The Obama administration will eliminate at least one of 10 Navy carrier air wings by the end of 2016. Thousands of personnel and dozens of aircraft will be reassigned to other duties and stations in the rest of the fleet. According to Navy spokesperson Lt. j.g. Kara Yingling, this move will be complete by October. Carrier Air Wing 14, which is based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, has not been full staffed since 2013 or deployed since 2011.
Leaving Air Wing 14 are:
Electronic Attack Squadron 134 at Whidbey Island, Washington, will not be deactivated but will become an expeditionary squadron based on land.
Strike Fighter Squadron 15 of Naval Air Station Oceana. This is the oldest F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Its aircraft may be sent to training squadrons or the reserves, once it is shut down.
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 of Naval Station North Island, California, will be shut down in fiscal year 2017.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 76 will leave, thereby cancelling the stand-up of the squadron in Jacksonville, Florida, 2017.
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112 at Naval Base Ventura, California, will shut down in fiscal year 2017.
Spokesperson Yingling said that the decision to shut down the 10th carrier wing was based on the Efficiency from the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, as well as carrier maintenance schedules, as well as increased training readiness and fiscal issues. Yingling said that the aircraft will be redistributed within existing squadrons.
A reduction in the number of carrier wings may result in fewer flying hours for aviators during essential phases of their training cycle, said Rear Adm. Mike Manazir in November. And unless the Navy can overhaul its aging compliment of Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft and buy enough new aircraft, it could see a widening gap of 138 aircraft. The 2017 budget proposal calls for the purchase of just 16 more
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