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Awards

On 29 January Carl Vinson (CVN 70) received the 2008 Retention Excellence Award.

On 18 February Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) earned the Atlantic Fleet Battle E while Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) earned the Pacific Fleet Battle E.

On 20 February NAS Key West, Fla., won the 2008 CNO Safety Ashore Award in the small, nonindustrial category. NAS Jacksonville, Fla., won in the large installation category. This was NAS Jacksonville's fourth time winning the award.

On 28 February Fleet Readiness Center Southwest won the 2008 CNO Environmental Award for the industrial installation category.

Milestones

On 9 November 2008 HS-4 surpassed 25,000 Class A mishapfree flight hours

On 19 January Cdr. Richard J. Zins of VFA-87 completed his 1,000th carrier arrested landing during flight operations aboard Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

Scan Pattern

On 10 January Abraham Lincoln (CVN 70) tested its Mobile Cleaning Reclaim Recycle System (MCRRS) which employs an enviornmentally safe method of cleaning the ship's nonskid flight deck.

On 30 January Sea Control Wing Atlantic Fleet deactivated.

On 16 February George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) returned to NS Norfolk, Va., after completing builder's sea trials that began on 13 February.

On 17 February pilots from VAQ-129 began carrier landing training with the EA-18G Growler aboard Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) off the California coast.

On 19 February the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing added the Navy Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system as part of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. BAMS is controlled from NAS Patuxent River, Md.

On 8 March the USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) was christened and launched at General Dynamics NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego, Calif. The ship is named in honor of former Naval Aviator and Mercury Astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra Jr., who died in 2007.

On the Move

On 18 December 2008 HSL-43 Det 6 returned to NAS North Island, Calif., after a six-month deployment aboard Howard (DDG 83).

On 13 January the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group--John C. Stennis (CVN 74), with embarked CVW-9, DESRON-21, Antietam (CG 54), Kidd (DDG 100), and Preble (DDG 88)--departed Bremerton, Wash., for a Western Pacific deployment. Deploying with CVW-9 was HSM-71, the first carrier-based HSM squadron, making its maiden deployment.

On 26 January Essex (LHD 2), with embarked 31st MEU, departed Sasebo, Japan, for its annual spring patrol.

On 21 February Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) with embarked CVW-7, DESRON-28, Bainbridge (DDG 96), Halyburton (FFG 40), and Scranton (SSN 576) departed NS Norfolk, Va., while Vicksburg (CG 69) and Gettysburg (CG 64) departed NS Mayport, Fla., for a deployment as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Mishaps

On 10 February a Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center MH-60S Seahawk suffered class A damage and two crew members were injured in a hard landing at NAS Fallon, Nev.

Two F/A-18A + Hornets of VFA-87 suffered Class A damage from a midair collision during flight operations from Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the North Arabian Sea on 2 February. Both aircraft recovered safely on the carrier.

Rescues

On 8 February Vella Gulf (CG 72) with embarked HSL-42 assisted a fishing vessel in distress in the Gulf of Aden. An SH-60B from HSL-42 spotted the dhow dead in the water. A boarding party from Vella Gulf fixed an engine problem, recharged the boat's batteries, filled the fuel tanks, and gave the crew fresh water, enabling the dhow to get underway the next morning.

On 26 February Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) crewmembers used a rigid-hull inflatable boat to rescue a fellow crew member who had fallen overboard while the carrier was transiting the Atlantic Ocean.

Outreach

On 18 February sailors from John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and CVW-9 visited Saint Barnabas homeless shelter in Hong Kong to volunteer to clean and help maintain the shelter. Sailors and Marines participated in more than 14 community service projects while in port.

On 19 February the Health Services Department from Carl Vinson (CVN 70) sent medical books to doctors in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Medical Libraries.

On 21 February sailors from Essex (LHD 2) volunteered at the Ban Bang Lamung Boys Home Foundation in Laem Chabang, Thailand. During the visit the crew painted buildings and taught children English.

On 12 March sailors from Carl Vinson (CVN 70) provided mentorship and tutoring in various subjects for students at Denbigh High School Aviation Academy in Newport News, Va.

On 5 March sailors and Marines from Iwo Jima (LHD 7) cleaned Cassa Delia Beneficenza Orphanage in Floridia, Sicily.

RELATED ARTICLE: Adm. Wesley L. McDonald, USN, 1924-2009

Adm. Wesley L. McDonald, who commanded the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and led the first strike against North Vietnam in 1964, died at his home in Arlington, Va., on 8 February. He was 84.

McDonald was born in Arlington, Va., on 26 July 1924 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. He served aboard Philippine Sea (CVA 47) and participated in Operation High Jump, the 1946-1947 South Pole expedition of RAdm. Robert E. Byrd. McDonald entered flight training in 1948 and was designated a Naval Aviator on 20 June 1950.

As CO of VA-56 aboard Ticonderoga (CVA 14) on 5 August 1964, McDonald served as flight leader in a strike against the North Vietnamese port of Vinh during Operation Pierce Arrow. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the strike after the destroyer Turner Joy (DD 951) reported being attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

McDonald graduated from the National Defense University's War College in 1969 and served as CO of Coral Sea (CVA 43) in 1970-1971. While serving as commander U.S. Atlantic Command, Adm. McDonald planned and commanded Operation Urgent Fury in October 1983. The operation included the invasion of Grenada which had become a staging ground for the Cuban military. Soldiers and Marines also rescued American medical students on the island.

Adm. McDonald summed up the success of Operation Urgent Fury in an address before the House Armed Services Committee in 1984. "History should reflect that the operation was a complete success," he said. "All phases of the assigned mission were accomplished. U.S. citizens were protected and evacuated. The opposing forces were neutralized. The situation stabilized with no additional Cuban intervention. U.S. students have returned to resume their studies at the medical school and tourism is steadily increasing. And, most importantly, a lawful, democratic government has been restored."

McDonald retired from the Navy in 1985.

Edited by MC1 Diane Rubin and MC3 Julia A. Casper
COPYRIGHT 2009 Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Richard J. Zins, Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan awarded; seahawk and aircraft accidents
Author:Rubin, Diane; Casper, Julia A.
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Article Type:Awards list
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:1093
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