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Squadron History



The "World Famous" Screwtops, notably recognized by the spiraling logo adorned on each aircraft's radar dome, have established their place in Naval Aviation as the premier Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW). The squadron was originally commissioned in 1964 as a detachment of VAW-12 flying the E-2A Hawkeye. Through reorganization, VAW-12 Detachment 59 was commissioned VAW-123 in April 1967, under the command of CDR W. L. Hill.
 
Initially attached to Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW-17) onboard the USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), the squadron later joined CVW-3. Remaining in CVW-3 throughout the 1970's, the Screwtops sailed onboard USS SARATOGA (CV 60), USS AMERICA (CV 66), USS KENNEDY (CV 67), USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CV 71), and USS WASHINGTON (CV 73).
 
After joining CVW-1 in 1981, VAW-123 supported Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, operated in Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and an as expeditionary detachment out of Kuwait. The squadron also supported Operations DENY FLIGHT and DELIBERATE FORCE over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH over Iraq. Deploying eight days after September 11th, the Screwtops provided Tactical Command and Control (TAC-C2) Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in the skies over Pakistan and Afghanistan.
 
Deploying in 2003 with USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), VAW-123 became the first carrier-based Navy squadron to operate an expeditionary detachment in support of special warfare units. Under combat conditions with hostile fire in Northern Afghanistan, the squadron provided TAC-C2 to coalition aircraft and time sensitive targeting coordination to Special Operations Forces for Operation MOUNTAIN RESOLVE.
 
From 2006 to 2012, VAW-123 deployed three times with CVN 65. The squadron provided TAC-C2 in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM in 2006, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and NEW DAWN in 2011, and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2012.
  
In 2015, the Screwtops joined CVW-3 and, after an arduous workup cycle, deployed onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The Screwtops executed 589 sorties in the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf, including 286 TAC-C2 sorties in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

In 2020, the Screwtops went on a near record breaking deployment on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) with 206 consecutive days at sea as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe. CVW 3 supported Central Command with 1,135 flight hours in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Strait of Hormuz transits, and Deliberate Presence Patrols while operating in 5th and 6th Fleet.

The Screwtops have excelled throughout 50 years of operations and remain committed to the standard of excellence that accompanies the title, "The World Famous."

 


 

 
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