The Tactical Support Wing
(TSW) is a United States Navy reserve aircraft carrier air wing based at
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. Commander, Tactical Support
Wing (TSW) has become the new designation of the former Reserve
Carrier Air Wing 20 (CVWR-20). This change occurred on 1 April
2007 and was executed in accordance with the U.S. Navy's Active-Reserve
Integration plan. The wing comprises seven squadrons, located in six
different states, whose primary mission is operational and training support
for active forces. The air wing is the only Tactical Reserve Carrier Air Wing
in the world today and is an integral part of the Navy 's 11 Carrier Air Wing
force structure. With the disestablishment of the West Coast reserve air wing
(CVWR-30), the TSW (CVWR-20) is now the heart of tactical aviation in the
U.S. Naval Air Reserve.
To provide support to all active forces and assist in training services,
exercise support, counter narcotic operations, fleet contributory support,
and preparation to deploy to any protracted conflict and operate as an
integrated air wing. In addition the wing is responsible for maintaining a
pre-determined crisis response posture in the event of a national crisis.
The Tactical Support Wing consists of six squadrons:
VFA-204 River Rattlers - based at NAS JRB New Orleans, Louisiana
VAW-77 Nightwolves - based at NAS JRB New Orleans, Louisiana
VAQ-209 Star Warriors - based at NAF Washington D.C.
VFC-12 Fighting Omars - based at NAS Oceana, Virginia
VFC-13 Saints - based at NAS Fallon, Nevada
VFC-111 Sundowners - based at NAS Key West, Florida
VMFA-142 Marine Fighter
Attack Squadron 142 „Golden Gators“
TSW/CVWR-20 squadrons have operated from virtually every carrier deck in the
Navy's inventory, including cyclic operations aboard USS John F. Kennedy
(CV-67) in 1971, 1996; USS Independence (CV-62) in 1978;USS Lexington
(AVT-16) in 1981; USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in 1982; USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
(CVN-69) in 1984, 1985, 1989; and USS Forrestal (CV-59) in 1987. The air wing
embarked aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in June 1996 to conduct
cyclic operations on the Navy's newest aircraft carrier. Regular operation
deployments have been conducted at the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon,
Nevada, as well as numerous detachments to other Navy and Air Force
installations. Additionally, overseas operations have been conducted in Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Bermuda, Brazil, Denmark, France, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy,
Norway, Panama, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Venezuela to advance air wing
tactics, readiness and fleet support.
In February 1996, the Naval Reserve reestablished Squadron Augment Units
(SAUs) to help ensure an adequate supply of Fleet Reserve Squadron (FRS)
pilots. This action enhanced fleet mobilization readiness and increases pilot
training throughput with minimal cost growth. The SAUs established to support
VFA-106 and VFA-125 consisted of 10 SELRES pilots, 2 TAR pilots, 25 TAR
enlisted members, and 35 SELRES enlisted members per squadron.
The two Reserve Carrier Air Wings, CVWR-20 and CVWR-30, were established on 1
April 1970 followed by two carrier ASW group [CVSGR-70 and CVSGR-80] on 1 May
1968. This was a continuation of a program initiated in July 1968 to give
Naval Air Reserve squadrons an improved combat readiness.
In 1996 CVWR-20 and its squadron, VF-201, VFA-203, VFA-204, VAQ-209, VAW-78
and HC-85 completed their much needed two week annual training aboard USS
John C. Stennis (CVN-74). Much needed because CVWR-20 had not operated
together as an airwing around the boat since 1989.
In the following two years, Naval Reservists of Carrier Air Wing Reserve 20
(CVWR-20) worked on the flight decks of multiple carriers. Some CVWR-20
aviators landed on the deck of every aircraft carrier on active duty today.
But even this seasoned Wing and its Sailors broke new ground in April 1998
when they embarked on USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) for the ship’s flight deck
certification. Approximately 240 pilots, air crew and maintenance people from
CVWR-20 embarked KITTY HAWK off the coast of Southern California for a busy
10-day underway period that included flight deck certification, Command Assessment
for Readiness and Training II, Precision Aircraft Landing certification and
an Afloat Training Group visit. The Wing and its inventory of seven F-14
Tomcats, two EA-6B Prowlers and one E-2 Hawkeye completed over 150 traps.
This was the first flight deck certification Air Wing 20 has been involved
in. In addition to a busy schedule, a large part of Kitty Hawk’s Air
Department had never conducted flight operations at sea. But the mission was
accomplished in a very short time frame.
In the summer of 1998 CVWR-20 completed a one month deployment to Incirlik,
Turkey in support of Operation Deny Flight.
In May 2000 sailors of Carrier Air Wing Reserve TWENTY (CVWR-20) operated
aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) for two weeks, supporting a series of tests
evaluating the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system. CVWR-20
launched sorties in support of the evaluation and took advantage of the
underway period to sharpen war fighting skills and achieve important
qualifications as well. This detachment was especially important to VFA-201
because it was their first at-sea period since they transitioned to the FA-18
Hornet. Several pilots qualified in carrier operations for the first time in
the Hornet, making arrested landings with an impressive boarding rate.
VFA-201 also fired their first air-to-air missiles from the Hornet, launching
three AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles and two AIM-7 Sparrow
radar-guided missiles in a variety of profiles at a number of different
targets. In another first for CVWR-20, five Marine Hornets from VMFA-142
joined them for CQ, qualifying all five pilots. Three of the Hornets then
flew to Roosevelt Roads where they flew Orange Air missions in support of
Commander, Tactical Support Wing, located at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve
Base Fort Worth, TX, has operational and administrative control of the Air
Wing. CVWR-20 consists of more than 1,900 active duty and Selected Reservists
(SELRES). The SELRES represent a unique personnel asset as a civilian/sailor
who performs one drill weekend each month and up to twelve days of active
duty each year. The squadron's active duty TAR (Training and Administration
of Reserves) cadre is jointly responsible for SELRES training and the
maintenance of unit readiness required for crisis response. In today’s
smaller Navy, Reservists are performing more duties once filled by active
duty units. While Reservists are obligated to drill a minimum of two days per
month and incur a two-week Annual Training session, Sailors in TSW far exceed
that, averaging seven to 10 days a month, or about 100 days a year. The
organization structure of TSW mirrors that of active fleet air wings, with
the exception of a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadron, and the air wing is
capable of immediate mobilization when directed to meet commitments required
by higher authority. VMFA-142 (Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 142) has been
designated the U.S. Marine Corps component of this reserve carrier air wing,
supplementing the three existing VFA squadrons. The wing conducts USMC
Integration with VMFA-142 "Flying Gators" every other year. HS-75
at NAS Jacksonville upon Mobilization chops to TSW. It is able to provide the
flexibility to immediately integrate and operate with regular Navy counterparts.