By Journalist 3rd Class Jason Thompson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs.
ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (Jul. 8, 2004) - Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 celebrated its 66th birthday July 1 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (Big E).
The ship and its embarked air wing are deployed to the Eastern Atlantic conducting exercises in support of Summer Pulse ’04.
CVW-1 Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Mills said it’s fitting for the air wing to celebrate underway.
“Our charter is to execute at sea – to execute what we’ve been trained to do,” said Mills.
CVW-1 was commissioned July 1, 1938. The air wing has served aboard 19 aircraft carriers and made 46 major deployments since its inception. The Navy’s first carrier air wing began its partnership with the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Big E, in 1962 for Enterprise’s shakedown cruise and fleet review for President John F. Kennedy.
CVW-1’s motto is “Primus et Principes,” Latin for “First and Foremost.” CVW-1 Command Master Chief (AW) Tim Gotkiewicz says it’s no surprise the air wing sustains such a great reputation.
“CVW-1 maintains a standard that can’t be taught. I see it all the time in the way the crews handle themselves and the quality of their work,” Gotkiewicz said.
CVW-1 has been on the frontlines of naval aviation history. The air wing unveiled the F-14A Tomcat and S-3A Viking in 1975, flew more than 1,300 sorties into Kuwait in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, while deployed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (DDG 80), relieved Big E to continue the attacks on the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
By the end of 2001, Carrier Air Wing 1 flew 7,086 sorties and dropped 800 tons of ordnance.
“When we were on the Theodore Roosevelt we set the record for consecutive days at sea and we were one of the primary factors for the downfall of the Taliban,” said Gotkiewicz.
Mills was the Commander, Carrier Group 8 operations officer aboard Roosevelt during the initial strikes.
“As the flag operations officer, I had a first-hand knowledge of the air wing. I was impressed with the history of CVW-1. The leadership and air wing execution convinced me that I wanted to be a member of the CVW-1 team,” said Mills.
Carrier Air Wing 1 continued to support Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom aboard USS Enterprise. During the operations, the air wing has flown more than 11,000 sorties resulting in nearly 20,000 flight hours with a sortie completion rate of 99 percent.
As Summer Pulse ‘04 ushers in a new era of Navy combat capability, Mills understands CVW-1’s place in U.S. naval history and seeks to continue the success of his predecessors.
“There’s heritage here. It just resounds,” said Mills. “We carry out our nation’s tasking and we do it with pride. We recognize our forefathers and the rich history of the air wing. My charter, the air wing’s charter, will ensure we carry on the tradition.”
Summer Pulse '04 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy's first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP).
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