By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant Wamack, John C. Stennis Strike Group Public Affairs
SOUTH CHINA SEA – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 collectively earned the 2012 Ramage Award for carrier/air wing operational excellence, March 26.
The Navy-wide award, named for Rear Adm. James “Jig Dog” Ramage, a legendary World War II ace, recognizes the top aircraft carrier/air wing team for best performance as an integrated unit and excellence in Navy aircraft carrier operations.
“It’s an honor to bring this award home for the JCS and CVW-9 team,” said Capt. Dell Bull, commander of CVW-9. “What is significant about this award is its recognition of the ship and air wing team. Operational excellence can only happen when there is support from all members.”
Stennis and CVW-9 began their current deployment in August 2012, five months after completing a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets areas of responsibilities.
“We have asked a lot of our crew over the past two years and they have risen to the challenge every time,” said Capt. Ron Reis, Stennis’ commanding officer. “The leadership approach was to focus on the fundamentals: procedural compliance, operational risk management, and striving for daily sustained excellence. In the end, the crew met and exceeded all standards embodying this achievement.”
“We have done exceptionally well over the last two deployments,” said Bull. “There were several other strike groups deployed over the same period that performed magnificently in their own right, so being recognized as the top performer is extremely rewarding and humbling.”
CVW-9 includes Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 “Golden Hawks,” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 114 “Top Hatters,” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 141 “Black Aces,” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 “War Hawks,” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 “Golden Dragons,” Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ)133 “Wizards,” Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 “Providers,” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 “Eightballers,” and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 “Raptors.”
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Stennis, CVW-9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. The JCSCSG entered the 7th Fleet AOR March 26, after spending more than five months operating with and supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).