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HistoryVP-741 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN, known as the "War Eagles", has the primary mission of detecting, tracking, and if necessary, destroying hostile submarines. Secondary missions include Anti-surface Warfare, mine laying, shipping surveillance, reconnaissance and search and rescue. The squadron was commissioned in May 1946 at NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida, as VP-ML-56operating six amphibious PBY "Catalinas". Redesignated VP-741 in 1949, the squadron continued to operate in reserve status until the commencement of hostilities in Korea in 1951. At which time, the "Catalinas" were replaced with Lockheed P2 "Neptune" patrol bombers. In February 1953, VP-741 was made part of the regular Navy with the new designation of VP-16. During their colorful history, the "War Eagles" have participated in activities and exercises on both the east and west coasts, and throughout the world including Springboard Operations and UNITAS XI, XIII, XX, XXII, XXVII, XXIX, and XXXIV (exercises around the South American continent). In 1961, VP-16 commenced Project Mercury participation as a part of the Space Capsule Recovery Force. The first aircraft over the "Friendship Seven" capsule of LTCOL John H. Glenn belonged to VP-16. In the more recent past, VP-16 has deployed to NAS Bermuda, NAS Keflavik, Iceland, NS Rota, Spain, NAS Sigonella, Sicily, and the Caribbean. The "Eagles" were awarded the Battle "E" for Battle Readiness in 1973, 1974 and 1983. In November 1982 in preparation for a split deployment to NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal and NS Rota, Spain, VP-16 won the Top Bloodhound Award for torpedo placement accuracy and set new Wing records in the Operational Readiness Evaluation. Setting a standard for retention excellence, VP-16 also won the CPW-11 Retention Cup for both halves of FY-82; the CPW-11 Bronze Anchor Award; and the COMNAVAIRLANT Silver Anchor Award. While deployed, the "War Eagles" again established their reputation as leaders in ASW. Aggressive ASW was demonstrated time and again, and the squadron won two COMSSIXTHFLT "Hook-Em" Awards for ASW excellence in the Mediterranean. The squadron also received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for ASW prosecutions conducted in the Lajes ASW sector, and the Navy Expeditionary Medal for support of U.S. forces in Lebanon. VP-16's return to NAS Jacksonville, Florida in June 1983 marked a first at NAS Jacksonville, Florida with the transition to the P-3 Update III aircraft. Awards received during 1983 included the "Golden Wrench" Award for Maintenance Excellence, the COMINEWARCOM "Miner of the Year" designation and the CPW-11 "Top Gun" Award for all facets of weapon loading and delivery excellence.." Contributed by Paul Waeghe, Jr. pjwaeghe@bellsouth.net


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