VMAQ-2 boasts a proud history of service to the Marine Corps through its predecessor squadrons flying various electronic warfare aircraft, to include: the AD-5 Skyraider, the EF-10 Skyknight, and the EA-6A Intruder. VMC-2 was the original composite squadron in Marine Corps aviation. It was commissioned at Cherry Point on 15 September 1952 evolving from the former Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Counter Measures section of the Wing Headquarters Squadron. On 1 December 1955, the squadron was redesignated as VMCJ-2 after former Marine Photographic Squadron 2 (VMJ-2) was decommissioned and joined VMC-2.
Since its designation in 1975, VMAQ-2 has deployed detachments of EA-6A and EA-6B aircraft on a continuous basis in support of Marine forces in the Western Pacific and in support of Fleet Commanders on aircraft carriers, including lengthy deployments on the USS Midway, Nimitz, America, and Saratoga. In 1977, the squadron transitioned to the EA-6B Prowler and now operates the Improved Capability II version of the aircraft. In 1986, a detachment of the squadron participated in U.S. raids against Libya. In 1990, VMAQ-2 deployed to Bahrain in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, flying nearly 500 combat sorties in a six-week period.
On 1 July 1992, VMAQ-2, the largest tactical squadron in Marine Aviation, was reorganized into three squadrons: VMAQ-1, VMAQ-2, and VMAQ-3.
The squadron, in its new form, deployed to Iwakuni, Japan in November of 1992. During this deployment VMAQ-2 participated in several Air Defense exercises in support of USMC, USAF, and Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) fighter and attack aircraft.
In 1995 VMAQ-2 deployed once again to Iwakuni, Japan. On this deployment VMAQ-2 supported VMFA (AW)-225, 35th and 80th FS, AWACS, HAWK, and Patriot batteries in Kunsan Air Base, Korea, as well as participating in a MAG-12 readiness exercise, MAG-12 photo shoot, and multiple War-at-Sea strikes.
VMAQ-2’s next assignment led them to Aviano, Italy, in March 1996 in support of Operation DECISIVE ENDEAVOR. This operation tasked VMAQ-2 with several assigned Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) missions over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Specifically, VMAQ-2 Prowlers provided Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) support to British Harriers performing reconnaissance flights over weapons containment sites in these two areas of operation.
In 1997 VMAQ-2 once again deployed to Aviano, Italy. However, this time it was in support of Operation DELIBERATE GUARD. VMAQ-2 was tasked with flying missions over Bosnia to cover the Bosnian elections. Along with these successful missions, VMAQ-2 participated in several coordinated exercises, to include a Force Protection mission with the German Tornadoes and Dutch F-16s and a Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI) exercise planned at the CAOC with NATO assets.
In February of 1999, VMAQ-2 received the order to deploy to Aviano, Italy, in support of Operation NOBLE ANVIL and possible subsequent combat operations against Serbia. After diplomatic attempts to resolve the Kosovo crisis failed, Operation ALLIED FORCE began. VMAQ-2 launched day and night sorties to provide jamming and HARM support to U.S. and NATO missions. VMAQ-2 also provided support for armed reconnaissance missions, day and night Battlefield Air Interdiction strikes, and Combat Search and Rescue efforts of downed allied aircrew. When Operation ALLIED FORCE came to an end, VMAQ-2 had flown 2151.5 combat hours, 464 combat sorties, and fired 57 HARM missiles against the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
On 29 June to 1 July 2000, VMAQ-2 celebrated its proud history with a 25th Anniversary Reunion.
From March to June 2001 and from December 2001 to June 2002, VMAQ-2 deployed to Iwakuni, Japan. During these deployments, the squadron provided electronic warfare in support of operations throughout the Pacific region, to include WINTER SURGE and FOAL EAGLE in South Korea, COPE TIGER and COBRA GOLD in Thailand, and COPE NORTH in Guam.
In February 2003, VMAQ-2 deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, initially in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and then Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. VMAQ-2 logged over 1000 combat hours in under 60 days in the war to liberate Iraq.
VMAQ-2 deployed to Tallil Air Base, Iraq, for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from July 2004 through January 2005 and became the first Prowler squadron to operate from Iraqi soil. The squadron logged over 2000 mishap-free combat hours and attained 10,000 Mishap Free Flight Hours during the same period. VMAQ-2 was subsequently chosen as the Marine Corps Aviation Association 2005 Prowler squadron of the year.
In January 2006, VMAQ-2 deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 05-07. VMAQ-2 flew 691 combat missions for 3286.7 combat flight hours and supported 975 Joint Tactical Air Requests (JTARS). This rigorous operational tempo resulted in four times the normal airframe utilization rate.
In July 2007, VMAQ-2 returned to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 06-08. During the deployment, VMAQ-2 flew 821 combat missions for a total of 4423.0 combat flight hours while supporting Coalition ground forces. This sustained tempo led not only to the highest utilization rate for any Prowler squadron but also for any Type/Model/Series in the Marine Corps.
VMAQ-2’s awards include the Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with two Bronze Stars for the Cuban Missile Crisis and actions against Iraq, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with two Bronze Stars, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Streamer with two Bronze Stars, the National Defense Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer with one Bronze Star for Cuban and Dominican Republic service, and the Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars.