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An EA-6B Prowler takes off from a “touch and go” landing during Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1’s last flight operations for the Prowler at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, Aug. 20, 2015. Four student pilots are among the last to learn how to fly the Prowler due to its transitioning out of the Marine Corps starting in 2016.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez

Bogue bids farewell to Prowlers

27 Aug 2015 | Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

With no fanfare other than the fading rumble of its twin turbojet engines, the last EA-6B Prowler scheduled to fly at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue disappeared into the afternoon haze August 21, 2015, after practicing its final landings on the airfield’s expeditionary style runway.

 

The training, which was designed to build student pilots’ confidence in their ability to land on expeditionary airfields, was just another phase of education for the final Prowler pilot trainees at Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1.  The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

 

VMAQT-1 is slated to retire next summer, part of the four-year phase-out of the Marine Corps’ venerable EA-6B Prowler, but the squadron still has students completing their training to ensure enough qualified pilots will be available to meet the mission requirements into 2019.

 

“The Navy has EA-18G Growlers, which has pretty much taken over the mission,” said Maj. Mark Weinrich executive officer for VMAQT-1. “The Marines Corps is going to assist them in systems concepts to cover any gaps in electronic warfare or attack.”

 

According to Weinrich, the Marine Corps will use F-35’s and unmanned aerial systems to take the mission of the Prowler.

“It is the Prowler Sundown, which means that the platform is going away,” said Maj. John Brennan, the director of safety and standardization with VMAQT-1. “Our squadron is training our last four pilots here today at Bogue.”

Bogue was used to train student pilots for landings on shorter runways, under less than ideal conditions.

“Bogue field is about half the runway length of normal runways,” said Weinrich. “If they had to come into an expeditionary airfield, they could do so with confidence, or if they had to come in during an emergency.”

According to Brennan, the students’ syllabi will be completed in May.

“It is a little bit like going back to square one,” said Capt. Zebulun Josey, a student pilot with VMAQT-1. “Generally a lot of the newer pilots will learn or transition to learning a different aircraft after the Prowler goes away.”

All the current students will go to VMAQ-2, VMAQ-3, VMAQ-4, and nearly half the staff will go to VMAQ-2 or VMAQ-3.

 “There is a lot of history in the Prowler and I feel privileged to be one of the last few people to learn how to fly it,” said Josey.


Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point