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Carrier Air Wing Seventeen
CVW17 Logo.jpg
Active 1 April 1944 - Present
Country United States
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Carrier Air Wing
Part of United States Fleet Forces Command
Garrison/HQ NAS Lemoore
USS Carl Vinson
Tail Code NA
Engagements World War II
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Captain Jeffrey "Chilly" Winter

Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17), is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.[1]


To conduct carrier air warfare operations and assist in the planning, control, coordination and integration of eight air wing squadrons and one detachment in support of carrier air warfare including; Interception and destruction of enemy aircraft and missiles in all-weather conditions to establish and maintain local air superiority. All-weather offensive air-to-surface attacks, Detection, localization, and destruction of enemy ships and submarines to establish and maintain local sea control. Aerial photographic, sighting, and electronic intelligence for naval and joint operations. Airborne early warning service to fleet forces and shore warning nets. Airborne electronic countermeasures. In-flight refueling operations to extend the range and the endurance of air wing aircraft and Search and rescue operations.

Subordinate units[]

A VFA-22 F/A-18F Super Hornet displaying the new tail code "NA" in February 2013.

CVW-17 consists of nine Squadrons[2][3]

Code Insignia Squadron Nickname Assigned Aircraft
VFA-22 40px Strike Fighter Squadron 22 Fighting Redcocks F/A-18F Super Hornet
VFA-81 VFA-81insignia.png Strike Fighter Squadron 81 Sunliners F/A-18E Super Hornet
VFA-113 Vfa113logo.gif Strike Fighter Squadron 113 Stingers F/A-18C Hornet
VFA-94 VFA-94 insignia.gif Strike Fighter Squadron 94 Shrikes F/A-18C Hornet
VAQ-139 40px Electronic Attack Squadron 139 Cougars EA-18G Growler
VAW-116 Vaw-116.jpg Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 Sun Kings E-2C Hawkeye
VRC-40 VRC-40 Emblem.gif Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 Det. 5 Rawhides C-2A Greyhound
HSC-15 Hs15 insig.jpg Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 Red Lions MH-60S Seahawk
HSM-73 HSM 73 Logo.jpg Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 Battlecats MH-60R Seahawk


World War II[]

CVG-82 on USS Bennington, 1944.

Carrier Air Group Seventeen (CVG-17) was established as CVG-82 on 1 April 1944 during World War II and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CV-20). CVG-82 consisted of Fighting Squadron 82, flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat, Bombing Squadron 82 (Curtiss SB2C Helldiver), Torpedo Squadron 82 (Grumman TBM Avenger) and the two USMC fighter squadrons VMF-112 and VMF-123 (Vought F4U Corsair). After training on the U.S. East Coast, Bennington reached the U.S. 5th Fleet on 7 February 1945. Nine days later. CVG-82 attacked targets in the Tokyo area, mainly the airfields at Nachijo Jima, Nanpo Shoto, Mikatagahara, and Hamamatsu. From 20 to 22 February, the wing supported the landings on Iwo Jima. This was followed by attacks on targets in the Japanese Inland Sea and on Okinawa in March. On 7 April, aircraft from CVG-82 participated in the sinking of the batleship Yamato. The Air Group then supported U.S. troops on Okinawa until June. On 17 June 1945, CVG-82 was replaced aboard Bennington by CVG-1, and was transported to the US aboard USS White Plains (CVE-66). During its deployment, CVG-82 was credited with the destruction of 167 Japanese aircraft in the air and 220 on the ground. However, CVG-82 lost 40 pilots and 13 crewmembers, 25% of its regular strength.[4]

1940s and 1950s[]

CVG-17 on USS Coral Sea

Following the war the Air Group was re-assigned to the United States Atlantic Fleet. CVG-82 began its first deployment to the Atlantic Ocean area in October 1946 aboard Randolph. During that deployment CVG-82 was redesignated "Carrier Air Group Seventeen (CVAG-17)" on 16 November 1946. Until 1953, CVG-17 made eight deployments to the Mediterranean Sea aboard Randolph, Midway, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Coral Sea. Between September 1953 and May 1954, CVG-17 circumnavigated the world aboard Wasp. In 1955 CVG-17 deployed again aboard Coral Sea, followed by three deployments with Franklin D. Roosevelt until March 1958. In November 1956, FDR and Forrestal were rushed to the Mediterranean Sea to join Randolph und Coral Sea during the Suez Crisis, to prevent any Soviet interverntion.[5] Finally, CVG-17 was decommissioned on 16 September 1958.[6]


F4D-1s of VF-74 on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) was reactivated on 1 November 1966 and assigned to the USS Forrestal. Although an Atlantic Fleet carrier, Forrestal´s first deployment with CVW-17 was to Vietnam, from June to September 1967. After only four days on the line with 150 sorties flown, a Zuni rocket was accidentally fired on the flight deck on the morning of 29 July 1967. It hit the fueled and armed aircraft. In the resulting fire 134 crewmembers were killed and 62 injured. 26 aircraft were destroyed and 40 were damaged.


After a refit, Forrestal made eleven deployments to the Mediterranean Sea with CVW-17, the last in 1982. In 1974, CVW-17 guarded the evacuation of U.S. citizens during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In 1976, the U.S. President Gerald R. Ford commenced the celebrations of the United States Bicentennial aboard Forrestal.

CVW-17aircraft aboard Forrestal, 1974.

On 15 January 1978 Forrestal was operating 60 km off the Florida coastline, when an LTV A-7 Corsair II from VA-81 crashed during landing. The aircraft hit another A-7 and an Grumman EA-6 Prowler. Two crewmen were killed, 10 were wounded. In March 1981, CVW-17 was in the Mediterranean Sea, when two F-14A Tomcat fighters from Nimitz shot down two Libyan fighters.[7]

1980 - 1999[]

When the Forrestal entered a three-year Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in November 1982, CVW-17 crossdecked to the USS Saratoga and made six deployments aboard her until 1994. On 10 October 1985 F-14A Tomcats of VF-74 Be-Devilers and VF-103 Sluggers intercepted a Boeing 737 carrying terrorists, who had hijacked the Italian liner MS Achille Lauro. Aboard which Leon Klinghoffer was murdered. The fighters forced the airliner to land at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. The terrorists were then flown non-stop to Norfolk aboard a S-3 Viking from VS-30 Diamondcutters to face Justice. In April 1986, aircraft of CVW-17 participated in Operation El Dorado Canyon, the bombing of Libya. CVW-17 joined forces with aircraft from the United States Air Force (USAF); Carrier Air Wing Thirteen from Coral Sea; and Carrier Air Wing One from America. In 1991, CVW-17 was taking part in Operation Desert Storm, flying missions for 43 consecutive days. CVW-17's aircraft dropped 1,800 tons of ordnance, but lost an F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-81, a F-14A Tomcat from VF-103, and an A-6E Intruder from VA-35. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, CVW-17 comprised the following squadrons: VAQ-132 Scorpions, VF-74 Be-Devilers, VF-103 Sluggers, HS-3 Tridents, VFA-81 Sunliners, VFA-83 Rampagers, VS-30 Diamondcutters, VAW-125 Tigertails, and VA-35 Black Panthers.

In 1988, CVW-17 operated for a few weeks from Independence, and from Constellation in 1993. In 1992, the Wing's aircraft took part in Operation Deny Flight and Operation Provide Promise in Yugoslavia, and in Operation Southern Watch over Iraq.[8]

In June 1994 CVW-17 was transferred to USS Enterprise, homeported in Norfolk, VA. The following September, CVW-17 moved its headquarters to NAS Oceana, Virginia.[1] Due to the BRAC closure of NAS Cecil Field.

In 1998 CVW-17 was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Starting in 2000, the Wing then made three deployments (2000, 2002 and 2006) aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73). Only in 2004, CVW-17 joined the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) for her final deployment before her decommissioning.[9]

2000 - Present[]

In 2003, aircraft from the air wing played key roles in supporting ground forces during the Iraq War, especially the operations in Fallujah, that began 7 November. CVW-17 joined USAF and United States Marine Corps (USMC) aircraft in striking key positions. During the height of operations, CVW-17 aircraft flew an average of 38 missions a day in support of ground troops. Together, the squadrons of CVW-17 flew 8,296 sorties for a total flight time of 21,824 hours. Of that total, 4,396 sorties and 11,607 flight hours were in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In all, CVW-17 dropped 24,500 kg of ordnance. During these operations, VFA-34 dropped the U.S. Navy’s first two 227 kg Joint Direct Attack Munitions over Iraq.[1]

In 2008, CVW-17 accompanied George Washington from Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California, although all fighter squadrons came from CVW-7, these keeping their "AG" tail code. CVW-17 was then scheduled to be assigned to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), as part of Carrier Strike Group One, which underwent a Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) until July 2009.[10]

CVW-17 aboard Carl Vinson in the Strait of Malacca, 26 January 2011.

From January to April 2010, Carl Vinson operated off Haiti, following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. CVW-17 mainly consisted of detachments of six helicopter squadrons which were active in humanitarian relief operations. CVW-17 began its first regular deployment on the Vinson to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean on 30 November 2010 and returned on 15 June 2011.[11] CVW-17 completed a second deployment on CARL VINSON from November 2011 to May 2012. In October 2012, CVW-17 completed a home port change from NAS Oceana, VA to NAS Lemoore, CA.[12]

Current force[]

Fixed-wing aircraft[]

Rotary wing aircraft[]

See also[]


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