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HistoryVP-1 HistoryHistory

Circa 1943 - 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...From The Fleet - The Screaming Eagles (1943-2006) - By LT(jg) Chris Smith - Wings of Gold - Summer - Fall 2006 - Page 77. Squadrons Mention: VP-1, VP-ML-1, VPB-128 and VB-128..." WebSite: Association of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/index.htm [21OCT2006]

VP-1 was established in NAS DeLand, Florida in 1943 as VB-128 flying PV-1 Venturas. It flew ASW missions operating from NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York before deploying to Iceland to cover the North Atlantic convoy lanes. VB-128 sank one U-Boat and damaged another. When the convoy lanes moved south out of Ventura range the squadron moved to Puerto Rico. It was redesignated VPB-128 and transferred to the Philippines for ASW and anti-shipping bombing missions. It next flew PV-2s and after VJ Day was ordered to Okinawa where it remained until 1947. It was then redesignated as VP-ML-1.

VP-ML-1 moved to San Diego, acquired P2V-2 Neptunes and a year later moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, eventually being redesignated VP-1.

Seemingly always on the move, in the following years VP-1 deployed to multiple locations. In 1966, the Screaming Eagles were sent to NAS Iwakuni, Japan. They maintained a seven plane detachment at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam, supporting Operation Market Time. VP-1 was the first patrol squadron to suffer casualties in the Vietnam conflict when the air base was attacked in April 1966.

VP-1 was the last unit to transition to the P-3, acquiring the -3B version of the Orions. After duty at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, they shifted to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. In 1979. VP-1 deployed to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines. Three Orions comprised a detachment at NSF Diego Garcia when tensions rose over the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Aircrews helped rescue more then 35 refugee vessels with over 4,000 Vietnamese on board, earning VP-1 the Humanitarian Service Medal.

Subsequently, the Screaming Eagles maintained dets at NAS Agana, Guam, NSF Diego Garcia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Thailand, Pakistan, Japan and the Philippines. It acquired infrared detection gear and Harpoon missile launch capabilities. Along the way it surpassed 14 years and 100,000 hours of accident-free flight operations. It conducted the first-ever WestPac split-site deployment, transferring to NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan and NAF Misawa, Japan. There were dets throughout WestPac, including periodic assignments in Somalia, Djibouti, and Sri Lanka. In 1988, VP-1 deployed to NAS Adak, Alaska while maintaining a twocrew training det in Hawaii. At the end of the year it returned to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii.

VP-1 was reduced to eight P-3Cs as part of a drawdown affecting all VP squadrons but in 1991 the squadron transitioned to the P-3C Update III, sending two dets to Panama in support of Task Force Four operations. A year later it deployed again to NAS Adak, Alaska while additionally establishing dets at Howard AFB, Panama; CFB Goose Bay, Canada; and NAS Moffett Field, California. Dets in NSF Diego Garcia, Masirah, Oman and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan followed in 1993.VP-1 operated with the 15 Asian nation navies and flew sorties from over 20 detachment sites.

In November 1993 VP-1 became the first Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) squadron to conduct armed surveillance missions in the Arabian Gulf with the AGM-65 Maverick missile. It operated with some frequency from U-Tapao Royal Thailand Air Force Base, Thailand. VP-1 made the first visit, since the Vietnam War, by a U.S. P-3 to Hanoi in 1998. A year later it transitioned to the P-3C AlP aircraft.

By 2001 the squadron's primary ASW mission was complemented by unprecedented joint search and rescue (SAR) operations. The Screaming Eagles participated in exercises involving units from Thailand and the Philippines, helping define the role of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) injoint SAR operations.

More recently, the Screaming Eagles executed over 6,000 mishap-free flight hours in direct support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch, and displayed successful integration with USAF, USA and USMC forces, along with numerous other foreign national units as part ofthe multi-national coalition in the global war on terrorism. VP-1 deployed for 7th Fleet operations in December 2003, operating remotely with dets in Thailand, Singapore, Guam, Australia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea.

The Screaming Eagles have won an abundance of awards throughout their eventful history. The squadron recently earned one of the most prestigious ones when it received the 2005 Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence.

In June 2006, VP-1 returned from deployment and celebrated 23 years and 135,000 mishapfree flight hours. This was accomplished over 20 years, and is a testament to the dedication and skill of the Screaming Eagle maintenance team and combat aircrews.

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