Electronic Attack Squadron [VAQ-141]
The Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 are a Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron in the US Navy flying the Northrop-Grumman EA-6B Prowler. The squadron deploys from the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and is under the operational control of Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8).
On 1 January 2000 the Shadowhawks went on the hook for three months as the squadron-on-call for the 96-hour Prepare-To-Deploy Order (PTDO) to Aviano Air Base, Italy. In preparation for this, the squadron played in a two-week mini-war dubbed "Shadowhawk Skirmish."
From 13 August to 26 August 2000, the Shadowhawks completed their Advanced Readiness Program (ARP) in Fallon, Nevada. ARP presented training in low-level flying, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), surface-to-air missile counters, basic fighter counters, and reactive SEAD. Many flights offered an opportunity to train with the F-14 aircrew that would be "cruising" with the Shadowhawks on the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65). This training was invaluable to all aircrew, especially those who had just recently reported to VAQ-141. From 16 September to 5 October 2000 the Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 were deployed on the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65). This was the Shadowhawk's TESTA II/III training for their work-up period. TESTA II/III was the Shadowhawk's first look at the USS ENTERPRISE, and their first chance to see their new "home" for the cruise in April of 2001.
After a brief respite in Whidbey Island following TSTA, VAQ-141 geared up for a strenuous "Air Wing Fallon" detachment. On 16 October 2000 the Shadowhawks were once again in Fallon, Nevada for Air Wing Fallon. This exercise involved the entire complement of Carrier Air Wing Eight aircraft, and presented squadron aircrew the opportunity to practice mission planning, coordinated strike warfare and time critical mission execution. For many junior Shadowhawk aircrew, this was their first experience operating the Prowler in a "hostile" environment against an integrated air defense system. Air Wing Fallon also provides maintenance personnel the opportunity to discover the "ins and outs" of operating in the air wing setting, learn new aircraft systems, and continue their professional development. Air Wing Fallon was a critical step for VAQ-141 as they continued to prepare for the remainder of work-ups and deployment. The Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 flew to Virginia Beach, Virginia, on 28 November 2000 to re-qualify the squadron pilots for day and night carrier landings aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65).
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