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Posted: 12/27/2003 12:31:20 PM EDT
Whidbey Prowlers leave carrier for Afghanistan

By Victor Dymond
By Lt. j.g. Victor Dymond
Public Affairs Officer Electronic Attack Squadron 137

Special to the Whidbey News-Times

BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN — This holiday season marks a first in the history of the EA-6B Prowler community; this year the Rooks of VAQ-137 are forward deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Rooks are flying multiple sorties a day in support of troops conducting combat operations on the ground in Afghanistan.

Currently, the squadron has a majority of its airplanes and crews, and a fourth of the squadron’s manpower deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, working nearly 18 hours a day to support tasked requirements.

While the rest of the squadron is relaxing in port, the “Bagram Rooks” are busy conducting combat ops.

The Rooks were notified during their last port call in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that a detachment from the squadron was needed in Bagram and the squadron was given little time to prepare. Less than 48 hours after official notification arrived, the squadron offloaded and transported approximately 17,000 pounds of cargo and more than 30 people to Bagram, and set up spaces to catch the inbound aircraft from the ship.

“I am extremely proud. Both the mission we are conducting and the style with which we are operating is a new way of doing business for us,” said Commanding Officer Jeff Ruth. “The men and women of this squadron have done a great job pulling together and making it happen.”

VAQ-137 normally conducts combat operations from the deck of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65), and the maintenance department is accustomed to having ready access to all the necessary parts and supplies to service the venerable Prowler.

However, in its current location maintenance is learning new ways to keep the jets up and running. Parts and logistics support, items normally taken for granted, are enormous obstacles the squadron is learning to overcome.

“We’re meeting these challenges with great success. We strive to be prepared and keep as many spare parts on hand, because we never know when or what we are going to need,” said Maintenance Master Chief Petty Officer Bussard.

Life on Bagram Air Base itself is quite a change of pace from life aboard a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. The air base was originally erected in 1976 and was controlled by the Soviet military forces during their occupation of Afghanistan. Coalition Forces have since moved into the abandoned base and made it their own, erecting several tent cities to accommodate the hundreds of troops who temporarily call Bagram home.

Everything is covered in dust, with no running potable water or guaranteed hot showers.

“It’s cold, but it’s a nice change of pace from the ship,” said Lt. Paul Tully who was one of the first Rooks in Bagram.

The Rooks have quickly found themselves trading their racks and heated spaces aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) for cots, sleeping bags and tents. The climate in Bagram is quite harsh in comparison to the ship, with temperatures ranging from 50 degrees F during the day, to 20 degrees F at night, with sailors having to get dressed in coats and hats to go out and use the shower.  

(Don't laugh too hard you Army and Marine guys!)
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 12:38:35 PM EDT
That reminds me to get FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDERS at Fry's today.  On sale for $9.99!
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 1:15:01 PM EDT
Please help with a pic fix! I'm jonesing.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 3:52:37 PM EDT
Ummmm...whats a counter ECM aircraft doing in the land of hand-made AKs and 60yr old morters? Who the hell is fielding a target that the Prowler is capable of operating against? I'd have even said the ol' A6 was too advanced for use overthere....its not like they can pick up a stinger or something, and they're not the right platform/system to uses for hunting cell phones and walkey-talkies....what indeed is up in Afghanistan....????
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 4:02:56 PM EDT
[img]http://www.capitolsource.net/images/prog/ea6b.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 4:18:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RebelGray:
Ummmm...whats a counter ECM aircraft doing in the land of hand-made AKs and 60yr old morters? Who the hell is fielding a target that the Prowler is capable of operating against? I'd have even said the ol' A6 was too advanced for use overthere....its not like they can pick up a stinger or something, and they're not the right platform/system to uses for hunting cell phones and walkey-talkies....what indeed is up in Afghanistan....????
View Quote


ECM plane = big antennas = great spy platform...

presumably, they're being used for tactical survailance...
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 4:27:16 PM EDT
The EA6B is about the only good looking QUEER I know!
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 5:50:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Originally Posted By RebelGray:
Ummmm...whats a counter ECM aircraft doing in the land of hand-made AKs and 60yr old morters? Who the hell is fielding a target that the Prowler is capable of operating against? I'd have even said the ol' A6 was too advanced for use overthere....its not like they can pick up a stinger or something, and they're not the right platform/system to uses for hunting cell phones and walkey-talkies....what indeed is up in Afghanistan....????
View Quote


There are better aircraft out there for that...how about an ES-3?


ECM plane = big antennas = great spy platform...

presumably, they're being used for tactical survailance...
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 7:45:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Originally Posted By RebelGray:
Ummmm...whats a counter ECM aircraft doing in the land of hand-made AKs and 60yr old morters? Who the hell is fielding a target that the Prowler is capable of operating against? I'd have even said the ol' A6 was too advanced for use overthere....its not like they can pick up a stinger or something, and they're not the right platform/system to uses for hunting cell phones and walkey-talkies....what indeed is up in Afghanistan....????
View Quote


ECM plane = big antennas = great spy platform...

presumably, they're being used for tactical survailance...
View Quote


The ES-3B Shadow version of the S-3 Viking is normally used for ELINT. More likely, its COM jamming.
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:06:18 PM EDT
I know something I can't tell, I can't tell, I can't tell......
But if you do a Google search "EA-6B / cell phone"....


Originally Posted By RebelGray:
Ummmm...whats a counter ECM aircraft doing in the land of hand-made AKs and 60yr old morters? Who the hell is fielding a target that the Prowler is capable of operating against? I'd have even said the ol' A6 was too advanced for use overthere....its not like they can pick up a stinger or something, and they're not the right platform/system to uses for hunting cell phones and walkey-talkies....what indeed is up in Afghanistan....????
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/27/2003 8:09:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2003 8:10:32 PM EDT by KA3B]
ES-3B's have been sitting in Arizona soaking up the sun since 1999.

There are better aircraft out there for that...how about an ES-3?
View Quote


Link Posted: 12/27/2003 9:35:19 PM EDT
AAAAHHHHH thanks for the pic man!!

Ok so they are sending a Squadron or a wing or whatever.

Maybe they have some new fangled gizmos that they have go from Q and they wish to test them.

Why build a 40M aircraft just to test something that may not ever have a purpose, let alone work.
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