A carrier air wing (abbreviated CVW) is an operational naval aviation organization composed of several aircraft squadrons and detachments of various types of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. Organized, equipped and trained to conduct modern US Navy carrier air operations while embarked aboard aircraft carriers, the various squadrons in an air wing have different, complementary (and sometimes overlapping) missions, and provide most of the striking power and electronic warfare capabilities of a carrier battle group (CVBG). While the CVBG term is still used by other nations, the CVBG in US parlance is now known as a carrier strike group (CSG).
Initially and during WWII, the commander of the air group (known as the "CAG") was the most senior officer of the embarked squadrons and was expected to personally lead all major strike operations, co-ordinating the attacks of the carrier's fighter, bomber, and torpedo planes in combat. The CAG was a department head of the ship reporting to the carrier's commanding officer.
In 1963 when Carrier Air Groups were retitled Wings, the commander retained the legacy title of "CAG" which continues to this day.
A modern carrier air wing has a small command staff of 16–20 officers and approximately 20 enlisted personnel. It is headed by the CAG who is a Navy Captain with an aeronautical designation as a Naval Aviator or Naval Flight Officer.
On June 20, 1967, CVW-15 reported aboard USS Coral Sea for its 3rd Vietnam Combat Cruise. In preparation for deployment, personnel from each squadron are selected as specialists to be assigned to the Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) aboard ship.
The aircraft squadrons that make up CVW-15 for the USS Coral Sea 3rd and 4th Vietnam Combat Cruises are listed within the tables below the text on this document.
Without doubt all aircraft within the air wing are valuable assets, but one in particular stands out worthy of special mention, the A-3 Skywarrior Whale of the South China Sea.
USS Coral Sea 6th WESPAC Deployment
In the tables at left and below select the squadron
USS Coral Sea 7th WESPAC Deployment
|Carrier Air Wing 15 (NL) |
4th CVA-43 Vietnam Combat Cruise
Sep 7, 1968 ... Apr 18, 1969
|VA-153||Blue Tail Flies||A-4E|
|VFP-63 DET 43||Eyes of the Fleet||RF-8G|
|VAQ-130* DET 43||Zappers||EKA-3B|
|VAH-10** DET 43||Vikings||KA-3B|
|HC-1 DET 43||Pacific Fleet Angles||UH-2C|
| * VAW-13 re-designated VAQ-130 on Oct 1, 1968 |
** VAH-10 re-designated VAQ-129 on Sep 1, 1970