By John Allen -March 1, 2019
Parker, Colorado — The final edition of Silent Heroes and Their Aircraft by Colonel H. Wayne “Flash” Whitten USMC (ret.) is complete.
This book chronicles the history of the EA-6B Prowler, the longest serving tactical jet aircraft in the Marine Corps and the community of men and women who supported that mission for nearly 70 years. The last remaining EA-6B Prowler squadron, VMAQ-2 will be decommissioned during a ceremony on March 8, 2019 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The most significant element of this sunset edition is the inclusion of over 25 first-person stories in a “Reflections” chapter that relate to key events and experiences of individuals involved in the history as it unfolded over the years. Whitten approached a variety of esteemed people from the community to contribute their thoughts.
A collaboration between Whitten and the VMAQ Monument Foundation made the publishing of this final edition possible in time for the decommissioning of the EA-6B Prowler. “As a military history buff turned author, I have long supported projects and organizations that help preserve our past and by doing so influence our future.
The VMAQ Monument project goes to the heart of what made Marine Corps Aviation Electronic Warfare great as it recognizes the individuals, professionals all, who flew, fixed or otherwise supported the aircraft that were at its center,” said Whitten.
VMAQ Monument Foundation volunteer Lieutenant Colonel Melissa “Mel” Kelley USMC (ret.) appreciated Flash’s invitation to contribute and enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on the years she spent in the Prowler community. “For the most part it was exciting and challenging and I loved being part of such a great group of Marines and Sailors.
Though looking back often occurs through a rose-colored lens, the trials will remain as much a part of my Prowler memories as the highlights and camaraderie as they all had a huge personal impact.”
The VMAQ Monument Foundation’s Director of Museum Affairs, Colonel Marlin “Kuato” Benton USMC (ret.) was surprised and humbled to be asked to contribute his reflections. “As our active duty story draws to a close, I can now relate to the comments I heard the F-4 Phantom and A-6 Intruder crews make as I was going through flight school. We’re now ‘those guys’ whose community has gone away.
We all sacrificed time away from family and fought in ‘every clime and place,’ as all Marines are expected to do. And we did so with pride and professionalism. I want the world to remember that we were here and made a difference. Being a part of the VMAQ Monument Foundation effort is just my way of saying ‘thank you.’”
Whitten began his work on the first edition of Silent Heroes and Their Aircraft in 2010. He was an invited contributor to a Marine Corps University research project initiated by the History Division to document the history of airborne electronic warfare. When the project was delayed, several of his squadron mates urged him to complete the project as a private endeavor. With the approval of the History Division, Whitten accepted the challenge and published the book in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Marine Aviation in 2012. “We all felt that the unique story needed to be told of how the nation’s smallest service became the leader of tactical electronic warfare,” declared Whitten. “This final installment completes the story.”
The VMAQ Monument Foundation was started by a team of motivated people from the VMAQ Prowler community in June 2018. Their goal is to propagate and preserve the history of the VMAQ warriors by erecting a monument at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, to facilitate the preservation of the remaining EA-6B aircraft at museums around the nation and to support fellow Marine historical foundations.
The VMAQ Monument Foundation will host three book signings featuring Whitten at MCAS Cherry Point: March 7, 2019 from 1000-1130 at the Marine Corps Exchange, from 1400-1500 at Miller’s Landing and March 8, 2019 from 1000-1100 at the Marine Corps Exchange.
Silent Heroes and Their Aircraft may be purchased at the events or through the foundation website at VMAQMonument.org.
To learn more about the VMAQ Monument Foundation and to donate, please visitVMAQMonument.org.