Squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 flew aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Sept. 9, for carrier qualifications as part of Tailored Ship’s Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) as part of the basic phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan.
“Team Battle Axe is thrilled to be aboard the Mighty Ike once again and join the best crew in the fleet,” said Capt. Trevor Estes, commander of CVW 3. “The training our aviators and air crew will accomplish during carrier qualifications will ensure we are all ready to meet the nation’s call at a moment’s notice as the ship becomes ready to fight. With grit and determination, CVW 3 will continue to improve on its successes and do our part to make Ike greater each day.”
CVW 3 squadrons from around the United States have joined Ike’s crew for the assessment, which will evaluate Ike and the embarked air wing as an integrated team and on their proficiency in a wide range of mission critical areas while maintaining the ability to survive complex casualty control scenarios.
The aircraft and crew of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 is comprised of HSC 7, the “Swamp Foxes” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, the “Screwtops” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123, the “Fighting Swordsmen” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, the “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, the “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83 and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131.
“We’re coming aboard Ike to help out with flight operations and conduct carrier qualifications,” said Lt. Ashley Strong, a naval aviator attached to the “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7. “We’ll be standing plane guard, we’ll be the primary search and rescue asset for the boat, then we’re here for cargo and medical evacuations, anything that’s needed. It’s good to get everyone together and ready for deployment.”
TSTA/FEP, the final step of the basic phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, is a unit-level training designed to prepare the ship, its crew and embarked air wing for full integration into a carrier strike group by measuring proficiency in a wide-range of mission-critical operation areas. For TSTA/FEP, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and Afloat Training Group (ATG) Atlantic sends a specialized group of Sailors to asses training teams on their ability to train the crew on a variety of drills, including medical emergencies, general quarters responses, and other evolutions to evaluate the performance of Ike and air wing Sailors.
The squadrons and staff of CVW 3 are part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, also known as the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG, which includes Ike, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61), USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); and the ships and staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26.