Naval aviators assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1’s strike fighter squadrons (VFA) 11, 211, 81, 34 and electronic attack squadron (VAQ) 137 conducted airborne patrols through a series of missions spanning enhanced vigilance, training and NATO enhanced Air Policing (eAP) in direct support of Alliance security.
The U.S. Navy aircraft from the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, flying alongside NATO allied air forces, ensured the integrity of Allied airspace improving the alliance aerial readiness and responsiveness.
In addition to Air Policing, the Squadrons flew a series of training missions with the Romanian Air Force fostering relationships and building aerial interoperability between the two nations.
“Training missions flown from forward bases in Romania during a week-long detachment paved the way for follow-on eAP missions flown from the Adriatic Sea illustrates how the Airwing and Truman team are working together with our NATO allies to defend territorial integrity,” said Capt. Patrick Hourigan, commander, CVW 1. “Our ability to augment the Air Policing detachments and the multinational execution of airborne patrols sends a strong reassuring signal to the collective defense of our Allies.”
The Truman’s aviators were supported by key organizations including U.S. Air Force 48th, 55nd and 32nd fighter wings as well as the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and the 606th Air Control Squadron.
“I think it’s great to be a part of the air patrol missions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Watkins, a VFA-11 pilot. “It’s a good mission. We have a unique ability to operate from an aircraft carrier and by working with our NATO Allies we really get to showcase our cohesive unified force.”
Since arriving in the Mediterranean, CVW-1 integrated with the Romanian detachment from the Borcea Fetesti Airfield Feburary 8-15. Truman’s squadrons of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18 Growlers as well as a maintenance crew augmented the collective Alliance defense capability. In a similar effort, Truman’s aviators flew with the U.S. and Italian Air Forces to conduct training missions under the Italian Tactical Command and Control.
“Since arriving in the Sixth Fleet area of operations a key aspect of our mission has been to build integration and interoperability with our NATO Allies and Partners,” said Rear Adm. Curt Renshaw, commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight. “NATO is a defensive Alliance and participating in the enhanced air policing missions visibly demonstrates our commitment to that goal.”
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national interests, security, and stability in Europe and Africa.