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VMAQ-4

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron-FOUR (VMAQ-4) was formed at NAS Whidbey Island, WA on 7 November 1981 as a Marine Reserve unit under the Fourth Marine Air Wing. (4th MAW).  Initial equipment for the new outfit was the Grumman EA-6A “Electric Intruder”, the EW derivative of the two-seat A-6 attack aircraft. Befitting their home in the Pacific Northwest, they obtained permission from the Seattle Seahawks National Football League team to use their logo and nickname as their own.
For almost ten years the “Seahawks” flew throughout the country in exercises and as drilling reservists.  In 1984 the squadron carried out what was believed to have been the first (and perhaps only) successful firing of an AGM-45 “Shrike” anti-radiation missile from an EA-6A.

 

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that led to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm required the mobilization of a number of Marine Reserve units, including VMAQ-4, which was activated on 11 March 1991. The squadron entered VAQ-129 and began transition to the four-seat EA-6B Prowler; which became the aircraft the squadron would fly for the next 27 years.
With transition complete, VMAQ-4 was immediately deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan where it relieved a VMAQ-2 detachment and spent the next six months supporting the 1st Marine Air Wing (1ST MAW) and Marine Aircraft Group-12. (MAG-12).

 

Returning home to Whidbey VMAQ-4 was de-mobilized on 12 September 1991, becoming the Marines’ only Reserve Prowler squadron. This status lasted for only a short period as on 1 Oct 1992 the unit was activated again, becoming a Regular Marine organization as part of the major reorganization of the service’s tactical EW community, where well-established VMAQ-2 had two of its detachments activated as separate squadrons (VMAQ-1 and -3) of five aircraft each. VMAQ-4 was moved to MCAS Cherry Point NC to join them under 2nd MAW/MAG-14, giving the Marines four separate, deployable EA-6B Prowler squadrons.

 

As with its three sister units, VMAQ-4 was tasked to provide expeditionary electronic warfare support to Marine and Joint commanders worldwide. Its first major deployment would be back in Japan, in November 1993. In November 1994 the “Seahawks” arrived at Sigonella, Italy to support European Command.  Over the following years the squadron would fly combat missions as part of multiple Joint Operations, including Alllied Force, Deliberate Guard, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.

 

In 2010 VMAQ-4 received the ultimate Prowler version, the ICAP III, and became the first Marine squadron to deploy with the type.  More deployments followed, to Bagram (Operation Enduring Freedom) and then to Japan as part of the Marines’ Unit Deployment Plan.

 

In July 2014 the “Seahawks” again traveled overseas, this time to Qatar to participate in Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.  In April 2016 the squadron deployed to Incirlik, Turkey, where they continued combat operations against the Islamic State of Iran and the Levant (ISIL).

 

Returning to Cherry Point in October 2016 VMAQ-4 participated in a final Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB before being deactivated on 2 June 2017.

All-Time VMAQ-4 Commanding Officers


LtCol J.L.  Anderst

Nov 1981-June 1983

Reserves

LtCol K.N. Johnson

June 1983-Jan 1985

Reserves

LtCol R.D. Milton

Jan 1985-Feb 1987

Reserves

LtCol M.F. Hewett

Feb 1987-Mar 1989

Reserves

LtCol T.W. Bull II

Mar 1989-Mar 1992

Reserves

LtCol S.K. Protzeller

Mar 1992-Sep 1992

Reserves

LtCol D.P. Rann

Oct 1992-May 1994

 

LtCol R.C. Dunn

May 1994-Dec 1995

 

LtCol M.F. Dolan

Dec 1995-Jun 1997

 

LtCol M.J. Sullivan

Jun 1997-Jun 1999

 

LtCol G.E. Slyman

Jun 1999-May 2001

 

LtCol Young III

May 2001-Dec 2002

 

LtCol M.L. Magram

Dec 2002-Jul 2004

 

LtCol P.J. Zimmerman

Jul 2004-Jan 2006

 

LtCol F.S. Arnold

Jan 2006-Aug 2007

 

LtCol T.A. Bruno

Aug 2007-Jan 2009

 

LtCol D.A. Suggs

Jan 2009-Jul 2010

 

LtCol M.C. Benton

Jul 2010-Jan 2012

 

LtCol D.C. Anderson

Jan 2012-Sep 2013

 

LtCol D.A. Mueller

Sep 2013-Apr 2015

 

LtCol P.K. Johnson III

Apr 2015-Jun 2017

 

           
Major Deployments
Jun to Nov 1991                                 Iwakuni, Japan                                    Activated Reserves
Nov ’93 to May ’94                            Iwakuni                                
Nov ’94 to Jan ’95                              Sigonella Italy
May to Nov 1995                                  Iwakuni                                
Aug ‘96 to Feb ’97                              Aviano It
Feb to Jul 1998                                    Aviano
Mar to Jun 1999                                  Aviano
Oct 2000 to Mar 20001                     Iwakuni                                
Aug to Nov 2002                                 Prince Sultan AB Saudi Arabia (PSAB)                         
Aug to Oct 2003                                  PSAB                    
Jan to Apr 2004                                   Iwakuni
Jan to Jul 2005                                     Al Asad, Iraq       
Jan to Apr 2007                                   Iwakuni                                
Jan to Jul 2008                                     Al Asad                 
Apr to Oct 2009                                   Al Asad                 
Apr to Nov 2011                                  Bagram, Afghanistan        
Feb to Jul 2013                                    Iwakuni                
Aug ’14 to Feb ’15                              Al Udied, Qatar   
Apr to Oct ’16                                      Incirlik, Turkey

General Royal Moore Award as “Top EA-6B Squadron in the Marines”
1995, 1999, 2009, 2012, 2017.