Author: Evans, Mark L
Date published: July 1, 2010
Naval Aviation overcame enormous challenges in battle and against natural disasters during 200g. The achievement of fighting insurgents, terrorists, pirates, and narcotics traffickers while still providing humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters confirmed the value of Naval Aviation to national security. Sailors and Marines adapted to these trials by integrating new theories and technologies.
In addition to naval aircraft flying an average of 30 percent of coalition sorties over Afghanistan and supporting efforts to curtail the flow of illicit narcotics, the year witnessed two extraordinary phenomena: an epidemic of piracy across the globe, and a virulent storm season in the Pacific. The continued lack of law and order in Somalia bred an increase in pirate attacks around the Horn of Africa, and naval aircraft and vessels coordinated operations with allies to protect mariners and ensure the free international passage through the strategically vital area. A series of tropical storms and typhoons ravaged multiple countries across the Pacific Ocean, challenging the resources of U. S. and allied forces. Naval aircraft and ships rescued people trapped by the devastation who were otherwise inaccessible to relief workers on the ground.
New weapons entered the Navy's arsenal. The fleet gained a carrier as USS George H . W. Bush (CVN 77) was commissioned, and prepared another when the keel was laid for Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). MV-22B Ospreys made their first deployment to Afghanistan. The first of the PSA Poseidons was rolled out, EA-18G Growlers and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes received approval to enter production, and F-35 Lightning Hs took to the sky during first flights. The Navy accepted the final E-2C Hawkeye 2000, and bid farewell to its last H-3 Sea King. Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) flew in increasingly diverse and difficult environments.
"The Year in Review" chronicles the highlights of Naval Aviation accomplishments during 200g.
4 The Navy certified F/A-18E/Fs to fly at altitudes between flight levels 29,000 and 41,000 feet. The authorization affects all of the Super Hornets produced from Lot 22 and beyond - approximately 340 aircraft.
21 The Navy accepted the delivery of G4, the first EA18G Growler maintenance trainer, BuNo 166858, at NAS Whidbey Island. The service intends to procure 88 operational Growlers to replace EA-6B Prowlers.
2 The Navy announced its decision to base P-8A Poseidons at NAS Jacksonville with a fleet replacement squadron, NAS Whidbey Island with four squadrons, and MCB Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay with three squadrons. In addition, periodic Detachments will operate periodically from NAS North Island.
5 The US 5th Fleet announced that aircraft from CVW-H, embarked on board USS Nimitz (CVN 68), had flown more than 2,058 sorties over Afghanistan since Nimitz had arrived in the 5th area of operations on 18 September 2008.
8 Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 was established at Manama, Bahrain, to conduct counter-piracy operations.
9 The Boxer (LHD 4) Amphibious Ready Group, with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked, deployed from NS San Diego to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Arabian Sea. Three UH-IYs from the air combat element of the 13th MEU made the initial deployment of the Yankees. The group returned on 1 August.
9 PP-3, the first pilot production VH-71 Presidential Helicopter, arrived at Lockheed Martins facility at Owego, N.Y., to begin the integration and final production process. The aircraft flew for the first time on 13 January.
10 George H. W. Bush was commissioned at NS Norfolk. The ship completed builder's sea trials from 13 to 16 February, and acceptance sea trials from 7 to 10 April.
13 The John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group, with CVW-9 embarked, deployed from NB Kitsap to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Arabian Sea. The cruise included the maiden deployment of HSM-71, the first operational squadron equipped with MH-60Rs. Aircraft from the wing flew more than 7,250 sorties during the deployment. The group returned on 10 July.
14 The Navy signed a record of decision concerning the Mayport Homeporting Environmental Impact Statement, implementing the service's preferred alternative to homeport a single nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at NS Mayport.
21 Following an environmental study, the Navy decided to continue the current level of training on the Southern California Range Complex. Two days later, the service announced the signature of a record of decision concerning the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement. Based on the study and the effectiveness of the measures in place, the Navy selected the "No Action Alternative" to continue the current protections.
24 USS Green Bay (LPD 20) was commissioned at Long Beach, Calif.
31 During the deactivation of Sea Control Wing Atlantic and VS-22 at NAS Jacksonville, the Navy also retired the last 10 active S-3Bs from fleet service. Some of the Vikings were transferred to VX-30 at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at Point Mugu, Calif, and others to NASA.
21 The Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Strike Group, with CVW-7 embarked, deployed from NS Norfolk to the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas and Indian Ocean. Aircraft from CVW-7 flew more than 4,600 sorties - including 2,010 combat missions over Afghanistan - during the cruise. The group returned on 30 July.
23 The Airborne Strategic Command, Control, and Communications program office accepted the first modified E-6B Block 1 Mercury at the L-3 Integrated Systems Group facility at Waco, Texas.
25 BF-2, the second short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B Lightning II, made its first flight at Fort Worth, Texas. Together with a conventional takeoff and landing F-35A, and BF-I, the first F-35B, Lightning lis had logged a total of 84 flights.
6 Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced the name of the third littoral combat ship as Fort Worth (LCS 3). On 23 March, Marinette Marine Corp., of Marinette, Wis., was selected as the company to build Fort Worth.
8 The Navy launched and christened the auxiliary dry cargo ship Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) at General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif. The ship is named in honor of naval aviator and astronaut Capt. Walter M. Schirra Jr.
10 Following a review of additional information received since 1991, the Navy changed the status of Capt. Michael S. Speicher from "Missing/Captured" to "Missing-ln- Action." On 17 January 1991, Aircraft 403, BuNo 163484, an F/A-18C, piloted by Speicher from VFA-81, embarked aboard USS Saratoga (CV 60), had launched for a night strike over Iraq. An (apparent) Iraqi surface-to-air missile shot down 403, making Speicher the first U.S. casualty of Operation Desert Storm.
12 Secretary of the Navy Winter announced the name of the fourth littoral combat ship as Coronado (LCS 4).
15 Space shuttle STS-1 19 Discovery launched from pad 39A at John F. Kennedy Space Center, FIa. The crew members included retired Naval Reserve Capt. John L. Phillips and Navy Cmdr. Dominic A. Antonelli. The mission included the delivery of the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and the S6 truss segment to the International Space Station. Discovery returned to Kennedy on 28 March.
18 Lockheed Martin announced the Navy's certification of the terminal phase capability of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. By 2010 the system had been installed in 18 ships. In addition, USS Lake Erie (CG 70) had begun the installation of the subsequent spiral of the system, improving on board computing capabilities and including the Standard Missile-3 Block IB.
19 Maj. Joseph T. Bachmann was the first Marine to pilot AA-I, an F-35A Lightning II, at Lockheed Martin's facilities at Fort Worth, Texas. The Lightning II took off at 1129 and landed at 1244, logging the 90th mission of the jet's flight test program.
20 USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Hartford (SSN 768) collided in the Strait of Hormuz, at approximately 0100. Fifteen sailors aboard the submarine received minor injuries; there were no casualties aboard New Orleans. The impact ruptured two ballast tanks and a fuel tank on New Orleans (which spilled about 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel) and damaged the sail, periscope, and port bow plane of Hartford. Both vessels made Al Manama, Bahrain, under their own power. New Orleans underwent repairs in dry dock, returning to sea on 12 May. The submarine was repaired in the United States.
20 The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group apprehended six suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden. At about 0430 Philippine-flagged motor vessel Bison Express sent a distress call concerning its apparent pursuit by a skiff containing the suspects. An SH-60B from HSL-46, embarked aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64), spotted the crew members of the skiff throwing objects overboard, and a team from the cruiser boarded the vessel. The suspects were taken to Boxer for questioning.
23 Dwight D. Eisenhower launched its first sorties over Afghanistan during this deployment, and assumed duties as Commander, Task Force 50. The ship had relieved USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), with CVW-8 embarked, in the Gulf of Oman.
29 A skiff carrying seven pirates attacked German oiler Spessart (A 1442) in the Gulf of Aden. Three task forces representing seven nations, including Boxer, an SH-60B from Spanish frigate Victoria (F 82), and a Spanish P-3M, pursued the suspects. An AH-IW Super Cobra and a UHIY Huey, embarked aboard Boxer, proved instrumental in delaying the escape of the pirates until a German boarding team from Greek frigate Psora (F 454) took the culprits into custody for transfer to German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz (F 209).
31 USS Tarawa (LHA 1) was decommissioned at NB San Diego.
8 Pirates briefly captured US.-flagged motor vessel Maersk Alabama about 300 miles from the Somali coast. The 21 crew members recaptured their ship along with one of the pirates, but the three surviving pirates kidnapped the vessel's skipper, Capt. Richard Phillips, and held him hostage on the Maersk Alabama's 28-foot lifeboat. On 12 April, SEAL snipers on board destroyer Bainbridge (DDG 96) killed the pirates, rescuing Phillips. The forces involved in the rescue included amphibious assault ship Boxer and a ScanEagle UAS. Four suspected pirates in a skiff attempted to board Maersk Alabama again in early November, but the ship repulsed the attackers.
10 DoD announced that the final decision concerning the potential home porting of an aircraft carrier at NS Mayport would be made during the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.
16 The Navy accepted the delivery of amphibious assault ship Makin Island (LHD 8) at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.
18 Destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) was commissioned at Port Hueneme, CaHf. The ship honors Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale (1923-2005), the highest ranking naval prisoner held by the North Vietnamese.
18 Theodore Roosevelt returned to NS Norfolk from a deployment to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and Arabian Gulf. The carrier's aircraft had flown 3,105 sorties over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ship had deployed on 8 September 2008.
21 USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) returned to NS Everett from a counter-narcotics deployment to the Eastern Pacific. The ship and its embarked SH-60B from HSL-43 Det. 2 intercepted and seized six tons of cocaine and 160 pounds of marijuana, and disrupted shipments of 18 tons of cocaine and three tons of marijuana.
25 T1, the initial P-8A flight test aircraft, completed its first flight near Seattle, Wash. The Poseidon took off from Renton Field at 1043 and landed at Boeing Field at 1414. The Navy intends to purchase 108 production aircraft, with the initial operational capability in 2013.
29 The Navy accepted the delivery of the final refurbished F-5N Tiger II at St. Augustine, FIa. The service had purchased 44 retired Swiss Air Force F-5E Freedom Fighters over a six-year period for $50 million to replace F-5E Tiger IIs in the dedicated adversary role. The fighters are expected to serve in squadron inventory until at least 2015.
5 Hangar 511, a 277,000-square-foot facility capable of accommodating up to 33 P-3C Orions, opened at NAS Jacksonville. The hangar is the largest of its kind to support the maritime patrol community, and will also house P-8A Poseidons.
11 Space shuttle STS- 125 Atlantis hxinchtd from pad 39A at John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Crew members included retired Navy Capts. Scott D. Altman and Gregory C. Johnson. The mission was the final flight to the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis touched down at Edwards AFB on 24 May.
11 The Navy accepted the delivery of George H. W. Bush from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.
13 CTF-151 defeated a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden. At approximately 1530, cruiser Gettysburg and South Korean destroyer Munmu the Great (DDH 976) responded to a distress call from Egyptian-flagged motor vessel Amira, which reported being attacked about 75 nautical miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen. An SH-60B from HSL-46 Det. 9, embarked aboard Gettysburg, located a dhow suspected of serving as a "mother ship" for pirates. A team from the cruiser discovered a variety of weapons aboard the dhow and apprehended its 17 passengers for questioning.
13 The Bataan (LHD 5) Amphibious Ready Group, with 22nd MEU embarked, deployed from NS Norfolk to the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas and the Indian Ocean. The group returned on 8 December.
15 The under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics issued a stop work order to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, NY., for Increments I and IV of the VH-71A Presidential Helicopter contract. On 1 June the Navy issued a letter of termination to the company for Increments I and II, affecting all activities associated with the helicopter's systems design and demonstration requirements.
18 George H. W. Bush completed flight deck certifications in Atlantic waters through 29 May. On 19 May, the ship recorded its first recovery and launch of aircraft. At 1407, Salty Dog 121, an F/A-18F, BuNo 166449, crewed by Lt. Patrick M. McKenna and Cmdr. Beau V. Duarte of VX-23 from NAS Patuxent River, trapped aboard at 1503 the ship catapulted the Super Hornet for its return flight to NAS Patuxent River.
18 USS Freedom (LCS 1) completed its second and final series of acceptance trials off the Virginia capes through 22 May.
23 An SH-60B from HSL-45 Det. 4, embarked aboard USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), spotted a skiff in distress in the Gulf of Aden. The Seahawk directed the ship to the area, which rescued 52 people who had been adrift in the vessel for about seven days.
26 An SH-60B from HSL-46 Det. 9, embarked aboard Gettysburg, responded to Yemeni motor vessel Alaseb. The dhow's engine had failed two days previously, leaving it adrift in the Gulf of Aden. The Seahawk directed the cruiser to the area, which towed Alaseb and its 11 passengers to a rendezvous with the Yemeni Coast Guard for repairs.
28 The Combined Maritime Forces at Manama, Bahrain, revealed that 27 successful and 85 unsuccessful pirate attacks had occurred from 1 January to 28 May 2009.
28 The Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group, with CVW-14 embarked, deployed from NAS North Island to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Arabian Gulf.
30 D1, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft, crewed by Lt. Cmdr. Lawrence Nance of VX-20 and civilian test team members Tom Boutin, Ray Collazo, and Bill Zegarski, flew from the Northrop Grumman Manufacturing Center, St. Augustine, FIa., to NAS Patuxent River in preparation for initial operation and test evaluation.
CWO Michael S. Adams Jr., the first helicopter pilot to complete his training in the Flying Chief Warrant Officer program and to deploy, reported to HSC-22, embarked aboard Bataan.
The Navy accepted the delivery of the 400th F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
1 A P-3C of VP-5 received orders to Augusto Severo Airfield in Natal, Brazil, to assist in the search for survivors and wreckage of Air France Flight No. 447, an Airbus A330-203 that had crashed into the Atlantic during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 people on board. The Navy concluded its support of search-and-rescue operations on 13 July.
2 A Naval Research Research Laboratory experimental fuelcell-powered UAS achieved a flight endurance milestone when it completed a six-hour flight test.
2 The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the 5 May 2007 decision by Judge Robert B. Hodges, Jr., U.S. Court of Federal Claims, sustaining the government's default termination of the A-12A aircraft contract. On 7 January 1991, then- Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney had canceled the Avenger, basing his action upon the inability of the principal contractors, General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas, to design, develop, fabricate, assemble, and test A-12As within the contract schedule. The decision requires the contractors to repay the government more than $1.35 billion in principal for funds advanced under the contract plus interest accrued - a total of $2.8 billion on this date. The Boeing Co. (which owns McDonnell Douglas) and General Dynamics have appealed the ruling.
3 Lockheed Martin Corp. received a $2.1 -billion contract modification to produce 17 F-35 Lightning Hs in the third lot of low-rate initial production.
5 T2, the second P-8A flight test aircraft, completed its first flight near Seattle, Wash. The Poseidon took off from Renton Field at 1032 and landed at Boeing Field at 1328.
11 The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program reached Milestone C, receiving approval to begin low-rate initial production.
15 An F-35 signature test Lightning II equipped with production-representative very-low-observable airframe structure and coatings was rolled out at Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas.
19 Marine 1st Lt. Michael Brown became the 30,000th naval helicopter pilot when he received his wings of gold with TAW-5 at NAS Whiting Field.
25 An MV-22B from VMM-263 of the 22nd MEU, embarked aboard Bataan in the Red Sea, conducted the first ship-to-shore emergency medical evacuation by deployed Ospreys.
2 The Navy declared the AGM-84K Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) operationally effective against land-based moving targets following an operational evaluation.
6 Ronald Reagan launched its first sorties over Afghanistan during this deployment, and assumed duties as Commander, Task Force 50.The carrier's aircraft flew more than 1,600 combat sorties from the ship in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Ronald Reagan relieved Dwight D. Eisenhower.
7 A P-3C and a British warship from CTF-150 coordinated the seizure of 10 tons of narcotics with an estimated value of $70 million from a dhow in the Gulf of Aden, about 150 miles southeast of Salalah, Oman.
10 Makin Island sailed from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss., on a voyage around South America to its commissioning. During the transit Makin Island inaugurated the ship's flight operations by Army CH-47 Chinooks attached to Joint Task Force Bravo, CH-46Es and CH-53Es, and Coast Guard HH-60Js and HH-65s. The ship arrived at San Diego on 14 September.
11 The keel for Fort Worth was laid at Marinette Marine Corp., of Marinette, Wis.
15 Space shuttle STS-127 Endeavour launched from pad 39A at John F. Kennedy Space Center. The crew members included Marine Col. Douglas G. Hurley. This 29th mission to the International Space Station included five spacewalks and the launching of the Naval Research Laboratory's satellite suite, the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment 2. Endeavour returned to Kennedy on 31 July.
15 The Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River accepted the delivery of the first F/A-18F Super Hornet from VFA-106 at NAS Oceana, Va. During June the school had completed its transfer of five F/A-18Bs to VFA-125 and VX-23.
17 The keel of America (LHA 6), the fourth U.S. naval vessel to carry the name, was laid at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Ingalls, Pascagoula, Miss.
25 The first four C-130Ts of VR-62 arrived at NAS Jacksonville following the disestablishment of their previous station, NAS Brunswick.
28 CNO Adm. Gary Roughead welcomed the F-35C Lightning II to the fleet during a ceremony at Lockheed Martins plant at Fort Worth, Texas.
29 DoD rated the EA-18G as operationally effective and recommended the aircraft for introduction to the fleet.
30 The P-8A Poseidon was rolled out during a ceremony at Boeing s manufacturing facility at Renton, Wash. CNO Adm. Gary Roughead delivered remarks.
31 The Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group deployed from San Diego for the Western Pacific. The group returned on 26 March 2010.
1 Consolidated Maintenance Organization 10, the final such command in service, was disestablished at NAS Whidbey Island.
2 The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology positively identified the remains of Capt. Michael S. Speicher. Bedouins had directed a recovery team from Multi-National ForceWest to two sites in the Iraqi desert approximately 62 miles west of Ramadi in Anbar province, where the remains were removed for examination over 22 to 29 July. Speicher was interred at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Fla., on 14 August.
5 EA-18G Growlers from VAQ429 and -132 completed their first traps aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) at sea.
7 Typhoon Morakot struck central and southern Taiwan, triggering severe flooding and mudslides that claimed hundreds of lives. HSC-25 Det. 6 helped move food, water, and medical supplies from sea to shore to assist Taiwanese relief efforts.
13 BF-2, the second F-35B, was the first Lightning II to be refueled aerially using a probe-and-drogue refueling system from a KC-130 near Fort Worth, Texas.
18 USS Carr (FFG 52), with an SH-60B from HSL-42 Det. 8 embarked, intercepted a go-fast vessel and its three crew members in the Caribbean, seizing 46 bales of cocaine amounting to more than one ton of the material with an estimated import value of $22 million. Carr transferred the vessel, two of the suspects, and their illicit cargo to Venezuelan frigate General Soublette (F 24) on 23 August.
21 The Navy accepted the delivery of New York (LPD 21) at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Avondale, La. New York had completed acceptance trials on 24 July.
25 The keel was laid for Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) at General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, CaBf. The ship is named for Navy Capt. Washington I. Chambers (1856-1934), who arranged the world's first aircraft flight from a ship when aviator Eugene B. Ely flew off the cruiser Birmingham (Cruiser No. 2) at Hampton Roads, Va., on 14 November 1910.
26 Somali pirates aboard Taiwanese-flagged motor vessel Win Far 161, anchored south of Garacad, Somalia, fired an apparent large-caliber weapon at an SH-60B from HSL-49, embarked aboard USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). The pirates missed the Seahawk, and the helo did not return fire and recovered aboard the cruiser. The pirates had seized the vessel and more than 30 crew members near the Seychelles Islands on 6 April, and were suspected of using Win Far 161 as a. mother ship in multiple incidents, including the attack on Maersk Alabama.
27 The first two T-6Bs arrived at TAW-5 at NAS Whiting Field, beginning the turnover from T-34Cs for primary flight training.
28 The Navy announced the delay of the release of an environmental impact statement that examines five sites in Virginia and North Carolina concerning an oudying landing field to support aircraft operating from and in transit to NAS Oceana and NS Norfolk. The decision was made to include F-35Cs in the review process.
28 Space shuttle STS-128 Discovery launched from pad 39A at John F. Kennedy Space Center. The crew included retired Army Col. Patrick G. Forrester, who had graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School, and Marine Col. Frederick W Sturckow. This 30th mission to the International Space Station included the delivery of the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module. Discovery landed at Edwards AFB on 11 September.
1 The Navy accepted the delivery of auxiliary dry cargo ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) at General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif.
16 The Navy announced that it would chose one of the two designs of the littoral combat ship, canceling the existing sea frame construction solicitation for 2010. The service would award a single prime contractor and shipyard a fixed incentive contract for up to 10 ships of the class (two for 2010).
17 Super Typhoon Choi-Wan struck Alamagan and Agrillan, about 146 nautical miles north of Saipan in the Marianas Islands. Two MH-60Ss from HSC-25 Det. 1, embarked aboard USNS Alan B. Shepard (T-AKE 3), delivered relief supplies.
18 Nimitz launched its first sorties over Afghanistan during this deployment, and assumed duties as Commander, Task Force 50. The ship relieved Ronald Reagan.
21 The Navy accepted A-205, the final production E-2C Hawkeye 2000, at Northrop Grumman St. Augustine Manufacturing and Flight Test Center, St. Augustine, Fla.
21 The Navy announced the decision for "full fielding" evaluation of the T-Hawk micro air vehicle, which assists explosive ordnance disposal Sailors and Marines. The delivery of 90 systems was expected by the end of the year.
22 Construction began on William McLean (T-AKE 12) at General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif. The ship's name honors William B. McLean (1914-1976), who helped conceive and develop the heat-seeking Sidewinder air-to-air missile.
22 The EA-18G Growler attained initial operational capability.
25 Tropical Storm Ketsana (known as Ondoy in the Philippines) struck central Luzon in the Philippines, killing more than 250 people around the Manila area and rendering tens of thousands homeless. On 27 and 28 September, U.S. and Filipino service members rescued 52 people from rising flood waters in the capital. On 4 October, USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46), with elements of the 31st MEU embarked, arrived to provide humanitarian relief.
28 The Navy announced the completion of two steps in the introduction of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). The first phase of highly accelerated fife testing gauged the EMALS launch motor's ability to operate in simulated at-sea conditions, and the second phase of system functional demonstration commissioning replicated full-scale launching capabilities.
29 The Boeing Co. concluded a 42-month risk reduction program for the GBU-40 Small Diameter Bomb when an F-15E Strike Eagle dropped one of the weapons at EgUn AFB. The bomb is under development for Air Force and Navy aircraft.
29 An 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck 125 miles south of Apia on American Samoa, generating a tsunami with 15-to-20-foot waves that inundated the eastern coast of Samoa and parts of Tonga, killing more than 160 people. USS Ingraham (FFG 61), with an embarked SH-60B, arrived the following day and helped members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Army National Guardsmen assess the damage. In addition, a Coast Guard HC-130 flew aerial surveillance missions.
30 A 7.6-magnitude earthquake rocked the Padang area of western Sumatra, Indonesia, killing more than 750 people and triggering landslides that wiped-out villages and blocked roads. USS Denver (LPD 9), with elements of the 31st MEU embarked, and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) arrived on 9 October to support international relief efforts. Three CH-53Es of HMM-265 from Denver, and two SH-60Bs of HSL-51 Det. 5 from McCampbell delivered relief supplies and rescue workers. Additional aircraft including two SA-330J Pumas from USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) reinforced these operations. The Navy concluded its humanitarian assistance on 16 October.
1 The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D) returned from its first eight-month deployment to Central Command. The BAMS-D, which utilizes the RQ;4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, flew more than 60 sorties totaling more than 1,000 hours. A second BAMS-D deployed prior to the return of the first.
4. Carrier Strike Group 1 was established at San Diego. The group operated temporarily without its flagship, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which had completed its midlife refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, Va., on 11 July, and commenced a supplemental restricted availability until 3 December.
2 Electronic Attack Wing, Pacific Fleet, declared VAQ-132 the first operational EA-1 8G Growler-equipped electronic attack squadron "safe for flight operations" at NAS Whidbey Island.
2 Typhoon Parma (known as Pepeng in the Philippines) struck Luzon in the Philippines. Harpers Ferry and Tortuga, with elements of the 31st MEU embarked, responded. Ten CH-46Es operating from the two^ships were among the aircraft that provided airlift support to U.S. and Filipino service members and relief workers.
4 USS Wasp (LHD 1) deployed from NS Norfolk to the U.S. 4th Fleet. The ship served as a forward operating base with the Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 405 during counter-narcotics operations. Wasp returned from her deployment - the first of its kind to that fleet - on 22 December.
5 N-8 and N-9, two MQ:8B Fire Scouts, BuNos 167791 and 167792, respectively, made the first deployment of the UAS during a counter-narcotics deployment with HSL-42 Det. 7 aboard USS Mclnerney (FFG 8) from NS Mayport to the Caribbean. The ship made first interception of drug smugglers using Fire Scouts - during a post-maintenance check flight - on 3 April 2010. Mclnerney returned on 15 April.
7 USS Hawes (FFG 53), with HSL-48 Det. 10 embarked, returned to NS Norfolk from a counter-narcotics deployment to the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. The ship's operations resulted in the seizure of 200 barrels of cocaine.
7 An EA-6B Prowler, piloted by Cmdr. Vincent Johnson, the executive officer of VAQ; 135, became the 100,000th aircraft to launch from Catapult No. 1 aboard Nimitz at sea.
9 The Naval Research Laboratory's Ion Tiger, a hydrogenpowered fuel cell unmanned aerial vehicle, flew 23 hours, 17 minutes, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight, during a test at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
15 T1, the first P-8A test aircraft, crewed by Lt. Roger Stanton and Boeing pilot Doug Benjamin, completed the first flight of a Poseidon by a Navy pilot over Puget Sound. The mission initiated a 36-month formal naval flight test program by VX-I and -20 and the Boeing Co., evaluating three Poseidons: Tl,T2, and T3.
15 USS Anzio (CG 68), with an SH-60B from HSL-48 Det. 7 embarked, seized approximately four tons of hashish with an estimated street value of $28 million on board a skiff in the Gulf of Aden about 170 miles southwest of Salalah, Oman.
18 Independence (LCS 2) completed builder's trials in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship completed acceptance trials during early November.
19 USS Jarrett (FFG 33) returned to San Diego from a counter-narcotics deployment to the Eastern Pacific. The ship's operations resulted in the apprehension of nine smugglers and the seizure or disruption of more than nine tons of narcotics with an estimated street value of $266 million.
20 The Navy accepted the delivery of its final T-45C - the 221st Goshawk delivered - at the Boeing plant in St. Louis, Mo.
29 Lockheed Martin announced the completion of the first of a series of flight tests for the Paveway II Plus laser guided bomb guidance kit.
6 Ten MV-22BS from VMM-263 of the 22nd MEU launched from Bataan to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, for the first deployment of Ospreys to that country. The aircraft lifted off in three waves and made the 510-nauticalmile flight in slightly more than two hours, transferring to VMM-261- attached to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
7 USS New York (LPD 21) was commissioned at New York City. Approximately 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center was integrated into the ship's construction.
9 The Boeing Co. announced its award by the Air Force of a $72-million contract for more than 2,900 Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits for delivery to the Air Force and Navy in 2011 and 2012.
12 The Navy opened the EMALS armature at a system functional demonstration site at Joint Base McGuire-Fort Dix-Lakehurst, NJ.
14 The keel was laid for Gerald R. Ford at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va. The ship is named in honor of Gerald R. Ford Jr., who served as assistant navigator aboard USS Monterey (CVL 26) during World War II and subsequently became the 38th President of the United States.
14 AF-I, the first optimized F-35A, piloted by Lockheed Martin test pilot David Nelson, made its inaugural 89-minute flight at Fort Worth, Texas. This was the fourth Lightning II to begin flight operations.
15 BF-I, the first F-35B, piloted by Lockheed Martin test pilot Jon Beesley, flew from Fort Worth, Texas, to NAS Patuxent River. The flight initiated a series of Lightning II arrivals at Patuxent River for testing, including BF-l's subsequent first hovers and vertical landings.
16 Space shuttle STS-129 Atlantis launched from pad 39A at John F. Kennedy Space Center. The 31st flight to the International Space Station was the final crew rotation mission to the facility. The crew included Marine Col. Charles O. Hobaugh, Marine Lt. Col. Randolph J. Bresnik, retired Navy Capt. Michael J. Foreman, and Navy Capt. Barry E. Wilmore. Atlantis returned to Kennedy on 27 November.
16 The Ion Tiger completed a flight of 26 hours, one minute, into the following day. The achievement bettered the record of 9 October, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel cell-powered flight.
20 The Navy released a draft environmental impact statement concerning the military build-up on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. The construction of a deep-draft wharf and shoreside infrastructure improvements to support a transient nuclear-powered carrier at Apra Harbor, Guam, and the expansion of aviation faculties ashore for Marines transferred from Okinawa are among the proposed actions.
23 DoD approved the EA-1 8G for full-rate production, authorizing the procurement and production of 54 Growlers remaining in the current program of record.
24 USS Makin Island XLHD 8), the eighth and final vessel of the Wasp class, was commissioned at NAS North Island.
4 Nine officers at Navy Personnel Command were among the first Sailors to receive the professional aviation maintenance officer warfare designator.
7 Hurricane 17, the final MH-53E Sea Dragon stationed at NAS Corpus Christi, departed for Norfolk.
11 H-3, the last operational Navy UH-3H Sea King, BuNo 154121, was retired at Hangar 109, NAS Patuxent River, and transferred to HMX-I for use as a trainer.
17 The keel of Coronado (LCS 4) was laid at General Dynamics Austal USA, Mobile, Ala. The following day the Navy accepted the delivery of Independence at Mobile.
29 BF-2, the second F-35B, piloted by Maj. Joseph T. Bachmann, USMC, flew from Fort Worth, Texas, to NAS Patuxent River.
Mark L. Evans is a historian, Dale J. Gordon an archivist, and Andrew R. McKee and Ellen M. Stolarski are interns in the Histories and Archives Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command.