US Navy Carrier Air Wing 5 squadrons relocating to Iwakuni

Sailors prepare to launch an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the “Dambusters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195, from the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Photo: US Navy

The first jet squadrons from the US Navy’s Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 will be relocating to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (MCASI) later this fall,the navy announced.

Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 115 and 195, along with Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 will relocate to MCASI at the conclusion of the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG) 5 fall patrol.

The move will be part of the US Navy’s phased relocation of CVW-5’s fixed-wing aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni.

NAF Atsugi will remain the home for all CVW-5 rotary-wing aircraft.

Jet squadrons VFA-115, VFA-195 and VAQ 141 will join Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, which forward deployed to Iwakuni earlier this year.

The timing of the squadron moves is contingent upon the completion of necessary squadron facilities at MCASI, some of which are still under construction. The phased relocation of the remaining CVW-5 fixed-wing squadrons will occur on a timeline agreed upon by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Though CVW-5 fixed-wing squadrons will be based in Iwakuni, NAFA will remain a vital base for the U.S.-Japan alliance and CVW-5 aircraft will occasionally use the installation as a divert field, or for training, refueling or maintenance.

CVW-5 was described as the nation’s “911” air wing by the US Navy and is the service’s most advanced carrier air wing. It is a critical combat strike element of Battle Force 7th Fleet, the only forward-deployed carrier strike group in the U.S. Navy.

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