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VAQ-141 TACTICAL ELECTRONIC WARFARE SQUADRON-141

 

ELECTRONIC ATTACK SQUADRON-141

VAQ-141 was established at NAS Whidbey Island on 1 July 1987 as the twelfth fleet EA-6B squadron.  Assigned to Carrier Air Wing-EIGHT (CVW-8) the new unit, under CDR “Arb” Rylant, took the nickname “Shadowhawks” and, after suitable work-ups, deployed to the Mediterranean in the new nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).

 

The squadron’s second deployment, back on the “TR”, went right into combat as the unit delivered CVW-8’s first ordnance, an AGM-88 HARM, on the wing’s first night of participation in Operation Desert Storm

 

Their second cruise would be part of a unique arrangement where CVW-8 was joined by a “Special Marine Air Ground Task Force” (SPMAGTF) where two wing squadrons were beached (VA-65, operating A-6Es and F-14 flying VF-84) to make room for Marine helicopters and a company of infantry.  While the experiment did test a different way of doing business, the results were not considered successful enough to repeat.

 

Over the following 16 years the “Shadowhawks” made eight more major deployments, all involving combat. During this period VAQ-141 provided vital electronic attack support for American and coalition troops and aircraft over parts of Asia and Europe.

 

The requirement for the EA-6B’s unique capabilities were highlighted as the squadron was moved ashore to Aviano, Italy to continue EW coverage for Allied forces over the former Yugoslavia while the remainder of the ship and Air Wing made a port call. It was during this deployment that the ‘Shadowhawks’ were joined by two Prowlers and personnel from Naval Reserve squadron VAQ-209, providing up a seven-aircraft effort for the region.

 

The 1999 deployment included major combat operations under NATO as part of Operation Allied Force. During 2005 the :Shadowhawks” flew combat missions from the beach again, this time having two EA-6Bs augment VMAQ-1 at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq.

 

VAQ-141 entered VAQ-129 for EA-18G transition in mid-2009 and emerged in February 2010 as the first carrier-based Growler squadron in the Navy.  The “Shadowhawks” were remarkably stable through their Prowler years, making all of their ten deployments with CVW-8 and eight in the Theodore Roosevelt.

Major Deployments

Dec ’88-Jun ‘89

T. Roosevelt

Med

CVW-8

 

Jan-Feb 1990

Abraham Lincoln

Shakedown

CVW-8

 

Dec ’90-Jun ‘91

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

ODS/OPC

Mar-Sep ‘93

T. Roosevelt

Med/RS

CVW-8/SpMAGTF

ODF/OSW

Mar-Sep ‘95

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OSW

Mar 1996

G. Washington

Shakedown

CVW-8

 

Apr-Oct ‘97

J.F. Kennedy

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

ODG/OSW

Mar-Sep ‘99

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OAF, OSW

Apr-Nov 2001

Enterprise

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OSW, OEF

Jan-May ‘03

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OIF

Sep ’05-Mar ‘06

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OEF, OIF

Sep ’08-Apr ‘09

T. Roosevelt

Med/IO/PG

CVW-8

OIF, OEF

ODS: Operation Desert Storm
OPC: Operation Provide Comfort
ODF: Operation Deny Flight/Decisive Endeavor
ODG: Operation Deliberate Guard
OSW: Operation Southern Watch
ONW: Operation Northern Watch
OAF: Operation Allied Force
OIF: Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

Commanding Officers
CDR Arboth Rylant      July 1987
CDR J.O. Skjoldager     May 1989
CDR Frank Folly           Aug 1990
CDR David Wirt           Feb 1992
CDR John Cryer           June 1993
CDR Brian Bennett      Aug 1994
CDR Bob Stuart           Dec 1995
CDR Bobo McNaught  Jan 1997
CDR Dave Watson       Apr 1998
CDR Dave Ott              Jun 1999
CDR Sterling Gilliam   Aug 2000
CDR Mat Faletti           Nov 2001
CDR Pete Pellegrino    Mar 2003       
CDR Bill Reavey           Oct 2003
CDR Steve Giuliani      Mar 2004
CDR Paul McKeon       Jun 2005
CDR Craig Clapperton Jul 2006
CDR Mike McKenna    Sep 2007
CDR David Bryson       Dec 2008

 

Arthur W. Radford Award:  1995, 1999
Battle E:  1995, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2011.