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Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-132)

Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron ONE THREE TWO was originally designated Patrol Squadron TWENTY NINE (VP-29) flying the P-2V "Neptune" at Naval Air Station North Island, California. In April 1957, the squadron was redesignated Heavy Attack Squadron TWO (VAH-2) and transitioned to the A-3D "Skywarrior." The squadron's homeport was changed in April 1958 to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. In November 1968, VAH-2 was redesignated Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron ONE THREE TWO (VAQ-132), transitioning to the EKA-3B at NAS Whidbey Island. The squadron was tasked with the dual missions of electronic countermeasures and in-flight refueling.

A new chapter in the history of electronic warfare began in January 1971 as VAQ-132 became the first operational squadron to transition to the new EA-6B "Prowler" at NAS Whidbey Island. As the first Prowler squadron in Vietnam, VAQ-132 flew combat support flights from six different carriers on YANKEE STATION in the Gulf of Tonkin.

August of 1990 began the most colorful chapter in Scorpion history after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Scorpions were on hand in the Red Sea for Operation DESERT SHIELD. On January 17, 1991, VAQ-132 was once again first to fight, leading the way into combat and supporting the first wave of strike groups during Operation DESERT STORM. In February 1994, the Scorpions were again first on the scene when shots were fired in support of NATO's Operation DENY FLIGHT over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In June of 1996, the Scorpions deployed on board USS ENTERPRISE and headed back to the Mediterranean, participating in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation JUNIPER HAWK over Israel. As the "Big E" returned to the Adriatic to continue support of JOINT ENDEAVOR, trouble stirred again over Iraq as an Iraqi surface to air missile was fired at an U.S. Air Force F-16. Never more prepared for combat, Air Wing SEVENTEEN and Enterprise (the fastest carrier in the fleet) sped to the northern Arabian Gulf at 30+ knots, making the transit in record time. There, the Scorpions, along with CVW-17, supported Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, keeping the skies over Iraq quiet while on station.

In March, 1997 the squadron returned to USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) to complete carrier qualifications. In April, the Scorpions provided a detachment to Roswell, N.M. for ROVING SANDS, a joint exercise involving CVW-14, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marines, as well as German Air Force. At the beginning of May, VAQ-132 and CVW-17 officially became part of COMCRUDESGRU EIGHT and USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER. In June, 1998 the squadron commenced it's current Mediterranean deployment, conducting flights during three separate periods in support of NATO's Bosnia and Herzegovina Peacekeeping effort OPERATION DELIBERATE FORGE, as well as numerous flights in the Arabian Gulf in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH.

The Scorpions have received the following awards: CNO Safety Award 1980, 1983, 1986, 1992, 1994, and 1996; Battle "E" award 1986, 1988 and 1992, and the Arthur W. Radford Award 1986. In addition, VAQ-132 was named Prowler Squadron of the Year 1985, won two consecutive Golden Anchor awards in 1988 and 1989, received the Silver Anchor award in 1991, and was selected for the EA-6B community's Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Excellence award in 1988 and 1989. In July 1998, VAQ-132 achieved a community leading record of over 28 1/2 years / 47,800 flight hours major mishap-free.

In 2000, heading directly for the Adriatic, the GW battle group immediately began Operation Joint Guardian. Fulfilling its commitments to the UN, the Scorpions and CVW 17 were tasked with flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Spectacular weather in the Western Mediterranean gave aircrews incredible views of the Dalmatian Coast and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. After a few days in the Adriatic, GW left for operations in the Eastern Med. Next, GW made its way to Port Said, Egypt, waiting until nightfall to make the 18-hour transit of the "Ditch", the Suez Canal. Continuing around the Arabian Peninsula, they entered the Persian Gulf July 24 and immediately began flights supporting Operation Southern Watch (OSW). With heat indices of up to 140 degrees, Scorpion maintenance crews toiled to keep the Prowler aircraft airborne. Because of their efforts, the Scorpions boasted a 100 percent combat mission completion rate over Iraq. The squadron saw plenty of activity during OSW, as Saddam Hussein again tried to push the limits of UN resolutions. In addition to flights over Iraq, the Scorpions also helped locate illegal smugglers carrying oil out of Iraq in defiance of the economic embargo. The carrier next rolled right into Exercise Destined Glory, conducted with several of NATO's members: Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Turkey. Finally turning over with the USS Harry S Truman and VAQ-130, the Scorpions passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and were on their way home. The VAQ-132 Scorpions returned 19 December 2000, having completed six months aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) attached to Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW 17).

The Scorpions of VAQ-132 were named winner of the 2000 COMNAVAIRLANT Battle "E" in a message released by Vice Adm. Mobley. The squadron's achievements took on even greater significance when compared to 1999 turnaround and 1998 deployment readiness levels. This command has been at or near the top of every competitive category of combat readiness since 1999. Deployed from home station for 255 days of the previous year, the officers and Sailors of VAQ-132 met and overcome some unique challenges. They have amassed 1,944 flight hours and 872 carrier arrested landings, while surpassing 30 years and 51,250 hours major mishap-free. From the beginning of work-ups in December of 1999 to joint flight operations over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq, the Scorpions have been the single Prowler squadron in the thick of every potential hot spot in the world.

In 2004, the Squadron departed on a deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf onboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, marking the most recent combat carrier deployment VAQ-132 has conducted to date. Afterward, the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) was being prepared for decommissioning, and so CVW-17 was temporarily split apart to be better utilized.

February 2006 saw the Scorpions deployed for 3 months to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, as they participated in various coalition training exercises. In March 2007, VAQ-132 was deployed to Al Asad AB, Iraq for a record-breaking deployment in support of OIF. Afterward in April of 2008, the squadron was placed aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73) with CVW-17, for Partnership of the Americas, a cruise around South America.

Shortly afterward, VAQ-132 release all of its EA-6B aircraft and gear in order to begin the transition into the new EA-18G "Growler" by February 2009, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2009.

In March 2011, EA-18G Growlers of VAQ-132 flew in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn as part of some of the initial strikes to establish a UN sanctioned no-fly zone over portions of Libya. The detachment of 5 aircraft flew out of Aviano Air Base in Italy, after having been transfered from a forward location in the middle east where the unit had been supporting other US military operations.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:02:02 ZULU