On Jan. 18 U.S. Navy Capt. Tom Barber, Commander Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), and Cmdr. Jason Hutcherson, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron TWO, Bounty Hunters (VFA-2), made their 1,000 carrier arrested landing, or “trap” aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).
Since naval aviation’s beginnings in 1911, more than 180,000 pilots and naval flight officers (NFO) have earned their wings of gold, but less than 360 pilots and 120 NFOs have reached the 1,000-trap milestone. The crew accomplished this feat together in “Bullet 100,” an F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to VFA-2.
The crowd that gathered on the flight deck to witness the accomplishment included members of VFA-2 and CVW-2, as well as Capt. Doug Verissimo, Commanding Officer of USS Carl Vinson.
“It was great to see everybody from my Squadron and the Air Wing up on the flight deck,” said Hutcherson. “I was a department head in VFA-2 a couple of years ago. Two come back as the [executive officer], and now as [commanding officer] while hitting the 1,000-traps milestone with the same squadron, is pretty rewarding.”
In a small ceremony after the event, Barber thanked Hutcherson and VFA-2 for allowing him to accomplish his 1,000 trap in one of their aircraft and said that he was honored to reach the milestone together with Hutcherson.
Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander Carrier Strike Group ONE (CSG-1), was present as both aircrews were presented with plaques to commemorate the occasion, complete with a segment of the carrier’s arresting cable.
When asked what reaching 1,000 traps meant to him, Hutcherson replied, “I hope that they recognize that getting 1,000 traps isn't just me. It's the ship, it's the maintainers and it's all the supporters that we have as aviators."
USS Carl Vinson and the Bounty Hunters of VFA-2 are currently on deployment in the Western Pacific as they work to strengthen relations with allies and partners in the region.