USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 held an airborne change of command ceremony Oct. 6.
In a display of aerial power and maneuverability, Capt. John C. Aquilino, of Huntington, N.Y., handed over the reins of CVW 2, to Capt. Alton Ross, of Baton Rouge, La..
Aquilino, flying an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the "Kestrels" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137, passed command of CVW 2 to Ross, flying in an F/A-18C Hornet from the "Blue Blasters" of VFA-34, while performing a fly-by of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), operating in the Pacific Ocean.
Rear Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 9, officiated the ceremony from an F/A-18F Super Hornet from the "Bounty Hunters" of VFA-2.
Aquilino said he will take a lot of great memories away from this tour.
"I'll never forget this whole tour. The entire team Broadsword and Lincoln team completely melded. To come out here, to the amount of flying we did, the amount of support for our troops on the ground, to do every bit of it safely will be my absolute greatest accomplishment," Aquilino said, adding, "To bring everybody back with all our airplanes, that's all I ever wanted to do. On top of that we just did everything so well. I'm so proud of all of the guys and girls that supported this whole Broadsword, Lincoln team."
Aquilino has commanded CVW-2 since August 2007. While deployed with Lincoln, the air wing conducted maritime security operations with regional allies and supported Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
During this time, CVW-2 flew more than 3,600 sorties and worked more than 10,000 flight hours for OIF. For OEF, they flew more than 3,500 sorties and worked over 11,000 flight hours. During the deployment, the air wing flew more than 10,000 sorties and worked more than 28,000 flight hours while under Aquilino. The air wing also conducted more than 7,900 traps, or landings, aboard Lincoln.
Ross is the 41st commander of CVW-2, which is composed of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47 and Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS)2, Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131, VFA-151, VFA-34, VFA-2 and VFA-137.
Aquilino is awaiting orders to his next command, but says he feels good about how he left CVW-2.
"The flight was terrific; like any aviator I love to fly. It's a passion that only aviators understand. It was a great way for me to go out- to go with the air wing- and turnover the air wing to a great new CAG," Aquilino said.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.