VAQ-136 Squadron History

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VAQ-136 Gauntlets Squadron History
From the 1982-83 Cruise Book

Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron ONE THIRTY SIX was established at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington on 6 April 1973, as the fifth operational to employ the EA-6B Prowler. The Gauntlets commenced pre-deployment training as a member of Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN just ten weeks after commissioning. Shortly thereafter VAQ-136 was enroute to WESTPAC aboard USS Kitty Hawk and became the first EA-6B squadron to conduct operations in the Indian Ocean. In February 1975, VAQ-136 departed CONUS for her second deployment to WESTPAC, again aboard the Kitty Hawk. The highlight of this cruise was the squadron's participation in READEX 1-76, a major Seventh Fleet exercise.

After preliminary work-ups at NAS Fallon with Carrier Air Wing SEVEN the squadron moved aboard the USS Independence for the 1977 Mediterranean cruise, closing out the era of the Standard Version Prowler. Three weeks after their return to NAS Whidbey Island the squadron began transitioning to the Improved Capability (ICAP) Version of te EA-6B.

The Gauntlet's first ICAP deployment and second Mediterranean cruise began on 3 October 1978 with Carrier Air Wing EIGHT and USS Saratoga. VAQ-136 provided tactical electronic warfare support for the Sixth Fleet, NATO and allied countries, returning from deployment in April 1979.

Preparations for change of homeport to Yokosuka, Japan extended through February 1980. Work-up training included detachments for a Red Flag exercise at Nelis AFB and carrier refresher training aboard USS Coral Sea, USS Constellation, and USS Ranger. At the end of February 1980 the Gauntlets TRANSPAC'd the entire squadron to join the forward deployed USS Midway/Carrier Air Wing FIVE team.

VAQ-136's first major deployment with CVW-5 began 14 July 1980. Highlights of this Indian Ocean cruise included port calls to Mombasa, Kenya and the Philippines. USS Midway spent 90 days on "Gonzo Station", returning home to Yokosuka, Japan on 26 November 1980.

The Gauntlets established themselves as "Jammers of WESTPAC" with participation in the Cope Thunder and Cope Diamond joint service operations conducted in the Philippines and Okinawa.

The second Indian Ocean cruise aboard USS Midway began on 24 February 1981. Visits to Singapore, the Philippines, and Perth, and participation in Beacon Compass, a joint United States/Australian exercise, were the highlights of the cruise before returning to Yokosuka on 5 June 1981.

In 1982 the Gauntlets found themselves again deeply involved in Cope Thunder, a joint US Navy/Air Force exercise, in the Philippines followed by shore based operations in support of the USS Coral Sea in the Sea of Japan. Shortly thereafter the squadron was in the Sea of Japan themselves participating in Team Spirit 82. In May the squadron and Midway were involved in READEX 82, a three carrier battle group exercise including USS Ranger and USS Constellation.

The Association of Old Crows awarded VAQ-136 a Unit Citation for accomplishments in the field of electronic warfare during the summer of 1982. During the Midway's fall 1982 deployment to NORPAC, the Sea of Japan and South China Sea, the Gauntlets received tasking from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to move all aircraft, assets and personnel to the USS America and conduct operations in the Indian Ocean. In late January 1983, VAQ-136 executed an unprecedented 8300 mile cross deck deployment from NAF Atsugi, Japan to the meet USS America (CV-66)/CVW-1 in the Indian Ocean. During their three months with Carrier Air Wing ONE VAQ-136 operated with several NATO forces and participated in two Beacon Flash exercises. The Gauntlets returned to Japan in May 1983.

Happily rejoined with the Midway and CVW-5, summer 1983 found VAQ-136 again providing tactical electronic warfare support to Battle Group Alpha. In September the squadron very successfully participated in exercise Cope Thunder 83-7 at Clark AFB, Philippines.

[BUTTON: back] Complete list of at-sea periods from June 1981 through April 1991

The Gauntlets flew off the Midway on 24 March 1986 back to CONUS while the Midway went through modifications to allow the F/A-18 Hornet to operate from her. In October the squadron TRANSPAC'd back with the rest of CVW-5 to NAF Atsugi and the newly refurbished Midway.

The Gauntlet's first cruise after returning to the Midway occurred on 9 January 1987, a three month WESTPAC. After two IO cruises and one other WESTPAC VAQ-136 flew combat sorties during Desert Storm from 10 October 1990 to 17 April 1991. In August 1991 the Midway left Yokosuka, Japan for the last time to be decommissioned. Between August 22-27 CVW-5 transferred from the Midway to the USS Independence at Pearl Harbor in what is known as "The Great Carrier Air Wing SwapEx".

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