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VAQ-132 returns to Whidbey after seven-month deployment in Japan
Sailors from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 “Scorpions” return home this week after successfully completing a seven-month Western Pacific deployment to Misawa Air Base Japan.
As the first expeditionary Airborne Electronic Attack squadron to deploy to Japan since 2006, the Scorpions supported joint and coalition exercises across the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Operations. While deployed, the Scorpions participated in numerous international exercises in Australia, Guam and South Korea, and sent several detachments to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan on different occasions.
Last September, the Scorpions spent three weeks in Guam supporting Exercise Valiant Shield, an exercise that combined Air Force and Carrier Strike Group 5 aircraft from the USS George Washington (CVN 73) with expeditionary Growlers.
From Guam, the Scorpions then flew to Australia to participate in Exercise Growler 12 with Royal Australian Air Force FA-18F aircraft based at RAAF Amberley, Australia. While there, they conducted a change of command for outgoing Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jay Matzko, and welcomed incoming Commanding Officer Cmdr. Dave Kurtz.
In November 2012, the Scorpions participated in Exercise Keen Sword in Misawa. Keen Sword involved planning, briefing and flying various defensive missions with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force and the Air Force squadrons based at Misawa.
In December 2012, the Scorpions traveled to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (ROK), to participate in a Maritime Counter Special Operation Forces Exercise with the air force and navy from the ROK, along with the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
Finally, the Scorpions sent an all junior officer detachment and small group of maintainers to Kadena Air Base, Japan, to shoot a live AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation missile.
On their transit home, the Scorpions enjoyed a few days of tropical weather at Wake Island before transiting the Pacific to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.
“This deployment was a great success,” said Kurtz. “The squadron was able to prove itself in many different arenas across the Pacific and different weather conditions. The Sailors out performed any standard I could have set for them, and they are the reason why the rest of the fleet uses the Scorpions to set their standards.”
Returning with the squadron are 12 members of the Van Operational Detachment from Fleet Readiness Center Northwest that provide technical support to keep the jets in top condition.