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VMAQ-3 Moon Dogs 1993-2018


Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron-THREE (VMAQ-3) was activated at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina on the first day of July, 1992.  The new unit, which quickly took the title “Moon Dogs”, was formed out of VMAQ-2 detachment Z and initially equipped with six ICAP II EA-6Bs.

The new outfit’s initial deployment began in May 1993 as they made a six month trip to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan as part of the rotational Unit Deployment Program (UDP) under the 12th Marine Aircraft Group.

In 1994 the “Moon Dogs” were selected to make a carrier deployment and they joined Carrier Air Wing-ONE (CVW-1) onboard USS America (CV-66) for a Mediterranean cruise.  They would be the last Marine EA-6B squadron to make a major carrier deployment.

A trip to Aviano, Italy followed in February 1997, now participating in flight over the former Yugoslavia as part of Operation Deliberate Guard. 

Over the following two decades the “Moon Dogs” continued to cycle to global hot spots as needed by the National Command Authority.  As with the other three Cherry Point-based EA-6B units, VMAQ-3 would typically spend twelve months at home and six months overseas. The “time home” wasn’t necessarily with their families however as the squadron was frequently called to exercises like “Red Flag” or to provide support for training at the Marine Aviation Weapon Training Squadron-ONE at MCAS Yuma.  Through it all, VMAQ-3 provided highly professional Electronic Warfare support with their EA-6B Prowlers.

Combat operations dominated most overseas deployments as the squadron flew out of obscure locations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey.  While few outside the community really understood what they provided, the work conducted by squadrons like VMAQ-3 saved lives on the ground by dominating the electromagnetic spectrum and denying its use by our nation’s adversaries.

The “Moon Dogs”, now one of only two VMAQ squadron remaining, returned home to North Carolina from its final deployment in October, 2017 and started the path to deactivation, which officially occurred on 31 May 2018 following a 11 May ceremony at MCAS Cherry Point.

Moon Dog Deployments

May-Nov ‘93

Iwakuni JA



Aug ‘95-Feb ‘96

USS America


CVW-1 Med cruise

Feb-Aug ‘97

Aviano IT



Sep ‘98-Mar ‘99

Iwakuni JA



Jan-Apr ‘01




Nov ‘01-Feb ‘02

Incirlik TU



Jan-Jul ‘03

Iwakuni, JA



Jan-Aug ‘05

Bagram, AF



Jul ‘06-Jan ‘07

Al Asad, IZ



Apr-Oct ‘08

Al Asad, IZ



Jul ‘09-Feb ‘10

Al Asad, IZ



Oct ‘10-May ‘11

Bagram, AF



Sep ‘12-Apr ‘13

Bagram, AF



Jan-Feb ‘14

Bagram AF



Feb-Aug ‘14

Al Udied QA



Aug ‘15-Feb ‘16

Iwakuni, JA



Apr-Oct ‘17

Incirlik TU



ODE: Operation Decisive Edge
ODF: Operation Deny Flight
ODG: Operation Deliberate Guard
OEF: Operation Enduring Freedom
OIF: Operation Iraqi Freedom
OIR: Operation Inherent Resolve
OND: Operation New Dawn
ONW: Operation Northern Watch
OSW: Operation Southern Watch
UDP: Unit Deployment Program

General Royal Moore Award winner (Top Marine EA-6B Squadron)
2001, 2007, 2014, 2015.

Commanding Officers

LtCol Joe Burgin

Jul 1992-Apr 1994

LtCol JJ Cuff

Apr 1994-Apr 1996

LtCol Bob Lawler

Apr 1996-Feb 1997

LtCol “Muddy” Watters

Feb 1997-Feb 1998

LtCol Gordy Habbestad

Feb 1998-Aug 1999

LtCol RA Wiedower

Aug 1999-Jun 2001

LtCol WC Hall

Jun 2001-Dec 2002

LtCol Steve Nitzschke

Dec 2002-Jun 2004

LtCol TB Cutright

Jun 2004-Dec 2005

LtCol M. Denney

Dec 2005-Jun 2007

LtCol MR Grischkowsky

Jun 2007-Dec 2008

LtCol DE Roberts

Dec 2008-Jun 2010

LtCol KD Nothelfer

Jun 2010-Sep 2011

LtCol MA Moore

Sep 2010-Jun 2012

LtCol TD Cornstubble

Jun 2012-Dec 2013

LtCol G Lambert

Dec 2013-Jun 2015

LtCol DL Manka

Jun 2015-Dec 2016

LtCol LAC Cobb

Dec 2016-May 2018