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Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 “Scorpions”

Squadron History

Electronic Attack Squadron ONE THREE TWO (VAQ-132) was originally designated as Patrol Squadron TWENTY NINE in August 1952, flying the P-2V "Neptune" at Naval Air Station North Island, CA.  In April 1957, the Squadron was re-designated as Heavy Attack Squadron TWO (VAH-2) and transitioned platforms to the A-3D "Skywarrior."  In April 1958, the Squadron's homeport changed to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA (NASWI).  In November 1968, VAH-2 was re-designated as Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron ONE THREE TWO (VAQ-132), transitioning to the EKA-3B.

In January 1971, VAQ-132 became the first operational Squadron to transition to the new EA-6B "Prowler."  As the first Prowler Squadron in Vietnam, VAQ-132 flew combat support sorties from six different carriers on YANKEE STATION in the Gulf of Tonkin.

 On 17 January 1991, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, VAQ-132 was once again the first Prowler Squadron to the fight-this time in Operation DESERT STORM.  In February 1994, the Scorpions were also the first on the scene in support of the National Atlantic Treaty Organization's Operation DENY FLIGHT over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 From 1996 to 2002, VAQ-132 participated in the following Operations:  JOINT ENDEAVOR, DELIBERATE FORGE, and JOINT GUARDIAN over Bosnia and Herzegovina and SOUTHERN WATCH over Iraq.  In 2002, the Squadron conducted extended duration missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73).  In 2004 and 2007, VAQ-132 deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

 In April 2008, the Squadron deployed aboard CVN-73 for Partnership of the Americas.  Upon return, VAQ-132 turned in its EA-6B aircraft and again became the first operational Squadron to transition in the Electronic Attack community, to the EA-18G "Growler."

 VAQ-132 completed the transition in September 2009, and along with a platform change, became an Expeditionary Squadron, deploying to Air Force bases rather than aircraft carriers.  In 2010, VAQ-132 became the first Squadron to deploy the EA-18G Growler, providing support to Operation NEW DAWN in Iraq.  Additionally, the Scorpions were the first to employ the AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) in combat from the Growler while supporting Operations ODYSSEY DAWN and UNIFIED PROTECTOR over Libya.

 In 2012, VAQ-132 flew the first Growlers across the International Date Line enroute to Exercise FOAL EAGLE in the Republic of Korea (ROK); and the first Growlers across the equator in the Southern Hemisphere enroute to Exercise Growler 2012 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley.  The Scorps also conducted the first expeditionary Growler deployment to the Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR), conducting exercises across six countries. 

In 2014, the Scorps deployed once again to the Pacific Command (PACOM) AOR operating out of Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa. VAQ-132 participated in multiple Joint Force Exercises, which included aiding in the training of the South Korean Air Force and Navy. This deployment was also the first time the squadron integrated with the Patrol Squadron (VP) community and the P-8 Poseidon during operations in the East China Sea.  

 In August 2015, VAQ-132 departed NAS Whidbey for Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa, Japan, beginning another Western Pacific deployment.  The Squadron participated in surface-search and maritime employment operations with Carrier Strike Group FIVE (CSG-5) and Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) aboard the USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.  The Scorpions continued to enhance theater operations by integrating USAF, USMC, and CSG-5 assets throughout the area of operation to included a Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise with the Republic of Korea Air Force/Navy, and VIGILANT ACE, a large-scale exercise designed to enhance coalition operational and tactical level coordination.

VAQ-132 deployed to PACOM once again in April 2017.  During this deployment, the Squadron detached to NAF Misawa, Osan Air Base (AB), Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley.  The Squadron participated in Exercise THROWING KNIVES at NAF Misawa, Exercise MAX THUNDER at Osan AB, and Exercise TALISMAN SABRE at RAAF Base Amberley.  VAQ-132 then returned to NASWI, WA for a month of preparation for a deployment to the Central Command (CENTCOM) AOR.  The Squadron spent October to December 2017 at Incirlik AB, Turkey, flying combat missions over Syria and Iraq in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

  On 11 November 2018, the Scorps celebrated their 50th Anniversary with the Squadron’s first Commanding Officer, CAPT Bob Fraser (Ret.), attending.  

 The Scorpions started their next PACOM deployment in March 2019. In April of that year, the Squadron moved to Osan AFB, ROK, and participated in Combined Training and Flying Event 2019 with the ROKAF and U.S. Air Force. In May 2019, VAQ-132 returned to Misawa and was tasked to provide alert air intercept support for the USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76), a first for a Growler Expeditionary Squadron in PACOM; additionally, they were repositioned to Andersen AFB, Guam, to participate in Exercise PACIFIC VANGUARD. In September 2019, the Scorpions participated in Exercise IRON SPEAR with Air Defense Units from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force.  

Upon returning home in October 2019, the Scorpions went into maintenance phase. Early the next year the COVID-19 pandemic started, just as the Squadron began their work up cycle. Finding ways to operate safely and tactically, the Squadron followed Center for Disease Control guidelines while additionally creating a split workforce of two teams, limiting cross exposure and maintaining the operational tempo. The Squadron was able to participate in and complete EWARP at NAS Fallon in June 2020 and three RED FLAG events (Nellis 20-3 July 2020, Alaska 20-1 October 2020, Nellis 21-1 January 2021). By the time the Scorpions deployed, they sported a 98% vaccination rate, the highest on the Whidbey flightline before it became mandatory.

In early April 2021, the Scorpions of VAQ-132 deployed to Misawa Airbase (AB), Japan, and took over the Growler watch in INDOPACOM from VAQ-135 Black Ravens. The Scorps started off their deployment by completing an impressive and expeditious five day trans-pacific journey from Whidbey Island, Washington to Misawa AB, Japan. 

The first mission on-station in Misawa was to stand alerts for USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76) for the duration of their sea trials and aircrew onload. The first training and integration opportunity was the 14th Fighter Squadron (FS), Samurai Wood, an F-16 Squadron stationed at the base. The 14th FS trained for simulated Strike missions while Growlers provided on station support via Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD). The Scorpions also conducted simulated Maritime Strikes with electronic attack against the Australian frigate, HMAS Ballarat. In addition to the HMAS Ballarat, the Scorpions also conducted similar training with the Japanese destroyer JS Atago and, after returning from Guam, the JS Myoko.

In Guam, the Scorpions participated in two exercises, PACIFIC GRIFFIN (XPG-21) and PACIFIC IRON. Prior to leaving Misawa, on last minute notice, in response to real world tasking, the squadron kept 2 aircraft and 80 personnel in Misawa while sending 3 aircraft and 120 personnel to Andersen AFB, Guam. This started a month of split site operations for the squadron with the Misawa crew supporting SEVENTH Fleet tasking. XPG-21 was an integration exercise for United States Navy Surface and Aviation assets with the United States Marines Corps, and also with allies in the Pacific, the Republic of Singapore’s Air Force (RSAF) and Navy (RSN). PACIFIC IRON followed just a few weeks after XPG-21 and had the Scorpions flying with F-22s out of Alaska and Hawaii as well as F-15E Strike Eagles from the 389th FS out of Idaho. The focus of the exercise was Agile Combat Employment (ACE) ability with hub-and-spoke operations out of several airfields across the Marianas.

The Scorpions finished out the deployment in September 2021 conducting unit level training and turned over five combat-ready aircraft to their sister squadron, Electronic Attack Squadron ONE THREE EIGHT (VAQ-138).  Overall, the Scorpions had an outstanding deployment flying over 1,279 flight hours totaling 632 sorties.  These operations went a long way towards reassuring our allies throughout INDOPACOM and promoting security in the region.

The Scorpions will continue to lead the way in Electronic Attack as they accept the first Growler Capacity Modification (GCM) aircraft in 2022 and live up to their motto:  “First to the Fleet, First to the Fight”.

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