Tag Archives: Carrier Air Wing 5

35 Years Ago: WWII Meets Cold War

A beautiful port bow view of the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41, ex-CVB/CVA-41) “somewhere in the Philipine Sea” as she is underway with Carrier Air Wing 5 (CARAIRWING FIVE) embarked, early January 1987.

Laid down on 27 October 1943 at Newport News as the lead ship in a class designed to carry a whopping 137 aircraft to fight the Empire of Japan, Midway was a week and a day too late for her intended task, commissioned on 10 September 1945.

Much modified with an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck in a three-year conversion in the mid-1950s, she would continue to operate in the jet era, largely with CVW-5 embarked. Midway took CVW-5 to Vietnam twice (April 16, 1971 – November 6, 1971 and September 11, 1973 – October 5, 1973) then continued to operate the wing, forward deployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, until August 1991.

Notably, her 1987 deployment was the first for Midway to carry the F/A-18A/B Hornet. VF-151 of CVW-5 had, on 25 March 1986, conducted the final carrier launching of a Navy fleet F-4S Phantom II off the carrier during flight operations in the East China Sea, closing out an era.

She carried three F-18 Hornet squadrons, as she was unable to operate F-14s for an extended amount of time and the F-4 had been retired.

Her Hornet squadrons included VFA-195 (Dambusters,) VFA-151 (Vigilantes) and VFA-192 (Golden Dragons) between 1986 and 1991. NARA DN-ST-93-01289 CVW-5

Decommissioned 11 April 1992– only five years after the above image– Midway is currently the largest naval museum ship in the world, and the only aircraft carrier commissoned after WWII that is preserved and open to the public. With all of the Navy’s conventional flattops now consigned to the scrappers, she will likley hold on to both of those titles.

Meanwhile, CVW-5 is still around and still in Japan, attached to forward-deployed Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 and flagship USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)— and yes, they still fly Hornets, albeit of the Super type.

Climb Mount…Fuji

World War II in the Pacific began (unless you ask the Chinese or French) on 2 December 1941 with the famous “Niitakayama Nobore” (Climb Mount Niitaka) signal sent to Nagumo’s flagship to clear the way for Yamamoto Kido Butai force of a half-dozen aircraft carriers to turn towards Hawaii and attack Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 7th.

Interestingly, the U.S. military has, since the final days of WWII, instituted the common practice of posing warplanes over Mount Fujisan, just outside of Tokyo, which I always took as a bit of historic payback.

Corsairs Fringe Fuji. Painting, Wash and Scratch Board by Standish Backus 1945 NHHC 88-186-AC

Corsairs Fringe Fuji. Painting, Wash and Scratch Board by Standish Backus 1945 NHHC 88-186-AC

Grumman F9F-6 Cougar Jet Fighters Fly in formation over Mount Fuji, Japan, 12 December 1954. They are from USS YORKTOWN's (CVA-10), VF -153. Plane in foreground is BU 128209. 80-G-K- 17821

Grumman F9F-6 Cougar Jet Fighters Fly in formation over Mount Fuji, Japan, 12 December 1954. They are from USS YORKTOWN’s (CVA-10), VF -153. Plane in the foreground is BU 128209. 80-G-K- 17821

F9F Panthers over Mt. Fuji, c.1957

F9F Panthers over Mt. Fuji, c.1957

Formation of VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

Formation of VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

MOUNT FUJI, Japan (April 12, 2007) - Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 perform a formation flight in front of Mount Fuji. CVW-5 is embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk operates from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

MOUNT FUJI, Japan (April 12, 2007) – Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 perform a formation flight in front of Mount Fuji. CVW-5 is embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters past Mount Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, March 12, 2017. The squadron, currently supporting Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, validated the long-range capability of auxiliary fuel tanks on their H-1 platform helicopters by flying 314 nautical miles during one leg of the four-day mission, March 10. These aircrafts’ extended range is crucial to maintaining a stronger, more capable forward-deployed force in readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The squadron is based out of Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez)

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters past Mount Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, March 12, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez)