Blog - Written by on Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:24

Choreography in Air Superiority Aboard the USS Carl Vinson

Chuckie V at 34 kts

Hornets, Super Hornets, Prowlers, Growlers, Hawkeyes, Greyhounds, Knighthawks, Seahawks … oh my!

These were the Carrier-Based aircraft we observed up-close and personal on the Flight Deck and in Flight Operations during day and nighttime exercises aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN70) during a one-in-a-lifetime Distinguished Visitor (DV) Embark January 22-23. The group of 15 top social media bloggers were fortunate to be onboard the CVN70 during certification training by Air Wing pilots. For background, the Navy maintains 10 carrier air wings made of of strike fighters, airborne command-and-control plants, electronic attack aircraft and helicopters combined into a single group that deploys onboard the carrier. When not aboard the carrier, the planes from the air wing are land based in such Naval Air Station facilities as Coronado, CA, Lemoore, CA, Fallon, NV and Whidbey Island, WA. Since there is at least one carrier is always in long-term overhaul (currently the USS Abraham Lincoln-CVN 72), there is no need to have an equal number of wings to ships. While there is no set number, a wing generally consists of about 65 aircraft, with 1,500 to 2,500 sailors who embark the ship for exercises and deployments.

The “Choreography in Air Superiority” we witnessed was impressive, dramatic, flawless (thank God!) — flight deck crew members donning various colored shirts designating their specific roles gave a new meaning to “Teamwork” … where one mistake could mean tragedy to deck crew and pilots as F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets trap landed within minutes of each other, were taxied to parking spots on the deck (literally with tail hanging over the edge), and were untimately led to elevators destined for the Hanger Bays below deck. The whole process repeated itself again and again as the planes were then catapulted off the deck from 0 to 140 mph in just two seconds!

Purple — Aviation Fuel (nickname — “Grapes)
Blue — Plane Handlers, Aircraft Elevator Operators, Tractor Drivers, Messengers and Phone Talkers
Green — Catapult and Arresting Gear Crews, Air Wing Maintenance, Cargo Handling, Ground Support Troubleshooters, Hook Runners, Photographer’s Mates, Helicopter Landing Signals Personnel
Yellow — Aircraft Handling Officers, Catapult and Arresting Gear Officers, Plane Directors
Red — Ordnance, Crash and Salvage Crews, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
Brown — Air Wing Plane Captains, Air Wing Line Leading Petty Officers
White — Air Wing Quality Control Personnel, Squadron Plane Inspectors, Landing Signal Officer (LSO), Air Transfer Officers (ATO), Liquid Oxygen (LOX) crews, Safety Observers, Medical Personnel

and Distinguished Visitors!

F/A 18 Super Hornet & Hornet prepare for take off!

Video of F/A 18 Super Hornet Landing — HERE
Video F/A 18 Super Hornet Catapult Take Off — HERE

Aircraft Carrier Air Wing Consists of the following aircraft:

F/A 18 A-D Hornet ( Advanced Strike Fighter) – Navy’s first all-weather fighter and attack aircraft. Introduced in 1980s
F/A 18 E-F Super Hornet (Strike Fighter) — Highly capable across full mission spectrum, longer range, and aerial refueling capability.
E/A 18G Growler (Electronic Warfare) – Integrates latest electronic attack technology, communication countermeasures, satellite communications and offensive weapons
E/A 6B Prowler (Electronic Warfare) – Long-range, all-weather advanced electronic countermeasures aircraft that provides an umbrella of protection for strike aircraft
E-2C/D Hawkeye (Airborne Early Warning) – Tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft
C-2A Greyhound (Logistics) — Referred to as the “COD” – Carrier On Board Delivery) Transport of high-priority cargo, mail and passengers — like Distinguished Visitors!
Video of C-2A Greyhound landing on USS Carl Vinson — HERE

MH-60S Knighthawk and MH-60R Seahawk (Multi-Mission Capability) – Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Search and Rescue (SAR), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Logistics.
#vinsonembark @USNavy @FlyNavy @coronadonavy

Here is an ongoing tally of the various blog posts by USS Carl Vinson Embarkees:
Steve Broback — HERE
Peg Fitzpatrick — HERE
Peg Fitzpatrick — HERE
Peg Fitzpatrick — HERE
Susan Katz Keating — HERE
Jeremy Epstein — HERE
Jeremy Epstein — HERE
Jeremy Epstein — HERE
Jeremy Epstein — HERE
Brett Murray — HERE
Diane Weynand — HERE

A big thank you to the following — Dennis Hall, The Avere Group; Guy Kawasaki, founder of Alltop; Real Admiral David Steindl, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1; CAPT. Kent “Torch” Whalen, USN, commanding offer of CVN70; CAPT Walt “Sarge” Slaughter USN, XO of CVN70; CMDCM (AW/SW) Jeffrey Pickering, Command Master Chief; as well as Commander Kyle Raines, CVN70 PAO; Monica Hopper, Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist, and ENS Rob Bell, PAO Assistant, who planned and accompanied the DVs on the ship tour and were there to answer questions and take care of various requests. Also Steve Fiebing, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Naval Air Forces – Pacific, US Pacific Fleet and his staff for coordinating the Embark, and Captain Chuck Henry, USN (retired) who worked hard in 1998 to bring the Distinguished Visitor Program embarks to the US aircraft carriers.


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