Interagency members assigned to the unified command supporting salvage operations for the Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye that crashed in the vicinity of Wallops Island and Chincoteague safely de-fueled the aircraft April 2.
The collaborative efforts of the unified command ensured environmental protection measures were in place, which resulted in the safe and successful removal of JP-5 fuel.
“The combined expertise spanning numerous federal, state, and local entities allowed us to complete this significant milestone as planned while ensuring we had the environmental safeguards in place to protect the local ecosystem throughout the entirety of the de-fueling process,” said Mr. Alan Kersnick, the Navy on-scene coordinator. “We greatly appreciate the continued support of our interagency partners, and especially the local community, as we recover our aircraft following this tragic event.”
The unified command consists of subject matter experts spanning numerous commands and organizations to include: U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Chincoteague Emergency Management services.
The U.S. Navy continues to coordinate with state and local officials on the salvage planning efforts of the E-2D aircraft. The health and safety of the local community is a top priority during recovery efforts which includes overflight aircraft confirming no pollution or discharge of fuel in the area. Salvage operations are expected to proceed in accordance with standard procedures which consider all environmental impacts.
The E-2D aircraft, attached to Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120, crashed March 30. The mishap, which left one service member dead and two injured remains under investigation.
The mission of VAW-120 is to fly and train Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, and Naval Aircrew to safely and effectively operate E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft.
The E-2 Hawkeye flight training that occurs on Wallops Island is critical to maintaining readiness to support national security.
“NASA Wallops and Chincoteague serve as a key location vital to successful training of Hawkeye pilots. Our partnership with the community enables the requisite training that allows our pilots and aircrews to be worldwide deployable to support our collective defense,” said Cmdr. Martin Fentress Jr., Commanding Officer of VAW-120. “As a Norfolk native and someone who has a close connection with the Eastern Shore since childhood, I am eternally grateful for the outpouring of love from Chincoteague and the rapid response from numerous agencies who helped our pilots when it was needed most.”