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Electronic Attack Squadron 129 Squadron Augment Unit Changes Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071209-01
Release Date: 12/9/2007 9:12:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Paul J. Phelps, Navy Operational Support Center Whidbey Island Public Affairs

OAK HARBOR, Wash (NNS) -- Cmdr. James Baca relieved Cmdr. Clark Schroeder as commanding officer of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 Squadron Augment Unit (SAU) during a ceremony on board Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on Dec. 1.

The VAQ-129 "Vikings" are and have been the only fleet replacement squadron for the EA-6B aircraft since its introduction in the early 70s. The squadron trains Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force aircrew to fly and employ the weapon systems of the EA-6B Prowler.

The SAU is comprised of Navy reservists, who work side-by-side with their active-duty counterparts to get Prowlers airborne and student sorties accomplished.

"An integral part of this squadron is the SAU," said Capt. Clay Tettelbach, commanding officer, Navy Operational Support Center Whidbey Island and guest speaker for the ceremony. "Under Cmdr. Schroeder's tenure, the SAU had its most productive two-year period ever, including almost 1500 production flight events, over 4,100 flight hours, and almost 600 simulator events while providing 10,000 maintenance man hours."

"When VAQ-209 came up a little short-handed for its deployment to Iraq, the SAU provided aircrew [including Cmdr. Schroeder] and maintainers to support the 90-day deployment. Accumulating a combined 1,500 flights hours, 310 sorties and 99 percent combat sortie completion rate, the SAU's presence was most certainly felt," Tettelbach added.

Baca, a second generation naval flight officer and Naval Academy graduate, is taking command after two years as executive officer of VAQ-129.

Baca attributed the continuing success of the command to the men and women of the SAU. " … they are here because they love it and their results reflect that attitude. They are true patriots."

"It is an honor to be the new commanding officer," said Baca. "Cmdr. Schroeder has done a paramount job leading the SAU and I hope to emulate him. I have some big shoes to fill."

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