VAQ-141 returns to Whidbey, starts Growler transition

Electronic Attack Squadron 141 “Shadowhawks” are coming home this week after a seven-month combat deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Four EA-6B Prowlers and 16 aviators will arrive at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Wednesday, followed by two airlifts the next day with the 180-plus maintenance and support personnel.

The squadron left for deployment Sept. 6, 2008, providing electronic attack support for Carrier Air Wing Eight. As USS Roosevelt transited to the Central Command Area of Operations, the ship along with VAQ-141 made history as the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier to visit Cape Town, South Africa in over 40 years.

VAQ-141 supported coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, resulting in the Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic 2008 Battle “E” Efficiency Award and the Radford Award for aviation excellence. They flew 559 total sorties, with 220 combat flights and 1,300 flight hours in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Shadowhawks’ return marks a bittersweet moment as they will say goodbye to the venerable Prowler to become the second squadron to transition to the new EA-18G Growler. After spending time off with family and friends, half of the maintenance department personnel will travel to Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., for systems specific training on the Growler.

After transition and pre-deployment work-ups, VAQ-141 will make a maiden cruise aboard the Navy’s newest carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush.

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