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Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 144 “Main Battery”

Mission

To provide worldwide tactical airborne electronic attack and suppression of enemy air defense against targets at sea or ashore in support of U.S. and coalition combat forces.

About Us


In September of 2019, the Navy transitioned a Carrier Air Wing (CVW) VAQ squadron out of the carrier environment to meet demands as an expeditionary unit.  This gap in CVW Electronic Attack coverage signaled a need to stand-up the 15th operational VAQ Squadron.  VAQ-144 was established on 1 Oct 2021 to satisfy this demand with a requirement to meet scheduled milestones and achieve full operational capability in fiscal year 2023.
 
Squadron nickname:  “Main Battery.”  This name was selected from a highly-scrutinized list of former Navy, carrier-based Electronic Attack Squadrons (VAQ), Attack Squadrons (VA), and Fighter Squadrons (VF).  As the list narrowed, the focus was placed on rebirthing an original VA squadron that could illustrate a direct connection from where the Electronic Attack community began, to where it is today.  VA-196 “Main Battery” was the last and arguably the most significant A-6 Intruder squadron on the west coast, seeing a strong history of missions in Vietnam, Korea, and Desert Storm.  As many retired and former “Main Battery” Sailors are still active in the VAQ and local communities, paying homage to their heritage and traditions by returning the cherished squadron nickname was the best and most supported choice.
 
Image:  Spade and Devil.  On 14 Sep 1967, the original “Main Battery” developed its most memorable and historic squadron insignia:  an orange background with a black border, black ace of spades, and a yellow outlined superimposed devil face with bull-type horns.  This combination of shapes and images was to initially signify “dealers of death in the dark,” the “Main Battery,” being the most impactful and reliable to do so.  The black color of the ace of spades symbolized playing a game in the darkness, using the complete lack of light to one’s advantage when attacking as A-6 squadrons often did and the CVW does today.  The superimposed devil, the devil of the enemy, awaited to receive the end product of the squadrons’ work. 
 
With the ever-evolving Electronic Attack multi-mission role, the primary weapon of choice has varied and multiplied.  Future conflicts will be won and lost by the side more decisively in control of the electromagnetic spectrum.  The new VAQ-144 “Main Battery” now “deals deception in the dark,” still requiring the ace of spades in the background.  The devil is more mischievous, instead presented as a mortal merely wearing a devil’s hood with raised eyebrows, appearing to be the vexation of the enemy.  It causes chaos and confusion for the enemy through the art of deception and misdirection.  It should be noted that the figure on the insignia is not “The Devil” and has no religious connotation of any kind.  This cloaked devil, and the “Main Battery” personnel that unleash it, causes the enemy to see and hear dubious indications and is a direct representation of keeping your adversary in both literal and figurative darkness.  VAQ-144 is establishing a foundational culture of continuously leaning forward on the cutting edge of the newest techniques and technologies, making any threat vulnerable both electronically and kinetically.  The former is symbolized by electricity coursing throughout the devil, emanating from the tips of the horns and shown in the pupil-less eyes to signify the “blinding” of our adversaries. 
 
Specific attention was made to respectfully pay tribute to the original “Main Battery.”  The majority aspects of the original insignia remain the same.  The base colors of orange background, black spade, yellow accents, and white eyes and ribbon remain in use.  The proportions and placement of the spade and superimposed devil remain exactly the same, the horns of which are still bull-like, signifying lasting endurance and power.  The devil’s mustache and beard are the same mischievous style as the original.  This combination of images represented the direct mission impact of VA-196 for almost 50 years.  With an update in mission and capability, the old spade and new devil will equally reflect the powerful and effective mission of the “Main Battery” for years to come. 
 
Design and illustration by: AMEC(AW) Timothy J. McCants, USN, Retired.
 

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