Hampton Roads, Va. - 1,800 sailors manning more than 70 jets and helicopters from Carrier Air Wing 8 landed today after a nine month deployment.
The wait and worry are almost over for thousands more families in Hampton Roads with the Bush Carrier Strike Group coming home.
The USS George H.W. Bush and the USS Truxton will pull into Naval Station Norfolk tomorrow. We will stream the Bush's homecoming live on wtkr.com.
Carrier Air Wing 8's missions included the first air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Two F/A-18 Super Hornets took off from the Bush and dropped the first laser guided bombs on August 8th
In late September Carrier Air Wing 8 jets were involved during the first night of Syrian air strikes - destroying ISIS training compounds and equipment.
Commanded by Capt. D. L. Cheever, the squadrons of CVW-8 are: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 “Fighting Black Lions;” VFA-31 “Tomcatters;” VFA-15 “Valions;” and VFA-87 “Golden Warriors;” Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 134 “Garudas;” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124 “Bear Aces;” Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 “Rawhides;” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 “Spartans,” and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 9 “Tridents.”
“The key to our success was teamwork,” said Cheever. “Under the leadership of CSG 2; CVW 8, USS George H.W. Bush, Destroyer Squadron 22, and USS Philippine Sea worked incredibly well as a team and provided the critical support required in the Central Command Area of Operations. We were where we were needed, when we were needed thanks to the remarkable support and realistic training we received during our workup process. The support of family and friends was also critical to the success of the entire strike group.”
The deployment also marks the end of an era as the “Garudas” of Electronic Warfare Squadron 134 (VAQ-134) who completed their final combat mission in the EA-6B “Prowler” electronic warfare aircraft. Following their return home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wa. they will begin transitioning to the EA-18G Growler.
“The EA-6B is as relevant in 2014 as it was in 1972 and the “Garudas” won the TOP HOOK award for best landing performance during the deployment, an award not normally won by an EA-6B squadron, they are incredible,” said Cheever.
During their deployment CVW 8 completed 12,774 sorties for a total of 34,831 flight hours. Of the sorties 3,245 were combat sorties with 18,333 combat flight hours. The aircraft made 10,003 catapult launches and arrested landings (traps).
The air wing delivered a total of 232 precision guided bombs, launched 47 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) and fired more than 2,400 rounds of 20mm ammunition.
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