|Electronic Attack Squadron 141|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Airborne Electronic Attack|
|Part of||Carrier Air Wing 5|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Facility Atsugi|
|Motto||“Ready on Arrival”|
|Engagements||Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Commander Benedict "Eggs" Clark|
Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (VAQ-141), also known as the "Shadowhawks", is an EA-18G Growler squadron of the United States Navy that is based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. VAQ-141 falls under the command of Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific (COMVAQWINGPAC) and flies in support of Carrier Air Wing 5 aboard the USS George Washington (CVN-73).
Electronic Attack Squadron ONE FOUR ONE (VAQ-141) was established in July 1987 at NAS Whidbey Island, WA as the twelfth operational EA-6B Prowler squadron. Assigned to Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8), the “Shadowhawks” embarked on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) for her maiden cruise to the Mediterranean. Following that first cruise, VAQ-141 saw combat action on every subsequent deployment for the next 21 years.
Gulf War, The Balkans & Iraq
The Shadowhawks deployed in early 1991 on board TR in support of Operation Desert Storm. Of note, VAQ-141 was the first CVW-8 squadron to deliver ordnance in that conflict, firing AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) on the first night. Following hostilities, the TR and CVW-8 sailed back into the eastern Mediterranean and provided airborne protection for humanitarian relief efforts in northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort.
In 1993, VAQ-141 deployed again on board TR, this time to the Adriatic Sea in support of Operation Provide Promise humanitarian relief efforts and Operation Deny Flight no-fly zone enforcement over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Following numerous Deny Flight missions, the TR/CVW-8 team steamed into the Red Sea to support Operation Southern Watch, ensuring Iraqi compliance with post-Gulf War United Nations resolutions.
The squadron deployed once more with the Roosevelt Battle Group in March 1995, supporting Operation Southern Watch missions from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. In June, the Shadowhawks flew ashore to Aviano Air Base, Italy to support Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia. During this period, VAQ-141 flew defense suppression cover for the successful Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) effort for downed Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady. Operation Deliberate Force began in late August and the Shadowhawks again provided effective Suppression Of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) coverage for NATO airstrikes throughout Bosnia. After an eventful summer abroad, the Shadowhawks returned home in September.
In 1996 the Shadowhawks and CVW-8 embarked on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and made the first aircraft carrier visit to Dublin, Ireland. In April 1997 the Shadowhawks deployed on the Kennedy to the Mediterranean/Adriatic Seas and Persian Gulf, supporting Operation Deliberate Guard and Operation Southern Watch, respectively.
In 1999, the Shadowhawks and CVW-8 reunited with the Roosevelt, deploying in March to execute major combat operations over Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo as part of Operation Allied Force. During that intense 70-day conflict, the squadron distinguished themselves by not losing a single Coalition aircraft to enemy air defenses while a Shadowhawk jet was on station. Following Allied Force, the TR Battle Group steamed through the Suez Canal and began combat operations in support of Operation Southern Watch the following month, finally returning home in September 1999.
War on Terror
In April 2001, the squadron deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing 8 on board the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). They participated in exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and North Sea and took part in enforcing the Iraqi no-fly zones as part of Operation Southern Watch. The squadron was on its way home when the September 11 attacks occurred in New York City. Carrier Air Wing 8’s deployment was extended and they were sent to join other U.S. Navy assets in the northern Arabian Sea. Shortly thereafter, VAQ-141 provided electronic attack in support of coalition air and ground forces during the opening stages of the invasion of Afghanistan also known as Operation Enduring Freedom.
In September 2005, The Shadowhawks once again deployed with CVW-8 to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While still in the Mediterranean 2 EA-6Bs and a detachment of support personnel from VAQ-141 left CVW-8's home, The USS Theodore Roosevelt and flew to Al Asad air base to augment VMAQ-1 to fill the void left by the previous carrier leaving the AOR. With this, VAQ-141 became the first EA-6B squadron to conduct split ship-shore operations in Iraq.
In September 2008 VAQ-141 departed Naval Station Norfolk aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The Ship steamed south to visit Cape Town South Africa, and in doing so, the Roosevelt became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to visit the port. The ship soon rounded the Cape of Good Hope and sailed north, Setting up station in the North Persian Gulf, Flying missions in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan. In April 2009, VAQ-141 flew off the Roosevelt and into history landing in NAS Whidbey Island for the last time as an EA-6B squadron.
In July 2011, the squadron deployed to the Middle East aboard the carrier USS George H.W. Bush. The squadron conducted the first ever combat operations of the EA-18G from sea, supporting both Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. During the deployment, the squadron's commanding officer, Commander Karl Pugh, was removed as CO after an "alcohol-related incident" in Bahrain.
Forward Deployment to Japan
In February 2012, the Navy announced that the Shadowhawks would be transferred to NAF Atsugi in the spring of 2012 to join Carrier Air Wing 5 and the USS George Washington (CVN-73)/Carrier Strike Group Five replacing VAQ-136.
In November of 2013, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) in coordination with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade assisted the Philippine government in relief efforts in response to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.
Squadron Deployment Videos
- McGowan, Tom (2002-09-01). "VAQ-141 Shadowhawks: "Ready on Arrival"". Naval Aviation News (Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center). Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Murphy, Stephen (2005-10-12). "VAQ-141 Supports Troops in Al Asad". Navy Newsstand (Department of the Navy). Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Yates, Tucker (2009-04-23). "Shadowhawks return from carrier deployment". Northwest Navigator (Sound Publishing, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Kerrick, Adam (2008-10-02). "Shadowhawks sail into history". Northwest Navigator (Sound Publishing, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Fuentes, Gidget, "Growler squadron CO fired on deployment", Military Times, 19 July 2011.
- Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan press release R-12-12
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (United States Navy).|
- VAQ-141 at globalsecurity.org
- VAQ-141 Shadowhawks EA-18G Growler: Photo walk around of two aircraft including the CAG bird.
- VAQ Shadowhawks: "Ready on Arrival" - Naval Aviation News (September–October 2002)