NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND: Electronic Attack (VAQ) 132 received the official notification in a Sept. 22 Navy message from Capt. Tom Slais, Commander Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, that the squadron was certified “safe for flight operations in the EA-18G.”
“Your hard work and dedication is exemplary, and I am confident you will continue to display the same pride and professionalism as you execute safe operations and maintain your aircraft,” said Slais.
The first operational Growler squadron to attain “safe for flight” status since the first EA-18G arrived Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in June 2008 recently returned from a successful carrier qualification detachment on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) with a 100 percent qualification rate.
Operating out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., each pilot in the Fleet’s first EA-18G “Growler” squadron completed a series of day and night arrested landings to become officially qualified to fly the newest fleet aircraft aboard Navy aircraft carriers.
“Carrier Qualification is a huge milestone in VAQ-132’s transition to the Growler,” said Bunnay, who was happy with the results of the detachment. “Squadrons build their reputations operating around the carrier, and I feel like we conducted ourselves with a high level of professionalism.”
Since February of this year, VAQ-132 has been in the process of transitioning to the EA-18G under the guidance of VAQ-129, the Fleet Replacement Squadron responsible for training transition aircrew.
Along with the Scorpion aircrew, the maintenance personnel in VAQ-132 have been working non-stop to complete their requirements for the squadron’s “safe for flight” qualification, which will allow them to operate airplanes autonomously.
Recently the maintenance department underwent a series of rigorous inspections conducted by Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet and performed above and beyond expectations.