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Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 “Yellow Jackets”

Squadron History

VAQ-138 was commissioned as an operational squadron in February of 1976.  The Yellow Jackets first appeared in the history books flying the EA-6B Prowler aboard USS SARATOGA (CV 60).  With the USS SARATOGA (CV 60) they embarked on two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea where they immediately distinguished themselves as a leader in aviation safety, earning the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award. The Yellow Jackets then conducted operations with USS RANGER (CV 61) in 1978 before making three deployments to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67). The 1980s saw the Yellow Jackets deploy five times aboard the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) where they conducted presence operations and flew in support of Operations PRAIRIE FIRE and EL DORADO CANYON.

In 1990 VAQ-138 was embarked aboard the USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) during her transit from Naval Station San Diego to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for overhauls. The Yellow Jackets then deployed, once again, with USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) for four WESTPAC Cruises from 1991-1998 where they flew in support of Operations DESERT STORM, PROVIDE COMFORT, and SOUTHERN WATCH. VAQ-138 also deployed in support of Operation ALLIED FORCE, first with the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) in 1998 and then again with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) in 1999.

The new millennium saw VAQ-138 deploy twice more aboard CVN 74 in 2000 and 2001/2002 in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM.  Following their 2002 deployment the Yellow Jackets joined the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) for two deployments in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003 and 2005, the latter of which was a World Cruise to transition the ship from Naval Station Bremerton to Naval Station Norfolk. In 2006 the Yellow Jackets began operating again with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74), and deployed in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM in 2007 before embarking on a WESTPAC cruise in 2009 which was Team Rampage's final deployment flying the EA-6B Prowler.

From late 2009 through 2010, VAQ-138 returned to VAQ-129 to facilitate the transition from a sea going EA-6B squadron to an expeditionary EA-18G squadron. After earning their mission ready qualifications in 2011, the Yellow Jackets made their first deployment as an expeditionary squadron to Al-Asad Air Base, Iraq and Al-Jaber, Kuwait in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN. In 2013 the Yellow Jackets again deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

With over 37 years of service, Team Rampage continues to operate at the leading edge of Airborne Electronic Attack, ever adapting to the dynamic nature of electronic warfare as they remain true to their squadron motto - "NIHIL MINOR QUAM OPTIME" - NOTHING LESS THAN THE BEST.

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