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Lancers return Tuesday to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station

After seven months of combat operations, the Electronic Attack Squadron 131 Lancers are returning to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln after supporting operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

The fly-in of four EA-6B Prowlers arrives home at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 7, followed by the airlift carrying support and maintenance personnel Wednesday evening.

The 180-member squadron left here in March for the Everett-based carrier to operate in the Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Sea where temperatures on the flight deck often reached 130 degrees.

The squadron logged over 1,040 combat hours and over 1,600 total hours providing support to coalition ground forces.

Among the many flag and general officers visiting the carrier were Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Army Gen. David Petraeus, Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq; and Gen. David McKiernan, Commander of International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, who were impressed at the proficiency and professionalism of the Sailors aboard.

“Our young sailors firmly believed in our nation’s resolve to eliminate extremism, while eagerly enabling our Navy’s Maritime Strategy in a region of vast importance to global security and prosperity,” said Cmdr. Brad Jensen, VAQ-131 Commanding Officer, in a news release.

The Lancers enjoyed port visits to Singapore, Dubai and Thailand to see unique architecture and sample foreign cuisine.

Also returning home are 23 members of the Sea Operational Detachment from Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, who provide technical support to keep the jets in top condition.

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