The US Navy’s George H.W. Bush and Carrier Air Wing 7 Reach Significant Flight Deck Milestones

USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, known collectively as Team Jackpot, recently achieved two remarkable milestones in the ship’s history: completing 80,000 catapult launches and recoveries on the flight deck. These milestones, achieved on June 15-16, highlight the dedication and precision of the entire team operating in one of the world’s most dynamic working environments—the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

Safe flight deck operations demand unwavering vigilance and situational awareness from all crew members. This inherently dangerous function is absolutely vital to the successful execution of missions in support of the carrier strike group. The 80,000th recovery on the deck was performed by an E/A-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, while an E-2D Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 marked the 80,000th aircraft launch from the ship’s flight deck. Both of these aircraft and their squadrons are integral parts of CVW 7 Freedom Fighters, which is responsible for the offensive air and strike capabilities of the carrier strike group. The Freedom Fighters’ mission is to deliver decisive combat victories as part of the strike group’s combat weapons system.

Commander Michael Witt, the air boss aboard George H.W. Bush, expressed, “Eighty-thousand, mishap-free launches and recoveries represent the keen attention to detail, unyielding procedural compliance, and the tremendous magnitude of hard work and effort it takes to keep the catapults and arresting gear running, again and again. All hands on this ship contribute daily to the safe launch and recovery of aircraft, and we all collectively share a piece of this milestone.”

Captain David Pollard, the commanding officer of George H.W. Bush, also praised the achievement, saying, “Another fantastic milestone achieved by the warriors and leaders aboard the mighty warship George H.W. Bush. The tenacity and grit of Team Jackpot never cease to amaze me. It is an achievement to be proud of as we continue to develop and strengthen as a combat-ready lethal force—ready to be ambassadors of our nation, support national security objectives, decisively deter aggression, and, when called upon, defeat our adversaries with overwhelming forces as a tactically-sound cohesive team.”

George H.W. Bush serves as the flagship of the carrier strike group, providing flexible and adaptable warfighting capabilities to maintain maritime stability and security. Its mission includes ensuring access, deterring aggression, and defending the interests of the United States, its allies, and its partners. Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 is a key component of CSG-10 and the George H.W. Bush CSG, comprising squadrons such as Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143, VFA-103, VFA-86, VFA-136, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, HSC-5, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

Currently, the George H.W. Bush CSG is engaged in a certification exercise aimed at enhancing U.S. and allied interoperability and warfighting capabilities in preparation for future deployments. This integrated combat weapons system stands ready to deter and, if necessary, defeat America’s adversaries in support of national security objectives.

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