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EA-18 Growler

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Guest one

Is it true that the Air Force is currently sending EWOs to Growlers?

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Let me think....

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=air+force+growler

Yes.

ETA: I thought they were all Strike Eagle or B-1 dudes that went to this. Aperently I was wrong:

The 390th ECS has 18 personnel with weapon systems backgrounds from current and previous officers that consist of F-111, EF-111, F-4G, F-15E, F-15C, F-16, A-10, B-1, B-52, RC-135, EC-130, AC-130, U-2 and RQ-1 aircraft.

Source: http://www.military.com/news/article/air-force-news/air-force-ewo-graduates-navy-growler-training.html

No idea what the process is to get the assignment.

Edited by FlyingBull

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Guest one

I was more referring to if they are sending new EWOs there as a first assignment. I know that the prowler was so suppose to drop a couple times a year but I never heard or read of this dropping on assignment night. I was just wondering if 12 or 18 months down the road if this could be an option.

Edited by one

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The only information I have from when I was in Pcola was that they are taking experienced EWOs only. It isn't an option out of training, at least at the moment.

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You're right that Prowlers dropped occasionally. I knew a WSO who was in my class at RND for EWO top-off who originally dropped strike eagles but was then offered to do a tour with the navy first and he accepted. I have not heard anything about Growlers being available in the same way. I'd imagine that's driven by the fact that the Growler has only 1 NFO on board vs 3 on a Prowler...lots fewer seats to fill.

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I was a first assignment Prowler guy, then went to Strike Eagles. When I left Mtn Home about 6 months ago (the 390ECS is part of the 366OG), only experienced Strike Eagle WSOs were being sent to the Growler. I'm not sure if they were all EWO trained or not.

As for dropping Prowlers out of Pensacola, I only know of 4 dudes (including myself) that went that route. The first two both got UPT slots while in Whidbey. I didn't apply because of my vision, but I feel confident that it would've been a competitive application. I still think it's a decent path to take and doesn't "ruin your career" as many will tell you. I showed up to the F-15E FTU and was the class leader, but was essentially on the same timeline as the FAIPs (of which there are many in the Strike Eagle community).

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Guest one

Thanks for the information. Was the prowler your number one choice out of Pensacola? Was it easy to switch from the Prowler to the F-15E after your first tour? How many hours did you get to fly during your first assignment?

Thanks again for the info.

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Yes, the Prowler was my #1 choice. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go to Whidbey Island before we lost it. My wife and I want to retire there when the time comes. It's not for everyone though, the island is quite isolated (2 hours to Seattle) and there's very little night-life. We can talk a lot more about that if you're still interested.

I was told it was a "guaranteed" follow-on to the Strike Eagle. Turns out that nothing is guaranteed in the AF, unless it's in writing (even then, things can change). I had to fill out the ADP and compete for a Strike Eagle B-Course slot. It worked out, but I think it's the AF's chance to weed out weaker guys if they need to (I can't blame them for that).

It was not easy to transition since the Strike Eagle B-Course is quite demanding, even if you are fairly competent. It took a long time to get rid of the Navy habits (though it only took one kick in the junk for not standing up while briefing wx/notams/ep!!). Hopefully with the CSO training, you're already getting an Air Force base of knowledge, instead of being fully Navy-indoctrinated. Is that true?

The tour timing in the EA-6B is 3 years total, including about 10 months at the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS = FTU). However, during that 10 months, you work about 4-5 hours a day (standard Navy training). The operational squadrons are changing to boat-going squadrons (7 months in an 8-man room). I spent a week on the boat and can talk to you more about that if you care. I know a guy that just finished his Prowler tour and went on one 6-month deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan (expeditionary squadron = land based) and 7 months on the boat. With about 4 months of work-ups on the boat, that left him very little time at home. My experience was the opposite. I did one 6 month deployment to Bagram, then various TDYs, but nothing else substantial. I got about 600 total hours and 300 combat hours (we only flew once or twice a week while at home).

The disadvantage of going to the Prowler first is that it essentially removes you from the pool of WIC candidates (you'd be getting pretty old once you got enough experience in your primary airframe).

I can probably talk all day about Prowlers/Strike Eagles, so please ask any other questions and I'll try not to continue rambling!

Smokus

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Guest one

Awesome information. I haven't started training yet but I would really like to go in with as much base knowledge as possible. Can you explain the reason why the Air Force wanted to put CSOs in the prowler? I haven't seen them drop in a while. Do you think that trend will continue? While assigned to a Navy squadron, Is your leadership Air Force or Navy?

How many hours did you get in the F-15E? How busy are you with non-flying related duties? Is it hard to get an opportunity to deploy as a 1st Lt or a junior Captain? Out of the F-15E and the Prowler, what was hardest on your family?

Thanks again.

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Hopefully with the CSO training, you're already getting an Air Force base of knowledge, instead of being fully Navy-indoctrinated. Is that true?

Yes that's true. We have absolutely no interaction with the Navy despite CSO training being on a Navy base. The Air Force has their own ramp, airplanes, and buildings built specifically for the CSO program. It's an all Air Force program now. The only time I got to hang out with Ensigns was at the Officers Club.

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one, the Air Force lost its Electronic Attack (EA) mission when the EF-111 was retired. As I understand it, the AF paid the Navy to expand the EA-6B capabilities to fill-in as America's only EA platform. With that, the agreement was to send AF folks to help augment the Prowler aircrew. It works for both the AF and the Navy. The AF gets to keep SA on the EA game, while the Navy gets manning help (which has always been an issue since I joined the AF 10 years ago). That's how I understand it, but I could be totally wrong!

As for the drops, I don't know about current trends today. I'll ask around. When aircraft dream sheets went around for my drop, the EA-6B wasn't available. All it took was asking my flight commander. It never hurts to ask (it only hurts when you keep asking and start getting annoying).

The leadership piece is interesting. You have both an Air Force commander (390 Electronic Combat Squadron) and a Navy commander (which ever Navy squadron you're assigned to). There used to be 3 Navy squadrons: VAQ-133/134/142. Can anyone else weigh in on that with more current data? The Navy commander is your everyday functional boss. Don't ignore the AF commander, because he ultimately signs your OPRs, but he doesn't have as much interaction on a daily basis.

I got about 800 hours in the F-15E in my first assignment with about 250 combat hours. It could've been more, but I had back surgery and was DNIF for 6 months of the 3 years. It is very typical to get 1000 hours in your first F-15E assignment these days. It's becoming more typical to go ops-to-ops as well. In the F-15E, I only deployed to Bagram once and to Korea once.

You are very busy with non-flying related jobs (in both airplanes). I am a firm believer that we should be the best aviators we can. However, I also believe that we are Officers first, then aviators. Everyone's experience is different, so I'll let someone else chime in on this topic as well, please.

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True. My apologies. EC-130s are very capable as well...just a mis-speak. I worked quite a bit with the CAOC LNO at Al Udeid and was impressed with the capabilities.

By the way, have you read my other post? I had back surgery and looking to find folks from different communities to talk about transitioning. Any insights to the quality of life, deployments and Nav/EWO leadership possibilities in the Compass Call.

Wait, is there another EA airframe that you might be from and I'm offending you further?! I hope not...

Smokus

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True. My apologies. EC-130s are very capable as well...just a mis-speak. I worked quite a bit with the CAOC LNO at Al Udeid and was impressed with the capabilities.

By the way, have you read my other post? I had back surgery and looking to find folks from different communities to talk about transitioning. Any insights to the quality of life, deployments and Nav/EWO leadership possibilities in the Compass Call.

Wait, is there another EA airframe that you might be from and I'm offending you further?! I hope not...

Smokus

Ha! Didn't mean to be a dick, but thanks for the acknowledgment. I'm pretty brand new to the EC community. From what I've seen so far, EWOs have quite a presence in leadership here. For example, The 55th WG/CC is an EC EWO. Deployments vary based on crew position, but I think they're reasonable. I dont know what'll happen with the drawdown of OIF.

Tucson is awesome. Lots of stuff to do here and the weather is great.

Also, EWOs have the chance to go to WIC here too, which I hear is good for those aspiring a long and good career.

PM me if you have any other questions. Again, I'm pretty new here, but I can ask around the squadron if there's something I can't answer.

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Guest

Ahem...the EA-6 is not Americas only EA platform.

Thanks.

I think he was talking about the loss of embedded EA capability. It just feels better if you have EA embedded in the package if you think the threat is going to be real.

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I think he was talking about the loss of embedded EA capability. It just feels better if you have EA embedded in the package if you think the threat is going to be real.

Good point. As usual. Thanks.

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Thread revival! Anyone recently familiar with the squadron or the process of getting an assignment at the 390th?

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Apparently there may be Growlers in the early to mid fiscal year 14 class drops. We'll see if that does happen with the key word here being 'may'. There's 2 dudes in my class who really want one.

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They're always just about to drop a Growler straight out of Pensacola next fiscal year. True this upcoming year, this year, this year, the year before...

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Leadership is floating 2 Growler drops during FY18. Also rumored to be on the back end of the FY classes. We'll see....leaderships confidence has the young classes eager!

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FY18 growler drops are donezo for CSOs. Looks like Laughlin dropped the 2nd pilot slot too for the FY.

Here’s to hoping these dudes excel so they open up the UPT/UCT pipeline direct to the Growler in future years.

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On 2/5/2018 at 10:34 AM, IMUA said:

FY18 growler drops are donezo for CSOs. Looks like Laughlin dropped the 2nd pilot slot too for the FY.

Here’s to hoping these dudes excel so they open up the UPT/UCT pipeline direct to the Growler in future years.

The two bros who dropped the Growler are really sharp! So I'm sure they will be very successful. 

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