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HistoryVP-66 HistoryHistory

Circa 1997

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Combat Aircrew One (CAC-1) of Naval Reserve Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66), based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, won first place in the 1997 International Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) Symposium held Sept. 12 in Jacksonville, FL. The squadron competed against MPA crews from France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, as well as against five active duty U.S. Navy crews." http://www.navy-reserve.org/excom/9710/ex-9710d.html

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "01OCT97--...NNS4111. Naval Reserve squadron wins aviation competition by LT John Perry, VP-66 WILLOW GROVE, PA. (NWSA) -- Combat Aircrew One (CAC- 1) of Naval Reserve Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66), based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, won first place in the 1997 International Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) Symposium held Sept. 12 in Jacksonville, Fla. The squadron competed against MPA crews from France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, as well as against five active duty U.S. Navy crews. Commander Patrol Wing 11 hosted the third annual antisubmarine warfare symposium. U.S. East and West Coast Wings were represented by crews from NAS Brunswick, Maine; NAS Jacksonville, Florida; NAS Whidbey Island, Washington; and NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, as well as the MPA Fleet Replacement Squadron, Patrol Squadron 30. Naval Reserve Squadron VP-62's maintenance department, from NAS Brunswick, Maine shared in the victory by helping VP-66 prepare and maintain the aircraft for the competition..." Navy News Service -- 1 Oct. 1997


Circa 1996

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...P-3 Crew Returns From African Mission - By LT Barbara Burfeind, NAS Sigonella PAO...(Mentioned: VP-16, VP-66, TSC and MOCC )" WebSite: The Navy Public Affairs Library http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/news/eurnews/eur96/eur96049.txt [04DEC2005]

SIGONELLA, Sicily - (NENS) -- Pilots and crew members from VP-16 returned last Friday following four weeks in Entebbe, Uganda, with two flight crews alternating daily surveillance flights over Zaire, Africa. The maritime patrol aircraft located and documented numbers of refugees and their movements in Zaire.

"We've gone into the painting business, and we're covering the world," said CDR William P. Nash Jr., VP-16's commanding officer, while briefing his squadron before departing for Entebbe. He noted how the squadron being forward deployed allowed them to be in both hemispheres, with crews flying in Bosnia, Iceland and Uganda.

The NAS Jacksonville, Florida, based squadron is at NAS Sigonella, Sicily for a five-month Mediterranean deployment under Commander, Task Force Sixty-Seven. Augmenting VP-16's operations was VP-66, a reserve P-3 squadron based in NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. The reservists flew logistics and supply runs to and from Entebbe.

While based in Entebbe, the P-3 squadron gave the world a rare glimpse of its operations -- historically used for anti-submarine warfare over water -- with VP-16 adapting its aircraft capabilities to an "overland" mission of locating refugees.

During the deployment, squadron crew members were interviewed and taped by CNN television, Stars & Stripes, American Forces Network (AFN), BBC and various stateside and international media.

The squadron provided critical information to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) for their assessment of the humanitarian situation in Central Africa, CDR Nash said. Tactical Support Center (TSC) NAS Sigonella, Sicily supplied the crews with the required intelligence and charts for the region and detached one officer and two enlisted Sailors with the Mobil Operational Control Center (MOCC).

From the air, crew members noted locations of several large refugee tent cities which easily stood out from the lush, green, mountainous countryside near Lake Kivu. The crew members also observed large groups traveling along the road to Goma, Zaire.

Several crew members described the nine-hour flights as "an aerial obstacle course," dodging seasonal thunderstorms while trying to document the various refugee locations and movements in Zaire.

"We've seen thousands of people and tents. It's very easy to see the tent cities with the naked eye," said AME1 William Liening of St. Henry, Ohio. "They're just a blanket of white."

"This is a standard Navy P-3 day," said AW2 Gina Mahoney, of Thompson Falls, Mont. "This is exactly what we're trained to do; it feels good to know that we're prepared and can help."

The flights were not without excitement. Wednesday, Nov. 20, about midday, above Goma, Zaire several crew members witnessed "puffs of smoke," characteristic of anti-aircraft fire, which burst well below the aircraft. The P-3 left the area and continued the mission at other locations.

There was no damage to the aircraft or injuries to the crew, as the aircraft was operating above the range of the expected threat for the area, said CDR Nash. However, the incident drew worldwide attention as it appeared in news coverage on CNN, in the Associated Press, and on the Internet that same evening.

Although Zairian refugee assessment continues, VP-16's two aircraft and crew have returned to Sigonella. Two West coast P-3 squadron crews relieved the VP-16 crews. From here, VP-16 contiues to "paint the world."


Circa 1995

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "08SEP95--...NWSA1020. Reserve P-3 Squadron flies in relief to hurricane-damaged island... Courtesy of COMNAVRESFOR Public Affairs...NEWS ORLEANS (NWSA) -- A detachment from Naval Reserve Patrol Squadron VP-66 joined with U.S. Coast Guard aircraft on Sept. 7 to fly humanitarian relief flights to aid the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin, devastated by Hurricane Luis...The Reserve P-3C aircraft are flying relief flights from the Caribbean island of Curacao after having evacuated earlier this week from NS Rota, Spain, in advance of the hurricane. VP-66's flights carried Dutch military personnel and relief material to St. Martin...The squadron is home based at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania..." http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/news/navywire/nwsa95/nwsa0908.txt [31MAY99]


Circa 1994

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Change-Of-Command, Rcords, Etc. - Naval Aviation News - March - April 1994.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1994/ma94.pdf [12NOV2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Change-Of-Command, Disestablishment, Etc. - Naval Aviation News - January - February 1994.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1994/jf94.pdf [12NOV2004]

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Circa 1992

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News Magazine "...Base Closures, Change-Of-Command, Records, Etc. - Naval Aviation News - May-June 1992.." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1992/mj92.pdf [11NOV2004]

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Circa 1990

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraID: DNSN9005090 "...Commander Bill O'Brien, commanding officer of Naval Air Reserve Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66), listens to a member of his squadron while inside a P-3 Orion aircraft on an active duty training mission. Date Shot: 28 Feb 1990..." WebSite: Defense Visual Information Center http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/ [04FEB2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraID: DNSN9005091 "...A port view of the fleet oiler USNS NEOSHO (T-AO 143), seen beneath the wing of a Naval Air Reserve Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66), P-3 Orion aircraft on an active duty training mission. Date Shot: 28 Feb 1990..." WebSite: Defense Visual Information Center http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/ [04FEB2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraID: DNSN9005092 "...A member of Naval Air Reserve Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66) boards a P-3 Orion aircraft for an active duty training mission. Date Shot: 28 Feb 1990..." WebSite: Defense Visual Information Center http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/ [04FEB2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January-February 1991 "...History - Naval Aviation News - January-February 1991..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1991/jf91.pdf [24OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July-August 1990 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 4, 6 and 34 - Naval Aviation News - July-August 1990..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1990/ja90.pdf [22OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March-April 1990 "...Modernization Under Way - Page 8 to 9 - Naval Aviation News - March-April 1990..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1990/ma90.pdf [22OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-66 A/C were previously used at VAQ-33. Actually, the equipment that is now in the P-3's was in the A-3's previous to that. I was stationed in both VAQ-33 (90 & 91) & VP-11 (92 - 96)..." Contributed by Lou "King Louie" Arrazola enynlou@omeganet.es


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