Electronic Attack Squadron 135 (VAQRON 135)

Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 135 (TACELRON 135)

VAQ-135 ‘Black Ravens’

 

vaq-135 black ravens crest insignia patch badge electronic attack squadron us navy

vaq-135 black ravens electronic attack squadron us navy ea-18g growler nas whidbey island

 

STATUS:

established as VAQ-135 on May 15, 1969

    

Homebase: NAS Whidbey Island, Washington

Carrier Air Wing:

Aircraft Carrier:

ACTIVE UNIT

AIRCRAFT:

Douglas KA-3B / EKA-3B Skywarrior (1969-73)

Grumman EA-6B Prowler (1973-2011)

Boeing EA-18G Growler (2011- )

 

 

DEPLOYMENTS:

 

 

images

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-18g growler electronic attack squadron vaqron nas whidbey island washington

 

electronic attack squadron vaq-135 black ravens ea-18g growler

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-18g growler nellis afb nevada

EA-18G Growler (VAQ-135) at Nellis AFB, Nevada - March 2013

 

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler carrier air wing cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2010

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2010

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2010

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2010

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler carrier air wing cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2009

 

electronic attack squadron vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - September 2009

 

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2009

 

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2009

 

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - February 2009

 

ea-6b prowler vaq-135 black ravens cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2008

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2008

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2008

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2007

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - August 2007

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - July 2007

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - June 2007

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2007

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2005

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2005

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2005

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2005

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - October 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - May 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - March 2003

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - January 2003

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2002

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2002

 

electronic attack squadron vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss nimitz cvn 68

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2002

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) - April 2002

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss carl vinson cvn 70

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - October 2001

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) - February 1993

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler carrier air wing cvw-11 uss abraham lincoln cvn 72

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - October 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - October 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-11 uss abraham lincoln cvn 72

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-11) embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) - September 1990

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-13 uss coral sea cv 43

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-13) embarked on USS Coral Sea (CV 43) - April 1986

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-1 uss america cv 66

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - March 1985

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1984

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1984

 

EA-6B Prowler (VAQ-135 / CVW-1) embarked on USS America (CV 66) - April 1984

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler cvw-15 uss kitty hawk cv 63

EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-135 / CVW-15) embarked on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) - 1980

 

 

vaq-135 black ravens eka-3b skywarrior cvw-6 uss franklin d. roosevelt cva 42

EKA-3B Skywarrior (VAQ-135 / CVW-6) embarked on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42) - 1971

 

 

history

The BLACK RAVENS of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron ONE THREE FIVE were established on 15 May 1969 to provide electronic warfare and aerial refueling support to carrier air wings. Homeported at NAS Alameda, California, the BLACK RAVENS first flew the Douglas EKA-3B “Skywarrior” and deployed to both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

In 1973, VAQ-135 relocated to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and transitioned to their present aircraft, the Grumman EA-6B Prowler.

The BLACK RAVENS first deployed with the EA-6B to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean from January to September 1976 with CVW-2 aboard USS RANGER (CV 61). Following that deployment, VAQ-135 transitioned to the Improved Capability Prowler (ICAP) and became the first fleet EA-6B ICAP squadron. The squadron deployed with CVW-8 aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) from November 1977 to July 1978.

In January 1979, VAQ-135 commenced refresher training with CVW-15 aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) and deployed to the Western Pacific in May 1979. During deployment, the BLACK RAVENS received the Navy Expeditionary Medal for operations in the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and their first Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” Award.

The BLACK RAVENS deployed again with CVW-15 aboard USS KITTY HAWK from April to November 1981. VAQ-135 participated in several major exercises throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans and received a second Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal for their participation in the rescue of Vietnamese refugees.

In May 1982, the BLACK RAVENS were assigned to USS AMERICA (CV 66) and CVW-1. After completing work-ups, the BLACK RAVENS received word to transfer to USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) and deploy to the Mediterranean Sea in November 1982. The BLACK RAVENS received their second Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” Award soon after.

In 1984, the Black Ravens deployed with USS AMERICA with CVW-1 from April until November 1984, receiving their third Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” Award. In 1985, the BLACK RAVENS and CVW-1 participated in Ocean Safari ‘85, the largest NATO Naval Exercise to date, and received their second Meritorious Unit Commendation.

On the morning of 1 January 1986, VAQ-135 was “no-notice” deployed to support Sixth Fleet Battle Group operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Within 48 hours, the BLACK RAVENS had sortied from NAS Whidbey Island, joined their new air wing (CVW-13) at sea on board USS CORAL SEA (CV 43) and supported contingency operations underway in the central Mediterranean Sea. For the next five months, with no in theater AIMD or supply support, the squadron provided valuable electronic warfare support to U.S. Naval forces operating off the coast of Libya. The BLACK RAVENS proved to be an essential element in the successful Naval strike action in the Gulf of Sidra in March of 1986 and provided key close-support jamming services in the successful strikes on the Benina/Benghazi airfields in April of that year. As a result, the squadron was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Association of Old Crows Outstanding Unit Award for 1986.

In November 1986, the BLACK RAVENS were reassigned to CVW-11 aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65). In 1987, VAQ-135 completed work-ups with CVW-11 and became the first Prowler squadron to complete the Medium Attack Advanced Readiness Program (MAARP) and the revised EA-6B Defensive Air Combat Maneuvering (DACM) syllabus.

In January 1988, VAQ-135 became the first EA-6B squadron to deploy with five Prowlers. WESTPAC ‘88 marked the return of the BLACK RAVENS to the Seventh Fleet with USS ENTERPRISE, providing electronic warfare support to U.S. Naval forces operating in the North Arabian Sea. The squadron received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

In April 1988, VAQ-135 participated with CVW-11 and Battle Group FOXTROT in Operation PRAYING MANTIS, the highly successful action against Iranian naval surface units. The command received the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In the fall of 1988, the BLACK RAVENS transitioned to the ICAP-II version of the Prowler, acquiring the ability to fire the High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).

In September 1989, VAQ-135 deployed aboard USS ENTERPRISE for an around the world cruise, taking part in PACEX ‘89, the largest naval exercise since World War II. In January 1990, the squadron participated in Operation EARNEST WILL in defense of the Philippine government, resulting in the command receiving the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

In September 1990, the BLACK RAVENS deployed aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72). Their two month maiden voyage took them from Norfolk Virginia, around Cape Horn to the LINCOLN’s new homeport of Alameda, California. In May 1991, the BLACK RAVENS deployed to the Western Pacific aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN and participated in Operation FIERY VIGIL, the evacuation of Air Force and Navy personnel from Subic Bay, Philippines. While on station in the Persian Gulf, the BLACK RAVENS took part in peacetime Operation DESERT STORM receiving the Southwest Asia Service Medal, BEACON FLASH exercises with Oman and annual exercise operations with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces. In February 1992, the BLACK RAVENS received the 1991 AIRPAC Safety “S” award in recognition of the squadron’s outstanding safety record of over 12 years and 21,000 hours mishap free.

In the fall of 1992, the RAVENS started another work-up cycle for their second deployment on LINCOLN and participated in the squadron’s first HARM shot over the desert skies of China Lake.

On June 15, 1993 the BLACK RAVENS deployed to the Western Pacific participating in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, enforcing the southern no-fly zone in Iraq where they shot two HARM missiles to protect air wing aircraft from enemy surface to air missiles and received their second Southwest Asia Service Medal. In addition, the squadron participated in Operation RESTORE HOPE, while USS LINCOLN was stationed off the coast of Somalia, receiving the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In November 1993, the BLACK RAVENS celebrated another safety milestone, fourteen years mishap free, just prior to returning home to NAS Whidbey Island.

In April 1995, VAQ-135 deployed to the Western pacific onboard USS LINCOLN participating in INSPIRED ALERT, an exercise with the Pakastani Air Force, NAUTICAL ARTIST, an exercise with Saudi Air and Naval Forces and OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH, receiving their third Southwest Asia Service Medal.

The BLACK RAVENS returned from deployment and started an aggressive 12 month turnaround aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) participating in RIMPAC 96’. The squadron deployed in October 1996 and participated in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH receiving their fourth Southwest Asia Service Medal.

After returning from deployment in April 1997, the squadron participated in several exercises including RED FLAG and MAPLE FLAG .

In February 1998 the squadron was redesignated ELECTRONIC ATTACK SQUADRON 135, and the aircraft’s side numbers were changed to 500 series. During the summer of 1998 the squadron deployed aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and participated in RIMPAC ’98.

The squadron deployed to the Western Pacific in November 1998, participating in OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH and OPERATION DESERT FOX, a four day campaign consisting of several air strikes. The squadron fired two HARM’s supporting air wing strike aircraft. The squadron returned from deployment in May 1999.

In September of 1999, the BLACK RAVENS participated in RED FLAG and SPIRIT HAWK exercises in preparation for their deployment to Incirlik, Turkey in August 2000.

In March 2001, the BLACK RAVENS deployed to the Western Pacific in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH. Following September 11, 2001, USS CARL VINSON and CVW-11 took station off of the coast of Pakistan and conducted air strikes in support of coalition air and ground forces during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. The squadron returned home in December 2001 and received the Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” Award, Battle Efficiency Award and the Old Crows Award as the most tactically proficient Prowler squadron.

In March of 2003, the BLACK RAVENS deployed aboard USS NIMITZ and participated in the initial air strikes of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Following an extended eight month deployment, supporting two separate contingency operations, the squadron returned home in November 2003.

In July 2004, the RAVENS participated in Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX), Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada, the first of five 2004 detachments in preparation for the 2005 WESTPAC deployment. The RAVENS completed 2004 with a two-month detachment aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) for TSTA/COMPTUEX and received the CVW-11 Golden Wrench for maintenance excellence.

In 2005, the BLACK RAVENS continued their high tempo operations in preparation for their WESTPAC deployment with detachments to NAS Fallon, NV, NAS Lemoore, CA, NAS North Island, CA and several exercises aboard USS NIMITZ.

On 7 May 2005, the BLACK RAVENS deployed aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) as part of Carrier, Strike Group ELEVEN. During the 2005 deployment, VAQ-135 conducted operations in the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, participating in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM from the Arabian Gulf and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, providing critical support to Multi-national Ground Forces in Iraq. The squadron received the CVW-11 / CVN 68 TEAMWORK Award twice during the deployment, initially for the first line period and again at the end of deployment. Additionally, VAQ-135 received the CVW-11 Golden Wrench Award for deployment, as the finest Maintenance Department in CVW-11.

Late August 2006 was the beginning of a busy and challenging workup period for the BLACK RAVENS, as they completed six detachments in only six months. These included TRIDENT FURY, SFARP, TSTA, COMPTUEX, AIRWING FALLON, and JTFEX.

Again the BLACK RAVENS deployed with Carrier Strike Group ELEVEN on the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. From April to September 2007, sorties were conducted in support of coalition ground forces during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. History was made as the NIMITZ became the first nuclear powered carrier to port in Chennai, India. The BLACK RAVENS finished the deployment by supporting multi-carrier Exercises VALIANT SHIELD 2007 and MALABAR 2007/2008.

Only four months after their return, the BLACK RAVENS deployed again on USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) for another WESTPAC deployment in January 2008. The squadron participated in Operation FOAL EAGLE with South Korean Naval Forces and provided key electronic attack training for the South Korean Navy. The BLACK RAVENS returned from WESTPAC to NAS Whidbey Island in June 2008.

In January 2009, VAQ-135 began work-ups for their summer deployment onboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). They deployed on WESTPAC shortly after in July 2009 and supported Operation ENDURING FREEDOM with more than 4 months of in-theater operations. The BLACK RAVENS returned home from their deployment in March 2010. In August 2010 the Black Ravens participated in SUSTEX, a three week exercise, with the USS NIMITZ and CVW-11.

In November 2010 the BLACK RAVENS joined the FRS to start their transition from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler. On May 1st, 2011 VAQ-135 departed the “Barbwire” pattern, and joined Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, as their Immediate Superior in Command as they transitioned to an expeditionary squadron. On June 17, 2011 the BLACK RAVENS were deemed Safe for Flight with the EA-18G Growler.

In September of 2011 VAQ-135 began their inaugural work-up cycle in the EA-18G. The Squadron spent 10 days at EWARP in Fallon, Nevada. One week after returning to NAS Whidbey Island the BLACK RAVENS participated in RED FLAG Alaska. In November, VAQ-135 conducted a detachment to JRB New Orleans, performed a HARM shoot, and left for Nellis AFB to participate in Mission Employment Phase. The final work-up before deployment for the BLACK RAVENS was a Joint Interoperability exercise also at Nellis AFB that took place in March of 2012.

The BLACK RAVENS set a milestone for the Electronic Attack community in 2012, by departing on the first EA-18G expeditionary deployment into Afghanistan. The deployment was in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and included a no notice rapid redeployment to Souda Bay, Crete in support of contingency operations. In October the BLACK RAVENS returned home to Whidbey Island. In 2012 VAQ-135 earned their fifth the Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” Award, as well as their second Battle Efficiency award.

Currently, VAQ-135 is in the work-up cycle for their next Deployment. In mid March of 2013 the BLACK RAVENS returned home from RED FLAG 13-3 and are scheduled to continue work-ups throughout the summer.

 

source: VAQ-135 website

 

patches

 

vaq-135 black ravens electronic attack squadron tactical warfare crest insignia patch badge us navy     vaq-135 black ravens crest insignia patch badge electronic attack squadron ea-18g growler ea-6b prowler

 

vaq-135 black ravens patch insignia     vaq-135 black ravens patch desert camo

 

vaq-135 black ravens ea-6b prowler patch     vaq-135 black ravens cruise patch

 

 

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