Iwo Jima hoists the EAWS pennant
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Coxwest
| TF 51/5 | July 1, 2018
To fly the EAWS pennant, at least 75 percent of all aviation-rated Iwo Jima Sailors must be qualified to wear the silver wings and anchor on their chests.
Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Kregg Griffiths, an EAWS program coordinator aboard Iwo Jima, said more than 400 Sailors have earned or re-qualified as EAWS since the ship began its regularly scheduled deployment as part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group in February.
To earn EAWS, Sailors are required to complete standardized common core and platform-specific qualification books, walk-throughs with subject matter experts, along with passing written and oral exams to demonstrate their knowledge of aviation warfare.
“It felt really good when I finally got my EAWS pin after spending hours studying,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jose Alvarado, a Sailor stationed aboard Iwo Jima. “It really helped me become more knowledgeable of things that make the ship capable of completing its missions.”
While qualifying as a EAWS is mandatory for all aviation-rated Sailors, many who work outside of the aviation community also took up the challenge and obtained it as their secondary warfare pin.
“Qualifying in your primary pin is not only mandatory but, it’s also essential to being well rounded in your warfare area,” said Griffiths. “When a Sailor goes above and beyond in achieving secondary and tertiary warfare pins, it proves that individual’s commitment to excellence and professional growth.”
The EAWS pennant will be flown from Iwo Jima’s mast as a symbol of the achievements and level of knowledge of Iwo Jima Sailors.
“It signifies to everyone on the waterfront that USS Iwo Jima is excelling in multiple warfare areas and has a proud and highly qualified aviation community serving onboard,” said Griffiths.
Iwo Jima is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group embarks the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is comprised of Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the transport dock ship USS New York (LPD-21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and the embarked staff of commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.