Four EA-6B Prowlers from Marine tactical electronic warfare squadron VMAQ-2 ‘Death Jesters’ returned to MCAS Cherry Point North Carolina, on November 17, at the conclusion of the unit’s final deployment. Two Prowlers had previously returned from the deployment on November 13. The final squadron to operate the Prowler will conclude operations in March 2019.
Known as the ‘Death Jesters’, VMAQ-2′s deactivation will mark the end of the EA-6B’s service in the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) mission. The squadron’s six EA-6Bs had been deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in support of Operation ‘Resolute Support’ and ‘Freedom’s Sentinel’ in Afghanistan as well as Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’ for eight months. The squadron will hold a deactivation ceremony at Cherry Point on March 10. The last EA-6Bs operated by the US Navy were retired in 2015.
‘A combat deployment was a good way to send off the platform, especially for all the history within the community and the work that it’s done,’ commented Lt Col Andrew Rundle, commanding officer of VMAQ-2. ‘This airplane has been in a lot of operations over the last 40 years that we’ve had it, and it’s nice to send it out this way.’ Remarkably, even when down to a single remaining unit, the Marine Corps was able to generate six jets for a prolonged combat deployment, right at the end of the Prowler’s career. Rundle said: ‘This is the end for a lot of us.’
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Ted Nichols