Capt. Sara Joyner takes Command of Airwing 3. The first woman to hold the honor!
Captain Sara “Clutch” Joyner, a native of Maryland, received her commission in 1989 graduating with merit from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography.
After graduation, she attended flight school and earned her Naval Aviator wings in July 1991 from VT-24 in Beeville, Texas. After completing flight training, Captain Joyner reported to VC-5, the “Checkertails,” in Cubi Point, Philippines to fly the A-4E Skyhawk. In May of 1992, due to the imminent closure of Cubi Point, she was assigned to VC-8, the “Redtails,” in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
Captain Joyner reported to COMSTRKFIGHTWINGPAC in Lemoore, California in November of 1994 as Assistant Operations Officer. She subsequently received a transition to the F/A-18 Hornet and reported to VFA-125, the “Rough Raiders,” for training in October of 1996.
Upon completion of her training as a Hornet Pilot, she reported to VFA-147, the “Argonauts,” in May of 1997. Remaining with VFA-147 for both her Junior Officer and Department Head tours, she completed two Western Pacific Cruises to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in September of 1997 and USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) in September of 1999 in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. In November of 2001, she again deployed with VFA-147 aboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. During her tour at VFA-147, she served in many capacities, including the Department Head in Maintenance, Operations, and Safety.
In January 2002, she reported to United States Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia where she served in the Current Operations Branch as Force Deployment Officer for the NORTHCOM, EUCOM, and CENTCOM Areas of Responsibility in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. She reported to VFA-105 in November of 2006 as Executive Officer.
In March 2007, Captain Joyner assumed command of VFA-105. On 2 November 2007, she led the Gunslingers on their combat cruise to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Under her leadership the squadron performed nearly 2,000 combat missions totaling over 4,900 flight hours and delivering 35,000 pounds of ordnance in support of coalition ground forces in Iraq.
Captain Joyner recently completed her tour at OPNAV N88 as the Joint Strike Fighter Requirements officer responsible for bringing the next generation of carrier strike aircraft to the fleet.