Commander, Air Group

Commander, Air Group, or CAG, refers to the Commander of the Air Wing aboard an aircraft carrier of the U.S. Navy. The term traces its origins to 1938 when the first Carrier Air Group was formed. Air Groups were redesignated as Carrier Air Wings, or CVWs in the 1970s, but the head of the air wing is still referred to as the CAG. Initially, the CAG was the most senior commanding officer of the three embarked squadrons and was expected to personally lead all major strike operations, co-ordinating the attacks of the carrier's fighter, bomber, and torpedo planes in combat. The CAG then became a department head of the ship reporting to the carrier's commanding officer. In 1983, the Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman elevated the CAG to be coequal with the Captain of the ship with both officers reporting directly to the embarked Commander of the Carrier Battle Group. The CAG was then referred to as a "Super CAG" and a Deputy CAG (or DCAG) position was added who "fleets up" to the CAG position. Aboard modern carriers, the CAG serves as a "warfare commander" usually performing duties from aboard ship, rather than in the air. Despite this reduction in flying time, a U.S. Navy CAG is typically qualified to fly at least two types of aircraft in the Carrier Air Wing inventory. Additionally, just as both the ship's CO (Commanding Officer) and XO (Executive Officer) are both holders of the US Navy rank of "captain" (paygrade O-6), the CAG and DCAG are both captains (O-6), as well.

On a Royal Navy aircraft carrier, the equivalent is the Commander (Air).

Usage in works of fiction

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