Monday, January 19, 2015

Marine Prowlers fight Islamic State over Iraq, Syria

Marine Prowlers fight Islamic State over Iraq, Syria

They're old, gray and approaching retirement — but the Marine Corps' EA-6B Prowlers are still fighting terrorists.

The service's aging fleet of jets used for electronic warfare have flown hundreds of hours over Iraq and Syria in support of the fight against the Islamic State group. They may be some of the final combat missions for Prowler squadrons before the Corps starts to retire the aircraft and adds electronic warfare capabilities to a variety of platforms.

Changes in the electronic warfare community will begin this year as officers who spent their careers in the Prowler enter unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons and the Corps tries to make electronic warfare more a more ubiquitous part of combat.

Until then, the Prowler is helping coalition forces in Operation Inherent Resolve as the Corps' primary electronic warfare platform. Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3, the "Moon Dogs" began missions into Iraq in June 2014. And in August, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4, the "Seahawks" relieved VMAQ-3 and soon began sorties over Syria.

"We were the first USMC aircraft in Syria on the first wave of strikes, and have continued to support strike packages, air drops, and other electronic warfare requirements as directed by the Combined Force Air Component Commander," said Lt. Col. David Mueller, VMAQ-4's commanding officer. His squadron is currently attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, which stood up in October and is based in Kuwait and other countries within U.S. Central Command.