Whidbey’s VAQ-131 returns after eight months
August 10, 2012 · Updated 2:49 PM
Family and friends of Electronic Attack Squadron 131 (VAQ-131) “Lancers” happily celebrated the squadron’s arrival home over the weekend after eight months of combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The jet fly-in occurred Aug. 3 followed by maintenance and support personnel who arrived home Aug. 4.
Four EA-6B Prowlers, along with 170 aircrew, maintenance and support personnel, returned Friday and Saturday, respectively, after leaving early last December for duty aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). While deployed, the Lancers flew 1,805 flight hours of which 1,393 hours were during combat sorties which numbered 226 of a total of 504. The squadron flew day and night missions, providing the full spectrum of electronic support to ground forces engaged in direct combat in Afghanistan. They performed maritime security operations in 5th, 6th and 7th Fleets.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and perseverance of the entire Lancer team during this challenging deployment,” said Cmdr. Stephen Flaherty, VAQ-131 Commanding Officer, in a release. “Our extraordinary success would not have been possible without each sailor’s commitment to excellence.”
VAQ-131 enjoyed several interesting port calls to Pattaya Beach, Thailand; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; two visits to Bahrain; and Antalya, Turkey.
Returning with the squadron are 17 members of the Sea Operational Detachment from Fleet Readiness Center Northwest that provide technical support to keep the jets in top condition.