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VAQ-130 returning home for the New Year after combat deployment


12/29/16 12:00 AM

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington (NNS) -- The “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 are returning to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island after completing a seven-month deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve, Dec. 30.

VAQ 130’s pilots and electronic warfare officers are flying the squadron’s EA-18G Growlers back to NAS Whidbey Island from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), while support and maintenance personnel will reunite with their families Friday afternoon via airlift from Norfolk, Va.

“I am just as proud of the families back in Whidbey as I am of the Zapper Sailors,” said Cmdr. Brendan Stickles, VAQ-130’s commanding officer. “Our squadron was gone from home nine months during the last year. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of all the Zapper friends and families.”

The Zappers are attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 commanded by Capt. Marc Miguez. VAQ-130 left NAS Whidbey Island May 2016, where they began flight operations off the coast of Virginia and continued east across the Atlantic Ocean to the Azores.

In transit to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), the Zappers conducted flight operations off the coast of Spain, France, and Italy. Following, the Zappers, as part of the CVW-3 and CVN-69 team, entered the 5th Fleet AOR through the Suez Canal as CVN-69 relieved the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.