Navy Schedules Shutdown of Air Wing, Three Squadrons
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has set in motion plans to shut down the staff of its 10th carrier air wing and three carrier-based aviation squadrons. The moves come even as political momentum builds to grow the size U.S. fleet, including building the aircraft carrier fleet back to 12 carriers.
The Navy will deactivate Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) effective March 31, Cmdr. Jeanette D. Groeneveld, spokeswoman for commander. Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mailed response to Seapower. CVW-14 has been only a shell of its former self since 2012, when initial plans were made to deactivate it but later reversed.
The wing, based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, Calif., has been under-strength in squadrons and has not deployed since 2011. The deactivation now is authorized by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the Navy to reduce the number of CVWs to nine until the number of deployable carriers can fully support a 10th wing, or until Oct 1, 2025, whichever comes first, at which time the Navy will return to a strength of 10 CVWs.
The three squadrons scheduled for deactivation include are Strike Fighter 15 (VFA-15), an F/A-18C squadron based at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. VFA-15 will be deactivated on May 31, although its farewell ceremonies may be held earlier. The squadron gave up its last aircraft in December, according to another source.
“This removes the requirement to move a squadron from Oceana to Lemoore in 2017 as was originally planned,” Groeneveld said.
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112 (VAW-112), an E-2C squadron based at NAS Point Mugu, Calif., also will be deactivated on May 31. VAW-112 was “identified as the best squadron based on time in the training cycle and proposed transition to E-2D,” Groeneveld said.
VAW-112’s loss to Point Mugu will be alleviated by the transfer there in June of VAW-115 from Atsugi, Japan. VAW-115 has been replaced in CVW-5 in Japan by VAW-125, an E-2D squadron from Norfolk, Va.
Also being deactivated, on March 31, is Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 (HSC-15), an MH-60S squadron based at NAS North Island, Calif. HSC-15 was “identified as best squadron based on time in the training cycle,” Groeneveld said.