Whidbey Island Naval Air Station bade farewell to the EA-6B Prowler today, an aircraft with the longest-running usage in Navy aviation to date.
In conjunction with its Prowler Sunset commemoration event, the base also held an open house for the general public. Displays and merchandise from Navy squadrons, technical advisers, naval aviation authors and community groups were made available to the public in two hangars.
At high noon, NAS Whidbey Island’s Search and Rescue unit performed a training mission in front of open house attendees. The MH-60S Knighthawk, all painted up in oranges and whites, was the opening act for the headliner, the Grumman EA-6B Prowler.
“That’s the Prowler Story: doesn’t get a lot of glory, doesn’t always get the fanfare, just does the job because it needs to, it does it right, and then it just finishes out strong, and that’s how we did it,” said VAQ-134 Garudas’ Commanding Officer Commander Chris Jason at a reception the night before the open house.
The Prowler joined two EA-18G Growlers of VAQ-138, one of which lit the afterburners to cheers from the fans. Then the EA-6B refueled for one last flight and finally the EA-6B Prowler lifted off for one last flight. All that remained of the Prowler’s legacy were keepsakes, memories and a US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler as the Marines will keep the Prowler until 2019 and then divest of airborne electronic warfare.