The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) returned to Naval Station Norfolk June 30, after completing flight deck certification (FDC). FDC is a key milestone for the George Washington’s return to operation at sea, and also marked the first time the ship and CVW-1 aircraft and personnel integrated and operated together since the ship completed Refueling Complex Overhaul. FDC is required for the carrier to embark aircraft and is designed to provide operational continuity and proficiency training for carrier crews. During FDC, the carrier is evaluated on its ability to launch and recover aircraft in a safe manner in both day and night time operations.
“Flight deck certification was our first opportunity for the air wing and the ship team to work together in support of the ship’s fundamental mission, launching and recovering aircraft at sea. It was an honor to have CVW-1 land the first jets on USS George Washington in six years,” said Capt. Brad Converse, commander of CVW-1.
“As always, I am incredibly proud of our USS George Washington Warfighters, and the incredible support from the Carrier Air Wing One team. When you look back at what we have accomplished over the past week, meeting momentous milestone after milestone, from fuel certification, flight deck certification, to our first underway replenishment in six years – our team continues to demonstrate our extraordinary grit and determination in meeting and exceeding the mark as we take our place as our great nation’s premier CVN asset,” said Capt. Brent C. Gaut, commanding officer of USS George Washington (CVN73).
“I am beyond proud of the teamwork and operational tenacity demonstrated by the ship’s crew and Carrier Air Wing One. The integrated team effort contributed to the amazing success of this mission. Their technical expertise, attention to detail, and hard work resulted in a phenomenal example of what is possible. This was a fantastic opportunity for the Air Wing and the George Washington Air Department to test our newest systems and capabilities as we prepare this mighty aircraft carrier for future overseas operations,” said Cmdr. Stephen Lamoure, the ship’s Air Boss.
During the three-day evolution, George Washington conducted 247 day and night catapult launches and arrested landings, simulated emergencies, night taxi drills, and hangar bay aircraft spotting drills. Prior to integrated operations with the air wing, an inspection team from Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL) visited George Washington to evaluate air department’s ability to respond to flight deck casualties and firefighting. The ship also achieved fuel system certification, conducted carrier qualifications in support of CWV-1. With the flight deck certified, air wing pilots completed a series of additional carrier qualifications and proficiency designed to ready the squadrons and carrier for future operations. George Washington is scheduled for additional under-ways in the coming months in preparation for its homeport change and follow-on tasking as a Forward Deployed Naval Force asset in U.S. Pacific Fleet.