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Electronic Attack Squadron 136
Active April 6, 1973
Country 23x15px United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Attack
Role Electronic Warfare
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Nickname "The Gauntlets"
Equipment EA-18G Growler
Engagements Operation Desert Storm
Operation Southern Watch
Decorations Battle Efficiency "E", 1989
Safety “S” Award, 1989
Battle Efficiency "E", 1992
Adm. Arthur W. Radford Award
AOC Outstanding Navy Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Battle Efficiency "E", 1995
Safety “S” Award, 1995
Safety “S” Award, 1998
Battle Efficiency "E", 1998
Battle Efficiency "E", 2009
Commander Scott Hardy

Electronic Attack Squadron 136 (VAQ-136) also known as "The Gauntlets" is a United States Navy electronic attack squadron that was forward-deployed to Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan.

The Gauntlets fly the EA-18G Growler and are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Nine, a composite unit made up of a wide array of aircraft performing a variety of combat and support missions. The squadron is currently stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.



Since establishment in 1973, VAQ-136 has been associated with several Carrier Air Wings. The Gauntlets’ first two deployments were with CVW-11 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). In 1977 the Gauntlets joined CVW-7 aboard the USS Independence for a cruise to the Mediterranean, after which the squadron changed to the Improved Capability (ICAP) version of the EA-6B. After the transition to their new aircraft, the Gauntlets sailed to the Mediterranean again, this time with CVW-5 on USS Saratoga.


In 1980 the Gauntlets flew across the Pacific Ocean to their new home in NAF Atsugi, Japan with Carrier Air Wing Five and USS Midway, based in Yokosuka. The 1980s were highlighted by numerous Gauntlet achievements, such as an 8300 mile cross-deck deployment to USS America in support of Indian Ocean operations in 1983, and a record-setting 111 day Indian Ocean at sea period (101 days out of sight of land) in 1984. In 1986, the squadron transitioned to ICAP II aircraft and deployed to support the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. The Gauntlets were awarded the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Efficiency "E", and the Safety “S” in 1989.


On April 16, 1990, as part of the Cope Thunder exercise, the Gauntlets successfully fired a live High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) at a U.S. Air Force target radar off the coast of the Philippines. It was the first HARM fired in WESTPAC and the missile completely destroyed its target.

On January 16, 1991 the Gauntlets flew strikes against Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm. During the 43-day war, the Gauntlets fired 28 HARMs against Iraqi air defenses, ensuring that CVW-5 did not lose any aircraft to enemy fire.

On August 22, 1991, the Gauntlets cross-decked from the USS Midway (CV-41) with CVW-5 to the USS Independence (CV-62) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In the early 1992, the Gauntlets deployed with Independence in support of Operation Southern Watch. The Gauntlets received the Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency "E" award for 1992.

In addition, the Gauntlets received the Radford Award for being the best EA-6B squadron in the Navy, the Association of Old Crows Outstanding Unit Award, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. In 1993 the Gauntlets sailed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. That summer saw the Gauntlets supporting U.S. policy during intense North Korean Contingency Operations. VAQ-136 was named the “Prowler Squadron of the Year for Tactical Excellence” for 1994.

The Gauntlets began 1995 with operations in the Yellow Sea before proceeding south to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold off the coast of Thailand. They then moved to the Middle East yet again participating in Operation Southern Watch. The Gauntlets were awarded the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Efficiency "E", and Safety “S” for 1995.

In 1996 VAQ-136 operated in the Yellow Sea, near the Philippines, and around Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression. Early in 1997 Independence, with the Gauntlets aboard, commenced a four month cruise, transiting to Guam, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and then Hong Kong, the last U.S. carrier to port there before its reversion to Chinese control.

In January 1998 the Gauntlets once more sailed on an emergency, no-notice deployment to the Persian Gulf. Just fifteen days after receiving the order, the Gauntlets went from holiday routine to fully carrier qualified and underway in support of Operation Southern Watch. The Gauntlets returned home for a brief respite before getting underway again in July, this time to Hawaii to cross-deck onto their new home, USS Kitty Hawk. The Gauntlets received the Safety “S” for the first half of calendar year 98.

In January 1999, VAQ-136 was awarded the 1998 COMNAVAIRPAC Battle Efficiency "E". This significant award is given to the most combat-ready squadron in the Electronic Attack Community. On March 2, 1999, VAQ-136 and the Kitty Hawk Battle group departed Yokosuka, Japan for three months of routine operations and exercises in the Western Pacific. The Gauntlets participated in the multi-national and multi-service exercise Tandem Thrust off the island of Guam before Kitty Hawk was ordered to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. Over the following eleven weeks, the Gauntlets flew 115 combat sorties over the skies of Iraq. When Kitty Hawk pulled into Dubai, UAE, for several days of liberty, the Gauntlets were tasked to provide uninterrupted Electronic Warfare support for coalition aircraft flying from Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Saudi Arabia.


In 2010, VAQ-136 was awarded the "Battle E" for combat efficiency and the "Golden Wrench" Award for maintenance excellence by Commander, Naval Air Forces.

In February 2012, the Navy announced that the Gauntlets would transfer to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in the Spring of 2012 to prepare for the change to the EA-18G Growler.

As of February 2013 they fly the EA-18G Growler at NAS Whidbey Island with a tail code of "NL".

See also

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"Global Electronic Attack Squadron 136". Retrieved 2006-10-31. 

"Official Website: Electronic Attack Squadron 136". Retrieved 2006-10-31. 

"Commander Naval Forces Japan Press Release R-12-12". 

External links