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Navy Welcomes First Female Air Wing Commander

NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA, Va. -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, assigned to the Harry S. Truman Strike Group, welcomed the Navy's first female CVW commander during CVW-3's change of command ceremony Jan 4.

During the ceremony, which was conducted at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., Capt. Michael S. Wallace, commander of "Team Battle Axe," was relieved by Capt. Sara A. Joyner.

"We have an amazing air wing and the squadrons make us the lethal fighting force we are," said Wallace, a native of Brookings, Ore. "The air wing is sharp and ready to go. I look forward to watching [Joyner] lead this team we built together."

During CVW-3's most recent deployment with USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), its eight squadrons conducted 3,000 combat sorties with a 99.8 percent sortie completion rate, said Wallace.

"Taking the fight abroad is the business we are in," said Wallace. "I will miss being a part of this team."

At sea, Wallace flew F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18A/C Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for the "Grim Reapers" of Fighter Squadron (VF) 101; the "Ghostriders" of VF-142; the "Diamondbacks" of VF-102; and the "Black Knights" of VF-154. Wallace also served as executive and commanding officer of the "Swordsmen" of VF-32.

Ashore, Wallace served at NATO Air Base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, and at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., as PERS-431 commander of tactical air assignments, PERS-432 head detailer for lieutenant and lieutenant commander assignments, and PERS-43 deputy director. Wallace took command of CVW-3 in July 2011.

"I am incredibly honored to be the 57th 'Battle Axe,'" said Joyner, a native of Hooper's Island, Md. "I stand here with great pride because I have been handed the reigns of an exceptional team."

Joyner said she is ready to lead the team in its mission to defend freedom.

"Our upcoming deployment will define our proudest and most difficult moments," said Joyner. "Together, we will go forward to protect our families' way of life. Let us be ready; it is time to bring the fight to the enemy."

At sea, Joyner flew the A-4E Skyhawk with the "Checkertails" of Composite Squadron (VC) 5 and the "Red Tails" of VC-8 before transitioning to the F/A-18A/C Hornet with the "Rough Raiders" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147. Joyner also served as executive and commanding officer of the "Gunslingers" of VFA-105.

Ashore, Joyner served at the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., and as the Joint Strike Fighter Requirements officer for the Chief of Naval Operations Air Warfare Division (OPNAV N88).

Before assuming command of CVW-3, Joyner served as its deputy commander.

CVW-3 was established July 1, 1938, and served during World War II, the Vietnam conflict, Korean War, Cold War, Persian Gulf War, and Global War on Terror. CVW-3 has deployed aboard 10 of the nation's aircraft carriers since its inception.

Today, CVW-3 is comprised of eight squadrons: the "Raging Bulls" of VFA-37, the "Gunslingers" of VFA-105, the "Swordsmen" of VFA-32, the "Checkerboards" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, the "Seahawks" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126, the "Zappers" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, the "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7, and the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74.

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