Whidbey's 'Gray Wolves' come home from Iraq

The men and women of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station's Electronic Attack Squadron 142 “Gray Wolves” are coming home after six months’ deployment in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Kim Martin, base public information officer, said more than 100 maintenance and support personnel arrived late Monday night to the cheers and tears of family and friends.

The four EA-6B Prowler jets along with their aircrews and maintenance team will arrive this weekend.

“Our sailors worked countless hours to maintain an aging aircraft,” said Lt. Eric Gould, VAQ-142 personnel officer, in a news release. Maintenance personnel worked tirelessly to provide mission-ready aircraft resulting in a 100 percent sortie completion rate in support of troops on the ground.

During the deployment, VAQ-142 aircrews flew 464 combat sorties totaling 1,980 hours for military operations. The 180-member land-based expeditionary squadron includes three U.S. Air Force aviators assigned from the 388th Electronic Combat Squadron assigned here.

Two Gray Wolves were surprised when Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Army Gen. Ray Ordierno, Commanding General of the Multinational Forces-Iraq arrived at Camp Victory to award them their United States Citizenship in a formal ceremony there..

In addition to the Gray Wolves, four members of the Van Operational Detachment from Fleet Readiness Center Northwest that provides technical support to keep the jets in top condition also returned this week.

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