Electronic Attack Squadron [VAQ-128]
Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-128 Fighting Phoenix conducts prompt and sustained combat operations in support of national interest. Specifically, it utilizes the EA-6B aircraft to degrade, disrupt, and destroy enemy ground and air-based networks and weapons in order to protect friendly aircraft conducting combat missions pursuant to the achievement of military objectives.
The Fighting Phoenix of Electronic Attack Squadron ONE TWENTY-EIGHT (VAQ-128) were established during a formal ceremony on October 9, 1997 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. Although new to the Prowler community, the Phoenix has a rich history right here at NAS Whidbey Island. Its roots trace firmly back to the A-6 Intruder squadron VA-128, the Golden Intruders. VA-128 served as a gateway for Navy pilots and bombardier/navigators entering the A-6 community for more than 27 years in its operation as a Fleet Training and Replacement Squadron. VA-128 was disestablished in September of 1995.
With the retirement of the Air Force's EF-111 Raven in 1995, the sole responsibility for electronic attack and force protection fell upon the Navy and the EA-6B Prowler community. In response to this challenge, the Navy established four new Prowler squadrons tasked with joint expeditionary warfare. The final expeditionary squadron to be commissioned was VAQ-128, the Fighting Phoenix.
VAQ-128, deployed here from Whidbey Island in Washington state, is one of four squadrons in the Navy utilizing the Air Force's experience, tactical experience that is extremely useful in an environment such as Operation Northern Watch (ONW). As a joint expeditionary squadron, VAQ-128 is manned by both Air Force and Navy aircrews, and forward deploys to land-based sites around the world to protect U.S. or multi-national air forces. With joint expeditionary warfare at the forefront of the United States defense strategy, the Fighting Phoenix are ready to meet the challenge of a new world order.
After months of intensive inter-deployment training to include Green Flag and Joint Expeditionary Forces Exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, the men and women of the "Fighting Phoenix" returned to the Middle East to support the U.S. National Security Strategy through coalition flight operations in the No-Fly Zone of Northern Iraq, more commonly known as "The Box". The Phoenix left NAS Whidbey in late October 2000 enroute to Incirlik AB, located near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in south-central Turkey and joined British Royal Air Force (RAF), Turkish Air Force (TAF), and US Air Force (USAF) personnel serving in Operation Northern Watch (ONW). This marked the squadron's second ONW deployment since it's inception in 1997. The squadron provided SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) protection for strike/fighter and reconnaissance aircraft with both electronic jamming and the HARM missile. The squadron frequently performed as mission commander, coordinating the tactics of other assets like the F-16CJ Falcon, F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, RC-135 Rivet Joint, RAF GR-1 Jaguar, and the RAF Nimrod-R.
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