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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC (AP) — After three decades of protecting military forces at sea and on land, the Marine Corps’ first EA-6B Prowler jet is taking flight for the last time at Cherry Point Air Station in North Carolina.

The Marine Corps says Friday’s flight will be the last before aircraft number 160432 retires at the end of this month.

The jet has logged 11,500 flight hours and made 8,800 landings since entering service 34 years ago.

The EA-6B is designed to protect aircraft carrier battle groups, Marine Corps and Navy surface ships at sea as well as Air Force and other military units on the ground.

It has a crew of four and uses electronic systems to jam enemy radars and communications.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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