Fors una, multa: Out of One, Many – Sourcing Today’s VAW

1967: VAW-11 (West coast) and VAW-12 (East coast) constitute the two largest squadrons in the Navy with some 200 officers and 800 enlisted each. Each squadron supports a 4x plane E-1B Tracer (better known as “Willie Fudd” or just plain “Fudd”) or E-2A Hawkeye detachment on CVA’s and CVS’s around the world.  Additionally, they provide training and qualification in type and a host of administration support tasks. The problem this was creating, among others, was a very narrow pinnacle for command and other leadership opportunities. In an effort to rectify this, a team led by CAPT Bob Yount and made up of CDR Bryan Rudy, LCDR Myer and LT Bob Allwine met with their counterparts from VAW-12 to work out a plan to convince CNO and the key bureaus in Washington (BuAer and BuPers) of the efficacy of splitting the two huge squadrons into individual squadrons under administrative wings. They met with CNO in February and were successful such that on 1 April 1967, a CNO message was released dividing the two squadrons as follows:

VAW-11 into Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing Pacific, RVAW-110 as the West Coast training squadron, VAW-111 to service the remaining E-1B dets on the West Coast (this would be assumed by RVAW-110 and VAW-111 disestablished), and VAW-112, VAW-113, VAW–14, VAW-115 and VAW-116 as E-2A squadrons. VAW-88 would be the West Coast Reserve squadron. VAW-117 would be added later and VAW-111 would attempt a brief come back in the early 80’s, but was disestablished after barely two years. The budget axe fell sharply post Cold War, with VAW-110 consolidating on the East coast with VAW-120 in a single E-2 training squadron, and VAW-114 being dis-established.

VAW-12 into Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic, RVAW-120 as the East Coast training squadron, VAW-121 to service the remaining East Coast E-1B requirements (and continue doing so until 1976 when they upgraded to the E-2C), and VAW-122, VAW-123 and VAW-124 as E-2A squadrons. Unlike the West Coast which stood their squadrons up on 20 April 1967, the East Coast took the message literally and stood their squadrons up on the 1st of April, making VAW-122, deployed on the America, the first of the new VAW squadrons to be deployed. VAW-78 would be the East coast Reserve squadron. Eventually VAW-125, VAW-126 and VAW-127 would be added while the same post-Cold War budget axe would claim VAW-127 in 1991 and VAW-122 in 1996 and lead to consolidation of AEWWingLANT out west as Commander, Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing when it was combined with AEWWingPAC. VAW-77 would be added as a special mission Reserve squadron but it too would succumb to the budgetary axe only a few years after being stood up.