Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 (VMAQ-1) is a United States Marine Corps electronic warfare squadron consisting of EA-6B Prowler jets. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14) and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW). The VMAQ-1 logo is the Banshee, an Irish mythological figure foretelling death. Its motto is “Tairngreacht Bas,” Gaelic for “Death Foretold.”
Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, VMCJ-1 saw extensive service during the Vietnam War. From April 14, 1964 to December 16, 1965, the squadron flew its RF-8A Crusaders in photoreconnaissance missions from the USS Ticonderoga, USS Constellation, USS Coral Sea, and the USS Oriskany. In April 1965, VMCJ-1 took its EF-10B aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan and joined Marine Aircraft Group 16 at Danang to combat the increase of surface-to-air missiles in Vietnam. In July of that same year, six VMCJ-1 EF-10B Skynights supported the first strike against a surface-to-air missile site in history. In November 1966, the Grumman EA-6A Electric Intruder was introduced at Danang and flew combat missions as far north as Hanoi and Haiphong and eventually phased out the EF-10Bs. VMCJ-1 retired its RF-8A Crusaders and received RF-4B Phantom II’s to accomplish the photoreconnaissance mission. Again VMCJ-1 carried out a major portion of the area reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions for USMACV, just as it did for 5th AF in the Korean War with its photographic reconnaissance. VMCJ-1 provided escort for B-52s, support for tactical air strikes, and collection of all forms of electronic intelligence. On the photorecon side, VMCJ-1 was operating in a science which had become much more sophisticated and was now called "imagery intelligence."
After the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, VMCJ-1 was again flying missions from Navy aircraft carriers. During the fall of South Vietnam from September 11, 1973 to December 31, 1975, VMCJ-1 and VMCJ-1 Det 101 conducted missions from the USS Midway.
After Vietnam, the composite community was again reorganized and split into Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Two (VMAQ-2) and Marine Photo-Reconnaissance Squadron Three (VMFP-3). Personnel and aircraft from each of the VMCJ’s were divided and re-designated as detachments Alpha through Charlie within the larger VMAQ-2/VMFP-3 squadrons. VMAQ-2, Detachment A, flying the EA-6A, rotated with its sister detachments in support of the USS Midway Carrier Air Wing conducting operations from the Gulf of Tonkin to Korea.
Now flying the EA-6B, detachment A was renamed detachment X. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, detachment X-ray was called upon to extend its normal six-month rotation to thirteen months in order to maintain a watch over the Western Pacific.
Following Operation Desert Storm, the criticality and shortage of electronic attack assets was finally recognized. The decision was made to reorganize back to the original three electronic warfare squadrons. In addition, a fourth squadron was gained by activating the reserve Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Four (VMAQ-4). While deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, VMAQ-2 detachment X-ray was re-commissioned as Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 on July 1, 1992 with the mission to conduct electronic warfare in support of Marine Forces and Joint/Combined operations.
A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. VMAQ-1 has been presented with the following awards:
|Presidential Unit Citation|
|Navy Unit Commendation with 3 Bronze Stars|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation|
|National Defense Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars|
|Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars|
|Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Silver and 3 Bronze Stars|
|Korean Presidential unit Citation|
|Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer|
|Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal|
|Iraq Campaign Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Medal|