Saturday, January 15, 2011

Carrier Air Wing One Conducts Carrier Qualifications Aboard Enterprise

Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) as the ship departs Naval Station Norfolk. Enterprise is part of the Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 12 on deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua D. Sheppard/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared M. King, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At sea (NNS) -- Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1) continued to arrive and conduct carrier qualifications aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Jan. 15 as she heads east for her 21st deployment.

A total of 61 aircraft from eight squadrons based out of Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Wash., and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., comprise CVW-1, enabling the Enterprise Strike Group to carry out missions in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

The mission of CVW-1 is to conduct carrier air warfare operations and assist in the planning, control, coordination and integration of eight air wing squadrons in support of combat operations. Following extensive training at their respective air stations, the aircrews and pilots embarked Enterprise in August to complete shipboard qualifications before deployment.

"CVW-1 returned from our last deployment in Dec. of 2007 and since then, we have upgraded our technology, trained to the most demanding scenarios and studied the enemy as they have evolved their tactics," said Capt. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, CVW-1. "There is no better prepared air wing to go into combat and support the coalition fighters on the ground."

Updated radar technology, called active electronic scanned array, in two of the air wing's F/A-18 Super Hornet squadrons is just one of the many technology upgrades made to air wing aircraft.

"Our nation has made huge investments in advanced technology in order to provide us with the most capable and lethal aircraft possible," said Cmdr. Jason Velivlis, executive officer of the "Knighthawks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136. "The F/A-18E Super Hornet is a multi-role, strike-fighter aircraft, which can be configured for a wide variety of combat and combat support missions, including air-to-air, air-to-ground and most recently, aerial refueling."

CVW-1 has been in commission longer than any other Navy air wing. Since July 1, 1938, CVW-1 has served aboard 20 different aircraft carriers and has made more than 40 major deployments.

Velivlis said that teamwork, pride and professionalism are the keys that will help each squadron achieve its goals and successfully contribute to CVW-1's mission.

"Our most important goal is to arrive in the theater of operations prepared for combat and to be ready to provide critical close air support to friendly troops on the ground," said Velivlis. "VFA-136's long-term goal is to complete the deployment safely and effectively and bring the entire "Knighthawk" team back to Oceana for a happy reunion with our friends and family."

As the squadrons of CVW-1 fly on board the Enterprise's flight deck, they round out the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, providing the force with the ability to complete their mission.

Enterprise Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.