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VAQ-137 Wins Tactical Excellence Award

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070831-11
Release Date: 8/31/2007 12:29:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James H. Green, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The “Rooks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 were awarded the 2007 Prowler Tactical Excellence Award on Aug. 25.

VAQ-137 is part of Carrier Air Wing 1 and currently on a scheduled six-month deployment as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group.

The Tactical Excellence Award is awarded to the squadron that demonstrates the best overall tactical expertise and does the most to help the prowler community advance tactically. The winning squadron is chosen by commander, Electronic Attack Wing Pacific.

“The past year has brought many challenges to the maintainers, air crew and aircraft of VAQ-137,” said Cmdr. Michael Buchanan, commanding officer, VAQ-137. “The ‘Rooks’ have succeeded in every task. The outstanding teamwork and professionalism displayed by this squadron is a testament to our commitment to excellence in electronic attack.”

The "Rooks" flew 326 combat sorties with a completion rate of 99 percent in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom coalition forces during Enterprise Strike Group 2006 Summer deployment.

“During the 200-day deployment, we flew on average 250 combat hours per air crew from split sites between Al Asad Air Base, Iraq and USS Enterprise (CVN 65),” said Buchanan. “The unique operational circumstances of this deployment placed extreme demands on aircraft, air crew and maintenance support. Air crew not only logged an inordinate number of flight hours, but stayed sharp during carrier operations in spite of, on average, two or three weeks between carrier arrestments.”

VAQ-137 wasn’t the first squadron to conduct operations out of Al Asad, Iraq, but was the first to lay the groundwork for future operations.

“We were the fourth squadron to operate out of Al Asad however, we were the first to produce a comprehensive set of instructions, guidelines, TACNOTES (tactical notes) and procedures that are now the standard for all squadrons that follow,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan says that this award isn’t solely a tactics award, but a complete team effort.

“Even though this award sounds like it’s only a tactics department award this is really a squadron award, it took the efforts of every man and woman in this squadron in order to ensure we have airplanes, tactics and procedures,” said Buchanan. “We have taken the initiative to be on the front line developing the new tactics and excelling in doing that above all the squadrons throughout our community.”

Buchanan says that he is proud of the squadron and takes the most pride in the fact that when they encountered a problem, instead of looking for a quick fix, they found long-term solutions.

“The process we developed to identify shortcoming and solve them instead of complain about them has been phenomenal,” said Buchanan. “We didn’t just complain about the past and complain about the future we went out and solved the problem instead of just putting a band aid on it.”

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