U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet Squadron VFA-115 “Eagles” put together a pretty sweet WESTPAC cruise video. One clip in particular reminds us just how challenging landing a 25-ton, $50 million dollar fighter on a chunk of steel floating in the middle of the ocean can be, especially when visibility is near zero!
The Eagle’s legacy dates back to WWII, where the unit flew TBM Avengers. Today, they are forward deployed with the rest of Carrier Air Wing 5’s (CVW-5) elite squadrons to NAF Atsugi, Japan. This summer will be interesting for the Eagles, their Air Wing and their carrier, the USS George Washington, which has already left its Japanese home port for the last time.
The George Washington and her Air Wing will cruise around the Pacific along with her Carrier Strike Group escorts till late Summer. The ship will then head to San Diego, where about 2,000 of its sailors will board the USS Ronald Reagan. The Ronald Reagan will sail back to Yokosuka, Japan to take on the role of America’s forward deployed carrier while the George Washington receives a mid-life complex overhaul and nuclear refueling back in Norfolk, Virginia.
It sounds like a lot of uprooting and change, but that is what being the tip of America’s spear overseas is all about: adapting, overcoming and always being ready to fight.
Bonus! Check out VFA-115’s 2012 cruise video below:
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.