By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class(SW) Grant Wamack

Commander Naval Air Forces awarded the 2012 Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency (“E”) award to the “Golden Hawks” Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 for the VAW Carrier Air Wing (CVW) category, Feb. 12.

The aviation Battle “E” is the Navy’s top performance award presented to the squadron in each competitive category that achieves the highest standards of performance readiness and efficiency. The award recognizes a unit’s training and operational achievements. This year, VAW 112 competed against five different West Coast squadrons.

“It’s truly a testament to everyone in the squadron working together,” said Commander Evan Morrison, VAW 112’s executive officer (XO), from Chatham, Ill. “It was no one individual; it was a collective effort from maintenance, training, safety and operations. We all worked together as a unit.”

VAW 112 cites by participating in a variety of exercises and operations as a key factor in this achievement.

“A lot of exercises we participated in last year contributed to our success,” said Lt. Peter Kowalcyk, a VAW 112 pilot, from Neptune, N.J. “We did a lot of different training events with the air wing, and being a part of Operation Enduring Freedom as well as closing out Operation New Dawn. We were the last naval aircraft to fly out of Iraq.”

“This is the culmination of a year’s hard work, not just for the air crew but the air maintainers too,” added Kowalcyk. “We wouldn’t have won the award without their attention to detail.”

VAW 112, previously awarded the Battle “E” in 1979, 1985, 1997, and 2007, painted one of their aircraft with a giant “E” to commemorate this year’s accomplishment and plan to place a plaque in their squadron hangar when they return home to Point Mugu Naval Base, Calif.

VAW 112 is one of nine squadrons with CVW 9, embarked on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3, which also includes Destroyer Squadron 21, CVW 9 and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53). CSG 3 is forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.


A Sailor signals to pilots that another Sailor is checking the landing gear on an E-2C Hawkeye from the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)