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Scorpions switch to Growlers
The first Whidbey squadron to fly the fabled Prowlers will be the first to switch to the new Growlers.
The VAQ-Scorpions at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station ended an era Friday with their final flight in their EA-68 Prowler at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Now, the crews will train to transition to the EA-18G Growler, the nation’s next generation of electronic attack aircraft.
It’s only fitting that the Scorpions lead the changeover, because they did the same thing when the Prowler came on the scene.
According to the squadron history on its Web site, the squadron that became VAQ-132 was sent to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in 1968. In 1972, it became the first operational squadron to transition to the new EA-6B Prowler at NAS Whidbey. As the first Prowler squadron in Vietnam, VAQ-132 flew combat missions in support flights from six different carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin.
In the following decades, “The Scorpions have been the single Prowler squadron in the thick of every potential hot spot in the world,” states the Web site.
August of 1990 began the most colorful chapter in Scorpion history after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Scorpions were on hand in the Red Sea for Operation Desert Shield. On Jan. 17, 1991, VAQ-132 was once again first to fight, leading the way into combat and supporting the first wave of strike groups during Operation Desert Storm. In February 1994, the Scorpions were again first on the scene when shots were fired in support of NATO’s Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In ensuing years the squadron was very active over Kosova, Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch.