News: VMAQ-1 Marines return from Afghanistan deployment
Story by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — More than 120 Marines from Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 returned to cheers and open arms from family and friends at the VMAQ-1 hangar here, April 4.
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing squadron, one of four EA-6B Prowler squadrons in the Marine Corps, returned from a seven-month deployment to Italy and Afghanistan.
All four squadrons are stationed at MCAS Cherry Point and continuously rotate with one another to guarantee tactical electronic warfare assets to forces operating around the world.
"On this deployment we did a lot of work with coalition forces in both Afghanistan and Italy," said Maj. Joshua Gordon, the executive officer for VMAQ-1. "We helped prevent the Libyan government from countering anti-Gadhafi forces' attacks as well as acting as a strategic asset to the NATO forces."
While in Aviano, Italy, for two months, the Prowlers conducted 96 missions flying over 626 flight hours in efforts to support operations in Libya. They also conducted more than 470 missions throughout 1,700 combat flight hours during the five months in Afghanistan, performing electronic countermeasure operations.
"I'm proud of these Marines and the flexibility they showed on their run up to the deployment," said Gordon. "When we were sent to Italy, we deployed where no Prowler or Marine had been in more than a decade, providing a good example of our expeditionary capabilities."
"This has been a long seven months," said Mollie Todd, spouse of Sgt. James D. Todd, an individual material readiness list asset manager with VMAQ-1. "My strong faith and the great friends and neighbors I have around me made this deployment more bearable."
James said he is proud of the squadron’s accomplishments and there is no better feeling than being back home.
"While we were there we did our job to the best of our abilities to ensure the success of the VMAQ-1 mission," he said. "What drove me to get home safely was the support of my beautiful wife. It is an awesome relief to finally be back."
The squadron still has remaining Marines and aircraft that will return to the air station early next week, after relinquishing their duties to VMAQ-2 as the electronic warfare component for U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan, March 26.
"Every Marine joins to do something that is bigger than himself," said Gordon. "We are in the business of supporting the national defense of the United States. Those who wear this uniform take pride and honor in defending our country. The Marines with VMAQ-1 have taken great strides to ensure the borders stay safe while on this deployment and I am extremely proud of them for a job well done."