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Sat, Nov 04, 2006

Kitty Hawk, CVW-5 Host Air Force Officers

USAF Sees The Navy Side Of Things

Air Force Capt. Michelle Pryor and seven other officers from Osan Air Force Base, Korea, flew aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) October 25 for an overnight aircraft carrier familiarization tour. The captains and majors, the Air Force equivalent of Navy lieutenants and lieutenant commanders, were aboard to see Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing 5 operations.

Cmdr. John Tougas, Air Wing operations officer, said that this familiarization will allow Air Force officials to give naval operations a bigger, more accurate, role in the defense of Korea, if ever needed.

"Simply put, the recent carrier orientation visit gave our sister service comrades an opportunity to gain a better understanding of Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group combat capabilities," explained Tougas. "So [now] they can better integrate and synergize naval firepower with other joint forces in the defense of the Republic of Korea."

The Air Force officers said that, from their perspective, the day-long familiarization worked.

"I work a lot with Navy issues," explained Air Force Capt. Natalie Glenn of the 607th Air Intelligence Squadron. "[I now] have a much better appreciation for the differences that the Navy has when operating with us."

Glenn continued, saying she not only learned the differences, but the likenesses, as well.

"Also, I see the similarities between each of the services in the ‘intel’ world," she said. "That’s probably the most beneficial to see, that we’re all working on the same page."

That ‘same page’ understanding makes it easier for officers like Pryor, who manages airspace for military flight operations, to help meet the Navy’s needs.

"It does give you a different perspective on what their operating restraints are," she said about the carrier’s 1.5 acre flight deck and relatively short runway. "I can help get these guys (Navy pilots) some air space that they need."

In addition to the KC-135 refueler, Pryor flies the much smaller C-12 Huron passenger and cargo aircraft. Most of the officers that came aboard fly versions of the F-15 Eagle fighter.

Pryor, Glenn and Air Force Capt. Jeff Dale, also of the combat operations squadron, spent part of their final day on Kitty Hawk watching refueling with USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and then received a briefing on the F/A-18C Hornet by Lt. Jason Lane.

The Kitty Hawk strike group includes the aircraft carrier, the aircraft squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing 5, the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15 staff. The group’s ships and destroyer squadron staff are based at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, and the air wing and staff are based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.

(Aero-News salutes Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jason Chudy, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs)

FMI: www.news.navy.mil/local/cv63/

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