "LTJG Douglas M. Webster". 5 December 1965. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  10. ^ Broken Arrows at Accessed 24 August 2007.
  11. ^ USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) Deck Log (transcription in YouTube caption) (Report). "National Archives"(previously at Washington Navy Yard: Deck Log section). 5 December 1965. Retrieved 18 April 2012.CS1 maint: location (link) 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).
  12. ^ Gibson, James N. Nuclear Weapons of the United States – An Illustrated History. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1996, LCCN 96-67282, ISBN 0-7643-0063-6, p. 130.
  13. ^ Winchester, Jim, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk: Heineman's Hot Rod. Barnsley, Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Books, 2005, ISBN 1-84415-085-2, p. 199.
  14. ^ Stars and Stripes 25 September 2008
  15. ^ VAQ-141 Retrieved 19 February 2017
  16. ^ Erik Slaven. "Navy announces major changes to GW's carrier air wing"Stars and Stripes. 14 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Navy Aircraft Carrier Moves Underscore Pacific Rebalance Strategy". NNS140114-15. U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  18. ^ Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces 29 May 2015,, retrieved 2 June 2015.
  19. ^ George Washington to Arrive in San Diego, Three Carrier Swap Continues, Story Number: NNS150807-10 from Naval Air Force Pacific Public Affairs, 7 August 2015.
  20. ^ Hlavac, Tyler (9 October 2015). "Public can tour USS Ronald Reagan Monday in Japan". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 7 June 2016.

External links[edit]