The Fighting Redcocks of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 and Carrier Air Wing 17 recently concluded their participation in Valiant Shield 2014.
This dynamic training exercise offered Redcock aircrew the opportunity to work in conjunction with squadrons from Carrier Air Wing Five, flying from the USS George Washington, as well as various U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps assets flying out of Andersen Air Force base in Guam.
Valiant Shield 2014 training missions included large force strikes and air-to-air missions with varying levels of complexity and difficulty. These training missions afforded Redcock aircrew an outstanding opportunity to experience the complexity of joint operations prior to the start of combat operations.
As the exercise progressed, an increasing number of sorties were required for mission success. The sustained high operations tempo and unique training executed throughout the week would not have been possible without the unmatched support of the Redcock maintenance team.
The maintenance professionals led the charge and kept the squadron’s fleet of F/A-18F aircraft flying throughout the eight day exercise. Strike Fighter Squadron 22 maintainers were able to provide the fully mission capable jets required to support 160 sorties and 220 flight hours.
While all members of the Fighting Redcocks enjoyed and gained valuable experience throughout the duration of Valiant Shield 2014, another important tool was obtained in the process; That critical tool was pride. The seas around Guam were home to some of the fiercest fighting and most iconic naval engagements that the United States Navy participated in during World War II. Through the intense strain of these battles, the foundations of the modern United States Navy were formed.
While the Fighting Redcocks of VFA-22 operated in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, time to reflect upon the sacrifices of those who sailed before them and the history of these hallowed waters instilled a sense of pride as they continue the traditions and legacy of their aviation forefathers.
As the USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 leave the Guam operating area, the members of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 direct their sights west towards a possible port visit and future combat operations.