USS Ronald Reagan’s carrier air wing completed carrier qualifications aboard the aircraft carrier on May 22.
More than 100 pilots in more than 60 aircraft from nine squadrons based out of Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Iwakuni, Japan, completed almost 700 events, including more than 200 touch and goes and almost 500 arrested landings, to qualify pilots to conduct missions as the ship begins patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operation.
“The ‘Badman’ team was last deployed with ‘Freedom’ in December 2016, and since then, we executed Spring training detachments focused on the most demanding missions and ensured our aircraft and personnel are ready for any contingency,” said Capt. Michael S. Wosje, commander, CVW-5. “As the Navy’s only 9-1-1 air wing, no one is better prepared to ensure the peace and stability of the region. We are excited to have the ‘Freedom/Badman’ team back together, operating forward.”
Carrier air wing 5 (CVW-5) is the air-combat arm of battle force 7th Fleet, with warfighting assets that include the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, C2-A Greyhound, and MH-60R/S, as well as the latest addition of the E-2D Hawkeye after the “Tigertails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 replaced the “Liberty Bells” of VAW-115 earlier this year.
“I am really proud of the hard work and dedication from the ship and air wing crews to get us ready for patrol,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, USS Ronald Reagan commanding officer. “With the completion of these qualifications, I can say with confidence that USS Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing 5 are disciplined, well-prepared, and stand ready to answer our nation’s call.”
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) started her 2017 Asia patrol departing naval base Yokosuka, Japan, on May 16.
USS Ronald Reagan deployed with some 5,000 sailors for what is usually a 6-9 month deployment. During her deployment, the carrier will be accompanied by destroyers, cruisers and nuclear-powered submarines.