CHERRY POINT| Marines with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing commemorated the 40th anniversary of the EA-6B Prowler’s arrival to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and its continuing legacy on base Friday afternoon.
Members of the Marine Corp Aviation Association and Havelock city representatives participated with active duty and retired Marines in the ceremony by commending past and current Marines and Sailors who have served in the VMAQ community and alongside the EA-6B Prowler.
The ceremony took place with a static display of the bases’ first Prowler to arrive in the Marine Corps.
Col. (Ret.) and city manager Frank Bottorff, who has flown Marine Prowlers before, commended the aircraft as a representative of the city of Havelock.
Major Nathan Baker, operations officer for Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14), said it was an honor to be able to commemorate the Prowler on MCAS Cherry Point with those who have served and are currently serving alongside the aircraft.
“It is a great day for us just to be able to have all of these gentlemen who actually flew this aircraft into Cherry Point,” said Baker.
“It’s amazing that these gentlemen were still able to come down today and talk to us and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Marine Prowlers coming aboard this air station.”
Col. (Ret.) Wayne Whitter, a representative of the Marine Corp Aviation Reconnaissance Association and tester for the second iteration of the Prowler in 1974, said the Prowler was worth commemorating for its durability in aviation history.
“This will bethe longest continuing service of any jet aircraft in Marine Corps history, said Whitter.
“That's pretty significant. We’ve got to be able to commemorate it, and duly so. The Prowlers are still doing a great job for our country.”
Whitter, who wrote the history of aviation electronic warfare in 2012, said the Prowler is unique in computer software capabilities and adaptability to scenarios such as Operation Desert Storm in 1990.
“It’s evolved because it’s the first computer-based, electronic warfare aircraft, so you’re able to do software changes and make significant improvements as well as to the hardware over the years,” said Whitter.
“You can adapt to a lot of scenarios in time. They’ve done a great job of that around the world.”
Baker said the Prowler is unique in its mission as an electronic attack aircraft used in jamming different radio signals and any radar.
It has deployed to every Marine operation since Vietnam and is still deployed to this day.
“I love this aircraft,” said Baker. “It is one of the most fun aircraft I’ve ever flown, and I’ve flown almost every aircraft in the Marine Corps now. It is the airplane I started on. It is the airplane I will more than likely finish on.”
The Prowler will continue to provide jamming capabilities as an electronic attack aircraft around the world until it’s slated sunsetting in 2019.