Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN (CVW-11) broke all the previous records for combat sorties flown and ordnance delivered during its sixth WESTPAC deployment aboard the carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) from November 6th 1970 to July 17th 1971. But CVW-11 would go to war aboard the Battle Cat again in 1972, and during that seventh WESTPAC CVW-11 broke its own records again. Though deployed early due to the 1972 Communist offensive, CVW-11 took a total of 107 aircraft aboard the Kitty Hawk to form the world’s largest Carrier Air Wing. These four (silent) videos were shot during that record-setting deployment. If you were there this is must-see footage!
From February 19th 1972 to November 28th 1972, CVW-11 consisted of VF-114 Aardvarks and VF-213 Black Lions flying the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II, VA-195 Dambusters and VA-192 World Famous Golden Dragons flying the Vought A-7E Corsair II, VA-52 Knightriders flying Grumman A-6A/B and KA-6D Intruders, RVAH-7 Peacemakers flying the North American RA-5C Vigilante, VAW-114 Hormel Hawgs flying the Grumman E-2B Hawkeye, VAQ-135 Black Ravens Detachment 1 flying the Douglas EKA-3B Skywarrior, HC-1 Pacific Fleet Angels Detachment 1 flying Sikorsky SH-3G Sea Kings, and HC-7 Sea Devils Det 110 flying Sikorsky HH-3A Sea Kings configured for combat search and rescue (CSAR).
The Hawk was flying sorties day and night during 1972 and there was at least one member of VAQ-135 who shot plenty of air-to-air and flight operations footage aboard the carrier during that seventh WESTPAC. These videos include cat shots and traps of every type of aircraft deployed with CVW-11 (even COD deck run launches) as well as footage shot during port calls (Subic Bay in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Sasebo in Japan) as well as places like Da Nang in South Vietnam and other “feet dry” installations. Thanks to YouTuber D . Sturgeon for uploading these priceless looks at the Navy’s leading edge circa 1972.