Command of Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW-3) changed hands during a ceremony on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Dec. 22.
The air wing’s deputy commander (DCAG), Capt. George Wikoff, relieved Capt. Sara Joyner during the ceremony.
Joyner led CVW-3 through pre-deployment carrier qualifications and more than half of Harry S. Truman’s 2013-2014 deployment, during which the air wing’s squadrons flew more than 8,900 hours and 1,500 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. CVW-3 logged more than 19,700 flight hours and 7,000 sorties since the start of Harry S. Truman’s deployment, July 22.
While Joyner said there are many memorable moments of the deployment it was the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group’s delayed deployment in February that truly defined the spirit of the air wing and strike group. The delay was a result of sequestration and a change in aircraft carrier requirements in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“I asked that we make the best out of what was no doubt a huge challenge for us but also an opportunity to increase our readiness, better prepare our families and deploy as a better, more capable team. When I flew aboard in an FA-18 July 22nd to being our deployment, the energy was back, the teamwork was there and there was no doubt that our warfighting capabilities were honed. I can’t be more proud of the Battle Axe and Truman team – they weathered the storm, seized the opportunity and triumphed over adversity,” she said.
Joyner spoke highly of Wikoff as he prepared to take command of CVW-3.
“Capt. Wikoff is one of the most dedicated and capable officers I have had the pleasure of working with during my 24 year career. I know that he along with his DCAG (deputy commander), Capt. [Jeffrey] Anderson, will make an incredibly effective team. He has clear vision, understands where to take the air wing next and sets a high bar,” she said.
Joyner will be assigned to Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic.
Wikoff, who has deployed six times on four aircraft carriers, has served as commanding officer for Strike Fighter Squadron 122, and attended and instructed at the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as “Top Gun”.
“Joyner will leave a legacy of leadership grounded in a genuine respect and appreciation for the contributions by every member of the Battle Axe Team. I am excited to be a member of this high performing team and look forward to the next 18 months as CAG (commander, CVW-3). We will remain focused on the tasks at hand, supporting Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors on the ground in Afghanistan with the precision in execution demanded on every sortie,” he said.
Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations conducting maritime security operations, supporting theater security cooperation efforts and supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Press Release, December 23, 2013; Image: US Navy