SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) completed fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications (FRS-CQ) off the coast of southern California, May 17.
Students from two training squadrons took part in FRS-CQ, which gives newly-winged naval aviators an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to safely operate in and around an aircraft carrier at sea.
"We are excited to be qualifying the fleet's aviators of tomorrow," said Cmdr. Brian Emme, head of Carl Vinson's air department. "The pilots collectively performed 48 hours of flight operations with over 300 arrested landings."
To qualify, each aviator was tasked with multiple daytime and nighttime catapult takeoffs and arrested landings. They also executed "touch-and-go" maneuvers, where aircraft land and take off again without catching an arresting cable.
The fleet replacement squadrons are the "Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, based in Whidbey Island, Washington; and the "Flying Eagles" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, based in Lemoore, California.
"It's a humbling experience," said Lt. j.g. Stephen Patricco, a pilot assigned to the Vikings. "It's been practice, practice, and practice for four years now, all working up to this point."
Seizing the opportunity to hone their skills, Sailors aboard Carl Vinson conducted routine maintenance and training, including a general quarters (GQ) drill. The drill tested Sailors' ability to combat casualties around the ship such as fires, flooding and medical emergencies.
Carl Vinson is America's third Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship's namesake was a U.S. congressman from Georgia who had a profound impact on modern naval history. Through his work on committees in Congress and bills sponsored before World War II, he fulfilled his vision of a two-ocean Navy centered around aircraft carriers.
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