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2018 Event Review

NAS Whidbey Island, August 2018

Location: NAS Whidbey Island, Wahington, USA
Type of event: Base Visit
Rating out of 10: 10
NAS Whidbey Island


Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is the U.S. Navy's largest air station in the Pacific Northwest. It is located in the Puget Sound, about 1.5 hour's drive north of Seattle.

NAS Whidbey Island is home to two major commands:

Commander Electronic Attack Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMVAQWINGPAC)
With twelve operational Squadrons and one USN Reserve squadron - VAQ-209 Vikings - belonging to the Tactical Support Wing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth the majority of the Navy's electronic attack squadrons (VAQ) are based at Whidbey Island.
Each operational squadron typically has four Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft assigned and averages 30 officers and 170 enlisted personnel.
VAQ-129 is the EA-18G Fleet Replenishment and a non-deploying shore squadron. VAQ-129 trains both pilots and flight officers who are new to the Growler and who have been with the fleet. They also develop standard operating procedures for the operation and maintenance of the Growler.

Commander Patrol & Reconnaissance Wing 10 (CPRW 10)
CPRW 10 commands four Maritime Patrol Squadrons (VP), equipped with the Lockheed P-3C Orion and/or Boeing P-8A Poseidon and the Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron VP-1 with the Lockheed EP-3E ARIES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II). A VP squadron's missions include undersea warfare, anti-surface warfare, mining, reconnaissance, surveillance, search and rescue and counter-drug operations. VP-1 conducts signal intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and provides fleet and theater commanders worldwide with near real-time SIGINT (signals intelligence) and full motion video intelligence IMINT (imagery intelligence).

Other units at NAS Whidbey Island are:

Base Flight
The base flight consists of two Sikorsky SH-60S Knighthawk helicopters. Their mission is to perform Search and Rescue (SAR) for aircraft and personnel stationed at NAS Whidbey Island. However, they also respond to non-military emergencies in close cooperation with civil agencies. Their crews are highly trained in overwater and mountain SAR missions.

Fleet Logistics Support Squadron VR-61 Islander VR-61 is one of four Navy Reserve squadrons that flies the McDonnell Douglas C-9B Skytrain II. Its mission is to provide worldwide transport of cargo and passengers. VR-61 currently operates four C-9Bs.

390th Electronic Combat Squadron, U.S. Air Force The 390th ECS Wild Boars is a tenant unit of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. The squadron is flying the EA-18G. Usually, the Air Force employs their electronic equipment to jam electronic pods that protect enemy aircraft against missiles. With the Growler, the Air Force is capable to offensively use the aircraft's electronic equipment to suppress the enemy's capabilities to launch missiles against the approaching strike force.

Types of aircraft present

EA-18G Growler
P-3 Orion
P-8A Poseidon
SH-60S Knighthawk
C-9B Skytrain II

Report and photography by Ralf Peter Walter for

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Images of NAS Whidbey Island
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