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'Star Warriors' protect forces in No-Fly Zone over Iraq

Naval Reservist News

Release Date: October 2002

"Star Warriors" of Naval Reserve squadron VAQ-209 have been operating over the skies of Northern Iraq since departing their home base of NAF Washington, D.C., in August. Operation Northern Watch, conducted from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, enforces the Northern Iraqi No-Fly Zone mandated by the United Nations.

The Reserve squadron protects a coalition of British and American aircraft from Iraqi Surface-to-Air Missiles and Anti-Aircraft Artillery. Star Warriors fill this vital role, which allows Fleet Prowler squadrons to meet expeditionary requirements and avoid breaking OPTEMPO.

Reservists fly state-of-the-art EA-6B Prowler aircraft, operating radar and communications jamming equipment and armed with HARM missiles. "This is the fifth time in five years that VAQ-209 has deployed overseas, but coming on the heels of Sept. 11 and being deployed on its anniversary has made this different," said the officer in charge. -VAQ-209 Public Affairs

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