Electronic attack squadron returns to Whidbey Island

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND — The Zappers of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 have returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island after completing a seven-month deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

VAQ 130’s pilots and electronic warfare officers flew the squadron’s EA-18G Growlers back to NAS Whidbey Island from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), while support and maintenance personnel reunited with their families Friday afternoon via airlift from Norfolk, Va.

“I am just as proud of the families back in Whidbey as I am of the Zapper Sailors,” said Cmdr. Brendan Stickles, VAQ-130’s commanding officer.

“Our squadron was gone from home nine months during the last year. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of all the Zapper friends and families.”

The Zappers are attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 commanded by Capt. Marc Miguez. VAQ-130 left NAS Whidbey Island May 2016. They began flight operations off the coast of Virginia and continued east across the Atlantic Ocean to the Azores, the Navy said in a news release.

In transit to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, the Zappers conducted flight operations off the coast of Spain, France, and Italy before entering the 5th Fleet area of responsibility through the Suez Canal as CVN-69 relieved the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Zappers supported joint and coalition forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria for approximately seven months where they flew 226 combat sorties and executed 1,596 combat flight hours, the Navy said.

The Zappers, along with CSG-10, then returned to the Mediterranean and continued to support Operation Inherent Resolve from the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

The ship and air wing conducted joint flight operations with the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R91).

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