Naval Air Forces announces changes to EAWS program

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Senior Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Francisco Morenogarcia, center, pins an Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist pin on the uniform of Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Christian Harris at NAS Patuxet River in July 2019.

Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) today announced changes to the Navy’s Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist (EAWS) program.

The updated COMNAVAIRFORINST 1414.2A instruction requires Sailors to attain in-rating technical qualifications up to the work center supervisor level prior to enrolling in the EAWS program.

Combined with previous changes to the OPNAV instruction that eliminated the requirement for Sailors to earn a warfare qualification within 30 months of reporting to a command, the new EAWS program gives Sailors more time to focus on mastering their technical specialty, ultimately resulting in increased expertise across aviation ratings.

“Our readiness depends on having the best maintainers, the best aircrewmen and the most technically proficient Sailors in our squadrons, aboard our aircraft carriers and in our maintenance facilities,” said Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III, CNAF. The new EAWS requirements will give naval aviation forces a stronger technical foundation. After mastering the key fundamentals of their rating, Sailors can then branch out to gain other aviation warfare skillsets and knowledge, becoming a true aviation specialist.”

Active duty, SELRES and FTS Sailors permanently assigned to CVN, LHA and LHD class ships, aviation squadrons, maintenance facilities (Fleet Readiness Centers/Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Depots) and the Naval Air Warfare Development Center (NAWDC) are eligible to enroll in the program if they meet the following criteria:

• E-5 or senior

• Complete in all in-rating qualifications

• Qualified up to Journeyman/Workcenter Supervisor

Sailors assigned temporarily (TAD) to an aviation command for more than 120 days are eligible if they are qualified as Journeyman/Workcenter Supervisor in their respective rating. Sailors assigned to select support type commands will still be able to qualify through a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

A third-class petty officer (E-4) may enroll with command master chief (CMC) or command senior enlisted leader (CSEL) approval if they have an early promote (EP) on their most recent periodic evaluation and a score of 50 or better on their most recent advancement exam. Sailors in paygrades E-3 and below are not eligible to enroll.

“We want to allow our most junior Sailors the time and opportunity to become technical experts in their trade craft, and provide them the space to focus on their job,” said Force Master Chief Huben Phillips, of Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL). “The goal is to encourage Sailors to be masters of their craft, who show value by knowing and being an expert in their job; these are the same Sailors we should be promoting and who we want to keep in our Navy.”

One other notable change in the EAWS instruction governs re-qualification. Platform-specific qualifications do not expire. Once EAWS qualified on a specific aircraft type/model/series, a Sailor no longer must requalify upon reporting to that same type command (for example, VP to VP, CVN to CVN, etc.).

“Data analytics has proven to us that maintaining our technical experts in specific type model series (T/M/S) has a direct impact on increased combat readiness,” said Force Master Chief James Tocorzic, of Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet (CNAP). “By removing the requirement for Sailors to requalify on the same T/M/S, we hope to encourage those experts to remain in their same platform for multiple tours.

“We have made great strides in aviation readiness over the past couple years, and this EAWS program refinement is another step in that direction,” Tocorzic continued. “Our message to Sailors is clear: become the very best in your particular rating, which directly impacts your command’s readiness and warfighting effectiveness.”

For more information on the new EAWS program requirements, contact your unit CMC/CSEL or EAWS program coordinator.