Squadron Spotlight

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Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 “Greyhawks”

Established: July 6, 1948

Based: Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia

Current Commanding Officer: Cmdr. Evan L. Morrison

Mission: E-2 Mission: Airborne Early Warning (AEW), Command and Control (C2.) C-2 Mission: Logistics

Brief History: Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 was commissioned on July 6, 1948, as Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 2, flying the TBM Avenger, the AF Guardian and the AD5W Skyraider. In 1956, the squadron was redesignated as VAW-12 and tasked exclusively for Airborne Early Warning. Between 1959 and 1961 a modified version of the E-1B Tracer was introduced to the fleet which housed an airborne radar and was designated the WF-2 or “Willie Fudd.”

By 1966, VAW-12 received the first E-2A Hawkeye and was supplying detachments using two different aircraft aboard 10 Atlantic Fleet aircraft carriers in addition to training personnel for those detachments. As the squadron continued to grow in both personnel and materiel, a decision was made to reorganize the squadron as an Air Wing and on April 1, 1967, VAW-12 officially became Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing 12. Shortly thereafter, the squadron was renamed as RVAW-120 and became the Atlantic Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS).

In May 1983, RVAW-120 officially became VAW-120, reflecting the task load of a fleet squadron and a training squadron. Expanding the training mission in June 1985 to incorporate the carrier logistics mission, the first C-2A Greyhound Carrier On-board Delivery (COD) aircraft was delivered to the squadron and a new training program was developed. In 1994 it became the sole training site for all E-2 and C-2 aircrew with the consolidation of the West-Coast FRS (VAW-110) and a new version of E-2C was introduced, the E-2C+ Group II, which incorporated a powerful new radar and Global Positioning System (GPS). Currently, the squadron trains the fleet with the most technologically advanced airborne early warning platform, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. With the introduction of this revolutionary new aircraft in 2012, the fleet now employs cutting-edge technology ensuring America not only has an edge on her adversaries but maintains a commanding lead. The VAW-120 Greyhawks continue their proud tradition of providing the world’s finest aircrew for the critical missions of carrier airborne early warning and fleet logistics support.

Aircraft Flown: E-2C Hawkeye, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, C-2A Greyhound

Number of People in Unit: 653 military personnel; 232 civilian and contractors

Significant Accomplishments:

  • July 1, 1967: RVAW-120 was formed to be the Wing’s formal training squadron
  • May 1983: RVAW-120 became VAW-120
  • June 1985: VAW-120 received the first re-procured C-2As delivered to the Navy
  • November 1993: VAW-120 received its first E-2C+ aircraft
  • Summer of 2012: VAW-120 received the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye