– This is the continuation of a previously posted article: CAG Birds Flock To Fallon –
Some of the most elaborate CAG bird tail designs can be seen on the MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawks of the Navy’s HSM (Helicopter Maritime Strike) and HSC (Helicopter Sea Combat) squadrons.
It is not just US Navy aircraft that visit NAS Fallon displaying special tail paint designs. Although I am not certain if the Marines specifically refer to their aircraft as “CAG birds,” the special paint schemes on USMC aircraft seen at KNFL are every bit as impressive as the ones on the USN’s military metalbirds.
(VMGR = Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron)
The VMFA (Marine Fighter Attack Squadron) 115 “Silver Eagles” Hornet seen in the next photo is home based at MCAS Beaufort (S. Carolina). This Bug displays a wonderful squadron tail design.
With at least nine individual aircraft squadrons assigned to each Carrier Strike Group (CSG), and with nine CSGs currently in operation, it is a somewhat Herculean task for an aircraft spotter to get photo captures of every one of the 81 carrier-assigned squadron CAG birds. However, a small handful of photographers in the northern Nevada / central California area have, over a period of more than two years, been able to visit NAS Fallon frequently enough to snap pictures of 2/3rds to 3/4ths of those 81 CAG aircraft. My goal over the past couple years has been to obtain a “complete set” of CAG bird pics of all of the nine squadrons assigned to any one carrier. I am finally very close to realizing my goal with two of the nine CSGs. I am missing just one squadron CAG bird from CSG-3 (USS John C. Stennis), and I need only two more of the squadron CAG colorbirds from Carrier Strike Group Nine (USS Ronald Reagan) to have at least one “complete set.”
In regards to four other of the Carrier Strike Groups, my collection is nowhere near as close to being complete. In CSG-5 (USS George Washington), I have only two catches thus far; the VFA-27 “Royal Maces” CAG (see photo in “CAG Birds Flock To Fallon” .. published / posted last month) and the VFA-115 “Eagles” CAG seen below. Both captures came on the same day.
In Carrier Strike Group One (USS Carl Vinson), I have only one, the VFA-113 “Stingers” CAG bird, and a photo of it has already been presented in Part One of this article. The USS Carl Vinson has ended a deployment and returned to San Diego, and its assigned aircraft squadrons will be stopping by NAS Fallon for their month-long training visit, so I have high hopes of adding to my CAG bird photo collection.
The VAW-124 “Bear Aces” are presently assigned to CSG-2 (USS George H.W. Bush). The above click shows an E-2C Hawkeye painted as the VAW-124 “Bear Aces” Hawkeye CAG bird; however, my pic is a photo of a retired Hawkeye that is on static display in NFL’s Air Park. So I have zero, none, nada, zip, and zilch photos of any CAG birds of any of the nine squadrons in Carrier Strike Group Two (Bush) or CSG-10 (USS Dwight D. Eisenhower).
That leaves three other CSGs, and although I need more than two in each group in order to have “complete photo sets,” I already have several in each of those three CSGs. Two of the CAG warbirds in Carrier Strike Group Twelve are …
The two parts of this article have been exclusively devoted to presenting photo captures of CAG showbirds that have visited NAS Fallon for NAWDC / NSAWC training. The thirteen different CAG birds shown in these two articles are less than 1/3rd of the total number of individual CAG colorbird catches I’ve made. I sincerely hope readers have enjoyed seeing these shots.
In the future, I plan on publishing other articles featuring photos taken at NAS Fallon. The paint schemes of the F-16, F-5, and F-18 aircraft flown as adversaries by the VFC-13 pilots during NSAWC’s training sorties are widely varied and very unique. One of the Tigers is all black; others are striped. (Check out the “preview” pic below.) Vipers are different colors. A visiting VFC-12 aggressor is in the “arctic splinter” scheme, and there is also a Kfir warbird that participates in the exercises. All of these will be presented in an upcoming article, so please check back.
And also, don’t forget …. The National Championship Air Races are only one month away. If you cannot attend in person, check out Planeviz to see the event in pictures.
…. Reno Gary