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HistoryVP-4 HistoryHistory

Circa 2009

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Hawaii Sailors Return to Kaneohe - Printed with Permission..." WebSite: KHNO2 http://www.khon2.com/ [01JUN2009]

The air in hanger 105 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii was thick with anticipation. Sailors of Patrol Squadron Four were coming home.

And as the plane's cabin doors opened...Many couldn't contain their excitement.

"Look there's Daddy," pointed out Lora Hill to her daughter Lilliana.

Some of the Sailors greeted their wives and children with hugs and kisses after spending 7 months apart.

But for one of mans best friends.... the wait was long enough. It took just a second before 2 year-old Boxer, Sydney, slobbered her man, Naval Flight Officer James Garcia with kisses too.

"It was great, I didn't know what the reaction was going to be like, but obviously it's pretty memorable," said Lt. Garcia.

For Lt. Garcia, Sydney is his only family in Hawaii.

"Very emotional, very, I mean she's my daughter," he said.

But the months apart were made easier thanks to a program called "Pets of Patriots".

"James didn't have any other family here to take care of Sydney while he was gone," said Karen Huston.

That's where Rick and Karen Huston stepped in.

"I think it's something that gets overlooked," said Karen.

But not to them... the couple volunteered to become temporary foster parents for Sydney thru the Hawaiian Humane Society.

"She took to us very well, she's a great dog, so we said yeah we'll take her," said Rick Huston.

And from day one they sent letters and pictures to Lt. Garcia assuring him Sydney was in good hands.

"They took her in like she was their own dog and I had nothing to worry about on deployment and it is great to have them here and she ended up perfect," said Lt. Garcia. "She looks gorgeous."

Making for a homecoming these two will never forget.

"It was great I've been waiting 7 months to see her again," said Lt. Garcia. "A good welcome home.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S. Navy, NATO Complete Noble Manta '09 Exercise - Release Date: Mar 02, 2009 - Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan P. Idle..." WebSite: United States European Command http://www.eucom.mil/ [03MAR2009]

SIGONELLA, Sicily — The U.S. Navy and seven NATO allies completed the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise Noble Manta '09 Feb. 27 in the Ionian Sea off the eastern coast of Sicily.

The exercise was conducted from Feb. 13-27 and was a cooperative effort facilitated by NATO assets in conjunction with Command Task Force 67 and included six submarines, 10 surface ships and 13 aircraft from countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Canada.

The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate NATO's determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine, anti-surface and coastal surveillance operations using a multinational force of ships, submarines and aircraft. The exercise also provided operational training in potential NATO Response Force (NRF) tasks/roles and missions, exercising the procedures for possible NRF operations as well as defense against terrorism.

"We had some friendly subs and some surface vessels," said U.S. Navy Lt. Erik Sword, a naval flight officer with VP-4 stationed at MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. "We were involved and the other NATO forces had their air assets out there as well. So, it was a lot of detect and deter type missions for submarines to either keep the battle group safe or just go out and detect subs that may or may not have been there."

Noble Manta offered service members from different nations a chance to work alongside many of their NATO counterparts.

"It's good exposure for us to get over here and represent Canada, reinforce our role in aviation community and work with our NATO allies," said Canadian Cpl. Tim Johnston, an aviation systems technician with the 14th Air Maintenance Squadron stationed in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada. "The support that we have received from the other has been excellent. We're all on the same team here, and we have the same goal in mind."


Circa 2008

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraAircrew Wings "...Wings Oof Gold Awarded To New Aircrew by LT Phillip Sautter - VP-30 Public Affairs Officer (VP-1, VP-4, VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-30, VP-16, VP-40 and VP-46. ) - Thursday, October 9, 2008..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://adserver1.harvestadsdepot.com/jaxairnews/ss/jaxairnews/ [09OCT2008]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraCDR Johansson "...VP-4 Commanding Officer - CDR MICHAEL H. JOHANSSON..." WebSite: VP-4 http://www.vp4.navy.mil [17JUL2008]

Commander Michael "Jake" Johansson, a native of Williamson, New York, joined the Navy in 1980. His first nine years of service were as an In-Flight Aviation Electronics Technician (AT) with tours in Patrol Squadron FORTY and Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN. He received his Bachelors Degree from Troy University and received his Naval Flight Officer Wings in 1991.

After completion of Fleet Replacement Squadron training at Patrol Squadron THIRTY-ONE Moffett Field, California, CDR Johansson reported to the Screaming Eagles of Patrol Squadron ONE Barbers Point, Hawaii. He deployed to Misawa, Japan, Diego Garcia, and Adak, Alaska serving as Legal Officer, Avionics Branch Officer, Aviation Systems Warfare Operator Division Officer and Training Officer. He qualified as Instructor Navigator, Tactical Coordinator, Mission Commander, and NATOPS Evaluator.

CDR Johansson was next assigned to DCNO Plans, Policy and Operations as Staff Operations/Plans Officer and Officer in Charge of OPNAVSUPACT Ft. Ritchie, MD (SITE R). As OIC he refurbished the OPNAV portion of SITE R ensuring connectivity with the CJCS and other principals. As CINCCENT Operations Action Officer he coordinated with the Joint Staff for naval planning for Operation DESERT STRIKE and other contingencies, coordinated the naval planning for multiple OPLANs and represented OPNAV for the planning and execution of world-wide Command Post Exercises.

In 1998, CDR Johansson reported as Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel and Administration and Flag Secretary to Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group EIGHT/Commander, EISENHOWER Battle Group. He subsequently served as Flag Lieutenant and completed two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf in support of operations in Kosovo and Iraq.

CDR Johansson was then assigned to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Pacific as Current Operations Officer. He managed operations and a $34 million flight hour budget for four operational squadrons as well as the Executive Transport Division of COMPACFLT. He was the Force operations officer during the USS GREENVILLE/Ehime Maru SAR effort as well as the VQ-l emergency landing at Linshui Airbase, China.

Following P-3 refresher training in December 2001, CDR Johansson reported to Patrol Squadron FORTY SEVEN as the Training Officer. From February to May 2003 he was OIC of detachment KILO, flying combat missions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and IRAQI FREEDOM. Subsequently he assumed duties as the squadron Operations Officer and Executive Assistant to the Commanding Officer.

CDR Johansson served as Naval Aide to the Vice President of the United States from June 2004 to November 2006 prior to reporting to Patrol Squadron FOUR, where he currently serves as the Commanding Officer.

He has accumulated over 4600 hours in the P-3 Orion. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards, 1 Combat V), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards) as well as various other unit and service awards.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraCDR Thomas "...VP-4 Executive Officer - CDR JACK THOMAS..." WebSite: VP-4 http://www.vp4.navy.mil [17JUL2008]

Commander Jack Thomas is a native of San Diego, California. He was commissioned in the United States Navy upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1991. After completing flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida and Mather AFB, California, Commander Thomas was designated a Naval Flight Officer and reported to VP-31 at NAS Moffett Field, California for initial training in the P-3 Orion aircraft.

After VP-31 Commander Thomas reported to the Golden Eagles of VP-9 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. In this tour, Commander Thomas deployed to Diego Garcia, BIOT and Misawa, Japan with detachments to nineteen different countries. His jobs during this tour were Armament/Ordnance Branch Officer, Communications Officer, Schedules Officer and NFO NATOPS Officer. Commander Thomas' first shore tour was at Pacific Fleet Headquarters aboard NS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as the Administrative Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policy, and Operations and then as the Aide to the Deputy Commander-in-Chief. In 1997 Commander Thomas reported to Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California and graduated two years later with a Masters of Science degree in Operations Research. He received the Military Operations Research Society's Tisdale Award and the Superintendent's Award for outstanding graduate research for his work in hydrologic optics, sensor theory and computational modeling. Returning to sea in 1999, Commander Thomas was assigned as the Navigator of USS ESSEX in San Diego, California. In 2000, the crew of ESSEX swapped ships with the Japan-based crew of USS BELLEAU WOOD and brought the "Big Dog" back to San Diego where Commander Thomas served as the Assistant Selective Repair Availability Officer, responsible for over $70M worth of repairs and modifications made to the ship.

Returning to Maritime Patrol Aviation in 2001, Commander Thomas reported to the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii after refresher training at VP-30 in NAS Jacksonville, Florida. In this Department Head tour, Commander Thomas served as the Tactics and Operations Officers as well as deployed Detachment Officer-in-Charge during a Misawa, Japan deployment, flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Philippines and Joint Taskforce 515. In 2004, Commander Thomas reported to the Director of Air Warfare, Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N88) at the Pentagon as the Deputy P-3/P-8A Requirements Officer. He was responsible for over $7B in sustainment and recapitalization accounts, including funding for the P-8A program through the System Design and Development phase.

Prior to arriving as the Executive Officer of VP-4, Commander Thomas graduated from the National War College in Washington, DC with a Masters of Science degree in National Security Strategy.

Commander Thomas is authorized to wear the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards) as well as various unit and service awards.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Johansson is Commanding Officer for Patrol Squadron 4..." WebSite: Courier-Gazette http://www.cgazette.com/ [17JUL2008]

Navy Cmdr. Michael Johansson, son of Elaine and Harold Johansson of Williamson, has assumed the duties and responsibilities of the commanding officer assigned to VP-4, MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Prior to assuming command, Johansson served in various shore and sea billets including Training Officer, VP-47, MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Naval aide to the Vice President, Washington, DC; and executive officer, VP-4.

Johansson's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with one Combat 'V' for valor.

Johansson is a 1980 graduate of Williamson High School. He joined the Navy in 1980.

He is a 1989 graduate of Troy State University, in Alabama.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "... FOL Comalapa Personnel Serve Salvadoran Community - Story Number: NNS080520-30 - Release Date: 5/20/2008 4:39:00 PM - From Forward Operating Location Comalapa Public Affairs. (VP-4, VP-40 and CMO-2)..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [18JUN2008]

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- Service members and PAE contractors from Forward Operating Location (FOL) Comalapa, completed two community relations projects May 16-17, to build partner relations with their host country.

The service members were from VP-4, VP-40 and CMO-2.

On May 16, FOL Comalapa personnel worked together to raise a water tower to provide water pressure for the El Salamar Elementary and Middle School in Comalapa. The project will benefit the 500 students who attend the school. This particular place was chosen because the students are not able to use the lavatory in the schoolhouse.

The event kicked off with the students singing the El Salvadoran National Anthem and entertaining service members with various dances. FOL Comalapa commanding officer Cmdr. Charles Groves and PAE program manager Jose Peralta presented the school a $200 check to fund the project. The service members did the work to give back to the El Salvadoran community and improve relations between the U.S. and El Salvador.

"It was great to help out the school with obtaining the supplies they needed to have proper lavatories in the building," said Chief Yeoman (SW/AW) Byron L. Shambley, FOL Comalapa administrative officer. "Seeing the kids smiling faces lets all of us know how much they appreciated the assistance. It felt great to make a difference in the community and solidifying even more the great relationship that we have worked so hard to establish."

The following day, FOL Comalapa service members built a home for a family in need in San Luis Talpa, a town near the FOL. The project was part of the Habitat for Humanity organization, which helps build new homes for families in need. The service members, who spent four weeks building the house, were grateful for the opportunity to help a needy family.

"This was a great humanitarian project to help a family desperately in need of a house and to enhance our relationship with the local community," said Shambley. "Knowing that a family is in need and having the opportunity to provide some manual labor was gratifying for us all."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Wings of Gold Thumbnail "...Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group - RADM Brian C. Prindle, USN. Wings of Gold - Spring 2008 - Page 6-8. (Squadrons/Wings Referenced: VP-62, VP-69, VQ-1, VQ-2, VPU-1, VPU-2, VP-1, VP-4, VP-5, VP-8, VP-9, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-30, VP-40, VP-45, VP-46, VP-47, CPRW-2, CPRW-5, CPRW-10 and CPRW-11..." WebSite: Association of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/index.htm [23APR2008]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NSC Kicks Off First S2SS Panel - Story Number: NNS080215-05 - Release Date: 2/15/2008 8:32:00 AM - By April Phillips, Naval Safety Center Public Affairs..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [26FEB2008]

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Naval Safety Center (NSC) coordinated the fleet's first Sailor-to-Sailor Safety (S2SS) panel at a conference held at NSC Headquarters Feb. 12.

The panel gave young, first-term enlisted Sailors a chance to offer feedback on ways to reduce mishaps on- and off-duty.

"The smart man learns from his mistakes," said Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson, commander, Naval Safety Center. "The wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

Johnson told eight Sailors who were selected from applications received from across the fleet that their willingness to share their personal experiences could very well save the lives of others.

Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Airman (NAC) Seth Sickels, stationed at VP-4 in Hawaii, was selected for the program because he's made it his mission to deglamorize the use of alcohol and reduce alcohol-related incidents.

After being convicted of driving under the influence, he began attending alcohol education classes and using his firsthand knowledge to provide training to more than 300 Sailors at his command. He said he hopes to spread the word throughout the Navy through the S2SS program.

"I want everyone to know that it's not worth it," he said. "Not being able to drive is one thing and it's a hassle, but I could have killed someone. I don't know how anyone lives with that."

Sickels has given out his cell phone number to shipmates and told them to call if they know someone who's thinking about driving after drinking.

"I've had people call me at four in the morning and tell me to talk their friend out of driving. I tell them what I went through, and usually they decide not to get on the road," Sickels said.

Besides sharing their own experiences in areas such as motorcycle safety, the dangers of complacency and automobile safety, the panelists are discussing operational risk management (ORM). They are also providing feedback on how ORM operates in the fleet and how it is received by young Sailors. The panel is also reviewing NSC products, services and offering their opinions on how to makes these more relevant to their generation.

"You guys are on the cutting edge of something quite different," said Johnson. "This will benefit your friends, your organization and the Navy as a whole."

The S2SS conference finished up Feb. 14. NSC plans to host these conferences twice a year.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "... NFL Hosts Military Appreciation Day - Story Number: NNS080213-12 - Release Date: 2/13/2008 2:19:00 PM -By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael A. Lantron, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [26FEB2008]

HONOLULU (NNS) -- The National Football League (NFL) hosted a Military Appreciation Day and Military Pro Bowl Challenge for Hawaii-based service members and their families Feb. 8 as part of the 2008 Pro Bowl Football Festival held at Kapiolani Park.

Military Appreciation Day provided military personnel and their families an opportunity to experience the NFL with interactive games, free autographs, photos, live music, and souvenirs, while the Military Pro Bowl Challenge pitted service members of all branches of the military against each other in friendly football competition.

"The military is a huge part of the volunteers for the Pro Bowl, so we give them a day to thank them for what they do for us and the nation," said Ian Mayne, 2008 NFL Pro Bowl festival coordinator.

The 2008 Pro Bowl all-star players and cheerleaders autograph and photo session was a highlight of the day's events.

"It was amazing to see people line up two hours before the autographs started, the people were really into it," said Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW/SW) Wayne Johnson, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1.

People of all ages had an opportunity to practice like the players, taking part in a quarterback challenge, field goal kicking, football running drills and a 40-yard dash.

"It was fun to watch the military children take part in the events, especially the running and kicking," said Johnson. "The NFL really made today an all-family event."

Late in the afternoon, crowds of fans watched as the Military Pro Bowl Challenge began with the Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Marine Corps sending out six-man teams of Hawaii-based service members to compete in a gridiron football-skills contest. The contest included a 40-yard dash relay race, field goal kicking, punting, long-snapping and passing.

During the contest, Navy finished first in long-snapping, third in the relay race, fourth in field goal kicking and passing, and fifth in punting.

As the final whistle blew, the Air Force team was declared the overall winner for the competition. The Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard and the Navy finished in second, third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

"We came together, gave it our best and that's all that matters. The result was disappointing, but I think we did well," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Ronnie Robinson.

The Military Pro Bowl Challenge and Military Appreciation Day were two of several events sponsored by the NFL during Pro Bowl week in Hawaii. This year marked the 29th consecutive Pro Bowl to take place at Aloha Stadium, in which the National Football Conference defeated the American Football Conference by a score of 42-30.

Representing the Navy team was Robinson, Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Jesus Cruz, both assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24; Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Antonio Watts, assigned to Combined Maintenance Organization 2; Torpedoman's Mate 2nd Class Marcus Vital, Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 3rd Class Jeremy Winkfield, both assigned to Naval Munitions Command, Pearl Harbor Detachment; and Personnel Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Michael Bemley, assigned to VP-4.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera080209-N-2392S-032 COMALAPA, El Salvador (Feb. 9, 2008) "...Sailors from Forward Operating Location Comalapa and personnel from Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4), Patrol Squadron 46 (VP-46), and Combined Maintenance Organization (CMO) 2 work to complete one of three Habitat for Humanity homes in Olocuilta. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Studdard (Released)..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [17FEB2008]


Circa 2007

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Photograph Gallery..." WebSite: VP-8 http://www.vp4.navy.mil/ [09MAR2008]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Command Structure..." WebSite: VP-4 http://www.vp4.navy.mil/ [30APR2007]

History ThumbnailCameraCO - CDR Wade D. Turvold Commander Wade D. Turvold was raised in Aiea, Hawaii. He attended the United States Naval Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in May 1989, graduating with Merit. After completing flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida and Mather AFB, California, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer in August 1990. Commander Turvold then completed initial P-3 training in VP-31, at NAS Moffett Field, California.

Following this training, Commander Turvold reported to VP-6 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii in March 1991. He served as Public Affairs Officer and Legal Officer while attached to VP-6. During this tour, Commander Turvold deployed to NAS Adak, Alaska and NAF Misawa, Japan and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan. Following the decommissioning of VP-6 in March, 1993, Commander Turvold reported to VP-9, also based at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. While assigned to VP-9, Commander Turvold completed a NSF Diego Garcia and Masirah, Oman deployment, and served as Readiness Officer and NFO NATOPS Officer. During this tour, he participated in peacekeeping operations in Somalia.

In July 1994, Commander Turvold reported to VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. While assigned to VP-30 he served as the NFO Schedules Officer, Fleet NATOPS Primary NFO Evaluator, and NFO Training Officer.

Commander Turvold reported to the United States SIXTH Fleet Staff in July 1997, embarked in USS LASALLE (AGF 3), homeported in Gaeta, Italy. There he served as the Assistant Undersea Warfare Officer, Maritime Patrol Aircraft Operations Officer and Assistant Submarine Operations Officer while deployed to the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Commander Turvold also performed duties as Operations Division Officer, Admiral's Barge Officer, and served as Battle Watch Officer during the Kosovo conflict.

Commander Turvold reported to the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in August 1999, graduating with Distinction in June 2000. There he earned a Masters Degree in National Defense and Security Affairs. Following this tour, he underwent P-3 refresher training at VP-30.

In December 2000, Commander Turvold joined VP-47 based at MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where he served as the Tactics Officer, Training Officer and Operations Officer. While at VP-47, he completed two deployments, one to NSF Diego Garcia, NSA Bahrain, Oman, and Masirah, Oman, and the second to NAF Misawa, Japan and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In February 2003, Commander Turvold became the Weapons Tactics Unit Officer in Charge for Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, serving in VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

In April 2005, Commander Turvold assumed the duties as Executive Officer, VP-4 while deployed to NSA Bahrain, Oman.

His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with three Gold Stars), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with two Gold Stars), and numerous unit and campaign awards.

History ThumbnailCameraXO - CDR Leonard Reed Raised in Gambrills, Maryland, Commander Reed graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and Political Science. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1992.

Following initial P-3C Orion training, Commander Reed reported to VP-23 in Brunswick, Maine. He served as Power Plants Branch Officer and First Lieutenant Division Officer, deploying to NAS Keflavik, Iceland, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and NAS Sigonella, Sicily. Following VP-23's decommissioning, he reported to VP-11, where he served as Aviation Safety Officer, Pilot NATOPS Officer and Maintenance Officer until VP-11's decommissioning in October 1996.

In November 1996, he reported to the staff of CPW-5. He served as Wing Safety/NATOPS Officer and Tactical Support Center Watch Officer.

In May 1998, he reported onboard USS KITTY HAWK in San Diego, California. He served as Operations Administration Officer and qualified Officer of the Deck and Combat Direction Center Watch Officer. Following KITTY HAWK's homeport change to Yokosuka, Japan, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf and throughout East Asia.

In February 2000, he was assigned to the P-3C VP-30 in NAS Jacksonville, Florida, serving as an Instructor Pilot and the Weapons and Tactics Unit (WTU) Weapons and Tactics Division Officer.

In June 2001, Commander Reed joined the "Mad Foxes" of VP-5, where he served as Safety/NATOPS Officer and Operations Officer, completing deployments to NAS Sigonella, Sicily and NS Roosevelt Roads, PR.

In October 2003, he reported to the Staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving as an Air and Maritime Reconnaissance Operations Officer and National Military Command Center Briefing Officer.

Commander Reed reported to VP-4 in March 2006, where is currently serving as the Executive Officer.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (with three Gold Stars), Navy Achievement Medal (with two Gold Stars) and various unit and service awards.

History ThumbnailCameraCMC - Dave Bisson Command Master Chief Dave Bisson, born in Prosser, Washington in 1958, enlisted in the Navy, July 1976. He attended Boot Camp and OS "A" school in Great Lakes, Illinois. His first duty station was USS RODGER (DD-876), homeported in Portland, Oregon. During his four-year tour, Master Chief Bisson advanced to the rate of Second Class Petty Officer. Master Chief Bisson opted to pursue work in the civilian job market for the next seven years.

In 1987, Master Chief Bisson returned to the Navy and reported to USS DUNCAN (FFG-10), homeported in Long Beach, Ca., where he advanced to Operations Specialist First Class and earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification.

Master Chief Bisson reported to USS ELLIOT (DD-967), homeported in San Diego, where he used his air controller (ATACO) training during two western Pacific deployments. He also volunteered to augment commander, Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) SEVEN during USS RANGER's last western Pacific deployment. It was during this cruise when he was initiated into the Chief Petty Officer community.

In 1993, Master Chief Bisson was assigned to the Fleet Anti-submarine Warfare Training Center, where he was an ATACO Instructor. In 1996, Master Chief Bisson completed a four-year tour onboard USS MOUNT VERNON (LSD-39), homeported in San Diego, where he was advanced to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.

In 2000, he returned to the Fleet Anti-submarine Warfare Training Center San Diego, CA where he was the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Tactical Training Department and STG "A" school. He later graduated from the Air Force Senior Enlisted Academy and advanced to Master Chief Petty Officer in March 2001.

He was selected for the Command Master Chief program in October 2001 and in January 2002 reported to USS SIDES, homeported in San Diego. After decommissioning USS SIDES in February 2003, he attended the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy as well as the CMC Pilot Course, from March to May 2003.

In June 2003, Master Chief Bisson reported to NAS Fallon, Nevada as the Command Master Chief, where he is served until March 2006. He reported to VP-4 in March 2006, where he is currently serving as Command Master Chief.

Master Chief Bisson's decorations include Enlisted Surface Warfare, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy Achievement Medal (four awards), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon (three awards), Good Conduct Medal (five awards), Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (two awards), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asian Service Medal (two awards) and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (five awards).

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera070329-N-0260R-002 POHANG, Republic of Korea (March 27, 2007) "...U.S. Navy Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander, Lt. Colleen Stephens of vp4.html">VP-4, monitors maritime contact data while on a flight over the coast of the Republic of Korea during Exercise Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration/Foal Eagle 2007 (RSO&I/FE 07). RSO&I is an annual combined field training exercise to demonstrate resolve in support of the Republic of Korea (ROK) against external aggression while improving ROK-U.S. combined interoperability. Emphasis is placed on strategic, operational and tactical aspects of military operations in the Korean peninsula. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brandon Raile (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=44636 [13APR2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera070213-N-0641S-067 Okinawa, Japan (Feb. 13, 2007) "...Airman Richard England of Salt Lake City, Utah, rinses off the underside of a P-3C Orion assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. VP-4 is home-based in MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and is currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason C. Swink (REALEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=43162 [04MAR2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera070209-N-0641S-125 Okinawa, Japan (Feb. 9, 2007) "...Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Jaime Ty places a protective cover on one of the engine nacels of a P-3C Orion, assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. VP-4 is home-based in Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base Hawaii and is currently on deployment to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason C. Swink (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=43029 [13FEB2007]


Circa 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraPetty Officer 2nd Class Cathryn J. Martens "...Sailor reenlists in shark cage - MCB Hawaii - By Lance Cpl. Edward C. deBree - Story identification #: 2006818185846 - MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII(Aug. 18, 2006)..." WebSite: U. S. Marines http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/9D1891D6F2757869852571CE007E3AFE?opendocument [19AUG2006]

Photograph Caption: Petty Officer 2nd Class Cathryn J. Martens, administration clerk, Patrol Squadron 4, reenlists as sharks swim around. Martens, a 21-yeard old Rossford, Ohio native, chose to reenlist within a shark cage in order to make her ceremony memorable. Photo by: Photo Courtesy of Petty Officer 2nd Class Cathryn J. Martens. Photo ID: 2006818191841. Submitting Unit: MCB Hawaii. Photo Date:08/05/2006

Some service members hold their reenlistment ceremonies in front of a memorial to honor the history and tradition of their branch of service. Some hold their ceremony at a particular location that holds a meaning for that person. For one petty officer, holding a reenlistment ceremony the traditional way was not enough.

On Aug. 5, Petty Officer 2nd Class Cathryn J. Martens, administration clerk, Patrol Squadron 4, chose to hold her reenlistment ceremony in the waters of North Shore surrounded by sharks.

"Some one recently chose to hold their ceremony while skydiving, I chose the water," said Martens, a Rossford, Ohio native. "It's our decision to hold the ceremony however we please. Some choose to have them simple and others have them extreme. I had to be different from everybody else and make it fun and memorable. Might as well make reenlisting worthwhile."

As the shark cage was set, Martens and three other Sailors lowered themselves into the cage ready to commence her reenlistment.

With scuba gear on and a high level of excitement as sharks swam around the cage, eating any little piece of food that is thrown out to attract them closer, Martens raised her right hand and repeated the mumbled the words of Lt. Robert Ward, the observing officer, whom Martens said seemed a little terrified to enter the water as six-foot sharks circled the boat.

After repeating the oath, Martens signed a laminated contract with an oil pen to foreclose the ceremony, ending what Martens said was a very memorable moment.

"When I called my dad and told him what I did, he said I was crazy," said the 21-year-old. "He also said it was good going on my part to make things a little bit different though. He also said that was one way for me not to run away from reenlistment."

After graduating high school, Martens decided to join the military in order to get a chance to travel around the world. She chose the Navy due to the high number of technical jobs that the Navy offers, which she said would give her the basics of a variety of civilian jobs for when she decides to depart from her military service.

Since joining the Navy, Martens has been to Misawa, Japan and Bahrain, which Martens said was a complete culture shock to her.

"Bahrain has so many different types of cultures," she said. "Over there you get to work with the British and the Australians. For me, I gained a lot from working with different types of people. It was a good experience."

When first joining the Navy, Martens father, Ronald Martens, and step mother, Christen Martens, were completely supportive in her decision. Both of whom have seen a better change in their daughter.

"One of the first things they have noticed was that I have more respect for authority," said Martens, the youngest of six siblings. "I now have a different insight on the world rather than the little home town feeling, which I came from."

Martens is currently working on achieving her Bachelor's Degree in Business, which she feels is no different from her current job.

"My job is basically a lot of paperwork," said Martens. "I figured I should major in something that I know and do everyday. All I do everyday is work and homework, and that is what is going to get me ahead when I get out."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Military Briefs - Posted on Mon, Apr. 03, 2006..." WebSite: Harold.Com http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/local/14250720.htm [04APR2006]

Waiting for permission to post entire article.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...From The Fleet - VP-4 - The Skinny Dragons - By LT(jg) Brandon Heironimus - Wings of Gold - Winter 2005/06 Page 69..." WebSite: Association Of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/ [23MAR2006]

Patrol Squadron traces its history to pre-WWII. The squadron participated in numerous events that defined our nation's history and shaped our future.

The first VP-4 was established in 1928, based in NAS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Re-designated VP-22 in 1938, the squadron was nearly destroyed during the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941. The squadron was reformed, refitted and summoned to duty. After losing all but one aircraft in the defense of the Philippines, VP-4/VP-22 was disestablished.

In 1943, a new squadron, VP-144, was established in NAS Alameda, California. It continued to conduct combat and reconnaissance operations throughout the Pacific Theater. Following the war, VP-144 was demobilized and existed only administratively at NAS Miramar, California. During this two year period the squadron was re-designated VP-4 and mobilized. It received the Navy's newest patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P2V Neptune and moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington in 1947. These events mark the birth of the squadron as we know it today.

In 1956, VP-4 relocated to NAF Naha, Okinawa, Japan, flying reconnaissance and ASW missions against the Communist Chinese threat to the islands of Matsu and Quemoy.

VP-4 returned to its original home in Hawaii in 1966 and transitioned to the P-3A Orion. It made numerous combat deployments in the Vietnam War. In 1972, adding to many awards already earned, VP-4 received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its performance in Market Time and Yankee Station operations. The squadron participated in the evacuation of South Vietnam and later, in the Mayaguez recovery operations.

VP-4 deployed to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines; NSF Diego Garcia; NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan and NAF Misawa, Japan; NAS Adak, Alaska and other remote sites. It located, tracked and collected vital intelligence on Soviet ballistic missile and attack submarines.

In the late 1980s VP-4 surpassed the 100,000 hour mishap free milestone. Operating from NSF Diego Garcia in 1990, the Skinny Dragons established a detachment in Masirah, Oman to enforce the UN embargo against Iraq during Operation Desert Shield. By early 1991, they logged 179 missions and challenged 3,669 merchant vessels. Subsequently, VP-4 flew 279 combat missions in support of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

In 1993, VP-4 deployed to AB Misawa, Japan, and established a permanent detachment in NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan. The squadron flew around the clock for 17 straight days during the People's Republic of China-Taiwan Crisis providing intelligence support and protection against anti-surface and subsurface threats to Nimitz and Independence battle groups.

In 1997, VP-4 completed a quad-site deployment to NSF Diego Garcia, Masirah, Oman, and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan. Skinny Dragon aircrew and maintenance personnel conducted the first armed detachment from Doha, Qatar, flying 21 consecutive days with weapons and exercised the first 24hour armed ready alert MPA posture in the Arabian Gulf.

In 1998, VP-4 deployed to six sites in the Middle East and flew in Operations Desert Fox and Southern Watch. It also participated in Operations Allied Force/ Noble Anvil in Kosovo.

The Skinny Dragons were detached to 13 Pacific Rim countries in 2000 and participated in 27 multi-national exercises. They also helped save 22 lives in SAR operations.

After 9/11 VP-4 operated in Afghan flying armed reconnaissance missions. In the Middle East the squadron conducted Leadership Interdiction Operations in the first days of what has now become the Global War on Terrorism. The squadron played a pivotal role in Operation Anaconda, the largest in-country land battle to that date. Over water, aircrews were instrumental in operations to intercept and cut -off fleeing Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters.

In 2003 VP-4 supported Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines in the struggle against AI-Qaeda backed terrorists, conveying real-time intelligence to on scene commanders pursuing terrorists involved in the bombing of night clubs in Bali.

VP-4 most recently from performed extensive patrol and reconnaissance duty, primarily in the far Pacific and in various danger zones. Now in the 33rd year of mishap-free flying, with over 210,400 flight hours, the highly decorated Skinny Dragons of VP-4 remain emboldened by their motto, "Pride and Excellence."

VP-4's XO is CDR Wade D. Turvold.

The CO is CDR Steven G. Bethke

Waiting for permission to post entire article.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Submarine 'hunts' Navy ships - Posted on: Friday, February 24, 2006 - By William Cole - Advertiser Military Writer - The HonoluluAdvertiser.com http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060224/NEWS01/602240340/1001/NEWS..." [26FEB2006]

Waiting for permission to post entire article.


Circa 2005

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Be Sure to Read Between the Lines - By AE2 Ron Ellis - Mech Spring 2005..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/MEDIA/mech/issues/spring05/besure.htm [27JUN2006]

I had checked into my new command six months earlier. As a prior aviation electrician's mate collateral-duty inspector with more than six years of experience, I felt comfortable with my knowledge of the P-3C platform.

That comfort level led to this mishap.

It was a normal day. We were asked to assist the AMEs in reading out the electrical continuity to a primary cartridge-actuated device (CAD) for the engine fire-extinguishing system. They had replaced No. 1 primary CAD, and the maintenance manual requires a check of the system following installation.

I was inexperienced with this task, so I asked another electrician to guide me through the process. We went to the aircraft with the maintenance manual and the test set and connected the equipment, following the manual.

My first big mistake was adhering only to the steps related to the portion of the system being checked. In my haste, I disregarded a WARNING statement that read, "Failure to remove all cables can result in accidental activation of CAD."

Unlike most electrical systems, the CAD system is designed with an alternate path, which is activated upon loss of power to the primary path. I pulled the circuit breakers for the engines I was testing, but I didn't disconnect the harness leads. I effectively had prepared the system to fire off as soon as I tried to read the circuit.

I looked at it from an electrical standpoint: "Securing the circuit breaker to the alternate system would prevent the CAD from being energized," I thought. So I pulled the breakers and skipped ahead in the book to the steps I thought would test the system.

Bam! The explosive device (CAD) in the No. 2 extinguishing bottle suddenly activated and routed extinguishing agent to the No. 1 motor via the transfer circuitry.

I immediately stopped my work, secured aircraft power, and went into maintenance control to report the mishap. Quality assurance was notified expeditiously, and an investigation was conducted. The QA team concluded that my disregard of the warning, e.g., skipping an important step in the maintenance manual, directly led to the mishap.

It sounds basic, but I'll say it again: There is a reason for the WARNING notations written in our publications. People in the past have made similar mistakes that have caused loss of life and equipment. Under no circumstances should any step in a manual ever be disregarded for any reason.

Trust me: If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.

AE2 Ron Ellis is attached to VP-4 at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Seventh Fleet units help in tsunami relief operations - U.S. Seventh Fleet public affairs..." WebSite: Skywriter https://www.atsugi.navy.mil/skywriter/2005/7Jan05/page2.html [02MAR2006]

As directed by U.S. Pacific Fleet, Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet is providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the governments of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other affected nations to mitigate the effects of the recent earthquakes and tsunamis.

The ships of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group, and the ships of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, will be diverted to the affected areas to conduct humanitarian relief operations.

As well, P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft from VP-8 and elements of VP-4, based at NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan have been deployed in support of search and rescue operations in the area, operating out of U-Tapao, Thailand.

The P-3's long range and long loiter time capability is an invaluable asset for search and rescue operations as it can view a large area and rapidly provide that information to regional Rescue Coordination Centers. While not able to physically rescue a survivor from the water, the P-3's communications suite and abilities to stay on station, survey for long periods of time, and deploy life rafts in the vicinity of any survivors make it an important component of any search and rescue operation.

Seventh Fleet is prepared to provide an assortment of assets, including ships, aircraft and personnel, to respond as required by higher authority. The U.S. Navy is well equipped and trained for these situations. Because of that, when called upon, units have the capabilities to deliver assistance to areas of the world that need it.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraU.S. Navy photo by PH3 Sarah Coates "...Patrol Squadron 4 returns - Release Date: 6/16/2005..." WebSite: Hawaii Navy News http://www.hawaii.navy.mil/NewsPAO/NRHNews_display.asp?story_id=166 [08DEC2005]

Photograph Caption: Lt. Terry Wise, assigned to VP-4 at MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, reunites with his two sons after a six-month deployment.

After a six-month deployment to the Middle East and Japan, the last of VP-4 returned home to MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on June 13.

VP-4 was forward deployed to NSA Bahrain and NAF Misawa, Japan. They also had detachments on station in Khandahar, Afganistan; Kadina, Japan and Djibouti.

Personnelman Second Class Dawn Achane said, "The squadron was spread out between all the detachment sites and we rotated every two months."

The squadron was involved in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom by supporting surface ships and ground troops. They also contributed numerous man-hours to the tsunami relief efforts.

During missions, the squadron activities included submarine detection and tracking, surface surveillance, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and search and rescue operations.

The first plane arrived at MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on May 21, carrying more than 40 squadron personnel. Their mission was to prepare for the arrival of the rest of the squadron alongside the 52 squadron personnel who stayed behind in Hawai'i during deployment.

Photographer's Mate Airman Teresa Martinez said, "I really missed being in Hawai'i and I was lucky to be a part of the first group that came back."

Other planes came back on June 4 and June 9. Cmdr. Steven Bethke, VP-4 commanding officer, was the last to return home on June 13.

The Skinny Dragons are now home and ready to get back to business as usual.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy Marine Corps News - Aug 13, 2005 - VP-4's Nightshift...VIDEO..." WebSite: Navy News http://www.news.navy.mil/management/videodb/player/video.aspx?id=5354 [14AUG2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraCPO Selectees Recognized "...CPRW-2, VP-4, VP-9, VP-47 and VPU-2 - Page A-4 Hawaii Navy News - August 5, 2005..." WebSite: Hawaii Navy News http://www.hawaii.navy.mil/NewsPAO/HNN_Archive/050805/080505NAVYNEWSA.pdf [11AUG2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-8 and VP-4 Help In Tsunami Relief - By LT Abess and LT Nichols - This is a follow-on account to Naval Aviation operations in the wake of the tsunami tragedy. Two articles in the last issue of WIngs of Gold focused on USS Abraham Lincoln relief activities. The following highlights Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance achievements - Wings of Gold - Spring 2005 - Page 70 and 71 - Association of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/about/index.htm..." [10JUN2005]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...In 2 weeks I will be retiring, have spent the last 5 months in NSA Bahrain and Djibouti Africa with VP-4. Top Row - Left To Right: Jake working, Jake working, Jake working, Jake working, Jake working and Shaikh Isa Ramp. Bottom Row - Left To Right: Shaikh Isa Ramp, P-3 Djibouti, P-3 Djibouti, Shaikh Isa Ramp, P-3 Night Djibouti and P-3 Djibouti..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [22MAY2005]

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Circa 2004

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040419-N-3228G-002 Marine Corps Air Base Kaneohe, Hawaii (Apr. 19, 2004) "...Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class William Bauerle, a flight engineer trainee attached to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), replaces the engine intake cover on one of four 1,900 horsepower Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines as part of a post-flight procedure on a P-3C Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. The "Skinny Dragons" took over the duties of the ready alert and hosting squadron April 1 and are on call to assist the Coast Guard for distress calls and search and rescue (SAR) missions. They also provide a rapid response capability for contingency operations worldwide, including Homeland Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=13536 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040426-N-3228G-006 Marine Corps Air Base, Kaneohe, Hawaii (Apr. 26, 2004) "...Lt. j.g. Justin Hane, left, assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), trains with instructors in the 2F-87 Operational Flight Trainer, a full motion P-3C Orion aircraft flight simulator, at the Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two Training Facility. Aircrew personnel from VP-4 and other Hawaii-based P-3C squadrons routinely train at the facility to maintain mission readiness. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=13690 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040426-N-3228G-003 Marine Corps Air Base, Kaneohe, Hawaii - (Apr. 26, 2004) "...Naval Aviator Lt.j.g. Justin Hane, assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), programs scenarios for P-3C Orion aircraft crews on the Instructor Operator Station in the 2F-140 Tactical Operations Readiness Trainer at the Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two Training Facility. Aircrew personnel from VP-4 and other Hawaii-based P-3C squadrons routinely train at the facility to maintain mission readiness. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st William R. Goodwin. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=13800 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040426-N-3228G-001 Marine Corps Air Base, Kaneohe, Hawaii (Apr. 26, 2004) "...An instructor assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), tracks a ship on the Sensor 3 workstation using electro-optic and infrared sensors in the 2F-179 Tactical Aircrew Training Simulator, aboard the training facility for Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two. Aircrew personnel from VP-4 and other Hawaii-based P-3C Orion squadrons routinely train at the facility to maintain mission readiness. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=13689 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCamera041127-N-3019M-005 Marine Corps Air Base Kaneohe, Hawaii (Nov. 27, 2004) "...Sailors assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), depart Marine Corps Air Base Kaneohe, Hawaii, aboard a C-40A Clipper assigned to the "Lonestar Express" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Nine (VR-59), for a scheduled deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations in the Western Pacific. A total of 390 Sailors from VP-4 are scheduled to deploy over the next week in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF). VP-4 air crew operate the Navy's P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley (RELEASED) ..." Navy News Stand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=19231 [01MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...7th Fleet Units Help in Relief Operations in Southeast Asia - Story Number: NNS041230-01 - Release Date: 12/30/2004 9:08:00 AM..." Navy News Stand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16449 [31DEC2004]

7th Fleet Units Help in Relief Operations in Southeast Asia
Story Number: NNS041230-01
Release Date: 12/30/2004 9:08:00 AM

From Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- As directed by U.S. Pacific Command, Commander U.S. 7th Fleet is preparing to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the governments of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other affected nations to mitigate the effects of the recent earthquakes and tsunamis.

According to Lt. Gilbert Gay, 7th Fleet Task Force 72 (CTF 72) public affairs officer, six P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft from Patrol Squadron VP-8 and elements of VP-4, based at NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, have been deployed to take part in a survey operation in the area, operating out of Utapao, Thailand. Approximately 110 personnel are involved in the operation.

"The P-3's long range and long loiter time capability is an invaluable asset for search and rescue operations as it can view a large area and rapidly provide that information to regional Rescue Coordination Centers," said Gay. "While not able to physically rescue a survivor from the water, the P-3's communications suite and abilities to stay on station, survey for long periods of time and deploy life rafts in the vicinity of any survivors make it an important component of any search and rescue operation."

Humanitarian assistance assessment teams from U.S. Pacific Command are expected to be deployed to identify requirements for temporary military-specific support that can be provided to the governments affected by this disaster.

The U.S. Navy is well equipped and trained for these situations. Because of that, when called upon, units have the capabilities to deliver assistance to areas of the world that need it.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Deploys - Story Number: NNS041130-06 - Release Date: 11/30/2004 1:12:00 PM - By Journalist 3rd Class Ryan McGinley, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs..." Navy Newstand http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16101 [12DEC2004]
VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraWaves Goodbye To Her Father 041127-N-3019M-004 Marine Corps Air Base Kaneohe, Hawaii (Nov. 27, 2004) - A family member of a Sailor assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), waves goodbye to her father as he departs aboard an C-40A Clipper assigned to the "Lonestar Express" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Nine (VR-59) for a scheduled deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations in the Western Pacific. A total of 390 Sailors from VP-4 are scheduled to deploy over the next week in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley (RELEASED)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Seventy-five Sailors from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 deployed from Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Nov. 27 in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

In total, a crew of approximately 390 Sailors from VP-4 will deploy over the next week to support U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet operations in a variety of locations, something new to the squadron.

"Nobody in the squadron has ever done a deployment like this," said Cmdr. Steve Bethke, executive officer of VP-4. "We went through a very specific regimen for training."

Previously, the squadron would deploy as a whole to a specific region. However, with reconfigurations in how the squadron community operates, they will now have six autonomous detachments in different areas.

"We have had to blaze some new ground here, and we'll learn some more things once we get there," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Janke, operations officer. "But this is what we trained over a year for."

The squadron, commanded by Cmdr. David Smith, will participate in anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance over the six-month period. Bethke said the key to a successful deployment was applying foundations to the mission.

"We're executing basics by the book, and fundamentals is the most important part," he said. "Do the basics well, and everything else takes care of itself."

For some Sailors in the squadron, it's their first deployment. Airman Joseph Kusi-Davis from Jamaica said he was excited for the opportunity to travel and experience real-life situations.

"I'm really looking forward to it, since this is my first deployment," he said. "My goal for the deployment is to stay focused and come back safe."

For other Sailors who have been on previous deployments, they will be helping out the first-time Sailors on adjusting to the new environment.

"You want to make sure you always keep a high morale, because the people around you are going to be watching you," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (AW) Qunita Triplett. "If your morale is up, their morale is up. It's important for everyone to have a good outlook on the deployment."

Bethke said he feels the mission will be a success because of the Sailors in his command.

"Our strength is our people," he said. "This is the best squadron I have been in, as far as having all the right people work well together."

For both Bethke and Janke, the number one priority when going on deployment is safety.

"If we deploy and come home with the same number of people and aircraft, that is 100 percent success to me," said Janke.

Now in their 13th year of mishap-free flying with more than 200,000 flight hours behind them, the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 deployed in late November 2001 to the Middle East, flying around-the-clock missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terror. During this campaign, VP-4 successfully completed more than 500 combat missions over Afghanistan, resulting in the awarding of 85 Air Medals.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Hi, my 8th and final deployment is only two weeks away, so as I get ready, here's a few photos I'd like to share from my from my last deployment. Since this next deployment will be my last, I'll try my best to collect some good shots for the web site. I will retire in June 2005 and will certianly miss being able to make contributions. Please note that the three "Philippine Star" photos are actually photo copies of a newspaper article that appeared about our brief visit to the PI last year..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [22NOV2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Change Of Command Ceremony - 15 APRIL 2004 - MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [05NOV2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Got to ferry a plane to the bone yard last week, here's a few snaps. BUNO: 161003..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [02SEP2004]

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Circa 2003

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Taking Off With One in the Bag - by Lcdr. Scott P. Van Fleet/ P-3C..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/issues/mar03/Uneventful.htm [28JUN2006]

"Rotate" had just become our favorite word. We burned up 5,500 feet of runway, and had less than 3,000 feet left, and we already had lost one engine. Well, actually, we had planned on not having that one.

Two days prior, one of our crews was diverting to a remote field for fuel. During the approach the No. 3 engine had a chips light. They landed at the divert field and found "chunks" in the reduction gearbox. It would have to be changed. However, the divert field had serious force protection issues. The thought of having a group of maintainers working out on the wing for two days, completely vulnerable to a terrorist attack led the senior leadership in theater to consider other options.

We were asked if we could fly it out with three engines, the "Three-Engine Ferry Takeoff." It was in NATOPS, but none of us ever had performed one with the exception of the simulator. So, we gathered up as many of the senior pilots and flight engineers we could and started running the aircraft performance numbers. It looked doable, but we knew we'd feel a lot more comfortable if we could practice this and verify our calculations.

There was a P-3 available with about the same fuel load and weight. We practiced the takeoff several times. We had two senior instructor flight engineers setting power and taking data. The procedures came straight out of "Normal Procedures," which gives most pilots and flight engineers in the P-3 community a laugh. It hardly is normal to takeoff with an engine shutdown. So the practice validated our aircraft performance numbers and confirmed the techniques we were going to use. During the takeoff, I added power on the asymmetrical engine while holding the nose straight with nosewheel steering. With increasing airspeed and rudder effectiveness I was able to add more and more power on the asymmetric engine until maximum power was reached, while keeping a reserve of rudder to correct for any wind gusts. We practiced a couple two-engine landings and aborts for good measure in case things really went wrong on game day. An hour later, we were headed for unfriendly territory toting 9MMs, flak jackets, and helmets-unusual for a P-3 crew.

We awoke early the next morning to uncharacteristically cool temperatures and winds in our favor. The cool weather was especially nice; as this would give us an additional 200 SHP per engine that we hadn't counted on. We updated our performance numbers and used the same techniques we had practiced, and found ourselves right where we thought we'd be on the takeoff roll. Only this time, we had 3,500 feet less runway than in practice. Our biggest concern throughout the takeoff was the loss of another engine. There would be a point in the takeoff where the aircraft would not have enough power with two engines to accelerate to a good climb speed nor would not have enough runway to abort with only two-engines for the reversal.

The tension in the cockpit was high. I concentrated on feeding the asymmetric power and staying on centerline, while the copilot and flight engineers concentrated on the engines. No engine failure occurred. All I heard was "rotate." The "Mighty Orion" leapt off the runway with plenty of power, and we were headed home. We studied all our divert options and paid close attention to the other engines and pressurization on the way home.

It was a long five hour flight covering a vast expanse of water and unfamiliar divert options. As sigh of relief from the entire crew could be heard as the approach controller gave us our initial vectors into home plate. An uneventful three-engine landing ensued, and, yes, we declared an emergency for the landing.

Lcdr. Van Fleet flies with VP-4.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The Uneventful Trip - by LCdr. Robert Pereboom - Approach, March 2003..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/issues/mar03/Uneventful.htm [27JUN2006]

While our squadron was deployed to Diego Garcia, one of our many missions was the primary medical-evacuation platform for personnel at that remote location. We already had conducted 13 medevacs in the first three months of deployment, so the odds of getting launched were good, however random the occurrences might be.

A call came in late one evening requesting a ready-alert launch to Singapore with a patient suffering from abdominal pains. We loaded the patient and departed for another zero-dark-30, six-hour flight to Singapore.

After being airborne for three hours, most of the crew and medical staff were sleeping or relaxing. We had flown through some decent weather, but that was about to change. The weather forecast had shown a large area of isolated thunderstorms we would have to pick through. Unfortunately, in the P-3, we do not have the luxury of flying over T-cells. Instead, we must choose the path of least resistance and use our surface-search radar as the primary means of weather avoidance.

The weather brief was accurate, and we picked our way around the weather, continually going in and out of the clouds. To be safe, I had everyone take a seat and buckle up, and the medical staff secured the patient and his gear.

The intensity of the weather increased. While in the clouds, we saw a spectacular Saint Elmo's fire display on the front windscreen. Caused by static electricity, this display creates lights on the windshield in a spider-web design. Many of the passengers came up front to watch, but I sent them back to strap in because the weather continued to deteriorate.

For about 20 minutes, we successfully had stayed out of heavy turbulence. Suddenly, we hit a pocket of windshear turbulence that lifted the entire aircraft and suspended everything in space. This condition lasted long enough for us to realize we were to sustain a rough jolt-then it hit! Everything not fastened down securely flew into the air.

Shortly after the aft crew reported everyone and everything were OK in the back, we saw a fuel-boost-pump light come on in the flight station. We executed the NATOPS procedures for this malfunction, and the flight engineer went to the aft CB panel to check if the circuit breaker had tripped. While he was there, a huge flash of lightning burst near the aircraft. This flash gave us our second malfunction of the night, a GEN OFF light. We now had lost one of our three generators.

I called for the FE to return to the flight station and received the worst news from our radar operator, "Sir, I just lost the radar." A bus transfer associated with the loss of the generator had caused the radar to fail. After a few expletives, we unsuccessfully tried the reset procedures for the generator. The radar operator worked to get the radar back on-line.

It was night, we were in the clouds, and the radar was down; we had no way of steering our way around the heaviest cells. I remembered the last call from the radar operator. He said a large cell was at our 2 o'clock, so we maintained a steady course. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, we popped out of the clouds, and I could see the light of dawn coming up in the east. Even better, though, I saw clear, blue sky and a straight shot to Singapore.

We delivered the patient, and no one was injured during the flight. We were fortunate to break out in the clear when we did and make it to Singapore without further incident. This trip reinforced three things about naval aviation:

. Know your NATOPS procedures. The malfunctions we faced were straightforward; however, we had no time to pull out the book and to go through the procedures step-by-step.
. Through careful engineering, our aircraft are designed to keep us flying under extreme circumstances. Our aircraft have numerous safety and backup features.
. ORM works. Faced with the forecast weather and the critical condition of the patient, there was no question the benefits outweighed the risks. We discussed the weather before takeoff and noted it was typical for this part of the world. An evaluation of the weather is part of our ORM process to determine whether a mission can be completed.

LCdr. Pereboom flies with VP-4.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Taking Off With One in the Bag - by Lcdr. Scott P. Van Fleet/ P-3C - Lcdr. Van Fleet flies with VP-4..." Naval Safety Center WebSite: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/vault/articles/2003/0619.htm [04JUN2005]

"Rotate" had just become our favorite word. We burned up 5,500 feet of runway, and had less than 3,000 feet left, and we already had lost one engine. Well, actually, we had planned on not having that one.

Two days prior, one of our crews was diverting to a remote field for fuel. During the approach the No. 3 engine had a chips light. They landed at the divert field and found "chunks" in the reduction gearbox. It would have to be changed. However, the divert field had serious force protection issues. The thought of having a group of maintainers working out on the wing for two days, completely vulnerable to a terrorist attack led the senior leadership in theater to consider other options.

We were asked if we could fly it out with three engines, the "Three-Engine Ferry Takeoff." It was in NATOPS, but none of us ever had performed one with the exception of the simulator. So, we gathered up as many of the senior pilots and flight engineers we could and started running the aircraft performance numbers. It looked doable, but we knew we'd feel a lot more comfortable if we could practice this and verify our calculations.

There was a P-3 available with about the same fuel load and weight. We practiced the takeoff several times. We had two senior instructor flight engineers setting power and taking data. The procedures came straight out of "Normal Procedures," which gives most pilots and flight engineers in the P-3 community a laugh. It hardly is normal to takeoff with an engine shutdown. So the practice validated our aircraft performance numbers and confirmed the techniques we were going to use. During the takeoff, I added power on the asymmetrical engine while holding the nose straight with nosewheel steering. With increasing airspeed and rudder effectiveness I was able to add more and more power on the asymmetric engine until maximum power was reached, while keeping a reserve of rudder to correct for any wind gusts. We practiced a couple two-engine landings and aborts for good measure in case things really went wrong on game day. An hour later, we were headed for unfriendly territory toting 9MMs, flak jackets, and helmets-unusual for a P-3 crew.

We awoke early the next morning to uncharacteristically cool temperatures and winds in our favor. The cool weather was especially nice; as this would give us an additional 200 SHP per engine that we hadn't counted on. We updated our performance numbers and used the same techniques we had practiced, and found ourselves right where we thought we'd be on the takeoff roll. Only this time, we had 3,500 feet less runway than in practice. Our biggest concern throughout the takeoff was the loss of another engine. There would be a point in the takeoff where the aircraft would not have enough power with two engines to accelerate to a good climb speed nor would not have enough runway to abort with only two-engines for the reversal.

The tension in the cockpit was high. I concentrated on feeding the asymmetric power and staying on centerline, while the copilot and flight engineers concentrated on the engines. No engine failure occurred. All I heard was "rotate." The "Mighty Orion" leapt off the runway with plenty of power, and we were headed home. We studied all our divert options and paid close attention to the other engines and pressurization on the way home.

It was a long five hour flight covering a vast expanse of water and unfamiliar divert options. As sigh of relief from the entire crew could be heard as the approach controller gave us our initial vectors into home plate. An uneventful three-engine landing ensued, and, yes, we declared an emergency for the landing.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030130-N-0226M-001 Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2003) "...A P-3C Orion patrol aircraft assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), takes off from Naval Air Station North Island. VP-4 was participating in exercises with the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Photographer's Mate Mahlon K. Miller. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=12009 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera031211-N-5640H-021 Kaneohe, Hawaii (Dec. 12, 2003) "...Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Frank Velez assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), directs a P-3C Orion returning home from a six-month deployment to Japan. The crew shows their pride by waving the American Flag along with their Squadron Flag from the cockpit of the aircraft. The P-3C Orion is a land-based, long-range anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft hat provides effective undersea warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to naval and joint commanders. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1ST Evelyn P. Haywood (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=11030 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030727-N-5770O-008 Kuantan, Malaysia (Jul. 27, 2003) "...P-3C Orion flight engineer Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Alex Michelen, left, assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) makes adjustments during a familiarization flight for Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel as Lt. Eric Cyre and RMAF Capt. Zalina Sciagip look on. The flight was a training event during the Malaysia phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). CARAT is a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military training exercises between the U.S. and several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Ken Ochsenreither. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=8774 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030820-N-7202E-001 Okinawa, Japan (Aug. 20, 2003) "...Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Qunita M. Triplett steadies a "turtleback" on the wing of a P-3C Orion assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) as Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Cory D. Irons gets the necessary tools to secure it to the aircraft. VP-4 is deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Richard D. Estep. (RELEASED) ..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9113 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Pilots Take CARAT Training to Skies Above Brunei - Story Number: NNS030625-11 - Release Date: 6/25/2003 7:16:00 PM - By Lt. Chuck Bell, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Public Affairs..." WebSite: Navy Newstand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=8219 [12FEB2005]

VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History 030625-N-0493B-004 Brunei Darussalam (Jun. 25, 2003) -- Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAF) pilot, Capt. Mohammad Sharif talks to his co-pilot, U.S Navy pilot Lt. j.g. Andrew Neboshynsky, during a familiarization flight in a Brunei version of the CN-235 Persuader multi-role transport and maritime surveillance aircraft. Lt.j.g. Neboshynsky assigned to the "Skinny Dragons " of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is one of several U.S. pilots taking part in the flight as part of the weeklong Brunei phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). CARAT is a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military training exercises between the U.S. and several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Chuck Bell. (RELEASED)

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM (NNS) -- Pilots from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 climbed out of the classroom and behind the controls of a Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAF) aircraft June 25, in a rare opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of their training partner's capabilities.

The familiarization flight, part of the Brunei phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), was one of a series of events in preparation for the first combined search and rescue (SAR) training operation for U.S. Navy and RBAF maritime surveillance aircraft.

"We find you learn only so much from a symposium," said RBAF Capt. Mohammad Sharif, explaining the purpose of the flight he piloted and coordinated in the fixed-wing CN-235 multi-role transport aircraft, used primarily for maritime surveillance by the RBAF. "You learn so much more when you get out of the classroom and in the air."

VP-4 pilots who co-piloted the CN-235 agreed, and said they found multiple benefits to the flight.

Lt. Cmdr. Scott Van Fleet, mission commander for the P-3C that will take part in the SAR training event, said that what he learned in the cockpit of the aircraft he'll operate in tandem with, will make for a more effective mission.

"When I see this plane out there, I know it will be him (Capt. Sharif) or someone he trained," he said after about 45 minutes in the co-pilot seat. "I'm really impressed with their professionalism. Having flown together, we've developed a measure of trust."

Van Fleet said that trust is critical to combined operations. So too, he said, is understanding the aircraft's characteristics.

"He can fly lower and slower," Van Fleet pointed out. "If I hadn't flown it, I might have made the assumption that they had radar and other systems similar to ours."

The RBAF's only CN-235 is without the installed robust detection systems of the P-3C Orion, instead relying on visual techniques of the crew. "It's good to have experienced the differences," Van Fleet added.

During the SAR training, the two aircraft will work with U.S. Navy and Royal Brunei Navy ships to locate a contact in the CARAT operating area.

The RBAF has SAR experience, Sharif said, but he is always looking for "ideas of how we can improve." The same goes for the VP-4 pilots. "They might have lessons learned that we can apply to our SAR techniques," Lt. j.g. Andrew Neboshynsky said, before his turn in the co-pilot seat.

"We tend to get scope-locked on our way of doing things," said Cmdr. Robert Raccosin, VP-4's commanding officer, in Brunei from his squadron's home base in Kaneohe, Hawaii, for the exercise phase. "It's always good to see how other people get their job done. It's good perspective for us."

The P-3C crew will include RBAF pilots in their aircraft during the SAR training, giving them firsthand exposure to Navy techniques that Sharif said he experienced last year during CARAT. The learning process is continual, he said, and this year he'll step aside, giving more junior pilots the opportunity.

VP-4 personnel are no strangers to SAR, Neboshynsky said, explaining that particularly when on deployment, his squadron always has a "ready" aircraft standing by. "The most common thing we're called upon for is search and rescue."

Continuing to build upon mission capabilities is always a goal of CARAT. But an added bonus of the familiarization flight, particularly for junior pilots, is confidence building that comes from "being able to jump into anything and fly it," Van Fleet said. "It's not often that you get to do this."

That benefit wasn't lost on young Neboshynsky, as he waited in the crew's lounge at Rimba Air Base before the mission and safety briefing. "I'll fly in anyone's aircraft," he said with a smile.

VP-4 is only a few weeks into a six-month, regularly-scheduled deployment to Misawa and Okinawa, Japan.

CARAT, a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military training exercises with several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, is designed to enhance interoperability of the U.S. sea services and those of friends and allies throughout the region in a variety of mission areas of mutual benefit. The Thailand phase took place June 6-13. Exercises with Singapore and Malaysia will round out the 2003 series over the coming month.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Change of Command Cermony - 11 APRIL 2003 - MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [19APR2003]
Get Adobe Reader
Open VP History Adobe FileVP-4 Change-of-Command 11 APRIL 2003 4,278 KB

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...We had a change of command ceremony today. Here's a couple of snaps of 764, which was freshly painted for there occasion..." Contributed by STRINGER, AW1(AW) Kenneth W. aloha5o@hotmail.com [22FEB2003]
VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History
VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Spouses Try Out Simulator - Story Number: NNS030227-09 - Release Date: 2/27/2003 11:02:00 AM - By Lt. j.g. Josh Calloway, Patrol Squadron 4 Public Affairs..." Navy News Stand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5992..." [23MAR2005]

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (NNS) -- A new crop of replacement pilots was added to the cadre of aviators at Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 recently, as the VP-4 Officers' Spouses Club was invited to the John W. Finn Building at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base.

With Lt. Eric Cyre and Lt. Mark Burns as their guides, the "Skinny Dragon" spouses enthusiastically fastened themselves into the operational flight trainer (OFT) to experience first hand the thrill of flying the P-3C Orion. According to Burns, "they made it look easy."

The spouses spent two hours taking turns at the flight controls. Burns noted that many of them were natural-born aviators. He was particularly impressed by the ability of Lisa Avalos, who "trimmed out the flight control forces like a pro."

When asked how she knew so much about flying, she stated that her husband, Lt. j.g. Peter ‘Steve' Avalos, "gave me some pointers so that I wouldn't make the same mistakes he made in flight school."

After her flight, Robin Payton, wife of VP-4's commanding officer, exclaimed, "I don't know what he makes such a big deal about. It's easy!" The ladies made it clear that they didn't think it was too difficult. "They should let me fly these," responded one spouse.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Skinny Dragons' Return to Hawaii - Story Number: NNS030219-08 - Release Date: 2/19/2003 12:32:00 PM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5875..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

Skinny Dragons' Return to Hawaii
Story Number: NNS030219-08
Release Date: 2/19/2003 12:32:00 PM
By Lt. Mark Brummett, Partrol Squadon 4 Public Affairs

KANEOHE, Hawaii (NNS) -- More than 30 "Skinny Dragons" from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 returned home to Hawaii Sunday.

Since Jan. 9, VP-4 has been deployed to Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., along with aircrews and maintenance personnel from Patrol Squadron (VP) 40, reserve Patrol Squadron (VP) 65, and Canadian squadrons MP405 and MP407.

For more than three weeks, they flew in support of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Battle Group in the waters off San Diego as part of two exercises, Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX 3-02) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX 3-02).

These two exercises are normally held four weeks apart, but current events required that they be held successively. Operations Specialist 1st Class Geoffrey Decker, the detachment assistant officer in charge (AOIC), commented on the increased pace. "These are definitely high-tempo operations. The USS Nimitz Battle Group is working on a compressed time schedule to be prepared for any contingency."

Flying the P-3C Orion, crews were tasked with a variety of missions. Though the primary mission of the P-3 during the two exercises was anti-submarine warfare, they also conducted anti-surface warfare, maritime interdiction operations (MIO) and sea surface control missions. During a MIO event, an aircraft improvement program version of the P-3C transmitted digital images directly to the battle group via line-of-sight communication link. This groundbreaking transfer demonstrated that future missions wouldn't need to rely on satellites or ground stations to transfer imagery to the battle group.

Though most missions were in direct support of the battle group, some missions were flown as the opposing force. Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Petty Officer David Gorby from VP-4 stated, "Playing the bad guy is a great experience, and you really get to know the capabilities of the fleet."

He should know, since his P-3C was intercepted by an F/A-18 Hornet while patrolling the skies.

Not only were the crews from both squadrons working together in the air, but maintenance and other support personnel were working hand-in-hand as well. Chief Aviation Electronic's Mate (AW) Nolen Kell of VP-40 said, "This has been the best detachment personality-wise that I've seen. We might as well have come from the same squadron."

Lt. Cmdr. Jack Thomas, detachment officer in charge, added, "There is no doubt that the maintenance personnel from both VP-4 and VP-40 were the reason we had success during this detachment."

The detachment received recognition from several people, including Commander, 3rd Fleet; Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces Pacific; and Commander, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

For now, the North Island Detachment has been disestablished, and the battle group has returned to port. As the Nimitz Battle Group prepares for deployment, VP-4 will continue preparations to support her in theater later this year.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Skinny Dragons Train in Nevada - Story Number: NNS030203-06 - Release Date: 2/3/2003 10:01:00 AM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5652..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

Skinny Dragons Train in Nevada
Story Number: NNS030203-06
Release Date: 2/3/2003 10:01:00 AM
By Lt. j.g. John Wickham, Patrol Squadron 4 Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Members of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4, the "Skinny Dragons," based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, recently traveled to Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nev., to participate in training exercises with squadrons from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.

Carrier air wings routinely train at Fallon under the direction of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) as an essential part of their inter-deployment training cycle. Since 1999, P-3C Orion squadrons have been participating in this training to highlight the platform's capabilities and to better integrate VP into the strike support mission.

This mission has gained more prominence since the advent of the aircraft improvement program modification to the P-3, which brings with it new capabilities that lend themselves to support the Navy's strike warfare mission.

Additionally, NSAWC is the Navy's model manager for the air combat training continuum, which includes programs and instruction for all aviation communities that lead to designation as weapons tactics instructors (WTIs). Since 2000, selected VP aircrews have received this training and currently some 35 WTIs have been designated in the fleet.

The detachment was one of many firsts for this exercise. A total of 22 aircrew and maintenance personnel from VP-4 participated, and for the first time, a second P-3 and crew, VP-40, the "Fighting Marlins," based at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., also participated.

In addition to the crews and aircraft, four weapons tactics instructors from Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Pacific at Kaneohe Bay, and VP-30 at Jacksonville, Fla., brought their expertise to assist in the training.

This was the first time that multiple fleet aircrew and WTIs participated simultaneously in an air wing detachment, but as Cmdr. Robert "Rocky" Racoosin, executive officer of VP-4, said, "It was the first of many - this is exactly the direction that VP has been working toward."

The Fallon detachment brought together all of CVW-11's squadrons for four weeks of complex training in strike warfare, amphibious operations, joint battlefield operations, combat air support, and combat search and rescue. These exercises were used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the air wing in each of their primary mission areas.

During the last phase of the exercise, both squadrons' aircrews flew daily, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the CVW. This training was especially crucial to the CVW staff, who were receiving training in asset management and employment, including assets not normally assigned to the air wing. The nature of the exercise allowed aircrews to hone their skills and gain valuable real-world experience.

Lt. Todd Izydorski, VP-4's intelligence officer, remarked on the value of data collection from P-3 units. He said, "We were able to locate simulated mobile surface-to-air missile systems, and we provided near real-time imagery to the air wing. Having the P-3 on station allowed the strikers to successfully carry out their missions."

The P-3 aircrews flew more than 50 hours during eight events. The maintenance personnel assigned to the detachment worked around the clock to service the aircraft and to keep them flying. Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Amy Durand, a member of the ordnance load team, said, "The location provided great cold-weather training for uploading and downloading the standoff land attack missile."

Maintainers such as Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Robert Cummings said, "It was a great time in Fallon. It was difficult being away from family so close to the holidays, but we still gained some experience and learned more about new gear. Everybody worked together, helping each other to get the job done."

Thanks in part to the Skinny Dragons, the Fighting Marlins and the WTIs, CVW-11 is now mission-ready for its upcoming deployment.


Circa 2002

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...You Found What in My Fuel? - by Lt. Luke Hofacker - Mech Winter 2002-2003..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/issues/mar03/Uneventful.htm [28JUN2006]

A patrol-plane commander asked that question after maintenance control called at 0500 and told him that his 0600 flight was cancelled because of large debris in the P-3C's fuel sample. That first tidbit of information would lead to an extraordinary case of contaminated fuel.

Three days earlier, the PPC had led a crew to accept a P-3C from phased depot maintenance (PDM). His crew had flown three functional check flights (FCFs) before accepting the aircraft. After the acceptance formalities were complete, the crew flew a short reposition flight before returning home to Marine Corp Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay (K-Bay).

The fuel samples taken before the flight to K-Bay revealed all four wing tanks and the fuselage tank were contaminated. The aircraft was downed, pending further research into what caused the problem. Two quarts of fuel were drained from all fuel tanks for analysis by the local base fuel lab. Initial analysis reported dirt, paint chips, explosive-suppressant-foam (ESF) debris, and what appeared to be grass in the fuel. The lab tested fuel from the fuel truck and found no contamination.

When the aircraft was in PDM, the ESF was removed and reinstalled, so they could do a wing spar inspection. When more than 25 percent of the ESF is removed from any single fuel tank, procedures in NavAir 01-1A-35 require a tank flush. Those procedures had been followed, so the reason for the high amount of foam particles is unknown. The research also did not determine why dirt, paint chips, and grass were in the fuel.

While the lab was doing their tests, maintainers did a fuel-system ground test and found foam debris in the inlet and outlet side of the fuel heater's strainer on each engine. They decontaminated the fuel system, repaired the aircraft, and returned it to service.

The evidence supports that the fuel tanks were contaminated during PDM, but we were fortunate the fuel sample was found before the aircraft returned to K-Bay. If the contamination had not been discovered on the ground, and the fuel filters had become clogged over open ocean, the results could have been tragic.

Lt. Luke Hofacker is the aviation safety officer for VP-4.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030614-N-9662L-009 Okinawa, Japan (Jun. 14, 2002) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class Ines J. Ramos from Quitman, Texas, makes adjustments to a propeller mount during a propeller installation on a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Petty Officer Ramos is assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) currently forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class John F. Looney. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=8073 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030614-N-9662L-005 Okinawa, Japan (Jun. 14, 2002) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class Ines J. Ramos from Quitman, Texas, torques a propeller nut during a propeller installation on a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Petty Officer Ramos is assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class John F. Looney. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=8072 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030613-N-9662L-005 Okinawa, Japan (Jun. 13, 2002) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class Dexter A. Desamito from Fairfield, Calif., performs a safety check on a newly installed landing light from the cockpit of a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Petty Officer Desamito is assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class John F. Looney. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=8066 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030613-N-9662L-001 Okinawa, Japan (Jun. 13, 2002) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class Dexter A. Desamito from Fairfield, Calif., installs a new landing light on a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Petty Officer Desamito is assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class John F. Looney. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=8064 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Skinny Dragons Get Rare Chance to See Inside JDS Makishio - Story Number: NNS021227-06 - Release Date: 12/26/2002 7:00:00 AM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5158..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

Skinny Dragons Get Rare Chance to See Inside JDS Makishio
Story Number: NNS021227-06
Release Date: 12/26/2002 7:00:00 AM
By Lt. j.g. Jason Gaudette, Patrol Squadron 4 Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The commanding officer of JDS Makishio (SS 593), Japan's newest diesel-electric submarine, recently welcomed the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 aboard for a tour and demonstration.

The tour culminated several weeks of training between Makishio and the submarine and maritime patrol forces of the United States.

Makishio, commissioned in March 2001, houses 71 crew members and some of the most sophisticated submarine technology in the world. Displacing more than 2,700 tons, Makishio is Japan's most capable submarine, able to launch heavyweight torpedoes and harpoon missiles.

Throughout Makishio's training in the waters surrounding Hawaii, patrol forces from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, had the opportunity to hone their skills at finding and tracking this very sophisticated submarine.

VP-4 operates the P-3C Orion, a highly effective anti-submarine platform. Recent advances in sensor technology have greatly improved the aircraft's ability to detect small targets, such as Makishio, in a difficult, shallow-water environment. During the 20 sorties supporting Makishio's training, all Orion aircraft gained contact and could have successfully engaged the submarine.

The Skinny Dragons' tour of Makishio provided P-3 aircrewmen a new perspective on submarines.

"Being able to see how submarines see things greatly enhances your situational awareness when trying to find one," said Lt. Cmdr. Jack Thomas, VP-4's tactics officer.

Climbing from torpedo room to the engine room, VP-4 was afforded the opportunity to see and ask many questions.

"There is nothing like seeing the things that make the noises we are looking for," said Lt. j.g. Beth Gray, VP-4's anti-surface warfare improvement program officer.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Constellation Underway With Help From Skinny Dragons - Story Number: NNS021218-17 - Release Date: 12/18/2002 11:40:00 AM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5096..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

Constellation Underway With Help From Skinny Dragons
Story Number: NNS021218-17
Release Date: 12/18/2002 11:40:00 AM
By Lt. j.g. Jason Gaudette, Patrol Squadron 4 Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The USS Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group, homeported in San Diego, is now underway and mission ready, thanks in part to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4).

Members of VP-4, based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, recently traveled to San Diego to participate in the joint fleet exercise (JTFEX) for the Constellation Battle Group and the composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) for the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Battle Group.

The JTFEX was the last series of exercises for Constellation's battle group before they departed San Diego for a six-month deployment.

The COMPTUEX was held to prepare Carl Vinson for its upcoming JTFEX, to be held early next year. A total of seven aircrews and 15 maintenance personnel participated in the 17-day event.

JTFEX and COMPTUEX are used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of each battle group in each of their primary mission areas. During the exercise, the P-3 Orion aircrews flew almost around the clock, participating with other ships and submarines in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surface intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The nature of the exercises allowed aircrews to hone their ASW skills and gain valuable real-world experience.

"The training was incredible," said Lt. Rick Pool, an upgrading tactical coordinator with Combat Air Crew 9. "Both the battle group and the maritime patrol aircraft crews gained a better understanding of their respective roles within the tactical picture."

VP-4 flew 50 events for a total of more than 270 hours. The maintenance personnel assigned to the detachment worked around the clock to service the aircraft and keep them flying.

In January, VP-4 will again travel to San Diego to support the Vinson battle group during its JTFEX. With this continued dedication and support, the group will be ready to tackle any challenge they face during their upcoming deployment.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Aircraft Gets a Makeover in Phase Maintenance - Story Number: NNS021203-13 - Release Date: 12/3/2002 10:49:00 AM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=4766..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

Aircraft Gets a Makeover in Phase Maintenance
Story Number: NNS021203-13
Release Date: 12/3/2002 10:49:00 AM
By Journalist 2nd Class Phil Hasenkamp, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

KANEOHE, Hawaii (NNS) -- Looking up from a thick stack of maintenance cards, Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Elizabeth Simpson glances at her day's project before going to work on it. The massive hulk of aircraft fuselage in front of her needs a lot of work, and it's come to the right place.

Simpson's shop is where P-3C Orion mission readiness begins and ends. As a member of the Phase Maintenance Team at Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Simpson helps give complete makeovers to aircraft before they get back on the runway.

"We're doing ‘man on stand turns.' They turn on the engines, and we get close enough to check for air leaks inside," she said, dwarfed by the exposed Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop, 4,600 horsepower beast she'll examine this day.

With propellers attached, four of these engines are the means by which a P-3C Orion takes to the air. "I've always liked big engines. There's just something about the power," Simpson said.

Armed with a helmet, goggles and a peerless attention to detail, Simpson plays a pivotal role in her squadron's ability to meet its operational requirements. She's on the front lines in a war against aircraft attrition.

"It feels good to get the engines up and running. It makes you feel good to be able to say: ‘I helped in fixing that engine.'" she said. "It feels like I'm doing something to help the squadron with the missions that we have."

But she's not alone in her effort. Phase maintenance represents a total team effort.

"When you come in each morning, you pretty much know what you have to do. You can count on working hard the whole time," Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Blake Metcalf said, wiping his hands clean after a morning spent working on the body of a P-3. "The length of your day depends on the quality of your work, and how well you cooperate with other people."

As a structural mechanic, Metcalf spends his days repairing the skin of the aircraft. "Generally, there is a lot of external corrosion and exfoliation. It's not really something you can see coming, but you have to know how to take care of it if and when it happens," he said, adding that much of what he does involves two staple Navy activities - sanding and painting.

The phase maintenance shop is a congregation of specialists from throughout the command. It's a place where people from many different work backgrounds come together to complete a finished product.

"We pretty much strip down the plane, replace the stuff that needs to be replaced, repair everything, troubleshoot stuff, and then put everything back together again," Metcalf added.

VP-4 owns 10 P-3C Orion aircraft. After 224 days of operation, each aircraft must enter phase, or overhaul maintenance.

"Every phase in phase maintenance corresponds to a set of engines," Aviation Electrician 2nd Class Jason West said of phases alpha, bravo, charlie and delta. West's job is to work on the complicated electronics systems in the engines.

"We test and retest one engine with an alternate. The whole time, other people are working on different parts of the aircraft. So by the end, we have the whole package ready to go," he added.

Teamwork is not undervalued.

"Everyone in this shop relies on each other and works with one another in some way. It's impossible to do a solo job," West said. "If you don't do your job right, the plane won't take off. Or worse yet, if it takes off, it might crash if something wasn't done right in phase maintenance."

But matching the right specialties and training to the right job is a labor in it's own right. Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class AoaPoa Augafa, phase maintenance leading petty officer, calls it a conundrum.

"The challenge is getting to know the aircraft and the aircraft systems," he said. "After that, you can start putting together the maintenance puzzle. That involves matching the right people to the right jobs."

Often, doing a job in the phase maintenance shop can serve a dual purpose.

"Sometimes, we like to have an untrained person tag along with someone who is going to do a specific task," Augafa, an 18-year Navy veteran said. "You tend to learn from experience that way."

A single P-3 can provide a hefty workload for phase maintainers at VP-4, but oftentimes they have much more to deal with.

"If you have one aircraft in the shop, you can count on eight to nine hour workdays," West said. "But it's pretty common to have two or three P-3s in here. At that point, we're coming in for 12 or 13 hours per day. We're here on weekends, too, if necessary."

But hard work at VP-4 results in a unique feeling of satisfaction.

"It's hard to see the results of your work on home-cycle," West added. "But when we're on deployment, doing missions, there is a real sense of pride associated with knowing that the planes coming back from successful missions wouldn't have flown if it wasn't for your hard work."

With a little more than six months before their next deployment, Sailors in VP-4's phase maintenance shop are preparing the workhorses of their squadron's upcoming missions. Dedicated to their never-ending task, the maintainers are contributing to the overall readiness of the fleet.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...020324-N-5362A-005 Forward deployed with Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) Mar. 24, 2002 -- Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Brian Leonard loads a AGM-65 "Maverick" air-to surface missile on a P-3 "Orion." VP-4 is conducting combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Arlo Abrahamson. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-4 History ThumbnailCameraVP-4 History "...020319-N-5362A-002 Camp Justice, Operation Enduring Freedom (Mar. 19, 2002) -- A U.S. Navy P-3C "Orion" from Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) sits on the flight line of a forward deployed base, awaiting its next mission with the war on terror. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Arlo Abrahamson. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ADMIRAL TOUTS ROLE OF NAVY'S P-3 RECON AIRCRAFT IN AFGHANISTAN WAR..." Contributed by LARSON, LCDR John Larson Retired oriondriver1975@yahoo.com [21JAN2002]

Rear Adm. Anthony Winns, Commander of the Pacific Fleet's Patrol and Reconnaissance force, says the Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft are playing a significant role in the war in Afghanistan by providing Marines and other forces with valuable imagery from overhead.

"Once the Marines were sent into Afghanistan, the focus of P-3 operations in the region shifted to help provide force protection for ground forces at Camp Rhino", he said in a telephone interview last week from Kaneohe Bay, HI.

"More recently, we've been providing around-the-clock support for the Marines in the Kandahar region," said Winns, referring to a Southern region of Afghanistan where many Marines are stationed. Before the Marines entered Afghanistan, the P-3s were supporting other special forces, he said. The VP-9 Orion squadron, which just completed a successful deployment in that region, has been replaced by VP-4, he said. A typical squadron includes 10 aircraft and 11 aircrews, he said.

The P-3C, made by Lockheed Martin, is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. The Navy has been upgrading aging P-3s through efforts such as the Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program, which enhances sensors, weapons and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The AIP includes the incorporation of Standoff Land Attack Missiles and Maverick missiles.

"We are there on station the whole time," said Winns. "We're providing real-time imagery.

The streaming video is something that is fairly new. That's being provided to ground-based forces." The aircraft is equipped with electro-optical and infrared sensors, as well as synthetic aperture radar, Winns noted. The streaming video is not necessarily for targeting but it is providing a picture of the landscape to the task force commander, according to the admiral.

"Basically, he can see a lot further out in front of his position," said Winns. Meanwhile, P-3 aircraft are continuing to support maritime interdiction operations in the Persian Gulf and performing armed carrier battle group escort missions and surveillance missions in that region, he said. Winns said there is no doubt the P-3s are in high demand.

"The operational tempo is more than twice the normal 5th Fleet op-tempo, for a VP squadron. So, we ratcheted it up quite a bit," he said. "Also, VP-9, which just came back from deployment last week ... flew more armed missions in the Persian Gulf region than have been flown by a VP squadron since the Vietnam War." The admiral would not say if any of those missions required P-3s to fire weapons at an enemy target.

Winns said the U.S. Commander of the Maritime Interdiction Operation in the Persian Gulf recently praised the performance of P-3 forces.

"The [P-3] squadron is providing imagery of the ships that we suspect are smuggling oil out of Iraq," said Winns. That capability gives the U.S. forces real-time information about the appearance of suspected smuggling vessels, he said.


Circa 2001

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Commander: P-3s Providing Vital Support To Operation Enduring Freedom Defense Daily 12/20/01 author: Frank Wolfe..." Counter Seat WebSite: http://www.centerseat.net/p3news.htm [01SEP2005]

Ten Lockheed Martin [LMT] P-3 aircraft are providing vital support to commanders in Operation Enduring Freedom against the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, a Navy official said yesterday. The VP-9 "Golden Eagles," a squadron of 10 P-3s based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, just returned after a monthlong deployment in support of the operation. VP-4, the "Skinny Dragons," has replaced VP-9. VP-9 has five aircraft with Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement (AIP) kits, while VP-4 has four of the planes. "The AIP aircraft has emerged as the platform of choice to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for land based and sea based operational commanders in Operation Enduring Freedom," Rear Adm. Anthony Winns, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet's Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, told Defense Daily in a telephone interview. "The most sought after capability has been the long range electro- optical suite which is part of AIP," Winns said. Canada's Wescam [WES] builds the AIMS pod, which contains the electro-optical suite and an infrared suite. VP-9 was the first squadron to deploy with the AIP kits, which also include the Raytheon [RTN] APS-137 synthetic aperture radar and communications improvements (Defense Daily, July 17, 1998). Since the arrival of VP-4 in theater for operations over Afghanistan, "we've been providing streaming video to the ground force commander so he has a direct video link and they can see the ground force commander," Winns said. "The Marines at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan can see what the P-3 is looking at, what we call eyes on target, for force protection for troops on the ground, aircraft over the target and for ships in the littoral." The AIP-equipped P-3s can provide commanders with real time live video from two of its three suites: electro-optical, infrared and synthetic aperture radar. Using the tactical common data link, a P-3 AIP plane can transmit such data "well beyond" line of sight, Winns said. In addition, the AIP P-3s can fire Boeing [BA] Standoff Land Attack Missiles (SLAM), which they shot during Operation Allied Force against Serbia more than two years ago. Winns said that the P-3s have been flying armed missions throughout Operation Enduring Freedom. The P-3s can carry torpedoes, depth bombs, mines, rockets, SLAMs, Harpoons and Raytheon [RTN] Maverick missiles. A senior naval officer in the Arabian Gulf region praised the performance of the P-3s last week, writing that VP-9 had carried out the "most significant maritime patrol" since Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and had provided target identification to commanders on Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. The commander of a destroyer squadron patrolling the region to interdict vessels trying to smuggle oil out of Iraq wrote that the P-3s had provided Naval Special Warfare support and "unrelenting enforcement of United Nations sanctions against Iraq," including the intercept of more than 40 smuggler vessels and the diversion of "hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit oil." Winns said that the P-3s are able to transmit imagery in less than 15 minutes to the destroyer squadron commander to facilitate the boarding of vessels carrying Iraqi oil. P-3s were deployed to the region before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but since then operations tempo for the aircraft has doubled, Winns said.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Aviation News - March, 2001 by Amy L. Pittmann, Ed Wright - VP-4, based at MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, assisted the Coast Guard off the coast of Guam in locating a vessel reported overdue on 7 October 2000. The P-3 Orion made a four-hour transit from Okinawa to Guam in search of the 24-foot boat St. George. The Orion crew covered more than 3,000 square miles with the assistance of a civilian helicopter. They located the vessel and stayed on scene until USCG cutter Galveston Island arrived to render aid..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IAX/is_3_83/ai_74361765 [27MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Russell Rescues - B-1B Air Crew - By Commander Hank Miranda '83, Commanding Officer..." http://www.usna.com/News_Pubs/Publications/Shipmate/2002/03/Alumni.htm [05JUL2003]

At 9:45 on the evening of 12 December 2001, Russell was conducting air and surface defense of Diego Garcia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when a USAF B-1B declared an in-flight emergency. A few moments later Russell (DDG-59) lost radar contact on the aircraft. We immediately assumed the duties as search and rescue commander and on scene commander, came to full power, and proceeded to our best estimate of the B-1B's last known position, about 50 nautical miles away. Just prior to losing radar contact on the B-1B, Russell was concluding an air defense exercise with Royal Australian Air Force F-18s in the area. Upon losing radar contact with the B-1B we vectored the RAAF F-18s to the last known position of the B-1B. The RAAF pilots did not see any signs of the B-1B. The F-18s were low on fuel and had to return to base. At the same time we coordinated search activities with a USAF KC-10 in the area and immediately called for the launch of the alert P-3 from VP-4 on NSF Diego Garcia. A MSC ship, M/V Franklin Phillips was also proceeding to the area to render assistance if required. Russell has no embarked helicopter capability.

Every member of the crew was actively preparing for or engaged in executing the SAR procedures. Russell Tactical Action Officer, Lieutenant Eric Herbert, was actively coordinating the search efforts of the airborne KC-10 and briefing the P-3 about to arrive on station. The Operations Officer, Lieutenant John Schmidt '92, and the CiC team broke out the publications, checklists, and sent the required messages to alert all concerned of the events as they were taking place while developing the search plan. The pilot house team with OOD, Ensign Jesse Sycuro, the navigator, Lieutenant Ed Sundberg '97, and JOOD, Lieutenant Andy Newsome '98, carefully plotted a course to the estimated vicinity of the downed aircraft. The estimated area of the downed aircraft was in a very shallow area of the Indian Ocean known as the Great Chagos Bank. The boat decks were getting prepared to launch the ship's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to search and retrieve the downed air crew.

The KC-10 almost immediately received signals from the emergency beacon of the downed aircraft and later was in radio contact with one of the downed pilots in the water. The downed pilot was in the vicinity of the eastern edge of the Great Chagos Bank. Our track took the ship as close to the eastern bank as possible and to the location of one of the downed pilots.

There is a coral reef that surrounds the Great Chagos Bank with coral and rock protrusions above water to depths from 3 feet to 55 feet. The bank covers an area 87 nautical miles by 65 nautical miles. The depth of water in the bank ranges from 3 feet to 300 feet with coral reefs throughout the inside of the bank. The night sky was overcast with no moon. There were intermittent thunderstorms throughout the evening. The seas were 3 feet to 5 feet with winds about 10 to 15 knots from the northwest.

We arrived in the vicinity of the downed pilot in about 1.5 hours. Because of the circumstances and location of the rescue, I placed one of my most experienced department heads in charge of the RHIB rescue team and assigned extra crewmembers to the RHIBs. The RHIBs were also well provisioned with extra water, MREs, and first aid gear. We conducted a brief for the rescue team in the pilot house before they deployed. The RHIB rescue team consisted of: Lieutenant Dan Manetzke (team leader), Lieutenant Junior Grade Greg Moselle (boat officer), Lieutenant Junior Grade Dave Hardy '99 (boat officer), ENC (SW) Bruce Leech (boat engineer), EN1 (SW) Anthony Rivera (boat engineer), BM1 (SW) Kaius Achen (boat coxswain), BM2 (SW) Michael Robinson, OS2 (SW) Daniel Graff (SAR swimmer), STG2 (SW) James Emmons (SAR swimmer), HMC (SW) Greg Cook (corpsman), HM3 Alton Love (corpsman), and SM3 (SW) Terry Brady (boat signalman).

Lieutenant Manetzke as the RHIB team leader, needed to ensure a safe opening was located in the reef in order to proceed to the first pilot located by the KC-10. The RHIB draft is 3 feet. If the RHIBs had to go further to the west by 5 to 10 nautical miles, the RHIBs and their crew would be on their own over the horizon and out of visual sight of the ship. If the RHIBs had engine problems or needed any kind of assistance and went too far toward the center of the bank, they could only be reached by a helicopter. The nearest helicopters were several days away. We were trained to operate the RHIBs over the horizon using a system called SEA PLOT that can track the RHIBs. All of the publications such as "Notice to Mariners" and "Sailing Directions" warn mariners not to go in or near the Great Chagos Bank, especially at night. The SAR could have ended up being for the RHIB crews as well.

The KC-10 and the P-3 were now overhead the debris field marking the location of one of the pilots and the RHIBs. In addition to the normal RHIB crew of a boat officer, a coxswain, and an engineer, we put a SAR swimmer and a corpsman in each RHIB. We also sent a signalman in one of the RHIBs to maintain communications as a backup to the radios. At distances approaching the horizon from the ship, hand held radios do not work well. Our signalman used flashing light to communicate effectively with the ship.

Once the RHIBs were in the vicinity of the first pilot located by the KC-10, the other air crewmen were located in the vicinity. One air crewman had a strobe light and another a flare. Three of the air crewmen were picked up directly from the RHIBs. One of the SAR swimmers, STG2 (SW) Emmons, entered the water to cut the air crewman from his parachute. The air crewman was also having back spasms and had to be brought into the RHIB in a stretcher. The RHIBs recovered all air crewmen in a challenging area where there was fuel in the water, a known shark presence, aircraft debris, and possible unexploded ordnance that may have been in the general vicinity. All of the air crew members were in good condition and received first aid treatment by the RHIB corpsman. All of the air crewmen were brought back to Russell safely. Russell then proceeded to Diego Garcia to transfer the air crewmen to awaiting tugboats at the entrance to the harbor. The air crewmen were then taken to Diego Garcia medical facilities.

The professionalism and the teamwork demonstrated by Russell crew cannot be overstated. It is a great honor to serve with each and every one of the officers and crew of Russell. All crewmembers who were not on watch at the time of the recovery operations were topside standing lookout for the air crewmen in the water. All were looking for signals and lights. No one told them to do that. They just did it. The mission was also a team effort by the USAF KC-10 and the P-3 overhead and the support personnel on the island of Diego Garcia. From the time we received an indication that the B-1B was in trouble to the time we had all the air crewmen safely in Russell was about 3.5 hours. The events of the evening of 12 December will be long remembered by everyone in Russell. We were all glad that we were able to return all of the USAF air crewmen safely home.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Skinny Dragons Win Battle "E" - COMNAVAIRPAC Press Release 2001..." [20JUN2003]

The Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) were presented the Battle Efficiency Award for Patrol and Reconnaissance, Pacific Fleet for the year 2000. VP-4 was selected over eight squadrons located at MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

The Battle Efficiency or Battle "E" award goes to ships and squadrons who demonstrate sustained superior performance with the emphasis on operational proficiency. The selection process includes a number of required assessments including crew and overall squadron qualifications, as well as a review of the command's programs and procedures that have produced an integrated team effort to achieve command goals.

During a special awards ceremony, Rear Admiral Michael Holmes, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented the Battle "E" plaque to the COMPATRECONFORPAC and VP-4 Sailor of the Year, AW1 Dane Hill. "I am pleased to see the award back on the island and once again with the Skinny Dragons," RADM Holmes said.

During a recent six-month deployment, the Skinny Dragons showed their colors while supporting SEVENTH Fleet operations. Maintaining deployment sites in Misawa and Okinawa, Japan, VP-4 flew over 4,800 hours and conducted 27 multi-national exercises. One of the most impressive aspects of the deployment was the squadron's role in the Combined Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises, which promotes team spirit and interoperability with our allies in the Pacific. Among the countries involved were Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. ADCS Philip Decker, with the Operations department detachment in Okinawa, Japan, coordinated many of the multi-national exercises. "The logistics associated with organizing each exercise was immense. It took a lot of coordination between the host nation, our own embassies, and the aircrews participating in the exercises." Commitments were held, even when Mother Nature didn't cooperate. Six hurricane evacuations were accomplished throughout the season sending aircrews, often on short notice, to safer locations.

Throughout the deployment, six submarine prosecutions were conducted, highlighting the role of the P-3 Orion as the Navy's leading Undersea Warfare (USW) platform.

Safety is another aspect of the Battle "E", as the Skinny Dragons flew without incident. Flight hours without incident or mishap is a major factor for the competing squadrons. VP-4 continues its outstanding safety record, entering its 29th year of mishap-free flight

The maintenance department kept up with the grueling operating tempo of deployment and still managed to put nine aircraft through major scheduled maintenance overhauls. VP-4 had the highest mission capable aircraft rate of any recent Patrol Squadron deployed to Misawa, Japan.

Even with all the tactical mission successes the Skinny Dragons had during the six-month Western Pacific deployment, one of the most rewarding highlights were the 22 saved lives credited to the Skinny Dragons during 20 Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. "If this was the only thing you accomplished during the year, you could be extremely proud of yourselves," RADM Holmes stated.

The Admiral closed out his speech with a challenge to the squadron to once again retain the Battle "E" award for the P-3 Pacific Fleet. In fact, the Skinny Dragons accomplished this feat recently in 1996 -1997 and have won the award three of the last five years.

During the inter-deployment training cycle, the Skinny Dragons will be able to prove themselves worthy of yet another Battle "E" award with a full schedule of detachments throughout the world. Most recently, a crew from VP-4 returned from NAS North Island after working with the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) Carrier Battle Group. Here in Hawaii, crews from VP-4 and VP-9 participated in round-the-clock coordinated operations in support of USW exercise SILENT FURY.

Commander Doug Yancey, has been VP-4 Commanding Officer since April of this year. He served as Executive Officer for the Skinny Dragons the previous year.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...JMSDF Brings DET to Kaneohe Bay..." http://www.airpac.navy.mil/news/pr2001/pr01-058.asp [02MAR2003]

Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) welcomed a detachment of aircrews from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) that arrived at MCBH Kaneohe Bay. The detachment (PATRON DET 36) of five P-3 Orion aircraft will participate in a series of local area flights and a number of joint training missions around the neighbor islands for a period of four weeks.

JMSDF sends aircrews to Kaneohe Bay throughout the year, but a detachment of this size only happens once. The majority of the crews are flying from Kanoya Air Base, in the city of Kaboshima, Japan.

The Skinny Dragons will be the host squadron to DET 36 during their four-week stay. Along with the many training flights scheduled, several other events are planned. Lieutenant John Wigglesworth will brief the detachment about local area flight rules and fly a familiarization flight around the islands, while Lieutenant Craig Exum will give a brief on current Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) tactics used today by our allies. A number of social events are planned.

The Skinny Dragons were not the only ones to welcome DET 36 to Oahu. The United Japanese Society of Hawaii welcomed the aircrews after their long flight. Acting as a liaison to the Japanese consulate, the society will help the visiting members by providing assistance of a more individual nature. President Kenneth Saiki, a former JMSDF Captain, described the society as both a cultural and social organization. "We're here to welcome the detachment and offer our support by bring a little bit of home to Hawaii."

Greeting official guests from Japan is a normal function of the society. With such a large group coming to Hawaii, the society has special plans during the four-week stay. Several social events are planned, as well as a trip to the first Japanese Naval Cemetery located outside of Japan.

The detachment gives the Skinny Dragons an opportunity to return a few favors to JMSDF as VP-4 recently returned from a Western Pacific deployment. Commander Tyrone Payton, the Executive Officer of the Skinny Dragons stated, "It's always a pleasure to host our allies and repay the warm hospitality we receive during our deployment to Japan."

During that time, VP-4 maintained two deployment sites in Japan, one in Misawa and the other on the island of Okinawa. Several functions were held at both sites from softball games to a visit to a traditional Japanese bathhouse. JMSDF Patrol Squadron FIVE was one of the squadrons to host the Skinny Dragons with open arms.

PATRON DET 36 will depart Kaneohe Bay on June 7 for the mainland as they continue their two-month training detachment in San Diego, CA and Whidbey Island, WA. While in San Diego, JMSDF will participate in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX-01), a multi-national exercise involving aircrews from Whidbey Island, WA, Canada and Australia as well. All nations will fly the P-3 alongside several Skinny Dragon aircrews during the exercise. The DET will return to Oahu for another two-week stay before crossing the Pacific to Japan.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...'Skinny Dragons' welcomes new commander - By Lt. Mark Brummett - VP-4 Public Affairs - Volume 26 - Issue 16 - April 27, 2001..." http://www.hnn.navy.mil/Archives/010427/vp4_042701.htm [02MAR2003]

With few variations, Patrol Squadron change of command ceremonies are identical to every other in the fleet.

Whether held on the fantail of a destroyer, the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier, or in the hangar of an aviation unit, the heart of the ceremony is the formal reading of official orders.

Command passes upon the salute and utterance by the relieving officer, "I relieve you, Sir."The officer being relieved returns the salute and responds, "I stand relieved."This simple ceremony reflects the dedication of free men and women serving their nation proudly.

Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) held a change of command ceremony on April 6 in Hanger 104, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay as family, friends, distinguished guests, and the entire squadron looked on.

Cmdr. Doug Yancey became the 52nd commanding officer of Patrol Squadron Four to take command of the Skinny Dragons.This marked the end of Cmdr Craig Whitaker's command tour, while ushering in new executive efficer, Cmdr. Tyrone Payton.

Among the distinguished guests was guest speaker, Rear Adm. Michael Holmes, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. Praising the accomplishments of Cmdr. Whitaker, the admiral raised the bar and challenged Yancey to continue the tradition of excellence.

During the ceremony, both Whitaker and Yancey thanked the people who made the ceremony special. Special thanks were offered to the members of the VP-4 color guard, the Seventh Fleet Navy Band, and all their family and friends who traveled from across the country to see this event.

I would like to offer my thanks for an outstanding performance of everyone that worked so hard setting up this change of command ceremony. Your pride as a Skinny Dragon is evident everywhere we look."

A traditional cake cutting and reception followed the ceremony at the Kaneohe Bay Officer's Club, where Chief Petty Officers and Officers alike celebrated the event and reflected over the past year while looking toward the future.

Cmdr. Whitaker leaves the Skinny Dragons after a year of unrivaled accomplishments. The squadron once again earned the Battle Efficiency ‘E' award for operational excellence after a highly successful Western Pacific deployment.

While supporting Seventh Fleet operations, VP-4 flew over 4,800 mishap free hours, while detached to 13 countries. During the six-month deployment, 20 search and rescue missions resulted in VP-4 personnel being credited with saving 22 lives.

A member of VP-4 since March of last year, Cmdr. Doug Yancey took the helm as Executive Officer. A native of Lancaster, Ca., he was commissioned through the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla. in September 1982.

After tours with VP-31 and VP-19 at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, Calif., he was selected for the Personnel Exchange Program with the Netherlands.

In August 1988, he reported to the Royal Dutch Navy 321 Squadron and earned designations as Patrol Plane Commander and Patrol Plane Instructor Pilot.

Cmdr. Yancey returned to the U.S. and completed tours with Patrol Squadron Five, Patrol Wing Eleven in Jacksonville, Fla., and the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) home ported in Washington state, were he served as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Module Officer.

The new Executive Officer, Cmdr. Tyrone Payton will take over where Yancey left off. Born in Shreveport, La., Payton graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree.

After his designation as a Naval Aviator in 1984, Payton completed tours with VP-48 and, VP-31, the Fleet Replacement Squadron, at NAS Moffett Field, Calif., and the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) home ported in Alameda, Calif.

This is not Payton's first tour with VP-4. In fact, he was recently assigned to the squadron during his Department Head Tour just three years prior, serving as Safety Officer and Aviation Maintenance Officer.

"It's good to see the maintenance personnel I used to work with that are still here. I'm excited to be back and they're excited too," said Payton.

Every change of command ceremony has an array of emotions as the squadron says goodbye to one commanding officer and welcomes in another.

As VP-4 continues into its 29th year of mishap free flying. Yancey told the Sailors of VP-4; "I look forward to working with each and everyone of you during the next year. Your expertise, dedication to service, and true devotion to the command has been inspiring. I promise to give you my best and support you at all times."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Awards "...AECS Bill Rutledge, Retired brutledge@worldnet.att.net being inducted into the Enlisted Air Crewman Roll of Honor November 9, 2001 (in uniform). Chief Rutledge served with VP-10 and VP-50. On the left of Chief Rutledge is Chief Lee Hicks (another November 2001 inductee) who served with VP-4..." Contributed by Lee Hicks leebo96@hotmail.com [E-Mail Posted 17JAN2002 | 11JAN2002]


Circa 2000

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Parachute riggers' aim is to keep their clients hanging - By Wayne Specht, Misawa bureau chief - Pacific edition, Monday, September 25, 2000..." WebSite: Stars and Stripes http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=5855&archive=true [23APR2006]

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan - Chief Petty Officer David Jennings, deployed to Misawa with the VP-4 patrol squadron from Hawaii, said that when he went through the Navy's rigger school 21 years ago, riggers had to jump from an aircraft using a chute they packed themselves.

"It was supposed to be a confidence builder," said Jennings, adding "it's no longer part of the curriculum."

During his career, Jennings said that three aviators flying off the USS Constellation aircraft carrier had to bail out of aircraft using chutes he packed. All brought him bottles of whiskey.

"It's a scary moment when they have to use your equipment," Jennings said.

Because of their expertise with survival gear, people such as Jennings sometimes are called upon to join repatriation teams searching for aviators downed in America's conflicts. He went to Laos in 1995 on such a mission.

He said helping to locate the remains of an Air Force first lieutenant lost after his F-105 Thunderchief went down there was one of the most gratifying experiences of his Navy career.

"It was my proudest moment to be able to bring one home," Jennings said.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Conducts Exercises With Royal Thai Navy - Purpose Of Exercises To Practice Multinational Maritime Operations - By LTjg Kelly Hinderer, Patrol Squadron FOUR Public Affairs - July 7th, 2000...http://www.c7f.navy.mil/news/2000/07/22.html..." [19JUN2003]

UTAPHAO, Thailand -- VP-4 conducted a bilateral aerial mining exercise with the Royal Thai navy's 102 Squadron July 7 during a series of exercises conducted in Thailand.

The exercise was flown from Utaphao, Thailand and included the P-3C Orion aircraft flown by VP-4 and P-3A aircraft flown by Squadron 102.

During their six-month deployment, Patrol Squadron FOUR is participating in exercise CARAT 2000, a series of exercises conducted annually between the U.S. Navy and its Asian Rim partners. The objectives of the CARAT exercises are to practice multi-national coordination in the conduct of maritime operations and to improve tactics while building friendship between the participating countries.

The two squadrons conducted aircrew and maintenance symposiums, exchanging information and ideas on aircraft maintenance practices, ordnance loading and tactical employment of the P-3 aircraft. Other scheduled events include joint surface surveillance and anti-surface warfare flights.

During the mining flights, three members of the Royal Thai navy flew with the U.S. Navy P-3C crew and three U.S. Navy aviators flew on the Royal Thai navy P-3A aircraft.

"The opportunity to fly with the Royal Thai navy has been one of the highlights of my trip so far," said Lt. Pitch Bencharit, a pilot with Patrol Squadron FOUR.

"In addition to maritime operations exercises, we have had a wonderful opportunity to get to know the people of Thailand," said Cmdr. Craig Whitaker, VP-4 commanding officer.

"In addition to the formal social gatherings conducted with the Royal Thai navy, we have had the opportunity to participate in several community relations projects, including repairs to a local school and a grounds clean-up at an elderly care facility," Whitaker said. "Our flight surgeon, Lt. Sanjiv Ghogale, joined a group of medical professionals from the participating U.S. ships to provide medical care for the people of Thailand in outlying areas. These interactions, plus the many professional and personal relationships developed as we fly and operate together, make the CARAT Exercises particularly rewarding for participants."

Patrol Squadron FOUR will continue to support the CARAT series of exercises with crews and aircraft through September.

VP-4 is homebased at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay and is currently deployed for six months to Misawa, Japan and Kadena, Japan.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Kitty Hawk battle group led rescue work after collision - By Wayne Specht, Misawa bureau chief - Pacific edition, Saturday, November 18, 2000 - Stars and Strips..." http://www.stripes.osd.mil/article.asp?section=104&article=5180&archive=true [07APR2003]

Kitty Hawk battle group led rescue work after collision
By Wayne Specht, Misawa bureau chief
Pacific edition, Saturday, November 18, 2000

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The Yokusuka-based USS Kitty Hawk battle group coordinated rescue efforts following Monday's midair collision between two Misawa F-16 fighters.

Capt. Warren Sneed, assigned to Misawa's 14th Fighter Squadron, died following a collision with pilot Col. Michael Lepper, 35th Operations Group commander. Sneed is still missing and is presumed dead; Lepper survived the accident.

First on the crash scene near Hokkaido were S-3B Viking anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the Kitty Hawk battle group.

The F-16s were taking part in Operation Keen Sword, a bilateral exercise involving American and Japanese military units.

Searchers scoured more than 6,000 square miles of ocean for more than 48 hours before calling off the search for Sneed.

The S-3B aviators with sea control squadron VS-21, assigned to Carrier Air Wing-5 aboard the carrier, took control of the search effort until they were relieved by other Navy aircraft, said Lt. Christopher Roby, a spokesman with Helicopter Squadron-14 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.

Roby said a E-2C Hawkeye with airborne early warning squadron VAW-115 assumed control of the search and rescue effort, directing helicopters operating from the carrier, which sailed within 30 miles of the crash site.

Helicopters from the USS Kitty Hawk flew 24 sorties, totaling nearly 83 hours.

Roby said additional fixed-wing aircraft assisted with the search for Sneed over the next 48 hours.

"This search was difficult, and often frustrating, because our efforts went without rewards," Roby said. "The loss of a fellow aviator is a great loss to the military."

An EP-3 Aries aircraft from Misawa's VP-1, and a P-3C anti-submarine warfare aircraft with VP-4, on deployment to Misawa from Hawaii, also searched for Sneed.

Over the next two days, six sorties flown by VP-4 aircraft from Misawa flew a total of 43 hours searching for Sneed, said Capt. Richard High, commanding officer of Misawa's Naval Air Facility.

First Lt. Katsuhiro Yanaguida, a 3rd Air Wing spokesman at Misawa, said Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces, and Maritime Self-Defense Force ships taking part in the exercise, also joined in the search.

JASDF helicopters from Chitose Air Base on Hokkaido and from Akita Air Base on Honshu also lent a hand.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-4 Holds Change of Command - By Lt.j.g. Kelly Hinderer VP-4 - Volume 25 - Issue 14 - April 7, 2000..." http://www.hnn.navy.mil/Archives/000407/VP-4.htm [02MAR2003]

Few military ceremonies are as moving, simple and significant as a Change of Command. It is a visible symbol of the continuity of command, and of the orderly transfer of responsibility and accountability from one naval officer to another. With few variations, Patrol Squadron Four's ceremony was identical to every change of command in the fleet.

Each contain the same moment of transition when the new commanding officer (CO) salutes his predecessor and speaks four words, "I relieve you, sir."

In a morning ceremony on March 31 in the squadron's home hangar, attended by guest speaker, Rear Adm. Michael Holmes, Commander Patrol Wings U.S. Pacific Fleet, Cmdr. James C. Whitaker replaced Cmdr. McWilliam V. Bollman, Jr. as the 51st commanding officer of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4).

Bollman led the VP-4 ‘Skinny Dragons' through a year of unparalleled accomplishments. During its Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in 1999, the squadron flew in support of three combat operations. During Operation Desert Fox, VP-4 was the first to utilize the new Anti-surface warfare Improvement Program (AIP) modified P-3 in combat. Their accomplishments in the Gulf earned the squadron the Navy Unit Commendation Medal.

During Operation Noble Anvil in Kosovo, Patrol Squadron Four executed a rapid deployment of two AIP aircraft from the Fifth and Seventh Fleets to the Sixth Fleet for participation in 17 flight events, including five Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) strike missions. Due to the success of these missions in Kosovo, 13 ‘Skinny Dragons' were awarded Air Medals.

VP-4 ended its unequaled deployment with a 99 percent mission completion rate for Fifth and Sixth Fleet operations. Using Cmdr. Bollman Jr.'s philosophy of "exercising every safe opportunity to achieve mission success," VP-4 safely flew 5,598 hours and 1,084 sorties during his tenure, extending the Skinny Dragon safety record to 27 years and 185,000 mishap-free hours.

Bollman also led Patrol Squadron Four through a successful transition from Barbers Point to its new home aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay where the ‘Skinny Dragons' have continued to lead the Pacific in Patrol Squadron excellence.

The former CO takes with him many great memories from his tour. He and his wife, Shelly Bollman have played an active role in achieving the Navy's integration into the K-Bay community.

"Most of all, I am proud to say I served with the extraordinary men and women of VP-4," Bollman said. "Flying, being operational and serving on this team that rises to meet every challenge through hard work and camaraderie has been the highlight of my entire naval career."

Cmdr. and Mrs. Bollman and their family are now on their way to meet new challenges in Washington, D.C.

About his assignment to the Pentagon in the Aviation Programs Division, Cmdr. Bollman said, "I'm excited to continue addressing the parts and sustainment shortfalls we are enduring in today's Navy."

Incoming CO, Cmdr. Craig Whitaker was commissioned an Ensign in October 1983, and completed Aviation Officer Candidate School on the East Coast. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in December 1984 and completed tours in Patrol Squadron Five, Patrol Squadron 30 and USS Saratoga (CV 60).

In 1994, Cmdr. Whitaker came west to VP-17 at Barbers Point, Hawaii for his tour as department head. He completed the successful and challenging tour in VP-40, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington after the decommissioning of VP-17 in December 1994.

Following an assignment at the Pentagon's Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Cmdr. Whitaker was selected for operational command, and reported to Patrol Squadron Four as the Executive Officer (XO) in March 1999.

The new Executive Officer (XO), Cmdr. Marion D. Yancey hails from Lancaster, Calif., and comes to Patrol Squadron Four from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.


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