Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rooks Return to Whidbey Island for the Holidays

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest

The Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137 "Rooks" arrived at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) Dec. 15-16 after a deployment on board USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

The Rooks were deployed for five months, conducting missions in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the second deployment of a nearly back-to-back schedule with the squadron leaving July 7, after returning from a seven-month deployment Nov. 17, 2006.

"It was nice being out there to support our riflemen on the ground," said Cmdr. Gary Patenaude, VAQ-137 executive officer. "Some of them are EA-6B Prowler folks on individual augmentee assignments, so it's nice to go out there and help not only the Army and Marine Corps, but our friends on the ground as well."

VAQ-137 logged more than 750 flight hours on 130 combat sorties throughout the course of the deployment with the support of approximately 200 Sailors.

The Rooks sent an advance detachment back to NASWI in October to prepare for the squadron's arrival. The four EA-6B Improved Capability III Prowlers returned Dec. 15, and the main body of the squadron arrived Dec. 16.