The lineage of VQ-1’s “World Watchers” can be traced back to two PBY-5A Catalina “Black Cats” modified for electronic reconnaissance during World War II.
In Oct 1951, the unit was formally established as the Special Electronic Search Project (SESP) at NAS Sangley Point, Republic of the Philippines, in Oct 1951.
On 13 May 1953, the unit was re-designated Detachment Able of Airborne Early Warning Squadron One (VW-1). On 1 Jun 1955, Detachment Able was reorganized into Electronic Countermeasures Squadron One (VQ-1) at MCAF Iwakuni, Japan. This was the first Navy squadron dedicated to electronic warfare. On 17 May 2012, VQ-1 became the largest operational aviation squadron in the Navy when Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two (VQ-2) was officially disestablished and its personnel consolidated into VQ-1. Today, VQ-1 continues to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) flights over an area of responsibility spanning 17 time zones from the East Coast of Africa to the West Coast of the United States. The World Watchers maintain a constant, forward-deployed status to ensure global support to Combatant, Joint and Fleet Commanders.
This profusely illustrated book is a tribute to all World Watchers who have served the squadron since its establishment to date. A special mention goes to those crews who were lost in tragic accidents, whilst serving their country.