EA-3B VQ-1 EA-3B VQ-2
All,
     I have cut and pasted an article done for the Navy's aviation magazine, The Hook, by Capt. Don East.  Don spent a tour in VQ-2 in the early 60's, and later was commissioned and made additional tours with VQ-2, including serving as their Commanding Officer.  He wrote this article about VQ-1's history. 
    The period of the Vietnam service is very short compared to its impact on many of us...there are longer articles on the VQ-association website, but these brief paragraphs highlight what we did very well.  While we were in the squadrons, whether in VQ-1, and its various home ports, or in VQ-2, Operational Security was always stressed, and hints of higher classification put us in a secretive mode, even with those we loved.  Wasn't sure how much most of you knew about the missions we flew.  This is a very decent snapshot.  If any of you have any questions, please feel free to email me at any time.

Capt. Henry (Hank) Schultz
 
 
 
From the article:
 
 CDR T.E. Moore assumed command of VQ-1 25 January 1961. During his tenure VQ-l grew to a total complement of 75 officers, 383 enlisted and 10 civilian personnel. Then in 1961 ominous developments began to unfold with a civil war in Vietnam. The crisis there would continue to build with the assassination of President Diem in 1963, the coup in January 1964, and finally the Tonkin Gulf incident in August. This action would prove the beginning of a long-term U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War - one in which VQ-l would play a major part in the Navy’s role. In fact, VQ-1 began flying missions in Southeast Asia as early as the spring of 1962.

With the building storm in Southeast Asia VQ-1 continued electronic reconnaissance missions in support of both Navy and national intelligence collection requirements through the early 1960s. Commanders J.W. Jenkins, W.J. Wacker and A.T. Holt led VQ-1 through the period December 1961-November 1964.

While the conflict in Southeast Asia heated up, VQ-l began preparations for establishment of EA-3B detachments on board Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers. According to aviation history summaries, aircrew carrier proficiency qualifications began in late 1962 and the first detachment embarked in USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in May 1964. Records available through September 1966 show VQ-1 detatchments operating from these other carriers off Vietnam: Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), Constellation (CVA-64), Coral Sea (CVA-43), Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), Hancock (CVA-19) Independence (CVA-62), Midway (CVA-41), Oriskany (CVA-34), Ranger (CVA-61), Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), and Ticonderoga (CVA-14). During one of these EA-3B detatchments the seven members of LCDR Cunningham’s crew won the Navy Unit Commendation for their part in the U.S. response to North Vietnamese aggression during the Tonkin Gulf incident of August 1964. However, for most of the Vietnam War, the EA-3Bs were primarily land-based at DaNang because of the lack of deck space on the war-loaded carriers and better facilities at the South Vietnamese base.

On 25 November 1964 CDR F. Carment Jr. assumed command of VQ-1 as the United States began to enter the Vietnamese War in earnest. During the next nine years VQ-1 would operate its land-based EC-121Ms and EP-3Bs from DaNang AB, Republic Of Viet Nam; NAS Cubi Point, Phillipine Islands; Bangkok, Thailand; Tainan, Taiwan and several other bases, while the EA-3Bs flew primarily from Seventh Fleet carriers and DaNang. These missions were flown in support of USN and USAF air strikes, U.S. Army and Marine Corps land campaigns and national intelligence collection requirements.

Specific types of support provided by the VQ-1 aircrews were MiG and SAM warning services, electronic order of battle (EOB) updating and electronic intelligence collection in support of combat contingency planning. The VQ-1 SAM warning services were especially crucial to the survival of Navy carrier aircrews flying over North Vietnam because of the lack of deceptive ECM (DECM) systems on tactical aircraft at that time.

In recognition of these vital electronic reconnaissance missions, VQ-1 aircrews were presented innumerable awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, various campaign medals and two Navy Unit Commendations (NUC). In the citation to the Navy Unit Commendation presented to VQ-1 for the period 1 December 1965 through 30 November 1967 the squadron was cited as “carrying out an extremely broad program of electronic warfare and special intelligence collection of national importance”, The citation further stated that VQ-l “provided invaluable direct tactical support to combat commanders prosecuting the war against communist subversion in Southeast Asia, VQ-l has won unqualified praise from all branches of the United States Armed Services, and from national intelligence agencies, and is widely considered the unquestioned leader in the field of electronic warfare tactical support under combat conditions”. Finally, the citation acknowledged that VQ-l “has been directly instrumental in saving countless lives of U.S. air combat pilots and crewmen over North Vietnam”.