|Electronic Attack Squadron 209|
|Active||October 1, 1977 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Role||Airborne Electronic Attack|
|Part of||Tactical Support Wing|
|Motto||Fortuna Fortes Juvat|
|Colors||Green and Gold|
|Commander J. T. King|
Electronic Attack Squadron 209 (VAQ-209) is a United States Navy Reserve electronic attack squadron. Known as the "Star Warriors", the squadron is currently in transition to the Boeing EA-18G Growler carrier-based electronic warfare jet aircraft. Based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA, it is assigned to the Tactical Support Wing.
"To safely train to attain and maintain mobilization readiness for immediate employment in event of war or national emergency."
- 1995 Cruise CVN-71
- 1998 ONW Incirlik, Turkey
- 1999 Cruise CVN-71/VAQ-141 & Kosovo (Aviano,IT) with VAQ-138, VAQ-140
- 2000 ONW Incirlik, Turkey
- 2001 OSW/PSAB (Prince Sultan Air Base) Saudi Arabia
- 2002 ONW Incirlik, Turkey
- 2005 Iwakuni, Japan
- 2006 OIF Al Asad, Iraq
- 2008 OEF Bagram, Afghanistan
- 2009 OEF Bagram, Afghanistan
- 2010 OEF Bagram, Afghanistan
- 2011 OEF Bagram, Afghanistan
VAQ-209 was established at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia (USA), on 1 October 1977. It was part of the U.S. Navy Reserve Carrier Air Wing 20 (CVWR-20). Originally the squadron was equipped with the Grumman EA-6A Electronic Intruder.
VAQ-209 relocated to Naval Air Facility Washington, on Andrews Air Force Base in May 1990 and began transition to the EA-6B Prowler. The event marked not only the significant upgrading of CVWR-20's electronic attack capability, but also the first assignment of the U.S. Navy's EA-6B aircraft to be home ported outside of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. In 1995, the "Star Warriors" were mobilized for combat operations over Bosnia and participated in both Operation Deny Flight and Operation Deliberate Force. A four-plane detachment was deployed aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, as part of Carrier Air Wing Eight from 22 March to 22 September 1995.
In 1998, VAQ-209 Deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey with 3 EA-6B aircraft to conduct combat operations in direct support of Operation Northern Watch. The squadron maintained 100% mission coverage and a 96% sortie completion rate. VAQ-209 was the first "Prowler" squadron to deploy with only 3 aircraft and not miss a single ONW mission, the first Navy Reserve Squadron to deploy to Incirlik in support of ONW, and the first EA-6B squadron to carry HARM into the Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR). Additionally it was the first EA-6B squadron to develop specific Prowler HARM and jamming tactics for ONW operations and ROE, and the first EA-6B squadron to be overall Mission Commander for entire ONW strike packages.
In 1999 the squadron received a 96 hour to prepare to deploy order for Operation ALLIED FORCE (OAF). VAQ-209 deployed in accordance with JCS directive on April 16, 1999 with two aircraft, arriving in Aviano AB, Italy on April 17 via Lajes, Azores. VAQ-209 provided sole maintenance support for VAQ-209, 138, and 140 EA-6B translant aircraft, accompanying the aircraft to Lajes and remaining there until April 20 to support follow-on movement of NAS Whidbey Island Prowlers. VAQ-209 entered combat operations on April 17, 1999 and continued until hostilities ended on June 21, 1999. The Star Warriors redeployed on 25 June 1999 through RAF Mildenhall, NAS Keflevic (RON), Sonder Stromfjord (Greenland), Goose Bay CFB, and NAS Brunswick (RON), arriving in NAF Washington on June 27, 1999. The squadron completed 150 combat sorties and over 550 combat flight hours with a 98% sortie completion rate and no injuries.
In March 2000, the squadron deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey, with 4 aircraft to again support Operation Northern Watch. While in Turkey, VAQ-209 aircrew flew 75 combat sorties and over 250 mishap free flight hours returning to NAF Washington in early May 2000. During the year 2000, VAQ-209 continued its excellent safety record, achieving 23 years and 24,000 hours or mishap free flying.
In the spring of 2001 the squadron deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PSAB) in support of Operation Southern Watch (OSW). This was the first deployment of a reserve EA-6B squadron to the Area of Operations. VAQ-209 completed the 45-day deployment to PSAB, during which they flew 59 combat sorties and 191 flight hours, with a 100% sortie completion rate.
In August 2002, VAQ-209 deployed for the third time to Incirlik AB, Turkey for OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH. This time VAQ-209 flew 88 combat sorties and over 300 flight hours before returning home in October. The squadron went on to set a calendar year flight record of 1539.4 flight hours, a truly notable accomplishment for a reserve squadron.
The Star Warriors deployed to the PACOM theater from April to June 2005. The deployment proved invaluable for training and readiness. Soon after their return from Japan, the Star Warriors once again learned that their combat expertise would be required in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. In June 2006, VAQ-209 deployed to Al-ASAD Air base, Iraq. There the squadron continued its exemplary record flying over 300 combat sorties for a combined total of more than 1500 flight hours.
Less than two years later, VAQ-209 returned to combat, this time over the skies of Afghanistan. The squadron deployed to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from January to March 2008 and once again from March to May 2009. Operating out of Bagram Air Base, the squadron executed over 2000 combat hours of flight time supporting US and ISAF forces on the ground. For their exemplary combat performance, the squadron was recognized as the CNAFR squadron of the year.
The Star Warriors of Electronic Attack Squadron 209 (VAQ-209) returned to Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility (NAF) Washington Nov. 4 2011 following an 85-day deployment in Afghanistan. During deployment, the Star Warriors flew 193 combat sorties with a mission completion rate of 100 percent, delivering 769 hours of electronic combat suppression against the enemy while the VAQ-209 maintenance department accomplished a combat sortie completion rate of 99.51 percent. The Star Warriors also serviced more than 226 joint tactical air support requests (JTASR).
VAQ-209 relocated to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Washington to begin their transition to the E/A-18G Growler.