NewsBytes 2004/5


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December 2nd: WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy announced Dec. 2 that USS George Washington (CVN 73) will replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the forward-deployed aircraft carrier in the western Pacific and will arrive in Yokosuka, Japan, in 2008.

November 14th: ABOARD USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS) -- Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 stationed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) continued support of Operation Steel Curtain (OSC) throughout the second week of November, conducting five consecutive days of strikes against terrorist targets in support of coalition troops in Iraq.

Coalition ground forces consisting of 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2,500 U.S. Marines began the offensive Nov. 4 near the town of Husaybah near the Iraq/Syria border.

F-14 Tomcats assigned to Fighter Squadron (VF) 213 and VF-31, along with F/A-18s assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15, have conducted several strikes on locations being used by Anti-Iraqi Force (AIF) personnel for strategic firing positions against U.S. Marines and coalition ground forces. Since Nov. 6, CVW 8 has flown nearly 400 sorties in support of OSC.

October 29th: When Kitty Hawk retires in 2008, Japan has agreed that a Nimitz class carrier will replace her as a forward deployed carrier.

October 25th: TR achieves a new milestone with the recovery of its 160,000th aircraft over the ship’s 19-year history.

October 14th: NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- An F/A-18C Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 crashed about 8:30 a.m. Oct. 14, 60 miles west of Key West, Fla., while on a routine training mission.

The pilot ejected and was recovered by a Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) boat, transferred to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West SAR helicopter and transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.

October 13th: US Navy's 230th birthday. Oct. 13, 1775, Congress voted to arm two small ships and send them on a cruise to intercept British transports.

September 27th: NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- A memorial service was held aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Sept. 27 in memory of two naval officers from Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32 who died Sept. 21 in an S-3B Viking jet crash.

Navy Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Blake, 33, a native of Spencer, Neb. and Naval Flight Officer Lt. Cmdr. Scott T. Bracher, 33, of Malverne, N.Y., died while making an approach to land at NAS Jacksonville.

July 21st 2005: Two Super Hornets Collide NAVAL AIR STATION LEMOORE, Calif. (NNS) -- Two Super Hornets based at Naval Air Station Lemoore experienced a mid-air collision while on a routine training mission July 18, killing one naval aviator and injuring two.

Lt. Bruce L. Clark of Orange Park, Fla., 31, died in the incident.

Lt. Noel Sawatzky and Lt. John Bonenfant were recovered by search and rescue crews July 18; they are currently in the Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, Calif., and were reported in fair condition.

The mishap occurred in a remote training area about 35 nautical miles northeast of Ridgecrest, Calif., over Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

The aircraft involved were an F/A-18E (single seat) and an F/A-18F (two seat) Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122. No live ordnance was aboard.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.
(US Navy)

May 14th 2005: Carrier Sunk in Atlantic The ex-America finally sank off Carolina after a series of explosions over 25 days. America had been used for testing. She is 6,000 ft down.  America had been decommissioned in 1996.

May 3rd: Vinson Loses 2 Hornets BAGHDAD, Iraq (NNS) -- At approximately 10:10 p.m. May 2, contact was lost with two U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Status of the crew members is unknown at this time. Search efforts are currently underway. (US Navy)

May 1st: Battle E for Vinson. USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- The crew of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was awarded the 2004 Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") for West Coast carriers April 18.

The hard-earned award was announced to the crew in a naval message from Vice Adm. James Zortman, commander of Naval Air Forces. This award marks the “Gold Eagle’s” fourth in 25 years of honorable service. Vinson received its last Battle E in 2002. (US Navy)

March 19th: America Live Fire Target. WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The decommissioned aircraft carrier, ex-America (CV 66) departed the Navy’s Inactive Fleet Facility April 19 for its final and vital mission as a live-fire test and evaluation, and weapons effect platform for the next generation aircraft carrier.

The third Navy ship to carry the name, USS America, CV 66 sailed the world’s oceans for more than 30 years as a symbol of freedom and democracy. From the day America was commissioned Jan. 23, 1965, until her decommissioning Aug. 9, 1996, the ship played a significant role in almost every conflict the United States faced.

March 29th: NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) (CVN 69) was redelivered to the fleet March 25, after a four-year, approximately $2.5 billion dollar Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) that brought state-of-the-art equipment and technology to one of America’s premier fighting platforms.

The RCOH included the reconstruction of the ship’s island, the installation of a new antenna mast, the installation of a new radar tower, an upgrade and modernization of combat and communication systems, overhaul of the ship's hull, mechanical and electrical systems, and the refueling of her two nuclear reactors.
(US Navy)

March 21st: JFK to be Mothballed JFK costs $300M a year to run and SecNav and CNO reckons that is too much for a 37 year old ship. Naturally the folks at it's homeport of Mayport Fla. beg to differ. Work on mothballing the ship is expected to begin this September reducing the fleet to 11 ships.

When the Kitty Hawk is decommissioned in 2008, what will replace her, not a nuke as Japan wont't have any of that. So JFK may come back once again.

February 1st 2005: The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Strike Group will depart San Diego Feb. 1 to begin an around-the-world deployment.

January 3rd 2005: As the CNO told Navy and Marine Corps News in a recent interview, the Navy had a banner year in 2004. One of the most notable accomplishments was execution of the Navy's Fleet Response Plan. The Fleet maintained "6+2" readiness to consistently deliver six forward-deployed or ready-to-surge carrier strike groups (CSG), plus two additional CSGs in 90 days or less. Other major accomplishments include transitioning to new mission areas including missile defense, providing more support for land forces fighting the global war on terrorism, and enhancing organizational alignment of the Navy's people, capabilities and infrastructure.

Current Readiness: "We have to get to the fight faster to seize and retain the initiative. That requires increasing the operational availability of our forces by continuing to refine and test the Fleet Response Plan (FRP)." CNO said a key word in the Navy's future is surge, adding that, "if a resource doesn't have surge capability we are not going to own it." The number one priority is taking the fight to the enemy. To accomplish this, the Navy will also improve its maritime security cooperation initiatives with allied navies and also provide homeland security and force protection.

"Positive change is the bridge to our future. The business of the Navy will always be combat, and victory is both our mission and our heritage. Therefore, my guidance to you this year is to bridge to the future, taking us from today's fight to tomorrow's victories."

January 2nd 2005: While the reported dead in Iraq is well reported (1,336 at present), the larger picture of over 10,000 wounded is often overlooked. A large number of those will have life long disabilities. So the war goes on...