THE GREYHAWKS OF VAW-120, THE "EYES OF THE FLEET"
The history of VAW-120 goes back to 6 July 1948 when Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron TWO (VAW-2) was commissioned at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Shortly after being formed, the squadron moved to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and was redesignated Composite Squadron TWELVE (VC -12). In those early days, the squadron successively operated the TBM Avenger, the AF Guardian, and the AD-5W Skyraider. In 1956, the squadron was redesignated Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron TWELVE (VAW-12). With the new name came a new aircraft, the "Guppy" version of the AD Skyraider. In 1961, the WF-2 Tracer, more affectionately known as the E-1B "Willie Fudd," arrived to begin its long tour in AEW service, and the following year the squadron returned to Breezy Point at NAS Norfolk, Virginia.
In July 1966, VAW-12 received the first E-2A Hawkeye, and was supplying detachments utilizing two different aircraft aboard ten Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers in addition to training personnel for those detachments. With over 200 officers and 800 enlisted personnel, VAW -12 was reorganized as an Air Wing, and on 1 April 1967, Admiral T.E. Moore, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, commissioned Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing Twelve with six operating squadrons. That same year on 1 July, RVAW-120 was commissioned as Wing Twelve's training squadron with a formalized training mission.
The squadron received the second generation E-2B Hawkeye aircraft in 1970, followed by the arrival of the E-2C on 31 May 1973. With the delivery of the first Advanced Radar Processing System (ARPS) aircraft in 1978, RVAW 120 trained Naval Flight Officers (NFOs), Flight Technicians and maintenance personnel in both the APS-120 and APS-125 radars. This continued unitl 1980 when all east coast VAW squadrons completed transition to the APS-125. In 1984, RVAW 120 trained aircrew and maintenance personnel in the APS-125 and APS-138 radars as east and west coasts continued to prepare for full transition to the TRAC A/APS-138 Radar System.
In May 1980, the 2F110 Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) was delivered and ready for use in early May 1981. The OFT is designed to simulate actual in-flight emergencies and train Replacement Pilots handle such emergencies prior to receiving E-2C training flights. The 15F8B Weapon System Trainer(WST) arrived in October 1984 and was accepted for training on 19 November 1984. This latest arrival provided staff and Replacement NFOs with the latest technology for the Grumman Hawkeye.
In May 1983, RVAW-120 officially became VAW-120, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY, reflecting the task load of a fleet squadron and a training squadron. NFO training was moved to a new site in April 1983 where the new 15F8B WST is currently housed. Pilot training was also moved to the new E-2 Training Building in late 1984 for consolidation of the training mission.
In June 1985, VAW-120 received the first reprocured C-2A delivered to the Navy. This delivery marked the commencement of a long range procurement program designed to greatly enchance the Carrier On-board Delivery (COD) capability for Carrier Battle Groups. The addition of the reprocured C-2A Greyhound brought the added responsibility of creating a new training program for Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons VRC-30 and VRC-40, pilots and aircrewman, which included the first ever C-2A night carrier qualification.
VAW 120 received its first E-2C+ (Group I) aircraft in November 1993. This aircraft introduced the enhanced APS-139 radar system and the more powerful and efficient T56-A-427 Allison engine. The E-2C continued its technological growth and in February 1994 the command took custody of its first E-2C (Group II) aircraft. This version of the E-2C introduced the powerful and innoviate APS-145 radar and an impressively accurate Global Positioning System (GPS) to aid in navigation. As a result, the Group II curriculum for pilots and NFOs was established to provide training in the new aircraft. The E-2C's navigation system received a face-lift with the introduction of the dual ASN-139 laser ring gyro inertial navigation system in 1997. In November 2001, VAW-120 received the fleet's first E-2C Plus Hawkeye 2000 aircraft that includes the new mission computer and ACIS display system and a new ARC-210 SATCOM system. The aircraft will eventually have CEC and a new ESM system.
VAW-120 became the single site Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) in September 1994 when VAW-110, its west coast counterpart, was decommissioned. As a result, VAW-120 is the sole training site for all E-2C and C-2A aircrew. This consolidated resulted
COMMANDING OFFICERS OF VAW-120
CAPT S.L. CORNER 01JUL67-30SEP68
CDR T.E. NEWARK 01OCT68-07AUG69
CDR R.A. PETTIGREW 08AUG69-16JUL70
CDR D.G. TERRY 17JUL70-11JUL71
CDR R.A. SPARGO 12JUL71-24JUL72
CDR W.P. COURTNEY 25JUL72-05JUL73
CDR T.P. MCCLENAHAN 06JUL73-24JUL74
CDR J.D. LARISON 25JUL74-18DEC75
CDR BERNSEN 19DEC75-14APR77
CDR C.J. KING, JR 15APR77-28JUL78
CDR J.J. DITTRICK 29JUL78-18JAN80
CAPT R.A. ALLEN 19JAN80-22MAY81
CAPT J.R. CONDON 23MAY81-26AUG82
CDR A.J. MURPHY 27AUG82-06JAN84
CAPT L.N. ODEN 07JAN84-24MAY85
CAPT J.W. SPRAGUE 25MAY85-25APR86
CDR C.M. KRAFT, JR. 26APR86-18SEP87
CDR R.K. ZIA 19SEP87-10FEB89
CAPT R.F. BRADEN 11FEB89-23FEB90
CDR T.C. "DU"LANG 24FEB90-23AUG91
CDR E.F. CAFFREY 24AUG91-19NOV92
CAPT V.C. HUBER 20NOV92-12APR95
CAPT F.N. CLARK 13APR95-07NOV96
CDR D.T. "TEX" KEUHLEN 08NOV96-14SEP98
CAPT B.M. ROBY 14SEP98-13APR00
CAPT E.D. ROSEQUIST 14APR00-19FEB02
CDR E.M. CHICOINE 19FEB02-PRESENT