Crowd to welcome Growler home
July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:55 AM
Optimism for the future will join pride and the awe of 21st Century
innovation Tuesday, June 3, when hundreds gather at Whidbey Island Naval
Air Station for the official acceptance of the first EA-18G Growler into
the Navy's airborne electronic attack fleet.
More than 300 guests, from civic leaders, to government officials, to
current and past military personnel, have already confirmed their
attendance. The number will likely grow.
The high-tech aircraft's arrival ushers in a new generation for the Navy and NAS Whidbey Island.
"This dedication and acceptance ceremony is visible and tangible proof
of NAS Whidbey Island's and our local communities' bright future," said
Capt. Gerral David, NAS Whidbey Island commanding officer.
"Preparations may have been under way for months, but the actual arrival
of the Growler on June 3 makes it real," he added. "We're home to the Navy's Airborne Electronic Attack fleet of the future."
The dedication ceremony will kick off with the arrival of the official
guests: Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter; Congressman Rick Larsen;
Jim Albaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Integrated
Defense Systems; Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik; and Capt. Bradley Russell,
Commander, Electronic Attack Wing.
Mayor Slowik will first read a proclamation, followed by remarks from Winter and Larsen, a staunch Navy supporter.
After remarks, and on behalf of Boeing, Albaugh will present a
symbolic statue to Capt. Russell, historically documenting the official
delivery and acceptance of the EA-18G Growler. Russell will close
the ceremony with his personal remarks on the particularly auspicious day in aviation history.
"June 3 marks a significant date in history, not only for the Navy's
Airborne Electronic Attack mission as Boeing delivers the first
operational EA-18G Growler to the Electronic Attack Wing, but for the
men and women of NAS Whidbey Island who have diligently planned for this
day," said David. "It's the culmination of hundreds of hours spent
focusing on details to ensure a safe and smooth transition from Prowler
to Growler over the next five years."
Following the ceremony, guests will retire to a nearby hangar for
refreshments. They will also have an opportunity to see the new aircraft up
close and talk with Navy representatives who will soon be flying
and working on the Growler.