MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 began training its first class of seven replacement pilots Oct. 7. The squadron was redesignated from VMAQ-1 to VMAQT-1 during a June 14 ceremony here.
“This class represents a lot of hard work,” said Lt. Col. Josh Gordon, the commanding officer of the training squadron. “The students being here represent our hard work. Having them onboard makes the transition of becoming a fleet replacement squadron seem real.”
Throughout the approximately 40 weeks of training, the students will learn about the aircraft they pilot, the EA-6B Prowler, the basics of electronic warfare and how to respond to specific threats.
“It is pretty exciting to be a training squadron,” said Maj. Mark Weinrich, student control officer with the squadron. “Up until now it was a Navy squadron that trained the students, and now the Marine Corps has complete control of its newest Prowler aircrew.”
The training will also teach students leadership.
“We have a big step ahead of us in shaping the leadership of the aircrew to lead Marines when they finish training and get to the fleet,” said Weinrich.
The squadron has been preparing to begin its first class for months.
“We were notified on Feb. 1 that we were going to become a training squadron,” said Gordon. “We have been preparing for this since we received the word.”
In preparation for the class, the squadron hand-picked and trained instructors, and created a syllabus centered around Marine Corps electronic warfare requirements.
“The squadron is very excited about training this first class,” said Maj. Julian Flores, VMAQT-1 training officer. “We are taking an aircrew that knows nothing of this aircraft and building them from the ground up.”
Instructors and students alike are excited to be a part of the inaugural class.
“It is exciting to do something that has never been done before,” said Capt. Andrew MacDonald, a VMAQT-1 student.