Service of Marine Corps’ Prowler comes to a close with deactivation of last squadron
By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: March 5, 2019
WASHINGTON — The last Marine EA-6B Prowler squadron will be deactivated in a ceremony Friday, marking the end of the aircraft’s service, the Marine Corps announced.
The last squadron, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, is located at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, about 45 miles outside of Jacksonville, N.C. The squadron has only two Prowlers left, according to the Marine Corps.
The EA-6B Prowler is a tactical jamming aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps that began its service in 1971, according to Northrop Grumman’s website. The aircraft was first deployed to Southeast Asia in 1972.
Two U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ) 2, fly off the coast of North Carolina, Feb 28, 2019.
LIAM D. HIGGINS/U.S. MARINE CORPS
During its 42 years of service, the Marine Corps’ Prowlers have collectively flown more than 260,000 hours, according to the service. It has deployed more than 70 times in support of major combat operations including Desert Shield, Decisive Endeavor, Iraqi Freedom — and, most recently with Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.
The Marine’s F-35B Lightning II was designed to replace the EA-6B Prowler, as well as the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier.
The squadron traces its origins to the Korean War, when it was originally Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadron 2, and then designated to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 in 1975, according to the Marine Corps. In 1977, the squadron was the first in the Marine Corps to transition from the EA-6A Electric Intruder to the Prowler.
The phase out of the Prowlers’ service began in May 2016 with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 and the EA-6B Fleet Replacement Squadron deactivating, according to the Marine Corps. Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 was deactivated June 2017 and Squadron 3 was deactivated May 2018.