'Cougars' fly home to Whidbey for Thanksgiving

After six months of combat operations and disaster relief, the Electronic Attack Squadron 139 ”Cougars” are returning from USS Ronald Reagan after supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Kim Mqrtin, Whidbey Island Air Station's public information officer, said the fly-in of four EA-6B Prowler jets arrives home at noon Monday, Nov. 24, followed by the airlift carrying support and maintenance personnel Tuesday.

The 186-member squadron left here in May for the San Diego based-carrier to operate in the Western Pacific and Middle East.

The squadron provided disaster relief in the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Fengshen before heading into the Northern Arabian Sea for Operation Enduring Freedom support in Afghanistan. VAQ-139 provided full spectrum electronic support to International Security Assistance Forces and U.S. ground forces engaged in direct combat as part of the global war on terrorism. They flew 77 combat missions, totaling 434 flight hours. During the overall course of deployment, the Cougars logged 515 sorties and 1,010 hours.

They also helped strengthen Indian ties and built cooperative maritime security procedures between both nations during Indian Malabar ’08 exercise.

Port call visits were made to Hong Kong, Guam, South Korea, Japan, Dubai, and Hawaii.

They also were visited by Scott Stabb, former lead singer of the rock group Creed; two Ultimate Fighting Champions Rick Franklin and Tim Silvia, along with actor Adam Beach form “Flags of Our Fathers.”

The Cougars will now take some well-deserved time off with their families.

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