May 1, 1953:
Airborne Early Warning Squadron TWO (VW-2) Detachment A established

When the NPU came up to its full complement of four P4M-1Q aircraft in April 1953, the unit and its companion Naval Communication Unit 32G (NCU32G) or NAVSECGRU cryptologic personnel needed to have an administrative identity as part of the Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT) structure (operating forces as opposed to shore based support) for budgetary and logistics purposes.  Airborne Early Warning Squadrons ONE (VW-1) and TWO (VW-2), respectively based at NAS Barbers Point and NAS Patuxent River, were selected as the mother squadrons that were assigned to the two new operating units.  On May 1, 1953, the existing covert unit at NAS Sangley became VW-1 Det A and NPU Port Lyautey became VW-2 DET A.  On August 23, CDR Kalin relieved CDR Sparks as OIC.

By mid-1954, VW-2 DET A (or DET ABLE) at NAF Port Lyautey was equipped with four P4M-1Qs with XD tailcode (124372/XD1, 124367/XD2, 124373/XD3 and 122207/XD4), and one P2V-2 (XD5).  P2V-2 had been stripped of ASW equipment, except for essential radio navigation and was used for navigation training and a shuttle for shopping trips to Gibraltar.


During this time, NAF Port Lyautey had grown substantially to support regular operations of fleet reconnaissance (VW-2 DET A), one anti-submarine VP (L) squadron on a rotating basis, one heavy attack VC (HA) DET, transport aircraft from VR-6 MATS DET and VR-24, FASRON 104 for technical support, a handful of logistic aircraft assigned to the base operations and CGA Unit #33.  It also provided occasional basing for carrier air groups that needed to send squadrons or dets ashore to free the busy carrier decks during Mediterranean deployments.

September 1, 1955:
Electronic Countermeasures Squadron TWO (ECMRON 2 – VQ-2 established

By early 1955, it became evident the VW-2 DET A mission was too important and so different from the VW mission that a change was in order.  That summer, all officers and sailors worked extremely hard writing squadron instructions and getting back into the paper Navy, as far as complying with training, organizational and record keeping requirements that had simply been ignored for so long.  It was something of a culture shock, particularly when they were renamed as Electronics Countermeasures Squadron – at the time ECM was not mentioned when they deployed.  The only reason there was a Patrol Unit and later VW-2 DET A, was to provide transportation for the NCU32G cryptologic personnel in the back end.  Until establishment of VQ-2 in September 1955, NCU32G and the hosting unit were two very separate organizations, with a completely different chain of command, not being allowed to talk to each other or to know their business.  This was especially true for NCU32G.

In April 1955, VW-2 DET A received the notification it was going to receive the Douglas A3D-1Q Skywarrior by September. However, plans changed and the Navy decided to establish Electronic Countermeasures Squadron TWO (ECMRON TWO) on September 1, 1955 with CDR Morrie I. Kalin as first Commanding Officer. ECMRON TWO was assigned the alphanumeric designation VQ-2 and its mission was to conduct electronic search missions in support of fleet operations to obtain adequate and timely information on enemy electronics capabilities.

The unit was assigned tailcode identification letters “PS” (Peter Sugar was the phonetic alphabet for “P” and “S” until 1956), while its sister squadron, ECMRON ONE (VQ-1) was assigned “PR” (Peter Roger).

VQ-2 was home based at NAF Port Lyautey, under the administrative control of Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMNAVAIRLANT) and Commander Fleet Air Eastern Atlantic/Mediterranean (COMFAIRELM), and under the operational one of Commander Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic/Mediterranean (CINCNELM).


After the VQ-2 commissioning, the NCU32G cryptologist created a “big ear” patch, which most people did not like.

Source: From Bats to Rangers