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HistoryVAW-126 HistoryHistory

Circa 1991

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Aviation Units Involved in the Persian Gulf War (16 January–27 February 1991)...This Squadron Mentioned...Naval Historical Center ADOBE Download File: http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/APP29.PDF [27MAY2003]
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Circa 1989

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July-August 1989 "...Awards - Change-Of-Command - Page 26, 29, and 31 - Naval Aviation News - July-August 1989..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1989/ja89.pdf [22OCT2004]

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Circa 1982

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1982 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 44, 45 and 46 - Naval Aviation News - August 1982..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1982/aug82.pdf [15OCT2004]

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Circa 1981

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation June 1981 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 39 to 41 - Naval Aviation News - June 1981..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1981/jun81.pdf [13OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation April 1981 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 32 to 35 - Naval Aviation News - April 1981..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1981/apr81.pdf [13OCT2004]

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Circa 1974

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1974 "...Aviation Awards - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - December 1974..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1974/dec74.pdf [01OCT2004]

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Circa 1971

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1971 "...FY-1971 Safety Awardees Named - Naval Aviation News - November 1971..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1971/nov71.pdf [25SEP2004]

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Circa 1969

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VAW-126 History..." http://www.navy.mil/homepages/vaw126/history/history.htm [04AUG2002]

Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SIX is an integral part of the tactical air forces of the United States Navy. VAW-126 is one of seven Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadrons based in Norfolk. Equipped with four E-2C "Hawkeye" aircraft, the squadron's primary mission is long range airborne early warning in defense of the Carrier Battle Group. In addition, the squadron plays a vital role in such diverse operations as fighter intercept and air strike control, ocean surveillance and search and rescue coordination.

VAW-126 was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia on the 1st of April, 1969. Originally named "CLOSEOUT," the new squadron, with its four E-2A aircraft, was made part of Attack Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN assigned to the USS FORRESTAL (CV 59). Following completion of their first deployment in July 1970, the squadron transitioned to the E-2B. The command won accolades early in its history, winning the highly coveted COMNAVAIRLANT Battle Readiness Efficiency "E" and the CNO Safety Award in 1971. The squadron won the Battle "E" a second time in 1974.

While homeward bound in September 1974, the squadron transferred to the USS AMERICA (CV 66) from the USS FORRESTAL (CV 59). This also marked VAW-126's final E-2B flying as well. Following their return to Norfolk in October 1974, the squadron began its transition to the E-2C Hawkeye.

In May 1976, the CLOSEOUTS began the first of many trips moving the entire squadron back and forth between Norfolk and Miramar to operate with CVW-9 and prepare for their upcoming deployment on the USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64). In May 1978, VAW-126 returned to the West Coast for the squadron's second and final Western Pacific deployment.

The CLOSEOUTS changed their name to SEAHAWKS in memory of their Commanding Officer, CDR Vady Clark, who passed away suddenly in September 1979.

The SEAHAWKS joined the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67)/CVW-1 team upon returning to the East coast. In July 1981, VAW-126 joined CVW-3 which replaced CVW-1 as the air wing deployed aboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67). In addition to receiving the 1983 Battle "E," the squadron also won the COMNAVAIRLANT "Silver Anchor" award for superior retention and the Airborne Early Warning Excellence Award as the best VAW squadron in the Navy. The SEAHAWKS also won the 1984 COMNAVAIRLANT "Golden Anchor" Award for outstanding personnel retention.

The SEAHAWKS were awarded the Battle "E," and Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1988. In early January 1989 two Libyan MiG-23 "Flogger" aircraft were shot down by SEAHAWK controlled fighters.

The SEAHAWKS set sail with the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Battle Group in August 1990 for the Red Sea and Operation Desert Shield. During the Desert Shield/Desert Storm Campaign the SEAHAWKS flew over 2850 hours. On June 8th, the squadron led a mixture of CVW-3 aircraft in a Desert Storm victory fly-by in Washington, D.C.

In late 1993 the CVW-3 team was reassigned to the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and began preparing for an October 1994 Mediterranean deployment. VAW-126 participated in the first Joint Task Group operating in the Arabian Gulf and Adriatic Sea from October 1994 through April 1995. The Seahawks were recently awarded the 1994 Battle "E" and the 1994 Airborne Early Warning Excellence award.

In late 1995 the CVW-3 team was once again reassigned. This time the air wing joins the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) Battle Group. The squadron began preparations for deployment aboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) in Spring of 1996. During the first few months of the new year VAW-126 flew in support of several exercises (Unified Endeavor, Unified Spirit, and several Coastal Carnage operations). The Seahawks also acted as SAR support for several Shuttle launches.

VAW-126 participated in TSTA I/II and then flew out to Fallon, Nevada. During these two detachments, the squadron performed well and trained intensively for its mission as a Airborne Battle Commander. The SEAHAWKS boarded USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) for two months of training during the TSTA III/COMPTUEX phase of their workups.

In November 1996, VAW-126 deployed aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) for JTG 97-1. Riddled with port visits, the cruise proved to be very busy during the squadron's at sea periods. In it's first few months the squadron worked with many NATO countries in several training evolutions. VAW-126 participated in Juniper Stallion, US/French PASSEX, INVITEX, and was also involved in Bosnian operations. In March 97, CVN-71 with VAW-126 transited the Suez to work with 5th fleet in Persian Gulf operations. By mid-April, the Battlegroup was back in the Mediterranean conducting exercises with both the Egyptians and the Spanish. The turnover with the USS John F. Kennedy occurred on 11 May 1997 and VAW-126 returned home to Norfolk on 22 May 1997.

The squadron performed Counter Narcotic Operations in Puerto Rico from 20 August 97 to 16 October 97. Although based out of Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, the squadron occasionally worked out of Howard Air Force Base, Panama and Curacao, a small island North of Venezuela.

Although home for a few months, VAW-126 continues to provide low level radar coverage several weekends each month for Cuban "Brothers to the Rescue" operations. A small detachment was also sent to Puerto Rico for Orange Air in the end of November 1997.

Following a Carrier Qualification period on board the USS ENTERPRISE, "workups", or pre-deployment training, officially began for VAW-126 in February 98 . The squadron left for Fallon, Nevada for its first SFARP (Strike Fighter Air Combat Maneuvering Readiness Program) with the VF-32 Swordsmen. Within a week of returning to Norfolk, VAW-126 began its second SFARP training with VFA-37 and VFA-105 out of Jacksonville, FL. The training concluded with one week in Fallon.

The first shipboard training was TSTA 1/2 on board the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) from 16 April 98 to 1 May 98. Airwing training in Fallon, Nevada began 26 May 98 for three and a half weeks of intense strike planning and execution, battlespace management, and air intercept control.

The Seahawks deployed on USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in December 1998. Along with Airwing Three and the Enterprise Team, the Seahawks were the primary command and control platform during Operation Desert Fox over southern Iraq during December 1999. The Enterprise team also participated in Operation Deliberate Forge over the tumultuous Kosovo region in the Adriatic Sea before returning home in May, 1999.

After a short reunion with families and friends, the Seahawks deployed to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Counter-Narcotic Operations in July, 1999. Again, the E-2C Hawkeye provided "round-the-clock" radar coverage of the Caribbean Sea in effort to help America's "War on Drugs."

Shortly after the return to Norfolk in September, the squadron was called on to provide assistance in the local relief effort brought on by Hurricane Floyd, which devastated the Carolina and Virginia coast.

2000 was a busy year as the Seahawks detached to NAS Key West, FL in February and April in support of SFARP training and the month of June was spent at NAS Fallon, NV for advanced airwing weapons proficiency and overland strike training. The Seahawks, along with Carrier Airwing Three (CVW-3) found a new home aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), the newest nuclear powered carrier in the fleet. CVW-3 was aboard for TSTA 1/2 in May, 2000, and worked-up along with the Truman Battle Group during COMPTUEX (July - Sept) and JTFEX (October).

VAW-126 deployed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on her maiden voyage in November 2000. For over four months, the Seahawks led CVW-3 in the skies over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the United Nation's "No-Fly Zone." CVW-3 and the Seahawks were called on to participate in the largest joint strike since Operation Desert Fox, striking targets north of the 33 parallel in February, 2001. A "Golden Wrench" winning maintenance team provided 850+ FMC flight hours on deployment. Only one scheduled sortie was missed despite support with parts built during the Nixon administration. SEAHAWK pilots grabbed two "Top Tens" and three "Top Five Nuggets". Perhaps the most telling sign of our success and also our greatest honor has been the unprecedented number of sailors we have had the privilege to reenlist. The Seahawks set the standard with the highest reenlistment rate in both the Air Wing and among E-2 squadrons, reenlisting 18 sailors and counting.

Port visits included Souda Bay, Crete - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Bahrain - Marmaris, Turkey, and Rhodes, Greece.

The Seahawks returned from a VERY successful deployment in May, 2001 and spent the summer with their families and loved ones.

In September 2001, the Seahawks returned to NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Counter Narcotics Operations. They returned home in early October to participate in Homeland Defense.

"VAW-126 Summary Page"