OAK HARBOR, Wash. – The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) graduated its first five aviators from the training pipeline of the EA-18G Growler during a ceremony at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) Officers’ Club, Feb. 27.
Australia currently flies F/A-18 Hornets and F/A-18E Super Hornets so joint cooperation on the new EA-18G Growler is based on a familiar airframe.
“It’s gone very well for the first [Australian] graduates,” said Cmdr. Tabb Stringer, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 commanding officer. “It was obvious they hand-picked them and sent really bright people.”
RAAF will continue to train and work with electronic attack squadrons in preparation for receiving their own Growlers. One of the five graduates is already deployed with VAQ-135.
I have no doubt that the Oak Harbor community has been making them feel right at home. Indeed, it’s probably something of a social coup to host them for dinner.