Photo Information

Seven EA-6B Prowlers fly in a vee formation over Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Oct. 16, 2014. The flight was the first in Marine Corps aviation history to have seven Prowlers from the same squadron fly together in formation. The Marines of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 conducted the fly-bys in celebration of recently being named the recipient of the 2014 Association of Old Crows Marine Corps outstanding unit award.

Photo by Cpl. J. R. Heins

VMAQT-1 Marines conduct historic fly-by, lauded for excellence

21 Oct 2014 | Cpl. J. R. Heins The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Association of Old Crows Marine Corps outstanding unit award. The squadron celebrated by making Marine Corps aviation history by conducting a single squadron seven-aircraft fly-by at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Oct. 16.

The Association of Old Crows is an association of U.S. government defense, civil industry and academic professionals dedicated to promoting the technical and scientific contributions of electronic warfare and information operations in support of national defense.

“I believe a big part in receiving the award was because of our transition from a fleet squadron to a training squadron,” said Maj. Benjamin Friedrick, a naval aviator with the squadron. “As we transitioned into the training squadron, there were lot of moving parts, many of which dealt with supporting other fleet squadrons.”
The squadron transitioned from an operational squadron to a training squadron in June of 2013. VMAQT-1 is the only squadron in the department of the Navy that continues to train replacement pilots for the EA-6B Prowler since the Navy’s transition to the EA-18G Growler.

Soon after the transition, VMAQT-1 received a total of seven aircraft.

As time with the squadron’s new aircraft grew, an idea for the historic formation flight began to form.

“The squadron has planned this formation flight for more than six months, resulting in its successful completion Sunday,” said Friedrick.

Formation flights with Prowlers are normally never larger than five aircraft, he said.

“All the credit for the execution of this flight goes to the enlisted maintenance Marines,” said Friedrick. “They made this entire flight possible.”

Normally the squadron would have one or two aircraft down for scheduled routine maintenance, he said. During this down time, the Marines check all the aircraft systems and functions.

“The maintenance Marines started planning six months ago to coordinate timelines for each aircraft. The scheduling is an essential part of having each aircraft operational at the same time,” said Maj. Julian Flores, the operations officer with the squadron.

The Marines took the entire first half of October to ensure the Prowlers would be ready.

“In the air we conducted four fly-bys, in three different formations,” said Flores.

The different formations resembled an arrow, needle and vee.

“The event was successfully executed, and all the aircraft met up in the air and made history together with the squadron,” said Flores.