Electronic Attack Squadron Back from Six-Month Deployment

The “Yellow Jackets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 returned home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, Feb. 8 following a six-month deployment to the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of responsibility.

While on deployment, VAQ-138 served as a deterrent to potential adversaries in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, reassuring allies and partner nations of the United States’ commitment to their defense.

Primarily operating out of Misawa Air Base, Japan, VAQ-138 was able to relocate at a moment’s notice, participating in exercises and providing detachments around the Pacific.

The squadron’s deployment began with stops in Honolulu and Wake Island. The “Yellow Jackets” had the unique opportunity to spend two weeks in August 2014 on Wake Island learning about its rich history. After avoiding three converging typhoons, the “Yellow Jackets” pressed on to Misawa Air Base, Japan.

In September 2014, VAQ-138 arrived at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to participate in Exercise Valiant Shield 2014, a biennial training exercise focused on the joint operability of U.S. forces. The exercise brought together more than 18,000 service members from all U.S. military services, including 19 surface vessels, numerous land-based organizations, and more than 200 aircraft.

In November 2014, the “Yellow Jackets” relocated to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea (ROK), for Exercise Max Thunder, a bilateral aerial training event combining U.S. and ROK military forces that offered VAQ-138 a unique opportunity to become familiar with the tactical capabilities of the ROK Air Force through planning and airborne operations.

In December 2014, VAQ-138 returned to the Korean Peninsula for the operational readiness exercise Beverly Bulldog 15-1. Operating out of Osan Air Base, ROK, VAQ-138 was the first naval asset to participate in an exercise of this kind.

While in Misawa, VAQ-138 operated with the U.S. Air Force’s 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons, as well as with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Airborne Early Warning Squadron 601. Training with these commands allowed the Sailors of VAQ-138 to share their electronic attack expertise and to practice combat employment in a joint and combined environment.

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Image: US Navy