Monday, June 09, 2008

Zappers Return Home to NAS Whidbey Island

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

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, the "Zappers," were welcomed home to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, June 1, after a deployment aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

The Zappers departed NAS Whidbey Island, Nov. 1, in order to meet Harry S. Truman on the East Coast for a departure date of Nov. 4.

"We were supporting ground commanders with electronic attack jamming in support of the troops on the ground," said Cmdr. Scott Moran, VAQ-130 commanding officer. "In addition to that, there are many other objectives the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has for naval forces in the Arabian Gulf and we also supported those missions as well."

The Arabian Gulf is a body of water more commonly known as the Persian Gulf.

The Zappers are composed of nearly 200 Sailors with 15 electronic countermeasures officers and six pilots among them. With their complement of four Prowlers, they achieved a 99 percent mission accomplishment rate for the combat sorties in support of CENTCOM.

Over the whole deployment, the Zappers flew a total of 565 sorties and logged 1,798 flight hours. Of this, approximately 200 sorties and 1,200 hours were logged as combat hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Included in the deployment were also a number of port visits made by Harry S. Truman. Among these were port calls to Naples, Italy; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Rhodes, Greece; and Marseilles, France. Moran was pleased with his crew's performance both on- and off-duty.

"From the most junior people in my squadron to the most senior, everyone did a fantastic job," said Moran. "It was long hours and we ended up missing a port call, but we were able to work through that. My most junior guys bore a lot of the burden for the deployment, but they did a fantastic job. We couldn't have done our mission without everyone in the squadron."