An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 takes off from USS George Washington (CVN 73) during Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5's fly-off, Dec. 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman)

PHILIPPINE SEA - Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the embarked air wing of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), completed its end of patrol fly off, Dec. 1.

CVW 5's more than 60 aircraft from nine squadrons will return to their forward-operating location of Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.

George Washington and CVW 5 are an important part of building interoperability between the U.S. and its partners and allies in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"This interoperability acts as a force multiplier," said Capt. Michael Boyle, commander, CVW 5. "By operating together, we are stronger than if we were to operate individually if ever called upon to protect shared interests."

During the 2013 patrol, CVW 5 participated in Operation Damayan, swapped four E-2C Hawkeyes from the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 with USS Nimitz (CVN) 68, conducted dissimilar air-to-air training with the Royal Malaysian air force, and operated to their full-mission capabilities despite the complications of five tropical storms.

"Without a doubt, the humanitarian relief we provided to the Republic of the Philippines as part of Operation Damayan was our biggest highlight," said Boyle. "The looks on the faces of the people of the Philippines, so thankful and full of hope after such a devastating natural disaster, is one I will never forget."

The "Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and the "Saberhawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 airlifted more than 3,250 gallons of water, 24,900 pounds of food, 2,600 pounds of general supplies, and conducted over 250 personnel transfers during the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort.

"My proudest moment as CAG was watching the ship-air wing team help the people of the Philippines," said Boyle. "I've really enjoyed this patrol and this tour. It has been gratifying personally and professionally to work with such amazing men and women day in and day out."

CVW 5 is comprised of nine squadrons: the "Diamondbacks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102, flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet; the "Royal Maces" of VFA 27; the "Dambusters" of VFA 195; the "Eagles" of VFA 115, flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet; the "Shadowhawks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, flying the E/A-18G Growler; the "Liberty Bells" of VAW 115, flying the E-2C Hawkeye; the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Det. 5, flying the C-2A Greyhound; HSC 12, flying the MH-60S Seahawk; and HSM 77, flying the MH-60R Seahawk.

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Members of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 are greeted by their families and other squadron members during a homecoming celebration at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s flight line, Dec. 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kegan E. Kay)