MAY 16, 2016, SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) – Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 Sailors completed a mid-deployment Material Condition Inspection (MCI) while embarked on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), May 13.
Naval Air Forces Pacific performs the MCI to ensure all squadrons of CVW-9 are meeting maintenance and safety standards at the beginning and midway point of deployment.
The air wing achieved a passing grade on all inspections, including an inspection on the highest flight-hour F/A-18 Super Hornet currently used in the Navy.
“We always have room to improve, but overall, [the] air wing did a great job,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rich Killian, from Lemoore, California, CVW-9’s maintenance officer. “The thing about Stennis is that everyone wants us to succeed. We couldn’t do it alone. We wanted to hone our partnership [with the ship’s crew] from day one. The ‘look ahead’ mentality the air wing adopted from the ship early on has paid dividends in the long run.”
‘Look Ahead’ is John C. Stennis’ official motto.
CVW-9 consists of the Black Aces of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, the Tophatters of VFA 14, the Warhawks of VFA 97, the Vigilantes of VFA 151, the Wizards of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, the Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 and the Providers of Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
Every squadron in CVW 9 participated in at least one invasive and one non-invasive inspection designed to thoroughly assess the condition of the aircraft, as well as an inspection of the squadron’s maintenance documents.
“There was a lot of involvement by Sailors and leadership,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Adam Spencer, from Lemoore, California, one of the material condition inspectors. “There was hard work going into [this inspection]. The maintainers were motivated and open to suggestion.”
The F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Tophatters, with side number 201 (bureau number 166435), has 5,558 flight-hours, the most of any Super Hornet used in the Navy, and passed the inspection performed on it.
“Due to hard effort and diligence, we pulled through on the inspection,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Nathaniel Toothman, from Jacksonville, Florida, Tophatters’ airframes division leading petty officer. “[Aircraft 201] is the hardest working and most well used in the fleet, and it’s one of our better aircraft.”
According to Tophatters’ maintenance material control officer Lt. j.g. Drew Buckley, from Redwood Falls, Minnesota, the air wing wouldn’t have been able to achieve this score without the maintainers’ expertise.
“These jets fly hard and long,” said Buckley. “Our maintainers are proud to keep these aircraft in good shape.”
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, John C. Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.