Carrier Air Wing One squadrons return home for the holidays


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Nine squadrons with Carrier Air Wing One returned home over the weekend following an eight-month deployment with the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

The strike group deployed from Naval Station Norfolk on April 11, and spanned the U.S. Navy’s the 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations.

Navy officials said the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing One returned to their home bases between Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16.

On Friday, three squadrons will fly in to Naval Air Station Oceana: The “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, flying F/A-18F Super Hornets; the “Checkmates” of VFA-211, flying F/A-18F Super Hornets; and the “Sunliners” of VFA-81, flying F/A-18E Super Hornets.

Two others returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Chambers Field: The “Seahawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126, flying the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye; and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40, Detachment 1, flying the C-2A “Greyhound.”

A sixth locally based squadron returned to Chambers Field on Saturday: The “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HSC) 11, flying the MH-60S “Sea Hawk.”

The other three squadrons with Carrier Air Wing One flew into their home bases of NAS Jacksonville, Florida; NAS Lemoore, Californial; and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

The air wing participated in many first including a working port visit, along with the rest of the strike group, in July.

In October, they took part in “Trident Juncture” — the largest NATO naval exercise since the Cold War. The Truman became the first aircraft carrier to conduct sustained operations in the Arctic in almost 30 years.

“We’re certainly the firs F-18s in that time frame to fly in that region and it’s pretty cool,” said VFA-81 squadron commander Brian Kesselring.

The air wing also provided the first-ever cross-continent contribution to “Exercise Baltic Operations” from the Adriatic Sea and flew integrated flight operations with French Naval Aviation.

The homecoming of the squadrons was extra joyous for families who are getting their loved ones back before Christmas.

“It makes Christmas wonderful. That’s the best gift I’ll get!” said Brenda Jamison, who drove up from Charlotte, North Carolina, to welcome her son home.

The rest of  the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group pulled into port at Naval Station Norfolk on Sunday, Dec. 17.

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