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HistoryVP-31 HistoryHistory

Circa 1969

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 47 - December 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/dec69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1969 "...On Patrol - Naval Aviation News - May 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/may69.pdf [17SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March 1969 "...Cover - Naval Aviation News - March 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/mar69.pdf [16SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/feb69.pdf [16SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1969 "...Ordnancemen Become Shutterbugs - Page 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/feb69.pdf [16SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1969 "...On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - January 1969..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1969/jan69.pdf [16SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-31 Memories by WILLIAMS, Bob heybob@sbcglobal.net..." [14JAN2003]

I checked aboard in November 1969 and was assigned to the Line Division. It soon became obvious to me that we were in serious need of a Ground Support Equipment branch. I wrote a proposal and submitted it to the Division Officer and he told me to proceed. I went over to AMD GSE and introduced myself to the Division Chief and explained what I wanted to do and he liked the idea. We then developed an inventory of equipment that was to be assigned to VP-31. I started taking delivery of the equipment but the only place to put it was on the flight line which was a problem.

Adjacent to VP-31's wash rack was a blacktopped area upon which Lockheed had a crew working on a Stealth aircraft. I found out that they had lost their contract and were moving off the blacktopped ramp. I also heard that the base Ops Commander was in charge of the Aero Club and he was going to move the clubs aircraft on the ramp. So, the minute that Lockheed vacated the ramp, I started moving equipment on it. By the time the Commander realized what had happened I had been operating from the ramp for a couple of days. I understand that he complained to my CO but to no avail.

About 300 yards from the ramp was an empty 12x14 building on skids. I traced the ownership to the base Public Works Dept. and went over and asked what they were going to do with the building. They said they were going to scrap it. So, I asked if I could have it. They said no. I then got an aircraft tug and some chain, hooked up to the building and towed it to the ramp. Another complaint was registered with the CO and once again possession being nine points of the law prevailed.

I then proceeded to liberate floor tile and paint from Public Works as well as chain link fencing and posts. When I went over to Public Works to check out a tractor with a post hole digging attachment the supervisor said "ok willy, I give up". He then assigned a crew to install the fencing for me.

I now had a fenced equipment storage area and an office. I then approached the Division Officer for permanent crew. He told me to hand pick them, which I did. The only thing left was electricity. There wasn't a hookup anywhere near. So, I went to the Navy Salvage yard in Alameda and procured a diesel powered generator and set it up. Now it was complete.

Equipment availability and response time was immediate. Indicidents of equipment misuse and abuse decreased as well as use of equipment by unlicensed/untrained operators.

The CO, Maint. Officer and Division Officer were extremely pleased. They all left me alone and never said anything other than "good job Willy."


Circa 1968

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March 1968 "...On Patrol - Page 28 - Naval Aviation News - March 1968..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1968/mar68.pdf [14SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...A couple of favorite pranks...Christmas Eve 1968 - I was in VP-31's reserve squadron by then (don't remember the VP number). We took off that evening and had no particular plan in mind - it was just a "go fly and get some time" sort of flight. So I suggested we fly out to Ocean Station November, a stationary Coast Guard navigation and air traffic control ship. Those poor guys had to sit in one spot for months at a time. So we flew out there, wished them a Merry Christmas, which they much appreciated, and flew back..." Contributed by ATN3 John Moore, USNR vpNOSPAM at tinyvital.com [18NOV2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Also, in 1968 we had an influx of personnel from the disbanded VO-67, and had one of their wierd P2V's on the ramp for a while..." Contributed by ATN3 John Moore, USNR vpNOSPAM at tinyvital.com [18NOV2000]


Circa 1967

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - May 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/may67.pdf [10SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 30 to 31 - Naval Aviation News - February 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/feb67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January 1967 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - January 1967..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1967/jan67.pdf [08SEP2004]

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Circa 1966

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - December 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/dec66.pdf [07SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation October 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - November 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/nov66.pdf [07SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1966 "...Fleet Air Wings On Patrol - Page 28 to 29 - Naval Aviation News - August 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/aug66.pdf

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation April 1966 "...On Patrol With Fleet Air Wings - Page 22 to 23 - Naval Aviation News - April 1966..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1966/apr66.pdf [05SEP2004]

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Circa 1965

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-31 History ThumbnailCameraVP-31 History "...VP-31 P-5 Marlin at a NAS North Island, San Diego, California open house in 1965..." Contributed by SAFER, ATR2 Donald L. dlsafer@juno.com [24JUL2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1965 "...Olathe Squadron At North Island - Page 30 - Naval Aviation News - November 1965..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1965/nov65.pdf [03SEP2004]

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Circa 1964

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation October 1964 "...CNO Safety and Atlantic E's Awards - Page 2 - Naval Aviation News - October 1964..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1964/oct64.pdf [30AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-31 Safety Award "...1964 CNO Aircraft Safety Award Patch..." Contributed by Virgil E. Pattin AWC USN RET k7vp@arrl.net [07FEB2000]


Circa 1963

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation October 1963 "...First P-3 Flies Pacific - Page 2 - Naval Aviation News - October 1963..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1963/oct63.pdf [27AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1963 "...E-2, P-3 Systems Taught - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - August 1963..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1963/aug63.pdf [27AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May June 1963 "...Flight Gear Inspection - Page 17 - Naval Aviation News - June 1963..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1963/jun63.pdf [26AUG2004]

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Circa 1962-1963

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-31 History "...CAPTAIN George PRASSINOS served with VP-861 until September 1952. He accepted a regular commission as LT in 1955. In 1962 he was promoted to the rank of CDR. Following duty with VP-31 (03/1962-03/1963) as XO/CO he served with VP-22 (09/1965) as CO..." Official U. S. Navy Documention [25DEC2012]


Circa 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News August 1962 "...VP-31's Second Year Of Operation - Page 19 - Naval Aviation News - August 1962..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1962/aug62.pdf [23AUG2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News February 1962 "...Australians At North Island - Page 39 - Naval Aviation News - February 1962..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1962/feb62.pdf [22AUG2004]

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Circa 1961

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "14APR61--VADM Pirie Dedicates Sub Hunter...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE Disestablishment...26 August 1993...Hanger One... NAS Moffett Field, California..." Contributed by Bob Zafran vpfourever@gmail.com [20JUL99]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "14APR61--VADM Pirie Dedicates Sub Hunter...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE Disestablishment...26 August 1993...Hanger One... NAS Moffett Field, California..." Contributed by Bob Zafran vpfourever@gmail.com [20JUL99]

A brand new, darkly gleaming airplane wheeled onto a runway apron last Saturday at Lockheed's California Division to be hailed by the U. S. Navy's top airmen as "the longest-reaching, hardest-hitting sub-clubber in aviation history."

Vice Admiral R. B. Pirie, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air, dedicated the first of the U. S. Navy's new P3V-1 aircraft to defending free-world sea lanes and coastlines against any enemy submarines capable of attacking with conventional weapons or ballistic missiles.

Representing advancements stemming from the Navy's anti-submarine research and development program over the past 15 years, the plane features the most effective electronic, sonic and magnetic equipment ever launched into the skies to comb out and smash enemy submarines.

The huge sub hunter, first of its type off Lockheed production lines, taxied up for a formal christening ceremony immediately after completing a successful check-out flight. With Lockheed Board Chairman Robert E. Gross standing by, Mrs. Pirie, wife of the Navy's aviation chief, officially christened the plane "Orion" as she swung the traditional bottle of champagne.

Commenting upon the appropriateness of the aircraft's name. Admiral Pirie recalled the Orion of Greek Mythology, who was known as a "great hunter of mighty strength."

"So, too, is the P3V-1 Orion a might hunter," he said. "Armed with-a wide variety of deadly weapons, it will search out , far from domestic shores, enemy aggressors charting attack from the atomic back alley of the sea."

Land based, spiked with nuclear depth charges, the four-turbined sea hunter will fly further, faster and flush out its quarry with a sharper electronic eye than any other airplane.

Antisubmarine Warfare constitutes one of the gravest problems the nation faces todav. the Admiral declared. The

Its electronic eyes and ears include radar scanners whose horizon-to-horizon running reports are integrated in a single tactical "brain" compartment.

A wasp-like tail extension houses magnetic anomaly detection equipment designed to seek out submarines lurking deep below the ocean's surface.Bulbous bug-eye windows-two on each side-peer out from observation stations, sweeping everything below. The new substalking airplane also features an array of advanced sonic equipment to penetrate ocean depths and pinpoint and track submarines.

Admiral Pirie explained that the Orion carries out its antisubmarine in five distinct phases: search, detect, localize, identify and destroy.

Fully pressurized and air-conditioned for maximum crew efficiency on prolonged search missions, the airplane carries a crew of 10. The P3v-l's cruising speed of more than 400 m.p.m. is translated into enroute time half that required by current ASW aircraft. Once over target area, it can fly with perfect controllability at speeds less than 175 m.p.h. for sea-level searches.

"Submarine hunting is one facet of defense in which the hurry-up-and-wait philosophy pays off," Admiral Pirie explained.


Circa 1960

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...HISTORY AND MISSION OF PATROL SQUADRON THIRTY ONE...Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE Disestablishment...26 August 1993...Hanger One... NAS Moffett Field, California..." Contributed by Bob Zafran vpfourever@gmail.com [19JUL99]

HISTORY AND MISSION OF PATROL SQUADRON THIRTY-ONE

VP-31 History




Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE, located in historic Hanger One at NAS Moffett Field is the Fleet Replacement Squadron for Pacific Fleet Maritime Patrol Aviation. "The Black Lightning Camp" is Moffett's largest squadron with an average staff of 80 officers and 620 enlisted personnel. The mission of VP-31 is to train and indoctrinate replacement pilots, Naval Flight Officers, aircrewmen and maintenance personnel in the operation and maintenance of the P-3 aircraft. Building on this highly technical training, Patrol Wings Pacific Fleet squadrons are able to achieve high degrees of combat readiness in a myriad of missions, primarily antisubmarine and antisurface warfare. Over the years, the squadron has flown over 250,000 hours utilizing an average complement of 25 Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft of a variety of configurations including the P-3A, P-3B, TACNAV MOD, and P-3C series updates. More than 10,000 Naval Aviators and a combined 35,000 aircrewmen and maintenance personnel have been trained since inception 33 years ago.

The squadron was commissioned as the Combat Replacement Patrol Squadron for the Pacific Fleet in June 1960 at Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, CA. Limited training was initiated soon thereafter, and by the early fall of 1960, the " Genie " staff of 20 officers and 300 enlisted, enlightened with the Anti-Submarine Warfare "Lamp of Knowledge ", were fully engaged in training fleet replacement pilots, naval flight officers, aircrew, and maintenance personnel in the operation and tactical utilization of the P-2V "Neptune " landplane and the P-5M "Marlin" seaplane.

With the introduction of the Lockheed P-3 "Orion", VP-31 Detachment "Alpha" was established in January, 1963 at NAS Moffett Field, CA. As the majority of the fleet squadrons became outfitted with the newer aircraft, the Moffett Detachment was redesignated as Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE in January 1967.

The North Island operation was then given detachment status, phased out training in the P -5 , and discontinued training in the P-2 aircraft in late 1969. During its decade at North Island, VP-31 trained more than 2,000 pilots, 700 naval flight officers and a combined 10,600 aircrewmen and maintenance personnel. Approximately 90,000 flight hours were accumulated this period.

Since then, at Moffett Field, "Black Lightnings instructors have trained over 7,300 aviation officers, 10,300 enlisted aircrew, and 14,300 maintenance personnel.

In the summer of 1970, the Fleet Readiness Aviation Maintenance Personnel (FRAMP) Department was established at VP-31 to provide familiarization and practical job training for more than 550 Aviation Structural Mechanic Mates, Aviation Machinist's Mates, Aviation Electrician' s Mates, Aviation Ordnancemen and Aviation Electronics Technicians annually.

In 1975 a Chief of Naval Operations sponsored project called Instructional Systems Development (ISD) was established. Under the direction of VP-31, the programs designed to restructure Maritime Patrol training by employing state-of-the-art instructional techniques and training devices. With the program ' s successful implementation in September of 1978, the command was designated the Instructional Systems Model Manager for Maritime Patrol squadrons nation-wide. Also during this period, the Chief of Naval Operations designated VP-31 as the NATOPS Model Manager for all P-3 aircraft. As such, squadron NATOPS officers, representing Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC), travel throughout the Pacific conducting annual standardization inspection visits to each operational Maritime Patrol squadron.

VP-31 has had a prolific history of international Maritime Patrol Aviation training. The squadron has trained thousands of armed forces aviators, aircrewmen and maintenance personnel from the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Canada, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Korea, Thailand, Greece, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. In addition, to training fleet replacement personnel, VP-31, on numerous occasions, provided logistical support for deployed squadrons and transportation for extended flights to the Weste rn Pacific for the Chief of Naval Operation and Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. VP-31 has been honored to host past Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, and State Congressmen.

Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE has been the recipient of many awards for excellence in training and safety. These include the CINCPACFLT FY73 Golden Anchor Award for excellence in career motivation and retention, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal in 1983, the COMNAVAIRPAC Safety Award in 1984, the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon for 1987-1988, and special recognition in 1989 for executing over 150,000 hours of accident free flying during the previous 18 years.

Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE will officially close on November 1, 1993, at which time all training operations will have been shifted to Patrol Squadron THIRTY, NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

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