Archives for category: CVW 9

By USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea — USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Sept. 15.

JCSCSG will be joining USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group, already in the 5th Fleet AOR. An overlap of carrier deployments provides additional naval and air capabilities to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation engagements, as well as provide support to operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

“Our strike group has trained countless hours to ensure our Sailors are ready to conduct operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility,” said Rear Adm. Craig Faller, commander, JCSCSG. “We look forward to building upon and strengthening our ties with allies and coalition partners in the region while supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

John C. Stennis departed its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., July 25, sailing south to embark Carrier Air Wing 9 and Destroyer Squadron 21 staff. JCSCSG departed San Diego with the balance of the strike group transiting across the Pacific Ocean and engaged in theater security cooperation in the western Pacific Ocean and South China Sea before continuing on to 5th Fleet.

JCSCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53). The embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 includes Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, (VFA) 41, (VFA) 97, (VFA) 192; Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112; Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 133; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71; and Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30. More than 6,000 Sailors are assigned to JCSCSG.


Story by MC3 Dugan Flynn
Photo by MC2 Walter Wayman

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 embarked USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Thursday, in preparation for deployment.

CVW-9 will deploy with Stennis on the seven-month deployment to assist in the war efforts in Afghanistan and support regional stability in the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf.

Half of the squadrons in CVW-9 will be joining Stennis on deployment for the first time; the VAQ-133 Wizards flying the EA-6B Prowlers, VFA-192 Golden Dragons flying the F/A-18’s, the VFA-14 Tophatters and VFA-41 Black Aces flying the F/A- 18E/F Super Hornets.

“This is my first deployment and I’m excited about it,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Patrick Christensen. “I’m really looking forward to seeing other cultures and the ways other people live.”

The mission of CVW-9 is to act as air power to eliminate enemy threats and provide support to both the strike group and American ground forces overseas.

“We will go out and accomplish whatever mission we are given from higher above,” said Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW/ SW) Dietrich Ahner. “It’s about doing our part to support the global effort to combat the war on terrorism, support our national policies, and the projection of our forces afloat.”

CVW-9 will also be available to help with community relations projects and humanitarian efforts as they arise while in foreign ports.

“I plan to help out with a few community relations projects this deployment,” said Christensen. “It will be good to talk to people of other countries and experience their way of life for a little while.”

This deployment, Stennis and CVW- 9 will work together to maintain U.S. global presence and protect American interests around the world.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley

USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) completed a successful Joint Task Force Training Exercise (JTFEX) June 8 off the coast of Southern California.

“Our crew could not have performed better,” said John C. Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Reis. “It was through top down bottom up leadership intertwined with a collective sea warrior spirit that we consistently perform at such a high level. Sailors aboard Stennis are trained and ready to meet national tasking. Teamwork, superior skills and warfighting ethos will enable us to successfully meet any challenge we may confront during deployment.”

JTFEX is the second major training evolution for Stennis following Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in May.

JCSCSG is made up of John C. Stennis, CVW-9 (Carrier Air Wing 9), guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and DESRON 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DD G91).

JTFEX was a week-long exercise designed to test JCSCSG’s ability to operate in a hostile environment.

Throughout JTFEX, JCSCSG dealt with an assortment of simulated attacks, such as torpedoes and missile attacks from enemy aircraft and ships. General quarters was called depending on the response needed.

“The idea of JTFEX is to stress the importance of procedures and planned responses to certain threats and get into a tactical mind-set,” said Lt. Ji Theriot, one of Stennis’ tactical action officers.

JTFEX tested the capability of JCSCG to operate with multinational forces and other military branches in a joint environment to combat the simulated threats.

“The scenario was started where we left off during COMPTUEX,” said Operations Specialist Master Chief (SW/AW) Brian Basset, operations department leading chief petty officer. “We continued to focus on our role in a joint environment while conducting sea combat operations.”

The constant flux of drills kept Sailors directly involved on alert and busy throughout the six- day exercise.

“JTFEX was packed with action, we were constantly moving,” said Theriot. “Problems operated around the clock, which was more realistic than the previous exercise.”

JTFEX was the final test JCSCSG had to demonstrate they can act and react as a cohesive fighting unit.

“We are ready for anything, but we need to continue to do better at everything we do,” said Stennis’ Executive Officer Capt. Michael Wettlaufer. “Continuous training is required to maintain readiness throughout deployment in order to be ready to do the nation’s bidding.”

With JTFEX complete, JCSCSG is ready for the upcoming deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of operation to conduct maritime security operations.

“JCS Strike Group Sailors have performed exceedingly well during JTFEX. I am extremely proud of everyone’s efforts as we faced a complex battle problem; without a doubt the most challenging scenario presented to any Carrier Strike Group,” said Commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group Rear Adm. Craig Faller. “These events put us through our paces in a short period of time. In the end we proved that we are combat ready, prepared to take the fight to the enemy, and assist those in need across the globe. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for the focused efforts of all hands and solid deckplate leadership.”

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dugan Flynn
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda McCall

Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9) is training with Stennis during Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) to prepare for deployment.

CVW-9 is comprised of many components which have come together for JTFEX to prove battle readiness.

“In my opinion, JCS Strike Group has greatly advanced US Navy warfighting with their outstanding performance in JTFEX,” said Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific Rear Adm. Tom Cropper. “Great attention to detail, solid teamwork and quick improvements to identified problems made the difference. So did good old-fashioned, on-the-scene deckplate leadership.”

CVW-9 is comprised of Fighter, Helicopter, Electronic Warfare, Early Warning, and Logistics Support squadrons, each specifically designed to accomplish multiple tasks to conduct war fighting operations and defend the ship.

The Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 Golden Hawks, flying the E-2C Hawkeye, are part of the Early Warning component of CVW-9.

“The E-2s look over the horizon and paint the picture for us,” said Deputy Commander, Carrier Airwing 9, Capt. Dell Bull. “They are going to look for any surface or air contacts. That way when we launch our fighters, bombers, and our helicopters, we know what’s out there.”

The MH-60R Seahawks flown by the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 Raptors have unique radar capabilities to detect and destroy submarines.

“The Seahawks don’t have the range that the E-2 Hawkeyes have, but they have equipment and radar on board that helps us fill in the gaps,” said Bull. “They can detect submarines’ periscopes, and they have certain equipment that can dip into the water to hear submarines. That’s putting a protective shield around the bottom of the ship from submarine threats.”

The Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 Eightballers fly the MH-60S Knight Hawks to conduct combat search and rescue missions as well as provide additional support during vertical replenishments.

“If a plane crashes anywhere around the Stennis, those guys are specially trained to come and get us,” said Bull. “If they have to come get us in a hostile area, they are armed with machine guns on either side of them. Additionally during JTFEX, we had a team of Navy Seals on board Stennis to work with the Air Wing, and HSC-8 delivered them to their targets.”

The Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 133 Wizards flying the EA-6B Prowlers are part of the Electronic Warfare component of CVW-9 and use their special abilities to jam enemy radar to protect the fighter squadrons.

“If we have to go after targets on shore that are threatening the strike group, the EA-6B squadrons are imperative,” said Bull. “They’ll fly in with us and carry specialized missiles to destroy the enemy’s radar so we can get in and out unseen. They’re there protecting us as well.”

Stennis has four fighter squadrons, two that fly the F/A-18C Hornet; Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA-97 Warhawks and VFA-192 Golden Dragons), one that flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet (VFA-41 Black Aces), and one that flies F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-14 Tophatters).

“All four squadrons are very capable in both air to air and air to ground combat,” said Bull. “All the squadrons, when launched, will link up through a link 16 network with Stennis to the rest of the ships, and E-2, so we can see what’s on their radar and vice-versa and then we have this network centric warfare with Stennis in the center of it.”

VRC-30 Providers flying the C-2 Greyhound, which is also known as the Carrier Onboard Delivery Squadron (CODS) provide logistics support to Stennis supplying vital personnel and equipment to the ship even when many miles away from land.

“Last but not least, we have the COD detachment,” said Bull. “They are an integral part to keep us supplied with parts, mail and anything the strike group needs. You can fit a lot in the back of that airplane. They’re a great part of the team; we couldn’t do it without them.”

The Air Wing is a combination of many different capabilities that when brought together is greater than any of the capabilities alone said Bull.

“We are here for COMPTUEX and JTFEX to sharpen that sword,” said Bull. “We are going out shortly on deployment to kill the people that need to be killed, and protect our military and our allies’ forces on the ground, and frankly to protect the people that can’t protect themselves.”

Stennis, CVW-9, and John C. Stennis Strike Group have been working together during JTFEX to ensure fleet and mission readiness and the needs in preparation for deployment to accomplish US maritime strategy at home and abroad.

“I am confident that the proven warfighters in this strike group will aggressively implement their lessons learned from JTFEX in the time before deployment,” said Cropper. “When they do, JCSSG will be unbeatable in combat.”

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda McCall

John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) and its crew of more than 5000 Sailors began Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) and final deployment preparations June 2.

JTFEX is an integrated battle force exercise designed to test the capabilities of carrier strike groups operating with multinational forces in a joint environment. It is the culmination of a series of exercises and training requirements conducted in preparation for upcoming deployment and readies the strike group for any challenge it may face while deployed.

Stennis finished composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX), which was the biggest preparation for JTFEX, at the end of May.

“The exercise itself will be one continuous war time problem,” said Cmdr. Stevin Johnson, the strike operations officer. “We will continue where we left off of COMPTUEX and try to resolve the conflict in the joint operating area. The training will continue focus on our role in a joint environment while conducting sea combat operations.”

The cooperation that goes into this exercise comes from warfare commanders working together during operational interaction according to Johnson.

Upon successful completion of JTFEX, Stennis will be certified for the upcoming deployment to the Western Pacific and Central Command areas of operation to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, helping establish conditions for regional stability.

JCSCSG consists of CVW-9, guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and DESRON 21; guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91).

MC3 Lex T. Wenberg
Capt. Dale Horan welcomes Cmdr. Todd Glasser on the flight deck after the aerial change of command ceremony.
The Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 performed an aerial change of command ceremony above Stennis during which Cmdr. Todd Glasser relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey Vorce as commanding officer of HSM-71 yesterday.
Vorce, a Chula Vista, California native, says his achievements as commander stem from those he worked with in the squadron.
“The biggest success we’ve had recently is the integration into Air Wing 9,” said Vorce. “The air wing here is second to none.”
Vorce oversaw the squadron through the deployment workup phase up to and including the composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), which enables the air wing and the strike group function as a whole.
Captain Dale E. Horan, Commander, Carrier Air Wing 9, presented Vorce with the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his achievements in command of (HSM) 71 at the reception and cake-cutting
ceremony after the in-flight portion.
“The upcoming deployment is going to be amazing,” said Vorce. “I think it’s going to be incredibly successful. And I think you’ll continue to see the Raptors, Stennis and the four destroyers that we support from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21; USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105), and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) continue to do amazing things.”
Glasser, a Concordville, Penn. native, takes command of the Raptors following a tour providing Counter-Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RC-IED) services to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Iraq.
“I’m very excited for deployment,” said Glasser. “These guys have been great. The crew has hit it out of the park.”
Glasser said he feels challenged by the opportunity to lead the Raptors.
“The team has set a really high bar in demonstrating what the air wing’s capable of,” said Glasser.
John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is out to sea and beginning the Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) which integrates the strike group with the other services in preparation for deployment.

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 2, 2011) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd Glasser departs his MH-60R Knighthawk from the Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 after his aerial change of command aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is conducting a Joint Task Force Exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Kenneth Abbate/Released)

Story & Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

Capt. Dale “Woody” Horan relieved Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 Capt. Paul “Butkus” Haas during a change-of-command ceremony Wednesday.

The change-of-command took place in a traditional Navy aerial ceremony where both pilots fly in formation towards the ship. The relieving captain signals to his predecessor and the relieved captain flies off into the sun.

“The formation was like any other I have ever done before but this one had a symbolic lead change behind it,” said Haas. “We do lead changes with members in flight all the time but to have one that symbolizes passing the torch was a joy to be a part of.”

Haas said that he and Horan are like the, “Odd Couple” since this is the third command they have served in together. Haas and Horan both were department heads in the “Bounty Hunters” of Fighter Squadron (VF) 2 and senior leadership in Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14.

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege serving with Horan on three separate tours, which we worked very closely together on this one,” said Haas. “The air wing is in fantastic hands and couldn’t have picked a better leader for CVW-9 than him.”

This was the first aerial change of command for both Haas and Horan and although weather was a little rough, the overall ceremony was a big success.

“It was a fun and interesting ceremony that I enjoyed doing,” said Horan. “The weather did add some perplexity to it but it really went off without a hitch and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.”

Now that he and Horan are finally going their separate ways, Haas plans to take with him many fond memories of their time aboard Stennis.

“The Stennis team has been the best boat I have ever been on that sets the best environment for an air wing,” said Haas. “It’s really been a great partnership and the highlight of my professional career. I wish the best for those who continue on deployment and I look forward to reading up about how the ship is doing in the years to come.”

Horan said the ship and the Strike Group bent over backwards to make the change of command a memorable moment.

“Haas is a great leader, inspiring individual and a very close personal friend who I am sad to see go,” said Horan. “Today was a very bittersweet moment for me because it was an honor to share this tour with him. He will be missed.”

With the imminent departure of Capt. Haas, Horan took more of a leadership role in preparation for the upcoming deployment and feels strongly about airwing capabilities.

“We both knew that he wouldn’t be around for the upcoming deployment, so he gave me a lot more say into how we executed the air wing’s mission,” said Horan.

Capt. Haas is slated to become Chief of Staff of Commander Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Story & Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen O’keefe

A properly functioning Strike Group is integral to mission readiness, and exercises simulating group sail help prepare ships for complicated tactical maneuvers.

Members of John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), guided missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Dewey (DDG 105), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and frigate USS Ford (FFG 54), came together Wednesday in preparation for a mid-2011 deployment.

“Transiting together prepares the entire strike group for future missions,” said Tactical Action Officer Ens. Patrick Emery. “We learn to do things using muscle memory. If we practice over and over again we won’t analyze a situation when it happens. We will just react appropriately.”

Over the course of the next few months the strike group assets will integrate and train in working together as a cohesive unit.

“When we work as a group instead of just individual ships we find out how everything works,” said Assistant Combat Direction Center Officer Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chad Guerrero. “Instead of training on communications with someone across the room, personnel actually use actual circuits to treat a training situation like it is the real deal.”

Maintaining a combat ready strike group is an important component of America’s maritime strategy, defending America’s interests at home and abroad.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dugan Flynn
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

Stennis Sailors may see a few familiar faces as well as a lot of new ones from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 this underway.

Of the eight embarked squadrons aboard the Stennis and one beach detachment, half are brand new to the ship.

HSC-8 Eightballers flying the MH-60S Knighthawk; HSM-71 Raptors flying the MH-60R Sea Hawk; VAW-112 Golden Hawks flying the E-2C Hawkeye and VRC-30 Providers flying the C-2A Greyhound have served aboard Stennis in the past.

New squadrons to Stennis, VAQ-133 Wizards flying the EA-6B Prowler; VFA-192 Golden Dragons and VFA-97 Warhawks flying the F/A-18C; VFA-14 Tophatters and VFA-41 Black Aces flying the F/A- 18E/F Super Hornets respectively are joining the Stennis team for the first time.

“The easiest transition for us really, has been the ship,” said CVW- 9 Command Master Chief (EAWS/ SCWS) William Rosch. “Stennis has really welcomed us with open arms from the beginning.”

As of Feb. 1st, the pilots have completed 724 traps and flown a total of 933 flight hours.

“We are knee deep in the work-up cycle,” said Lieutenant Junior Grade Chapelle Topher, a naval aviator with VFA-192 Golden Dragons. “Right now we are working on our cyclic operation routine, night qualifications and our tanking qualifications. We are excited about getting ready for deployment.”

Stennis crewmembers may notice many CVW-9 Sailors working with them beyond flight deck and in the hangar bay.

“I like working with ship’s company,” said Master at Arms 3rd Class Lauren Manning. “In security, I work with them every day. It’s good to have people that know their way around the ship. There are a lot of different personalities on Stennis.”

Squadrons are made up of more than just pilots and mechanics. The multitude of rates the squadrons bring with them keep Stennis functioning effortlessly despite the extra personnel aboard.

“We’ve got everyone from CSs to MAs with us,” said Rosch. “They assist in everything from keeping berthing clean to cooking meals. It’s all interconnected to help us get the job done and not worry about the smaller problems.”

Members of CVW-9 get to experience life aboard a ship while still enjoying the comfort of friendly faces.

“Squadron life is a lot different from shipboard life,” said Manning. “Squadrons are a lot smaller; on a ship you see a new face every day. It’s like living in a small community in a big city. It’s nice to have your squadron on the ship because you know they have your back.”

Rosch says CVW-9 plays an important role for Stennis.

“Without us, Stennis wouldn’t be able to complete the mission,” said Rosch. “But at the same time, we stress to our people the importance that without Stennis, we could not complete our mission. It goes hand in hand.”

The support that Stennis crewmembers provide CVW-9 enables the individual Sailor to get the job done.

“If a Sailor is constantly worried about not getting enough pay, enough food or any number of little problems, it makes it difficult for them to do their job,” said Rosch. “But with Stennis, they’ve minimized those worries so we can do our jobs effectively.”

In fact, CVW-9 and Stennis will participate in the Centennial of Naval Aviation together in San Diego on Feb. 12.

Additional unit, group and joint training will ensure fleet mission readiness for deployment.

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