For the third year in row, Banshees are judged to be the best
IWAKUNI MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan — For the third consecutive year, Marine Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 was judged the best at its job.
The Banshees of VMAQ-1 and their EA-6B Prowlers, two weeks from completing six months in Japan as part of the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program tour, call Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C., their home post.
The squadron recently learned that they once again won the Royal N. Moore Award.
“I can’t be happier,” stated Maj. Thomas Bruno, executive officer, in a Marine report released Friday. “Being out here in Iwakuni we’ve stayed ready for deployments and continue to train. We have kept our focus and have not rested on our laurels. That is a testament to the men of this unit.”
Although he was not sure of the exact wording of the citation, winning the award “generally means we’ve been judged as the overall best of the four Marine Corps electronic warfare squadrons,” said Marine Capt. Nicholas Marciano, the squadron’s electronics countermeasures officer and EA-6B Prowler navigator.
The squadron’s mission is to “take away the eyes of the enemy” to support strike aircraft after denying the enemy use of their radar spectrum.
“I believe all our pilots enjoy flying these tactical warfare aircraft, but they aren’t the type of jets that you might imagine in an aerial dogfight. If things become dangerous, we have other assets that allow us to remove ourselves from such situations,” said Marciano, whose call sign is “Rocky.”
He added that the EA-6B Prowler is the fastest non-afterburner jet used by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Winning the award has been a source of pride, but not an overwhelming focus, Marciano said.
“The level in day-to-day intensity is a lot higher than in other units I have been in,” Capt. Chris Usrey, administrative officer and pilot, stated in the report. “The reason that I see us standing out is our attention to detail. The things that are not mission essential to us remain a high priority.”
The Prowler community is a tightly knit group, say Banshee personnel. “We all know that we have people who will take care of us,” Marciano said. “As a result, we can focus on our jobs. That’s how we end up as three-time winners.”