VPNAVY VP-5 Mercury Capsule Recovery
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HistoryVP-66 HistoryHistory

Circa 2007

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...COMRESPATWING Disestablishment Ceremony - June 23, 2007 - Flyer (Squadrons: VP-60, VP-62, VP-64, VP-65, VP-66, VP-67, VP-68, VP-69, VP-90, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93 and VP-94)..." Contributed by ROBIDEAU, AWCS Larry Retired larobidoo@comcast.net [30JAN2008]

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY COMMANDER RESERVE PATROL WING NAVAL AIR STATION
JOINT RESERVE BASE
WILLOW GROVE, PENNSYLVANIA 19090-5010

June 23, 2007

Dear Reserve VP Alumni,

It is a distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Reserve VP reunion. Many of you have traveled great distances and arranged your busy schedules to attend this celebration with your shipmates; your presence truly makes this a memorable occasion. Thank you for coming.

This evening's event is a commemoration of our service to country, and the camaraderie we have attained through our common experiences. I'm confident it will afford each of you the opportunity to rekindle and share memories of times gone by, with much fondness and laughter.

Since their inception in 1970, Reserve Patrol Wing squadrons have played a significant role in the United States Navy's maritime strategies. You, the Citizen Sailors of yesterday and today, were and continue to be an indispensable component of our Navy. From both coasts of our great nation and everywhere in between, you and your shipmates left homes and careers behind, answering America's call. You flew and maintained the venerable P2 Neptune and P-3 Orion aircraft, training for missions and detaching worldwide. You leave behind a proud legacy. I congratulate each of you and I'm honored to call all of you "shipmates."

We must also remember to pay tribute to our families, for their sacrifice has been great. They, too, have borne the burden of service, and are most deserving of our gratitude. If your family is not present this evening, please pass to them my sincere thanks and admiration.

As this chapter in the annals of the United States Navy closes, let us remember that the legacy continues. The Navy you helped build remains strong, proud, and incredibly capable. Fair Winds and Following Seas!

Christopher A. Patton
CAPT USN

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...COMRESPATWING Disestablishment Ceremony - June 23, 2007 - Brochure (Squadrons: VP-60, VP-62, VP-64, VP-65, VP-66, VP-67, VP-68, VP-69, VP-90, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93 and VP-94)..." Contributed by ROBIDEAU, AWCS Larry Retired larobidoo@comcast.net [30JAN2008]

COMRESPATWING SQUADRONS

COMMANDER RESERVE PATROL WING SENDS ITS SINCERE THANKS AND GRATITUDE TO ALL WHO HAVE SERVED, AND IS GRATEFUL TO ALL THOSE CIVILIANS WHO HAVE SUPPORTED THEIR CITIZEN SOLDIERS/SAILORS FOR NEARLY FOUR DECADES.

The following squadrons and command were assigned to Commander Reserve Patrol Wing:
               SQUADRON  NICKNAME                  LOCATION
                VP-60 	"Cobras"              NAS Glenview, Illinois
                VP-62 	"Broadarrows"         NAS Jacksonville, Florida
                VP-64 	"Condors"             NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
                VP-65 	"Tridents"            NAS Point Mugu, California
                VP-66 	"Liberty Bells"       NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
                VP-67 	"Golden Hawks"        NAS Memphis, Tennessee
                VP-68 	"Black Hawks"         NAF Washington, D.C.
                VP-69 	"Totems"              NAS Whidbey Island, Washington
                VP-90 	"Lions"               NAS Glenview, Illinois
                VP-91 	"Black Cats"          NAS Moffett Field, California
                VP-92 	"Minutemen"           NAS Brunswick, Maine
                VP-93 	"Executioners"        NAF Detroit, Michigan
                VP-94 	"Crawfishers"         NAS New Orleans, Louisiana
                Reserve ASW Training Center   NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

Commander Reserve Patrol Wing
Command History

Commander Reserve Patrol Wing (COMRESPATWING) became the Navy's largest Patrol Wing in January 1999 following the consolidation of the former COMRESPATWINGPAC located at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA and COMRESPATWINGLANT located at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Commander Reserve Patrol Wing became responsible for the training, readiness and oversight of seven assigned Maritime Patrol Aviation (MP A) Squadrons, the Reserve Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center (RA TCEN), three Weapons System Trainer detachments, and two Mobile Operations Command Centers (MOCCs). The Wing was an Echelon IV command under the administrative and operational control of Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve. The Command's mission served two primary purposes 1) achieve and sustain combat readiness ensuring the availability of combat ready units capable of immediate employment in the event of war or national emergency; and 2) provide operational support during peacetime. At its pinnacle, COMRESPATWING included over 2,500 Drilling Reservists and Full Time Support personnel operating and maintaining 45 P-3 "Orion" aircraft.

The birth of Reserve Patrol Wing can be traced back to a major restructuring of the Naval Air Reserve that took place in 1970. The restructuring established two Reserve Patrol Wings, one East Coast Wing and one West Coast Wing, and 13 Reserve Patrol Squadrons.

The Squadrons first flew the SP2H "Neptune" but soon transitioned to the P-3 "Orion" during the mid-1970s. From the initial P-3A models, Reserve aircrews transitioned to the more capable P-3B TACNA V MOD and then onto the P-3C. Eventually, COMRESPATWING Squadrons came to operate the most modem P-3Cs in the fleet, which included AlP, BMUP and Update III aircraft.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Reserve MP A maintained a significant Cold War anti-submarine warfare force, and the Squadrons were part of the fabric of the entire country with units based from coast to coast. The Squadrons included, VP-60 and VP-90 (NAS Glenview, Illinois), VP-62 (NAS Jacksonville, Florida), VP-64 and VP-66 (NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania), VP-65 (NAS Point Mugu, California), VP-67 (NAS Memphis, Tennessee), VP-68 (NAF Washington, D.C.), VP-69 (NAS Whidbey Island, Washington), VP-91 (NAS Moffett Field, California), VP-92 (NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts), VP-93 (NAF Detroit, Michigan), and VP-94 (NAS Belle Chase, LA).

With the fall of the Soviet Union and the resulting reduction in the size of the Navy, six Reserve Squadrons were disestablished and the East and West Coast Wings were consolidated into a single Wing, which became Commander Reserve Patrol Wing, currently located at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Post-Cold War, COMRESPATWING Squadrons expanded their role by routinely integrating into Fleet operations and deploying year-round to worldwide locations in support of Fleet Commanders.

With the start of the 21st Century, a new challenge arose for the Reserve Patrol Community. Years of heavy usage on the nation's P-3 force took its toll and many aircraft started to reach the end of their service life. In order to provide a bridge to the follow-on Patrol Aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, COMRESPATWING Units were called upon to embark upon an unprecedented integration and asset sharing initiative. To assure the maximum return on national assets, COMRESPATWING transferred its most capable P-3s to its Squadrons co-located with Active Component Squadrons and concurrently disestablished stand-alone P-3 Squadrons. With the disestablishment of COMRESPATWING on 30 June 2007, two remaining Reserve Patrol Squadrons will continue to serve the nation under the control of their Active Component Wings. The thousands of Officers, Chiefs, and Sailors who have served in Reserve Patrol Wing Units leave behind a proud legacy of professionalism, service and camaraderie.
                             COMMANDERS OF RESERVE PATROL WING 
			
                CAPT Joseph E. K1ause, USN 	        Oct 1970   Oct 1972 
                CAPT James A. McCraig, USN 	        Oct 1972   Sep 1974 
                CAPT William H. Saunders, III, USN 	Sep 1974   Ju1 1976 
                CAPT Donald R. Yeager, USN 		Jul 1976   Jul 1978 
                CAPT Richard J. Lanning, USN 		Jul 1978   Jul 1980 
                CAPT Richard K. Chambers, USNR 		Jul 1980   Aug 1982 
                CAPT Earl R. Riffle, USN 		Aug 1982   Sep 1984 
                CAPT Michael A. Nash, USN 		Sep 1984   Sep 1986 
                CAPT Gerald H. Mollencop, USNR 		Sep 1986   Jul 1989 
                CAPT Michael T. Korbet, USN 		Jul 1989   Jul 1991 
                CAPT Douglas R. Birr, USNR 		Jul 1991   Oct 1993 
                CAPT David C. Hull, USN 		Oct 1993   Apr 1995 
                CAPT Patrick B. Peterson, USNR 		Apr 1995   Jul 1996 
                CAPT Frederick S. Gay, USN 		Jul 1996   Jan 1998 
                CAPT Riley J. Gladden, USNR 		Jan 1998   Jul 1999 
                CAPT Robert A. Sinibaldi, Jr., USNR 	Jul 1999   Jul 2001 
                CAPT David L. Montgomery, USNR 		Jul 2001   Jul 2003 
                CAPT Michael J. Szostak, USN 		Jul 2003   Jun 2005 
                CAPT Christopher A. Patton, USN 	Jun 2005   Jun 2007 

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...COMRESPATWING Disestablishment Ceremony - June 23, 2007 - CD History (Squadrons: VP-60, VP-62, VP-64, VP-65, VP-66, VP-67, VP-68, VP-69, VP-90, VP-91, VP-92, VP-93 and VP-94)..." Contributed by ROBIDEAU, AWCS Larry Retired larobidoo@comcast.net [30JAN2008]

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Circa 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraDecommissioned "...The Navy Reservist - Decommissioned - Volume 32 - Issue Number 6 - June 2006 - Squadron's Mentioned: VP-65, VP-66 and VP-94..." WebSite: Naval Reserve http://www.navyreserve.navy.mil/NR/rdonlyres/03F079BF-D545-42C6-A335-577B42BE2D5D/133151/TNRJune06.pdf [13OCT2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...From The Fleet - VP-66 - Disestablished - By LCDR Randall Sprinkle - Wings of Gold - Winter 2005/06 Page 68..." WebSite: Association Of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/ [23MAR2006]

Patrol Squadron 66 (VP-66) was com missioned on 1 November 1970 at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as part of the Naval Air Reserve. Initially composed of units relocated from NAS New York, New York, VP-66 began with three active duty officers, 50 active duty enlisted personnel and approximately 300 selected reservists. In less than a year, the squadron's combat readiness increased from last to first place among all Atlantic Fleet Reserve VP Squadrons, resulting in a special commendation from the Commander, Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic. Although the squadron was originally known as the BOXCARS, in celebration of our Nation's 200th anniversary and in recognition of the unit's proximity to Philadelphia, VP-66 was renamed the Liberty Bells in 1976.

Patrol Squadron 66 flew the Lockheed SP2H Neptune aircraft until 1973 when the squadron transitioned to the Lockheed P-3A Orion. Since then the Liberty Bells have flown the P-3B, the P-3C Update II, and completed transition to the P-3C Block Modification Upgrade Program (BMUP) aircraft in September of 2003. This weapons platform, with its dramatically increased ASW and oceansurveillance capabilities, enabled squadron aircrews to maintain a level of expertise and operational readiness equal to their active component counterparts.

VP-66 proudly achieved a major milestone on 17 November 1999. On that day, the squadron surpassed 100,000 mishap free flight hours during the course of its 29 years. A six-time recipient of the CNO Safety S award, the squadron earned this honor in 1980, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001. In 1993, VP-66 was the recipient of the Noel Davis Battle E. The unit also received the 1984 and 1992 AVCM Donald M. Neal (Golden Wrench) Maintenance Award, the 1986 Retention Excellence Award and the 1988 Administrative Excellence Award.

Additionally, VP-66 was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1996 and won the 1997 International Maritime Patrol Aircraft Symposium Trophy for ASW excellence while competing against crews from five NATO nations and representatives from every active duty and reserve U.S. Navy P-3C squadron. VP-66 was also awarded the Armed Forces Service Medal and the Joint Meritorious Service Commendation. Among the more cherished accolades earned (because of its name), VP-66 brought home the Commander, Reserve Patrol Wing "Liberty Bell" Trophy for Tactical Excellence in October 2003, besting the six other reserve VP squadrons in a head-to-head tactical competition.

More recently, Annual Training found the Liberty Bells detached to El-Salvador, Ecuador, and Curacao in support of JIATF-South Counter Narcotic Operations during 2005. During that timeframe, several VP-66 crews were credited with locating drug-running vessels that were ultimately seized by authorities resulting in the seizure of 7.91 metric tons of cocaine with a street value of roughly $150 million. Also in that vear. VP-66 was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal for contributing support to the Fleet. Selective Reservists provided 7500 hours of Operational Support Drills to the Fleet during 2004-2005.

Over the years, the citizen-Sailors of VP-66 were far more than weekend warriors. Squadron personnel operated and maintained as many as seven P-3C aircraft on a full-time basis, flying over 3,000 hours annually in recent years. The squadron's aircraft and 10 flight crews deployed worldwide with minimal advance notice. To enable the squadron to carry out missions around the clock, seven officers and 110 enlisted personnel were assigned full-time to the command. This permanent active duty cadre provided the training and administration for 50 officers and 136 enlisted personnel who made up the Selected Reserve segment of the squadron. The immensely successful efforts of the officers and sailors culminated in 111,854 Mishap-free flight hours over the life of the squadron.

On February 11, 2006, the squadron held a ceremony marking its disestablishment, which becomes effective 31 March 2006. This closure is in compliance with the Active Reserve Integration (ARI) plan. In CY 05, P-3 aircraft fatigue issues required the grounding of 30 aircraft necessitating an accelerated disestablishment plan to recapitalize scarce aircraft resources across the Maritime Patrol community. During the past year VP-66 has transferred its complement of P-3C aircraft to fleet concentration areas in Florida, Maine and Washington. These transfers permitted significant enhancements to ARI and provided aircraft needed to continue flight training and overseas detachments. Along with the aircraft, VP-66 transferred many top quality people to the front lines of Naval service. The men and women of VP-66 will proudly carry the Liberty Bell legacy of excellence and service with them into the future through continued support to the fleet, their communities and families.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-66 will close its doors..." Contributed by Marco P.J. Borst p3orion@planet.nl [18JAN2006]

On February 11, 2006, USN VP-66 will hold a ceremony marking its disestablishment, which becomes effective 31 March 2006. This closure is in compliance with the Active Reserve Integration (ARI) plan. In CY 05, P-3 aircraft fatigue issues required the grounding of 30 aircraft necessitating an accelerated disestablishment plan to recapitalize scarce aircraft resources across the Maritime Patrol community. During the past year, VP-66 has transferred its complement of P-3C aircraft to fleet concentration areas in Florida, Maine and Washington. These transfers permitted significant enhancements to ARI and provided aircraft needed to continue flight training and overseas detachments. Along with the aircraft, VP-66 transferred many top quality people to the front lines of Naval service. The men and women of VP-66 will proudly carry the Liberty Bell legacy of excellence and service with them into the future through continued support to the fleet, their communities and families.
UPDATE VP-66 Adobe Disestablishment Ceremony BrochureVP-66 Diestablishment Program (PDF File 774 KB) "...Attached you will find the 'Disestablishment of Command Patrol Squadron 66 - Liberty Bells - 11 February 2006 - Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania - Program..." Contributed by Merrill Kruse kruse@navmar.com [10FEB2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-66 Reunion / Distablishment Ceremony..." Contributed by Merrill Kruse kruse@navmar.com [11JAN2006]

VP-66 Reunion / Distablishment Ceremony
When: 10-11 February 2006
Where: NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

All past and present "Liberty Bells" are invited to attend

Distablishment Ceremony at 1500, 11 Feb 06 in the VP-66 Hangar

For more information contact:

    LCDR Sprinkle - (215) 443-6607
    CMCDM Galloway - (215) 443-6619
    AWCS (Ret) Dave Williams - (267) 377-5610
    AWCS (Ret) Merrill Kruse - (267) 446-8141
    AWCS (Ret) Merrill Kruse - (267) 446-8141

Circa 2005

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...OPNAV NOTICE 3111 06 Nov 05 - Subject: Diestablishment of Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron Six Five (Patron Six Five), Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron Six Six (Patron Six Six), and Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron Nine Four (Patron Nine Four)..." Contributed by Merrill Kruse kruse@navmar.com [12JAN2006]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...OPNAV NOTICE 3111 29 Nov 05 - From Chief of Naval Operations..." Contributed by Marco P.J. Borst p3orion@planet.nl [02DEC2005]

1. Purpose: To approve disestablishment of subject fleet activities, all under the administrative command of the Chief of Naval Operations.

2. Background: The disestablishment of PATRON SIX FIVE (VP-65), PATRON SIX SIX (VP-66), and PATRON NINE FOUR (VP-94) are in compliance with the Active Reserve Integration (ARI) plan. In adddition, P-3 aircraft fatique issues have required the grounding of 30 aircraft during CY 05, neccessitating an accelerated disestablishment plan to recapitalize scarce aircraft resources.

3. Organizational Changes: Effective 31 March 2006, disestablish VP-65, VP-66 and VP-94.

VP-65 is in NAS Point Mugu, California. VP-66 in NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. VP-94 in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana. None of the three squadrons had any aircraft left on the ramp. Their 12 P-3s were already on temp loan to active squadrons. All 12 will be transfered no later than 01 Feb 06 to either the active fleet or the boneyard at Davis Mothan AFB. IMRL gear and SE are already in process of being shipped to other locations.

This will reduce the Reserve P-3 force to a total of 18 P-3 aircraft in CY 06.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Custer relieves DeLoache as VP-66 Commander..." WebSite: FlagShip News http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2005/archive_PDF/oct202005.pdf [03NOV2005]

NAVAL AIR STATION JOINTRESERVE BASE WILLOWGROVE, Pa. — On Sept. 24, CDR James R. Custer relieved CDR Timothy P. DeLoache as the 27th Commanding Officer of VP-66.

The ceremony was held in Hangar 175 with U. S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware as the guest speaker. DeLoache is a native of Wilmington, Del., and currently lives in Port Tobacco, Md., with his wife Lori and four children. He joined VP-66 in 1996 after leaving VP-68. Prior to his tour as Commanding Oofficer, he served as a P-3 Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander, Operations Officer and Executive Officer. He is an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm, in Arlington.

Custer was raised in Wisconsin and Rhode Island. He has been with VP-66 since leaving as the Reserve P-3 Program Manager for Commander, Naval Air Reserve and Commander, Naval Reserve Force. In 2001, Custer was the Officer-In-Charge of VP-94 in NAS New Orleans, Louisiana. Custer resides with his wife Julie and two sons, in Doylestown, Pa.

VP-66 was commissioned in 1970 and is a Reserve Patrol Squadron that flies the P-3C Orion aircraft. The squadron's mission is to maintain the highest level of combat readiness for mobilization in the event of national emergency, and to provide operational support when directed by national command authority.


Circa 2004

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Dec. 16, 2004 - Fantasy flights grant children's holiday wish - Navy, Make-a-Wish Foundation spread holiday cheer, fun - BY JO1(SW) MIKE KRAMER..." The Flagship http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2004/dec162004_20.shtml [09MAY2005]

NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE WILLOW GROVE, Pa. — Christmas came early for more than 70 Make-a-Wish children and their families when they boarded two of VR-52's aircraft on the base's flight line for their "Fantasy Flight" to the North Pole Dec. 4.

For the last 12 years, the "Taskmasters" have joined forces with the Make A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania to make a holiday wish come true for disabled and health- challenged children living with life-threatening medical conditions.

"Some of the kids have been here before, but for most of them, this is their first time with us. So they have no idea we're going to take them on the airplane and fly them to the North Pole," said ATC Mary C. Heburn, the Fantasy Flight coordinator. "It's very exciting for them, and it's always rewarding to see the smiles on their faces."

"I love to see the kids happy," said AZ1 Megan Ahlquist of VP-66, the "chief elf" for the flight. "They love to see us dressed as elves, and they look forward to seeing Santa Claus. It makes their day, and it's always a special experience for me. I've been volunteering for the Fantasy Flight for five years, and I came back this year, even though I'm no longer assigned to VR-52."

Thanks to favorable tailwinds, the flight time to the North Pole was about 30 minutes. The elven flight crew led the passengers in singing Christmas carols throughout the trip and Santa Claus greeted the children on arrival. Just after the flights departed for the return trip to Willow Grove, a jolly old aviator with a white beard dressed in a red, fur-trimmed flight suit loaded his sleigh with presents and followed the Skytrains to Willow Grove for a Christmas party in hangar 80. During both legs of the flight, the plane's window shades were kept closed, so as not to reveal the classified route to and from the North Pole.

"Meeting Santa was my favorite part of the day," said Grace Foster, one of the children who attended the party. "The plane (ride) was fun, too. I liked hearing the pilots radio the North Pole before we landed there."

While waiting for Santa Claus to arrive, the guests enjoyed a buffet lunch and a wide range of activities, including a petting zoo, a speed pitch booth, a movie lounge, face painting, balloon animal making and a fun house.

"The experience is amazing," said the appropriately named AEC(AW/NAC) Nick Noell, who donned the Santa suit for the day. "I had one little girl give me a hug and say ‘I love you' almost as soon as I got here. It was really touching. These children are so sick, and we get to bring a little joy to their day. There's not a better feeling in the world."

The party was not only an opportunity to bring happiness to a group of Make a-Wish children, it was also a tribute to the volunteers' teamwork and the fulfillment of weeks of collecting donations, wrapping presents and coordinating activities.

"This is our one big opportunity as a squadron to help out our community," said Heburn. "The fact that we're bringing pleasure to kids who are terminally ill makes the event even more special."

"I probably enjoyed myself nearly as much as the kids did," said Lisa Rhodes, a VR-52 spouse and first-time volunteer, who donned a Winnie the Pooh costume for the occasion. "I liked seeing the kids happy, and it was gratifying to see them running around and playing. I'll definitely come back and be part of this next year."


Circa 2003

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030816-N-1928O-041 North Atlantic Ocean (Aug. 16, 2003) "...Crewmembers assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66), maneuver a P-3C Orion in search of the ‘enemy' submarine during Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03). Seven countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare training exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. The seven-day exercise involved seven nations doing anti-submarine warfare. U.S. Navy Photo by Jounalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9324 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030815-N-1928O-013 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. (Aug. 15, 2003) "...A P-3C Orion, assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66), leaves the ground to commence the first of many missions flown during Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03). Seven countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9214 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030816-N-1928O-013 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. (Aug. 16, 2003) "...A P-3C Orion, assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66) flanked by similar anti-submarine surveillance aircraft from Canada and the Netherlands participating in Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03). Seven countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9215 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030816-N-1928O-023 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. (Aug. 16, 2003) "...Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Mark Mainland, of Racine, Wis., loads an under-water surveillance sonobuoy into an ejection chute a P-3C Orion assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66) during Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03). The sonobuoys act as detection devices that relay an array of data regarding submarines that are being tracked by the aircraft. Seven countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9216 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030816-N-1928O-036 North Atlantic Ocean. (Aug. 16, 2003) "...Ordnanceman 1st Class Mark Mainland, of Racine, Wis., loads an under-water signaling device into an ejection chute of a P-3C Orion assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66) on a flight over the Atlantic Ocean during Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03). The signal is intended to inform submarines that their location and movement has been recognized. Several countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9217 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030816-N-1928O-043 North Atlantic Ocean. (Aug. 16, 2003) "...Naval Reservists assigned to "The Liberty Bells" of Patrol Squadron Sixty Six (VP-66) man stations in a P-3C Orion during Keflavik Tactical Exchange 2003 (KEFTACEX 03), an anti-submarine warfare exercise held at NAS Keflavik, Iceland each year. Seven countries are participating in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise. VP-66 from Naval Air Station Willow Grove, Penn., is the only squadron comprised entirely of Naval Reservists that are participating in KEFTACEX 03. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Mark O'Donald. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=9218 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...XO Takes Charge of Patrol Squadron 64 - Story Number: NNS030610-08 - Release Date: 6/10/2003 7:06:00 AM - From Patrol Squadron 64 Public Affairs..." Navy News Stand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=7868 [23MAR2005]

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (NNS) -- The executive officer of Patrol Squadron 64 stepped up to the squadron's commanding officer slot during a change-of-command ceremony held in their hangar May 17.

Cmdr. Stephen R. Speed relieved Cmdr. Richard S. Cline, who transferred to Commander, Reserve Patrol Wing.

Speed, a native of Dover, Del., joined the squadron in October 1996 and has since served in seven different positions, including tours as the training officer, operations officer and maintenance officer.

He earned his bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985, entered flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and was designated a naval aviator at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, in August 1986.

During his 18 years of service, Speed has earned the Navy Achievement Medal and various other personal, unit and theater awards. He has also accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours in P-3 Orion aircraft.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-66 Earns Top P-3 Squadron Honors..." http://www.news.navy.mil/local/nasjrbwg [21DEC2003]

VP-66 Earns Top P-3 Squadron Honors
Story Number: NNS031202-06
Release Date: 12/2/2003 11:39:00 AM

By Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Sychterz, Patrol Squadron 66 Public Affairs

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (NNS) -- Reserve Patrol Squadron (VP) 66 won the 2003 Reserve P-3 Liberty Bell competition held at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., from Oct. 21-23.

VP-66 beat six other Reserve P-3 squadrons in the annual tactical event that tests aircrews' and an ordnance load team's proficiency in a variety of war-fighting areas.

During the three-day competition, the crews are graded on weapons loading, weapons deployment, and in-flight assessment of surface and subsurface targets.

Getting the VP-66 team started in the right direction rested on the shoulders of their ordnance load team when they were assigned to complete an early morning exercise. The team, led by Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Michael Lowerre, was up to the challenge and had no problem with the 3 a.m. start time, as they successfully loaded a Harpoon training missile and a Mark 46 exercise torpedo.

"It is very challenging to load weapons in the dark, but it tests your ability to load under any circumstances and at any time," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (AW/NAC) Joseph Brotz, the team's safety officer.

The "Liberty Bells" Combat Aircrew 11, led by mission commander Lt. Cmdr. Matt Cox, followed the successful load with a flight off the coast of San Clemente Island, Calif.

Having recently completed transition to the P-3C Block Modification Upgrade (BMUP), the crew was practiced and ready to test their newly acquired skills.

Hampered by uncooperative weather, the crew arrived on station just as the morning fog rolled in and covered their entire operating area. According to the rules of the event, aircrews must fly inside a 20-mile by 20-mile box and stay safely away from surface ships in the area. Between the weather and ships transiting the area, Crew 11 found themselves confined to an ever-shrinking box and temporarily unable to complete the anti-submarine portion of the event.

Undeterred by the situation, the crew stubbornly persisted and waited for their chance to complete their bombing runs. Just as the evaluators were considering canceling the mission, the northern half of their box cleared, and they were given the go-ahead to complete their mission. Running low on fuel and with only minutes left in their allotted time to complete their task, Crew 11 went into action. In the time it took many crews to conduct one attack, Crew 11 conducted attacks on all four targets. They finished their final attack just as fuel constraints would have forced the crew to return to base.

"Poor weather, heavy shipping traffic and a very confined area increased the difficulty level of an already challenging scenario," said Cox. "It was very exciting to put all the tools we had practiced during our BMUP transition into use on a very realistic anti-submarine and anti-surface range. Every member of the crew was elated to win the trophy and honored to represent thesquadron."


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