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Prowlers leave on Nimitz

Another squadron of Prowlers has deployed from Whidbey Naval Air Station, for parts unknown, or at least undisclosed.

VAQ-135 “Black Ravens” left Friday morning to join the USS Nimitz Carrier Battle Group.

A Navy press release said the group is going to the Arabian Gulf “in support of the global war on terrorism,” but security is tight on their specific destination.

Eight Prowler squadrons have been deployed from Whidbey in the last few months, plus patrol and reconnaissance squadrons VP-46 “Grey Knights,” and VQ-1 “World Watchers,” both of which are routinely deployed throughout the world.

Prowlers conduct electronic warfare against enemy radar and communications.

The Nimitz Battle Group contains a wide range of fighting capabilities, from the aircraft carrier Nimitz to guided missile cruisers and destroyers. The ships carry seven squadrons of air support, from strike-fighters to a helicopter anti-submarine squadron. The battle group contains more than 8,000 Pacific fleet sailors.

This is the 10th overseas assignment for the 28-year-old USS Nimitz, which Navy sources describe as, “the lead ship of the world’s most powerful and capable class of warships, (which) serves as our nation’s finest instrument of peace, power projection and platform for diplomacy.”

The Nimitz battle group includes two two Puget Sound-based support ships. The Bremerton-based fast combat support ship USS Bridge with its crew of 667 is scheduled to leave Monday from Indian Island, and the Everett-based guided missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis and its crew of 215 will leave Everett on Tuesday.

Also this week, members of Washington’s Army National Guard were alerted the prepare for possible mobilization. The alert applies to the 81st Enhanced Infantry Brigade and its subordinate units, comprising at least 3,300 men and women in Washington and another 1,000 from California and Michigan.

Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, adjutant general of the Washington Army and Air National Guard, cautioned that the alert does not mean the units will be mobilized, but it tells them to begin planning in case they are ordered to mobilize at a later date.

You can reach News-Times reporter Marcie Miller at mmiller@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611

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