NORFOLK, Va. — It's an aircraft that has more than stood the test of time. This year, the Navy celebrates the 60th anniversary of the E-2 Hawkeye.
The Northrop Grumman E-2C and D -- and their predecessor A and B variants -- have served through Vietnam, Desert Strom, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the current campaigns in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
The all-weather, tactical airborne early warning twin-turboprop aircraft was developed in the 1950s and had its first-ever flight on October 21, 1960.
On Wednesday, 13News Now was present as members of Naval Station Norfolk's VAW-121, the Bluetails conducted what is called a FOD (foreign object debris) walkdown prior to flight operations.
"Just coming off a 10-month deployment that we just did on the [USS Abraham] Lincoln, it's cool that we're the first ones off and the last ones back," said AT3 Seven Eklund. "It shows how much of a pivotal role this aircraft plays in the strike group."
LT Jordan Olson said he's proud of his teammates.
"The ability to work with our enlisted sailors each day who maintain this aircraft, make it operationally ready for the five aircrew to go forward and execute the mission as a team in order to accomplish our commander's objectives is extremely important and it's something I'm extremely humbled o be a part of," Olson said.
AM3 Anyssa Medina is proud of the work she does and happy to be a member of this squadron.
"You know, all of us play a part in keeping everybody who actually flies the aircraft safe, so it's a good feeling," she said.
Through six decades of active service -- including a crash on August 31 on Virginia's Eastern Shore -- the E-2 has suffered just nine major mishaps resulting in a total of only 21 deaths. All four crew members were unharmed in the August accident, which is still under investigation.