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Lancers return to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

Electronic attack squadron VAQ-131 "Lancers" will return to Whidbey Island this week after completing a six-month deployment on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) supporting operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn in the North Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf and maritime security operations for the 7th Fleet.

"I'm extremely proud of what we've accomplished as a squadron," said Cmdr. Tom Huerter, VAQ-131 commanding officer. "Every member of this command directly contributed to the successful completion of our mission. We were able to achieve a 100-percent combat sortie completion rate due to the hard work and perseverance of our sailors."

The 160-strong Lancer squadron deployed in September 2010. They provided vital electronic attack support to U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. These missions often involved complex coordination with troops on the ground that consistently relied on the capabilities of the EA-6B Prowler to accomplish their mission. VAQ-131 aircrews flew more than 140 combat sorties and 772 hours in support of OEF and OND. Maintenance crews worked diligently to keep the four Prowler jets flying daily, performing 25 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight time.

"The hours were long, and the work very challenging, but we always remembered the importance of what we were doing out here," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Melissa Murphy.

Returning with the squadron are 21 members of the Sea Operational Detachment from the Fleet Readiness Center Northwest that provide technical support to keep the jets in top condition. 

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