MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Pilots with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 conducted a division lead qualification flight March 19, 2014, en route to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.
The squadron conducted the multipurpose flight to give the squadron's pilots a chance to qualify as division lead with the EA-6B Prowler, while conducting a squadron movement to MCAS Yuma.
During a division lead flight, three or more Prowlers fly an assigned mission, which is a rarity for VMAQ-4 pilots. Ordinarily, Prowler crews fly solo missions in support of combat operations. Division lead flights add to the squadron's expeditionary capabilities, according to Maj. Jeff Bauer, an electronic counter measure officer with the squadron.
“The ability to launch a division is important because it demonstrates the squadron's ability to deploy at a moment’s notice to any place in the world in support of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing,” said Bauer.
The Prowler's mission is unlike most other Marine Corps aircraft because they usually fly solo. Given the stealth mission of VMAQ-4, the squadron's pilots are conditioned to flying alone. Division lead flights give the squadron a chance to enhance their team capabilities, according to Maj. Bart E. MacManus, the administration officer-in-charge at the squadron.
“The pilot briefs all of the procedures for what we may encounter because something that we don’t do very often is take more than two aircraft airborne at a time,” said MacManus. “It’s very rare that we get three or more, and when we do get those three or more airborne, it becomes a very robust training sortie.”