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Commander, 7th Fleet Visits Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

05 April 2021

From Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs

7th Fleet leadership met with Sailors and Marines from various commands at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni during a trip that concluded April. 2

Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet was joined by his senior enlisted leader, Command Master Chief Jason Haka during the visit, which focused on engaging with the forward deployed naval forces that support the fleet.

Leadership made visits with squadrons that make up Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, including the "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 and the "Shadowhawks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, as well as other tenant commands.

"The collective BADMAN team of CVW-5 consistently provides a critical arm of 7th Fleet's combat and logistics capabilities supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific," said Merz.

"It takes an incredible team working behind the scenes to keep the air wing ready for operations and I am proud of the Sailors, Marines, and leadership who ensure that happens day-in and day-out."

Task Force 70 commander, Rear Adm. Will Pennington and Command Master Chief Curtis Blunt joined 7th Fleet on the visit, participating in discussions with members of CVW-5 that support Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 operations.

"Carrier Air Wing 5 is critical to promoting stability in this region and provides the capability and flexibility to respond to any contingency," said Pennington. "Direct dialogue with the Fleet Commander promotes alignment and synergy that will ensure Carrier Strike Group 5 remains ready to answer any challenge in this vast and dynamic area of responsibility."

During their 2020 deployment, embarked on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Air Wing executed over 3,400 sorties and 11,000 flight hours while maintaining full combat readiness.

Air Wing operations from MCAS Iwakuni offer improved ability to integrate with co-located U.S. Marine Corps tactical aviation units, and larger, more modern facilities.

The senior enlisted leaders from 7th Fleet and Task Force 70 met with Chief Petty Officers from across MCASI.

The squadrons that make up CVW-5 are the Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 102, VFA-27, VFA-115, VFA-195, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125.

Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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