USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) concluded its five-day Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) carrier qualifications (CQ) in the Atlantic Ocean, April 20.
Fleet Replacement Squadron CQ consists of both day and night operations.
The ship and its crew of more than 3,000 Sailors worked in unison with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 around the clock to help pilots successfully complete the final stages of their training.
"We flew every day from approximately 1 p.m. until 1 a.m., and met our mark of around 600 traps," said Lt. Kent Davis, flight deck officer. "It's tougher than regular flight operations."
Regular flight operations can involve launching 2-3 aircraft at a time with 1-2 hours between launches. Pilots would then fly their missions for several hours before returning to the ship. Fleet Replacement Squadron CQ, on the other hand, is a 12-hour continuous flight evolution demanding more from the crew and pilots.
"Normal flight operations are a timed evolution," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Derrick W. Foster, flight deck chief. "Fleet Replacement Squadron CQ is harder; it is extremely fast paced and nonstop not only for the ship's crew but the pilots as well."
In order for FRS pilots to qualify and advance into a fleet squadron the pilot must successfully complete six landings during the day and four landings during the night aboard an aircraft carrier.
"These Fleet Replacement Squadron pilots have completed daytime carrier operations in the past, but this week's evolution marked the first arrested night landings of their careers," said Davis.
Forty-one pilots qualified on their squadron specific aircraft, consisting of either F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, E-2C Hawkeye, or C-2A Greyhounds during the FRS CQ.
"This was one of the biggest CQ periods I've done on the Bush," said Davis. "With everyone working together it was completed safely and efficiently."
The Bush is currently conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean, strengthening the Navy's forward operating and war fighting ability.
Source: US Navy
Date: Apr 22, 2013