An F/A-18E Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 lands on USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during carrier qualifications, Sept. 12. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Kenneth Abbate)

WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN - Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) completed carrier qualifications, Sept. 9-12.

To certify, Ronald Reagan and CVW-5 were required to conduct approximately 200 sorties, take-offs and landings, as well as demonstrate proficiency in flight related operations during both day and night.

Each pilot must complete four landings during the day and one landing at night during the qualification period. Each landing is graded by a landing signal officer from the flight deck and only landings graded as "safe" count towards qualification. Carrier qualifications strengthen the operational relationship between the squadrons of CVW-5 and Ronald Reagan.

"The combination of the Carrier Air Wing and the aircraft carrier is the backbone of U.S. Naval power projection capability," said Cmdr. Raymond Marshall, air operations officer for Commander Task Force 70. "With that team, we can deploy significant military power or render humanitarian aid anywhere in the world within a few days. What sets this team apart from other military capabilities is the indefinite persistence as soon as the commands deploy."

This carrier qualification period also provided an opportunity for new members of the CVW-5 and Ronald Reagan teams to become qualified in important watch stations.

"Our folks already possess, or are in the process of qualifying for, the required launch and recovery watch stations," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Kjenaas, Ronald Reagan's assistant air officer.

After qualifying, Ronald Reagan and CVW-5 continued to operate on a routine patrol.

Ronald Reagan and CVW-5 are forward-deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.