Oak Harbor base opens doors to the public for Prowler sunset

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is inviting the public to its second annual open house this Saturday, June 27.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is inviting the public to its second annual open house this Saturday, June 27.

The public event punctuates a weekend dedicated to saying goodbye to the EA-6B Prowler and its 45-year history as the Navy’s first electronic attack aircraft.

“It just made sense to do the two events together,” said Mike Welding, public affairs officer for NAS Whidbey Island. “By opening the base to the public, it gives them an idea of what we do and why we do it. And they can see and understand the significance of the aircraft.”

The public will be able to enter the base through Charles Porter Gate off Ault Field Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

An invitation-only tribute will be held Friday for hundreds of current and former Prowler crew members, and will pay homage to aviators and maintainers who perished in defense of their nation.

During Saturday’s open house celebration, the last Navy Prowler will depart the airbase for the final time and join several U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowlers for a final formation flyover, marking the end of the Prowler era in Navy aviation.

The Prowler fly away is scheduled between noon and 1 p.m.

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Fred Wilmot, the pilot who delivered the first EA-6B to the air station in January 1971, will be among the crew members participating in the final flyover.

The Navy has replaced the Prowler with the new EA-18G Growler.

The air station is the Navy’s home base for its electronic attack community including a forward deployed Growler squadron in Japan. As with the Growler, all Prowler squadrons with exception of four Marine Corps EA-6B squadrons, were based at NAS Whidbey. The Navy supports all Department of Defense airborne electronic attack with the Growler aircraft.

At the open house, the public can learn about past, current and future operations at the Navy’s only air station in the Pacific Northwest and  see static displays of all of its assigned aircraft.

Aircraft displays will include the Growler, Prowler, P-3C Orion, MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter, the new C-40 Clipper and a visiting P-8A Poseidon, which will soon replace the P-3.

There will also be other visual displays, guided bus tours, search and rescue and K-9 working dog demonstrations, a bouncy house for children and a climbing wall.

Aviation memorabilia will also be available for purchase as well as a variety of food and beverages.

The event will begin with an all-ages Flight Line 5K Run which will start at 8 a.m. Saturday. T-shirts will be on sale for $15 on day of the event.

Patrons with base access can register online at www.navylifepnw.com and sign up through myFFR, #610087. Civilians without base access can register on the day of the race starting at 7 a.m.

 

More in News

Whidbey walkers raise money to fight cancer

Why do you walk? That question is a mantra of sorts for… Continue reading

Commissioners consider Clinton-to-Ken’s Korner paved trail once again

In 2018, county returned grant funding for project

Developers present new concept to Langley Council

An ongoing discussion over a proposed Coles Road development took a small… Continue reading

Two Democrats will challenge Rep. Norma Smith in 2020

Democratic candidates are getting an early start in their bid to replace… Continue reading

South Whidbey celebrates its children Sept. 14

Children’s Day takes over the South Whidbey Community Center from 10 a.m.… Continue reading

Buffalo abuse and submarine theft | Island Scanner

Tuesday, July 23 At 11 a.m., a caller reported that tires and… Continue reading

Langley city council supports gun control

By Wendy Leigh wleigh@whidbeynewsgroup.com In a unanimous vote at the Langley City… Continue reading

Three people seriously injured in head-on collision Saturday

Two people were airlifted and another seriously injured in a head-on collision… Continue reading

New Bayview fire station to open Aug. 24

By Wendy Leigh wleigh@whidbeynewsgroup.com Reactions to the brand-spanking-new fire station in Bayview… Continue reading

Most Read