Yellow Jackets return to home nest

Yellow Jackets trap aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in aircraft 500 during their western Pacific deployment.  - USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)photo
Yellow Jackets trap aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in aircraft 500 during their western Pacific deployment.
— image credit: USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)photo

Four electronic attack squadron 138 “Yellow Jacket” jets will return to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Sunday following a six-month Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

After their return, the squadron will begins the transition to the new electronic attack platform, the EA-18G Growler.

Yellow Jacket maintenance and support personnel will disembark the carrier on Monday when it docks at Everett Naval Station pick up family members for a Tiger Cruise to San Diego before heading back home to Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton, Wash.

VAQ-138 left the air station Jan. 18, providing tactical jamming support to Carrier Air Wing 9 and Carrier Strike Group 3 for various exercises and training operations during the deployment. They participated in the Exercise Foal Eagle off the coast of South Korea, demonstrating a committed alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea and playing an integral role in the electronic warfare training of the ROK Navy.

“It was satisfying to be a part of such a large combined exercise and feel like we helped the Koreans,” remarked Lt. j.g. Anthony Kania. VAQ-138 flew five sorties during the four-day exercise in March.

The Yellow Jackets enjoyed several port visits: Hong Kong; Sasebo, Japan; Busan, Korea: Pattaya Beach, Thailand; Singapore and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the last two weeks they joined with the U.S. Air Force to participate in the annual training exercise Northern Edge 2009 off the coast of Alaska.

During the deployment, the Yellow Jackets flew 420 sorties, logging over 580 hours with 440 carrier landings and achieved a 95 percent sortie completion rate. Navy officials say the credit for their success is due in part to the high caliber, hard-working maintenance personnel who work diligently to ensure everyone’s safety and readiness to fly.

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