USS Carl Vinson starts carrier qualifications

An E/A-18G Growler assigned the "Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) got underway from her homeport of Naval Air Station North Island on July 31 to complete fleet replacement squadron (FRS) carrier qualifications (CQ).

During the underway period, Carl Vinson will team up with the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 “Flying Eagles” based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore and the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 “Vikings” based at NAS Whidbey Island.

The Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 “Providers” and the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4 “Black Knights” will also operate with the ship in support of carrier qualification operations.

Carl Vinson Air Operations Officer Cmdr. Joshua Hammond said carrier qualifications are important because they allow Carl Vinson to practice launching and recovering aircraft while helping qualify new pilots.

“Being at sea for FRS CQ gives us practice at what we do on deployment: launching and recovering aircraft,” said Hammond. “We can’t always be underway with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, so these operations help us stay sharp and hone our craft while helping new pilots gain proficiency.”

Hammond said the work done during FRS CQ benefits not just Carl Vinson and the squadrons, but the entire fleet.

“These operations support the larger mission of sending qualified pilots into the fleet to join their squadrons,” said Hammond. “While these pilots will be sent to squadrons across the fleet, some of them could very well be assigned to Carl Vinson’s air wing when we depart for [the] next deployment.”

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