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Old July 3rd 03, 02:12 AM
John Larson
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Default The end of the Naval Air Reserves???

It will be a sad day when the all these squadrons are gone. It was fun
while it lasted. John Larson LCDR(Ret) VP-90 1984-1994, NAS Glenview

from July 7 Navy Times

Issue Date: July 07, 2003

Proposed cuts to Reserve aviation face opposition

By Christopher Munsey
Times staff writer

The Naval Reserve Association and members of Congress oppose the
planned decommissioning of a Naval Air Reserve F/A-18 Hornet strike
fighter squadron in the next fiscal year - and worry about even deeper
future cuts to Reserve aviation.
The cuts, reportedly being considered as Navy officials plan the
service's budget over the next five fiscal years, are significant,
said retired Navy Capt. Ike Puzon, association spokesman.

According to planning information the association obtained from Navy
sources, the Naval Air Reserve would lose its maritime patrol,
helicopter and strike fighter squadrons, Puzon said.

Only the Naval Air Reserve fleet logistics squadrons, plus Electronic
Attack Squadron 209, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77 and
Fighter Squadrons Composite 12 and 13 would be spared.

The decommissioning schedule includes:

Fiscal 2004: VFA-203.

Fiscal 2005: Patrol Squadrons 64 and 92; VFA-201 and VFA-204; VAW-78;
Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 75; Helicopter Antisubmarine
Squadron Light 60; Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 85; and
Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadrons 4 and 5.

Fiscal 2006: VP-62 and VP-66.

Fiscal 2007: VP-65 and VP-69.

Fiscal 2008: VP-94.

Aside from quick savings, the planned cuts don't make sense, Puzon
said, given the nation's security needs.

As a reason for maintaining the current Reserve structure, Puzon cited
the deployments of VFA-201 and detachments from HCS 4 and HCS-5 for
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mobilized in October, VFA-201 deployed with
Carrier Air Wing 8 aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt; its
aircraft conducted bombing missions over Iraq.

Eight HH-60H Seahawk helicopters and 180 people from HCS-4 and HCS-5,
trained in combat search-and-rescue and naval special warfare
operations, deployed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf
this spring.

Those deployments show that the Reserve's aircraft and personnel are a
valuable "insurance policy" for the Navy, said retired Rear Adm. Steve
Keith, the association's executive director.

"You need it; you never know when you're going to use it," Keith said.

Asked to comment on possible future cuts, Naval Reserve officials
would only say that funding is provided for two of the Reserve's three
strike fighter squadrons in the coming fiscal year, as part of the
Navy and Marine Corps tactical aviation integration plan.

"No decision has been made of which squadron will be decommissioned in
FY 2004, and it is premature to speculate about decisions regarding
force alignment for FY '05 and FY '06," said Vice Adm. John Totushek,
director of the Naval Reserve, in a prepared statement.

Senators and representatives are concerned about the cuts.

In a letter sent June 20 to the chairmen of the Senate and House Armed
Services committees, Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., asked for support for
language requiring the secretary of the Navy to submit two reports 90
days before any reductions to Reserve assets occur. The reports would
clarify the Navy's aviation force structure plan for the next five
fiscal years and explain plans for better integrating the Reserve into
active-component operations.