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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
VAW-125 returns to MCAS Iwakuni

By Lance Cpl. Mason Roy | Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan | August 17, 2017

U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 “Tigertails” arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017.

The squadron was assigned to the USS Ronald Regan in order to conduct operations across the Indo-Asia Pacific region and foster host nation partnerships.

“The training we conducted is crucial to maintaining a ready air wing,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Daniel Hunziker, a pilot with VAW-125. “We integrated and trained with coalition partners as well as the carrier strike group.”

This is the first time VAW-125 has gone on a deployment out of Iwakuni. During their deployment, they trained with Singapore, Australia and other countries around the Pacific region. Training during deployments proves to be crucial to maintaining operational readiness within the unit.

“We get a lot of new sailors,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Danny Figueroa, an aviation machinist with VAW-125. “We have to train them to fix the aircraft, maintain proper tool control, what to look for when they’re on the flight deck and when the engines are starting normally.”

VAW-125 was a vital component to the deployment by providing radar technologies as well as the ability to act as a communications platform for Carrier Air Wing 5.

According to the manufacturers of the aircraft at Northrop Grumman, the E2-D Advanced Hawkeye serves as the “digital quarterback” to sweep ahead of strike groups, manage the mission and keep carrier battle groups out of harm’s way. They also provide net-centric warfare, which expands battle space awareness, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system.

The advanced radar technology provides warfighters with necessary situational awareness to compress time between initial awareness and active engagement.

Hunziker said his favorite part of the deployment was the ability to conduct flights around the USS Ronald Regan.

“We are the eyes and ears of the fleet,” said Hunziker. “I enjoyed flying around the aircraft carrier, whether it’s a catapult launch or an arrested landing. It’s a really unique experience, and was very rewarding.”

The Tigertails begin to prepare for their next patrol, which is expected to be in the fall timeframe.