USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 departed their forward-deployed bases March 18, to complete scheduled carrier qualifications (CQ) and integrated battle-group training. Hawk's departure is the second in as many weeks, following four days of sea trials that included limited flying from the ship by a select group of CVW-5 aircrew.
The current underway period will provide the opportunity for new pilots and flight deck crew to become qualified at day and night landing evolutions, while giving refresher training to experienced members, according to Lt. Frederick Crecelies, a landing signal officer for CVW-5.
The majority of the air wing's pilots haven't landed aboard "Hawk" in more than nine months, because Kitty Hawk's mission last fall in support of Operation Enduring Freedom called for only a handful of CVW-5 pilots to operate with the ship, Crecelies said.
"The (CVW-5) squadrons will be getting a refresher in operating on the ship, and (Kitty Hawk's) air department will also have to shake the rust off so they can support one another once again, said Lt. j.g. Derek Jensen, Hawk's air boatswain.
Crecelies agreed, and said, "We'll go from crawling to walking and eventually running before these days are up, in order to be prepared for the (upcoming extended) underway period."
Jensen also said some "hiccups" are to be expected during the process, since the crews have been apart for so long. The period will serve as more than just a time frame to accomplish the CQ, he said. The period will give the crews a chance to go from strictly CQ to a landing routine similar to one that the crew will be assuming during their upcoming underway period.
"The success of the entire battle group depends on the teamwork between the squadrons and Hawk's air department," Crecelies said.
For more information about USS Kitty Hawk, go to http://www.kittyhawk.navy.mil.