…Into the Sunset.

| November 7, 2018


End of an era, again.

Marine Corps’ Last Prowler Aircraft Return from Final Combat Deployment

The last of the Marine Corps’ remaining EA-6B Prowlers have wrapped up their final mission in the Middle East, where they supported troops taking on the Islamic State group. Now, the electronic-warfare aircraft will soon be headed to the boneyard.

More than 250 members of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 are returning to North Carolina after spending seven months operating out of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The squadron — the last to fly the service’s decades-old electronic-warfare aircraft — is only about four months away from being deactivated.

But that didn’t slow the Death Jesters downrange, where they were tapped with supporting two campaigns simultaneously: Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.

crewMarines deployed with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 walk to their EA-6B Prowler at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on Sept. 12. VMAQ-2 has completed its final deployment, and the last six Prowlers in the U.S. military’s inventory are being retired. (US Air Force photo/Ted Nichols)

“The mission of the Prowler is and always has been to deny, degrade and disrupt the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Capt. Robert Ryland, an electronic-countermeasures officer with VMAQ-2. Being based in Qatar, he added, allowed them to respond to missions for both operations.

Ryland declined to specify how many flight hours the crews flew throughout the deployment, due to operational security concerns. But the operational tempo remained high throughout the deployment, he said.

“The presence of electronic warfare is extremely important to the supported unit,” he said. “Though this is the final EA-6B deployment, the need for electronic warfare will remain high worldwide in the

The aircraft of my misspent youth are going to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB. The H-2s and P-3s I crewed in, and all the others of the era too numerous to list, are already there. Now it’s the last hurrah for the Marine’s EA-6B as well. I wouldn’t worry too much, the EA-18 “Growler” will fill the void left by the bird affectionately known as “The Queer” (see below) by all who served with her.

The article is a pretty good read, a mix of pride and bittersweet. I know that feeling well. It can be found here at Military Daily

So named because of the gold film layered into the canopies to protect the crew from the fierce RF radiation emitted by the ECM suite. They also had fangs with the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile to take out offending emitters.

Category: Marines

Comments (21)

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  1. USAFRetired says:

    Will the Marines be getting EF-18Gs, the Growlers.

    The EA-6 was the epitome of the Motto of the Bethpage Iron Works…

    If its Grumman it has to be ugly.

    • AW1Ed says:

      The article states Marines will either transition to other Marine Corps aircraft, join a different branch, or leave the military when their service time is up. No mention of standing up a squadron of Marine EF-18G Growlers.

      Fun in-joke. The Growler nearly got the name “The Shocker” until those with a bit more social savvy changed it. Too bad, the call signs and squadron logos would have been epic.
      Don’t get it? Go here for an explanation. Be advised, very NWS.
      Urban Legand The Shocker

      • TacticalTrunkMonkey says:

        WTF!!! Warn a guy next time! I now have to replace a government monitor in the OOD hut!

      • USAFRetired says:

        Clicked report by accident.

        Popular rumor for the Growler was all ejections were through the canopy.

        The USAF abdicated esponsibility for this mission when it retired the Sparkvark (EF-111A.) I imagine some of the former EF-111 troops had some I didn’t sign up for flying off boats if offered the transition to Grow;ers.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    “my misspent youth” Roger that. Spent most of mine on women and booze, the rest, I just pissed away…End of an era indeed. Believe we got our money’s worth out of that system. Makes us wonder sometime if the systems on line now, or going on line soon will still be being used as long as some of these were. Got a buddy, former Wing Wiping Airdale, civil service AF Depot Level makes several trips a year to the bone yard. They are constantly scrounging parts for and from a wide variety of aircraft. Says it’s kinda sad to see.

  3. The Other Whitey says:

    The A-6 family had an elegance to them that today’s jack-of-all aircraft can’t seem to recapture. I think it’s probably because planes of that generation were designed to do one job and do it extremely well. Many of them incidentally happened to be good at other roles besides their intended specialty. They didn’t try from the getgo to make one size fit all.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    “protect the crew from the fierce RF radiation emitted by the ECM suite”

    Yet we have snowflakes insisting that cell towers are cooking us. They are not. Just keep holding that Iphone antenna next to your temporal lobe though.

  5. Wilted Willy says:

    I don’t know how accurate the movie, Flight of the Intruder was, but it featured this very aircraft and I thought it was a good movie! But what do I know??

  6. Don’t be so unhappy about this retirement as the USAF has tried to retire the Warthog a couple of times but due to not having an aircraft capable to fill it’s role in it’s inventory they have up dated it now so life expectancy is thru 2040. There is always hope.

  7. Atkron says:

    Queer Birds, sunseted

    • Couver says:

      I always loved (before PC bullshit) to hear “Heads up in the sixpack, pulling the queer”

      • Mick says:

        Back in the distant non-PC past before all of the Tailhook bullshit erupted, VMAQ-2 used to have the Playboy Bunny on their squadron patch and also painted on the vertical stabilizers of their EA-6Bs.

        That all got stomped out after the Tailhook incident, of course.

      • AW1Ed says:

        VP-24 in Jax had to take their Batgirl down, too.