USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea - Deputy Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Capt. Daniel S. Cave, made his 1,000th carrier-arrested landing Oct. 22, joining the ranks of a select group of naval aviators.
The landing is commonly referred to as a “trap,” and after the landmark achievement on the flight deck aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) (GW), a cake-cutting ceremony was held in the “Diamondbacks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 ready room. Cave was congratulated by the George Washington Carrier Strike Group Commander, Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, Commander of CVW-5, Capt. Ross Myers and GW’s Executive Officer, Capt. Daniel Grieco.
“It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to fly around the aircraft carrier,” said Cave. “But the credit goes to the pilots I’ve flown with and the maintainers that have maintained the aircraft throughout the years.”
It has been 22 years since Cave’s first trap and he said it is a privilege to reach this career milestone, but has never considered himself to be a milestone chaser. In his career, Cave has been attached to numerous squadrons, instructed pilots and even acted as the Navy aid for the Commandant of the Marine Corps. His first tour was with the “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) during Operation Desert Shield.
“It’s been a long time since my first trap, I’m older now and I’ve got grey in my hair, but I hope I haven’t changed too much,” said Cave. “Catching the arresting wire can still be scary at times, especially if the flight deck starts slipping, but I think that the moment it stops being scary, it’s time to hang it up.”
Cave’s current responsibilities are to support the commander of CVW-5, by assisting in administrative work while Myers’ main focus is on the operations side of the house.
“He’s a really good guy to work for,” said Cmdr. Mark Tankersley, the CVW-5 operations officer, who has known Cave for six years. “He takes care of his people in more than one way, he takes care of a lot of things on his level so we don’t get overwhelmed and he’s been around so long he can answer any questions we have; everyone respects him for that.”
Cave is scheduled to take Myers’ position as commander, CVW-5, Feb. 3, 2011. Once he finishes his tour on GW, Cave said he could possibly go to Washington D.C. but isn’t sure what the Navy has in store for him.
“This is deployment seven and it doesn’t get any easier, but my family understands and they’re always there for me,” said Cave. Tankersley said he is looking forward to working for him when he gets promoted.
“Knowing him from my last command, I was very interested to work for him again,” said Tankersley. “I wasn’t the only person who was trying to work for him, but he helped me to get the position.”
Cave said he enjoys being an aviator and will not be giving up on it any time soon.
“I’m not quite ready yet, but in the future, I would like to retire on a lake,” said Cave. “I can see myself sitting on a dock, fishing, maybe getting visited by the grandkids.”
CVW-5 is embarked as part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group. GW is currently underway helping ensure security and stability in the Western Pacific Ocean.