NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 held an airborne change of command ceremony on board Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia that saw Capt. Joshua A. Sager relinquish his duties as Commander, CVW-8 to Capt. Daryl E. Trent in a ceremony attended by family, friends, and staff, Sept. 30.
In aviator tradition, Sager and Trent read their orders while Trent flew an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye attached to Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120, and passed to the right of Sager who flew an F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 37, while their immediate superior in command, Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, commander Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 flew escort, and guests watched from the flight line.
“I’m truly honored that you all gave me your time today,” said Sager in his remarks to the crowd. “In my humble and biased opinion, the leadership of CVW-8 maintained training and readiness better than the rest. In a little over a year, during COVID, our air wing detached 17 times across the country or out to sea, moving multiple squadrons and thousands of personnel. This air wing completed all tasking on time and with unparalleled results.”
Sager, a native of Stuart, Florida and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Naval War College, reported as the Deputy Commander of CVW-8 in August 2018 before assuming command in March 2020. During his 18-month tour as Commander, Sager led CVW-8 through historic first-in-class embarkations of a carrier air wing onboard the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).
“When we first teamed up with Ford, she had completed less than 800 launch and recovery cycles on her catapults and wires, and was considered by many at the time to have unproven technology,” added Sager. “Just over a year later as she successfully completed post-delivery test and trials ahead of timeline, including the first full ship shock trials of an aircraft carrier in 33 years, she has completed more than 8,000 launches and recoveries on her now proven equipment, and she is positioned to commence her inaugural deployment next year.”
Under Sager’s leadership, CVW-8 directly enabled Ford’s first Flight Deck Certification, conducted Ford’s first fixed and rotary-wing cyclic operations, launched the first heavy-ordnance organic strikes from the carrier’s flight deck, and facilitated the ship’s first integrated CSG operations.
Trent, a native of North Chesterfield, Virginia and a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the National Defense University, becomes CVW-8’s 65th Commander following a decorated career of previous leadership assignments to include Executive Officer VAW-120, the Fleet Replacement Squadron for E-2C/D and C-2A aircraft, Commanding Officer, VAW-125, and Battle Director at the 609th Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid, Qatar. Most recently, he served as CVW-8 Deputy Commander.
Trent’s brief remarks were focused on the teamwork that he said has been a cornerstone of the Navy’s success for 245 years.
“Throughout our rich naval history, the fight is never conducted by one person, one ship or one platform. Today we have only expanded our reach across multi domains beyond land, sea and air capabilities to take the fight to a level we never imagined just a few decades ago,” said Trent. “Team factory is excited to exit the maintenance phase and join the training as a carrier strike group; our air wing combined with the lethality of the CSG-12 warfare commanders will cary the day for our nation.”
CVW-8 consists of six aircraft squadrons flying FA-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, and MH-60R/S Seahawks. More than 1,500 personnel are assigned to CVW-8, part of CSG-12 and the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group.