Welcome aboard and congratulations on your assignment to the World Famous Black Ravens of Electronic Attack Squadron One Three Five (VAQ-135). The squadron is located in beautiful Oak Harbor, Washington on board Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Operationally we are attached to Commander Electronic Attack Wing US Pacific Fleet (CVWP).
You will be joining a team of highly trained and dedicated men and women who are on the cutting edge of America's "Sword of Freedom." We're serious about our mission and take exceptional pride in the accomplishments and reputation of this command. We are recognized as a combat ready, can-do squadron that is well respected by both military and local civilian communities. The standards we set for ourselves are quite high and your professional and physical readiness will be an integral part of VAQ-135. Your sponsor, along with this website, should be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your transfer to VAQ-135 and getting to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Due to our deploying status, we ask that you utilize the Points of Contact and Helpful Links pages to assist in your transition.
We welcome you to the best duty in the U.S. Navy! You should be extremely pleased with your assignment to the Black Ravens of VAQ-135, and we are looking forward to your arrival.
Mission and Statistics
The E/A-18G is the fourth major variant of the F/A-18 family of aircraft. The EA-18G will serve as the Navy's replacement for the EA-6B providing a capability to detect, identify, locate, and suppress hostile emitters. The EA-18G will have the capability to operate autonomously or as a major node in a network-centric operation and will provide accurate emitter targeting for employment of onboard suppression weapons such as the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). The EA-18 will perform full-spectrum electronic surveillance and electronic attack of enemy threat radars and communications nets. The EA-18G is a highly flexible design that enables the warfighter to perform a broad range of tactical missions, operating from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields.
The EA-18G's electronic attack upgrades will meet EA-6B (ALQ-218, ALQ-99, USQ-113) Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capability to detect, identify, locate and suppress hostile emitters; provide enhanced connectivity to National, Theater and Strike assets; and provide organic precision emitter targeting for employment of onboard suppression weapons High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) to fulfill operational requirements. The man in the loop operation and advanced information display system will allow real time assessment of the tactical situation and the appropriate response executed in accordance with the rules of engagement. The performance of the aircraft is compatible with the primary strike/fighter aircraft projected to be in the inventory in the 2010 time period, allowing it to be fully integrated into specific strike packages. It will also have the capacity to provide broad area coverage for extended periods of time to support numerous strikes or other air operations in a federated context. The EA-18G is being designed to perform a range of Electronic Warfare/Electronic Attack functions either simultaneously or independently.
The EA-18 will retain everything in it that the F/A-18F Super Hornet has today with two exceptions. The wing tip stations will have receiving antennas. The gun will be replaced with avionics boxes containing the LR-700 receiver and satellite communications, which interface with the ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System pods.
||60.2 ft (18.3 m)
||16 ft (4.9 m)
||44.9 ft (13.7 m)
||33,094 lbs (15,011.2 kg)
||48,000 lbs (21,772.4 kg)
||13,940 lbs (6,323.1 kg)
|Max External Fuel
||9,744 lbs (4,419.8 kg)
||2 x F414-GE-400
||1 x Pilot, 1 x Electronic Warfare Officer
||Nine weapons stations providing unique flexibility to carry ALQ-218 receiver sub systems, ALQ-99 Hi-band jamming pods, AIM-120 and AGM-88 weapons systems, and other stores to meet the needs for standoff jamming, escort jamming, time critical strike, or communications countermeasures.
The WORLD FAMOUS BLACK RAVENS of Electronic Attack Squadron ONE THREE FIVE were established on 15 May 1969 to provide electronic warfare in support of carrier air wings. Homeported at NAS Alameda, California, the BLACK RAVENS first flew the Douglas EKA-3B Skywarrior. In 1973, VAQ-135 relocated to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, and transitioned to the Grumman EA-6B Prowler.
The BLACK RAVENS first deployed with the EA-6B to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean from January to September 1976. Following that deployment, VAQ-135 transitioned to the Improved Capability Prowler (ICAP) and became the first fleet EA-6B ICAP squadron. With the venerable EA-6B, the BLACK RAVENS deployed onboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) with CVW-15, USS AMERICA (CV 66) with CVW-1, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and USS NIMITZ with CVW-11.
In June 2011, the BLACK RAVENS were designated safe for flight in the EA-18G Growler. At the same time, they transitioned to the expeditionary role, reporting to Commander Electronic Attack Wing, US Pacific Fleet. The BLACK RAVENS made their maiden deployment in the EA-18G to the CENTCOM and EUCOM areas of responsibility in the summer of 2012.
The Command has taken an active role in the following exercises and operations during its storied history: OCEAN SAFARI '85, PRAYING MANTIS, PACEX '89, FIERY VIGIL, RIMPAC '96, SOUTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, TRIAL MACE, SOUTHERN STRIKE, TUMBLEWEED, COPE NORTH '15, MCSOFEX, and numerous RED FLAG events.
The squadron has earned various awards including the Navy Unit Commendation, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, CVW-11 Golden Wrench for maintenance excellence, 1986 and 2013 Association of Old Crows Outstanding Unit Award, 2014 Tactical Excellence Award, multiple Chief of Naval Operations Safety "S" Awards and multiple Battle Efficiency "E" Awards.
Additionally, in August 2015 the WORLD FAMOUS BLACK RAVENS returned home from an expeditionary deployment to the Pacific Command area of responsibility. For six months, VAQ-135 operated primarily from Misawa Air Base, Japan, to test and refine their tactical capabilities as well as increase interoperability with U.S. and international units throughout the Pacific.
Commander N. L. Mollenhauer, United States Navy
CDR Mollenhauer is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute where he graduated with a Bachelorís of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and received his commission as a Naval Officer. Following commissioning he reported to NAS Pensacola for Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training in VT-4 and VT-86. He received his NFO wings in August 2001. He reported to the EA-6B Fleet Replacement Squadron, VAQ-129, qualified as an EA-6B Electronics Countermeasures Officer (ECMO) and was assigned to the Black Ravens of VAQ-135.
During his tour with the Black Ravens he deployed twice with CVW-11, on board the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68), as they supported combat operations during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. While at VAQ-135 he graduated from the Prowler Tactics Instructor course and served as the Black Raven Training Officer.
Starting in November 2005, CDR Mollenhauer began the NFO to pilot transition as a student with VT-6 in Milton, Florida and VT-22 in Kingsville, Texas. After winging he reported back to VAQ-129 in Whidbey Island, Washington where he qualified as an EA-6B pilot.
In June 2008 CDR Mollenhauer reported to VAQ-130, Zappers, and deployed with CVW-3 on board USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and NEW DAWN. While with VAQ-130 he received the Zapper Junior Officer Leadership award.
CDR Mollenhauer reported to VAQ-136, forward deployed to NAF Atsugi, Japan for his Department Head tour. During his tour with VAQ-136 CDR Mollenhauer deployed twice with CVW-5, on board USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73). During his Gauntlet tour, VAQ-136 returned to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington after 32 years of forward deployed operations, and transitioned from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler.
Following is Department Head tour, CDR Mollenhauer graduated from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI before reporting to USSOCOM in Tampa, FL where he served as a Deliberate Plans staff officer in the Plans, Policy, and Strategy (J-51) branch.
CDR Mollenhauer has logged more than 2,000 tactical jet hours and over 300 arrested landings. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (3), Navy/Marine Commendation Medal (2), Navy/Marine Achievement Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards. CDR Mollenhauer was fortunate enough to marry up, conning a much more capable and attractive person than himself to become his wife. He, his brilliant and gorgeous wife Mary, and their two awesome children, Henry and Charlotte, live in Oak Harbor, Washington.
Commander M. W. Rodgers, United States Navy
A native of Dover, Pennsylvania, Commander Rodgers graduated from Georgia Tech in 2002, earning a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. CDR Rodgers was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Program. Following commissioning, CDR Rodgers was selected for the Immediate Graduate Education Program (IGEP) where he earned a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Monterey, CA. CDR Rodgers reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in July 2003. He earned his Naval Flight Officer Wings in January 2005. In March 2005, CDR Rodgers reported to the VAQ-129 “Vikings” for initial fleet training as an EA-6B Electronic Countermeasures Officer (ECMO).
CDR Rodgers began his operational flying in March 2006 with the VAQ-142 “Gray Wolves”. While with the Gray Wolves, he made three expeditionary deployments, one to Bagram, Afghanistan and two to Al Asad, Iraq, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, respectively.
In June 2010 CDR Rodgers graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland as part of Class 137, where his Developmental Test (DT) II final project was the JAS-39 Gripen in Linkoping, Sweden. CDR Rodgers reported to the VX-23 “Salty Dogs” and served as a Project Officer for the EA-6B ICAP-III and EA-18G. While attached to VX-23, CDR Rodgers was the recipient of the Test Naval Flight Officer of the year award as well as the Paganelli Leadership Award.
CDR Rodgers returned to the fleet as a Department Head in the VAQ-137 “Rooks”. He completed an around the world deployment, embarked aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
Following his department head tour, CDR Rodgers served as an action officer, USSOCOM, Joint SOF Development (J-7) Directorate. He was responsible for both SOF advanced skill set training policy development as well as assessments of Special Operations Advanced Skill Set School Houses.
CDR Rodgers has accumulated over 2,600 flight hours in 22 aircraft and 200 arrested landings, including 250 combat missions. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (12 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (2 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards) and various service awards and ribbons. He has the honor of being married to an amazing wife and together they have raised three incredible children.
Command Master Chief
CMDCM(AW/CAC/NAC/FMF/SW) S. C. Redden, United States Navy
Command Master Chief Steve Collins Redden, a native of Sarasota, Florida. He is married and has two sons. He reported to Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, IL on November 24, 1997. After completing Basic Training in February 1998, he reported to NTC Great Lakes, IL for Hospital Corpsman (HM) “A” School and graduated June 10, 1998.
Upon completing HM “A” school, his first fleet assignment was with 2D Marine Division as a Hospitalman Recruit (HR) where he served as a Line Corpsman. Following the completion of Naval Aircrew School and Aviation Medicine Technician, he reported as Hospitalman to HELANTISUBRON FIVE (HS-5) Night Dippers, in May 1999 and was promoted to Hospital Corpsman Third Class in July 1999. While attached to HS-5, Master Chief Redden served as a Combat Search and Rescue (SAR) Corpsman and the Squadron Corpsman. During his tour with HS-5, he completed two ship board deployments, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, February 2000, and USS John F. Kennedy, February 2002. During this time he also deployed to Afghanistan in April 2002. It was during this tour that America experienced the attacks of 9/11 and a young HM2 Redden and the crew of the USS John F. Kennedy helped defend the Eastern Seaboard. During this tour Command Master Chief Redden earned his Naval Aircrew Wings (NAC), Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Qualification (EAWS), and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) Qualifications. After this tour Command Master Chief Redden deployed again with the Marines of I MEF in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
In June 2003, Command Master Chief Redden reported to Patrol Squadron (VP-46) Forty-Six Grey Knights. He earned his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Qualification (EAWS), P-3C Aircraft while assigned to VP-46. Command Master Chief Redden also transferred in 2005 to Groton, CT where he attended Submarine Independent Duty Corpsman School. In 2005 Command Master Chief Redden was promoted to Hospital Corpsman First Class (HM1). During his tour in Submarines he was constantly reminded of his calling and fondness of being with the Marines and Aviation. After his split tour was approved, Command Master Chief Redden was given orders once again to serve with the Marines.
In May 2006, he reported for duty to 2D Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aircraft Group Two-Six (MAG-26), Marine Corps Air Station New River. In June 2007 Command Master Chief Redden earned his Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Qualification (FMF). During this time Command Master Chief Redden qualified as a Combat Air Crewman (CAC) and Aerial Gunner in the CH-46E, MH-53E, and the MV-22B aircrafts. He also deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan during his tour at MCAS New River. During the combat deployments, Command Master Chief Redden flew CASEVAC missions to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield, transport patients to higher levels of care Hospitals and Field Hospitals, and help save numerous lives in the process. Command Master Chief Redden was advanced to Chief Petty Officer in August 2008. During his last deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009, he served as the Senior Enlisted Leader of the Aviation Combat Element. His leadership and foresight was instrumental in the withdrawal/transition of critically needed Medical Personnel and Marine Corps Aviation Assets from Iraq into Afghanistan. All of this accomplished with no loss of life or equipment.
In June 2010, Command Master Chief Redden reported for duty to Navy Recruiting District Seattle, where he served as the Lead Medical Officer Recruiter and the Command Managed Equal Opportunity Representative. He was selected as the Medical Officer Recruiter of the Year for NRD Seattle for FY 2012 and FY 2013. Command Master Chief Redden was promoted to Senior Chief in June 2014. Command Master Chief Redden reported for duty to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa Japan in April 2015 for assigned duty as Acting Command Master Chief. In August 2015 he became the unit’s Senior Enlisted Leader. He reported in July 2017 to Naval Hospital Oak Harbor and assumed the duty as the Deputy Command Master Chief of Naval Hospital Oak Harbor and was reassigned as the Command Senior Chief in October 2017. In February 2018 Command Master Chief Redden was board selected and promoted into the Command Senior Chief Program. In May 2018 he was once again board selected and promoted to Command Master Chief. In August 2018 Command Master Chief Redden reported for duty, as the VAQ-135 “World Famous Black Ravens” Command Master Chief.
Command Master Chief Redden is a Graduate of the U.S Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy Class 186 (Brown Group), CMC/COB Course 18120 and Executive Medical Department Enlisted Course. He has completed three tours of duty to Afghanistan and three tours of duty to Iraq. His personal awards include the Air Medal with 2 strike flight awards, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (nine awards), Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO ISAF Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal (five awards), Recruiting Gold Wreath (fifteen awards) and multiple other unit awards. Command Master Chief Redden has qualified and is authorized to wear the following warfare devices: Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Combat Air Crewman (CAC), Naval Air Crewman (NAC), Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS), and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS).
The Ombudsman Program was introduced to the U.S. Navy on 14 September 1970 by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt with a Z-gram. Admiral Zumwalt adapted his program from a 19th century Scandinavian custom originally established by the King to give ordinary private citizens an avenue to express their grievances to high government officials. The U.S. Navy shifted the focus away from the grievance-processing role to a primary focus on command communication, information, and referral.
Our VAQ-135 Ombudsman is here to serve and assist VAQ-135 families. An Ombudsman is an official command representative who acts as a liaison between the command and families. Our Ombudsman send out information about command & community resources and activities to families. They work closely with the FRG to serve your family in that regard.
When your spouse or family member has questions, comments, concerns, or problems, he/she should contact the Ombudsman, who can then provide resources to assist and/or communicate with the command on behalf of the family member. Your Ombudsman act as advocates for command families. They assist in emergencies and crisis, especially during deployments. They can provide information about both military and civilian community agencies that can help families solve a variety of problems, and successfully meet the challenges families face before, during, and after deployments. The Ombudsman contact information is below.
VAQ-135 Family Ombudsman
It is important if you have a change of address, phone number or email address, even if temporary, that you contact your VAQ-135 Ombudsman. If the Ombudsman does not have the correct information, they may be unable to contact you with command information. If you are new to VAQ-135, be sure to contact your Ombudsmen.
VAQ-135 Family Readiness Group (FRG)
Family readiness is the mutual reinforcement and support provided by the command to Sailors and their families. FRGs are a key component of mission readiness. FRG functions and activities are listed below:
- Family support
- Emphasis on activities during deployments
- Mentoring of new family members
- Assistance in times of personal, unit, or area crises
- Coordinating deployment farewells and homecomings
- Assisting with command sponsor program to include
- Welcoming new families
- Facilitating family member attendance at orientation sessions and FRG meetings
- Unit family networking to include
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/837847076289774/
- FRG/Ombudsman Newsletter content
- Unit information and education briefs
- Social events (for example, holiday and children's parties) and activities
- Fundraising - to support the activities listed above
The Black Raven’s FRG members can be reached via the VAQ-135 Ombudsman/FRG Facebook group or via email at VAQ135FRG@outlook.com. The FRG Board President can be reached by phone at 360-914-8835
Fleet & Family Support Center
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island has the Fleet & Family Support Center located inside the NorWester. The Center offers a variety of programs and assistance open to all hands. Classes include transition assistance programs, personal financial management classes, as well as a number of other self-improvement opportunities. The Center also offers personal and marital counseling.
To see what workshops the Fleet & Family Support Center is offering, call or visit:
Child Development Center
Child care for military families is a high priority with most bases now providing care through Child Development Centers (CDC). CDCs can also assist families in locating qualified child care providers close to their residence. For more information, call or visit:
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) is a non-profit charitable organization whose purpose is to assist Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families in time of need. The Society is sponsored by the Department of the Navy and operates nearly 300 offices ashore and afloat at Navy and Marine Corps commands throughout the world. Trained volunteers ensure requests are handled by persons familiar with the special conditions of service life and who have a realistic understanding of the potential hardships facing service members and their families.
Emergency needs NMCRS will assist with include:
- Emergency transportation
- Medical bills (patient's share)
- Food, rent and utilities
- Necessary dental care
- Personal needs when pay is delayed
- Essential car repair
- Help when disaster strikes
- Navy Marine Corps Relief Society
There are many sources for TRICARE information. Each military hospital or medical clinic has a health benefit advisor, managed care office or TRICARE Service Center. As some features vary from region to region, your local advisor, office or center will have the most accurate information about your health care benefit.
TRICARE briefings are held frequently, and all personnel and their spouses are urged to attend a briefing prior to deciding which TRICARE option is best for their family. In the Oak Harbor area or from out of town call 1-800-242-6788. Beneficiary service representatives are also available to answer benefits, claims and enrollment questions.