The VAW-123 Screwtops proudly celebrated 50 years of excellence and service to the country as the “Eyes of the Fleet.” The legacy of the iconic swirl that distinguishes the radar dome of the Screwtop. E-2 aircraft began in 1956 with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing TWELVE (CAEWW-12) Detachment 59, which provided airborne control for the Atlantic Fleet. On April 1st of 1967, Detachment 59 was formally commissioned as the first formal E-2 Hawkeye squadron in the Fleet, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO THREE (VAW-123), aboard USS FORRESTAL (CV 59).
The “World Famous Screwtops” of VAW-123 began their storied history with Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW-17) flying E-2A Hawkeye aircraft. The Screwtops went on to support Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, earning 14 “Battle Efficiency” awards for operational excellence in the process.
VAW-123 celebrated its 50 year anniversary on 20-21 April with a two-day reunion of all available past and present Screwtops, their families, and guests, which included representation from Northrup Grumman. The festivities began with tours of the squadron hangar and E-2C Group II Navigation Upgrade aircraft and concluded with simulator demonstrations in the E-2C Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) and a BBQ in the hangar. The Screwtop family reconvened the following day for an awards ceremony and luncheon at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia.