On 19 May, Capt. William Reed, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 Commander has completed his 5,000th flight hour in an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, according to a recent U.S. Navy’s news release.
Capt. William Reed is the only Hawkeye pilot currently on active duty to fly 5,000 flight hours, an exceptionally rare accomplishment for military aviators. He is also qualified to pilot the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler and has logged 720 carrier-arrested landings.
“The fun of flying never goes away,” Reed said. “The recognition for this achievement is shared with all the great Americans I’ve served with, who put the energy and effort into providing an up aircraft for the mission.”
Reed has accrued 1,100 combat flight hours during 300-plus missions in support of Operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. With the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, he was among the first American forces to respond immediately following 9/11, flying combat sorties in Afghanistan in October 2001.
“It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you’re always training,” said Reed. “It’s a thrilling job, flying around the aircraft carrier in a big plane like the E-2. But the best part is seeing the team achieve excellence day in and day out.”
Cmdr. Neil Fletcher, executive officer, Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 121 who previously served with Reed during his junior officer tour emphasized the achievement of reaching the pinnacle of flight hours in the E-2C/D.
“Achieving 5,000 flight hours in the E-2C/D Hawkeye is an incredible milestone, and although not unprecedented is an extremely rare achievement in this community, which speaks to Capt. William Reed’s long and distinguished career in Naval Aviation,” said Fletcher.
Reed was designated a Naval Aviator in 1996 and has deployed seven times, most recently returning in January 2020 from the record-breaking 10-month deployment onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Earlier this month, Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic emphasized the important milestones achieved by Naval Aviation over the past 109 years. Meier also emphasized the importance of people, such as leaders like Reed who pave the way for the next generation of Naval Aviators.
“For the people who have paved the way of Naval Aviation for the past 109 years, to those who stand the watch today, our people are in fact our greatest resource. Our collective actions and deeds should reinforce that sentiment each and every day.”