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HistoryVP-871 HistoryHistory

Circa 1946

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-19 WestPac NAS Misawa, Japan Deployment 1989 Cruisebook..." [21MAR2001]

Patrol Squadron NINETEEN, the "BIG RED" squadron, is homeported at NAS Moffett Field, California, and deploys throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The squadron's primary missions are Anti-Submarine (ASW) and Anti-Surface Unit Warfare (ASUW), with secondary missions of Aerial Mining, Surveillance/ Reconnaissance, and Search and Rescue (SAR). To accomplish its missions, the squadron flies the P-3C "Update" Orion, a sophisticated computer-controlled version of the fleet's standard land--based fixed-wing patrol aircraft. Boasting approximately 65 officers and 275 enlisted personnel. VP-19 supports eleven aircrews who man the squadron's nine aircraft.

Patrol Squadron NINETEEN was originally commissioned as reserve unit VPB-907 in 1946. In December 1946, the unit was redesignated VP-871 and moved from NAS Livermore, California, to NAS Oakland, California. The squadron was activated during the Korean conflict and deployed to Japan in the PB4Y-2 aircraft. During this period, the squadron patrolled waters west of Japan and flew night fiare-dropping missions over Korea, illuminating enemy targets for night fighting U.S. ground forces. Because of the red-tinged flares, the squadron was tagged "BIG RED".

In 1953, the squadron was designated VP-19, and transitioned to P2V-5 NEPTUNES. Ten years later the command again transitioned, this time to the P-3A ORION and moved from NAS Alameda, California to NAS Moffett Field, California. Following another transition to the P-3B ORION, the command flew over 8000 hours in support of Vietnam operations and the USS PUEBLO crisis while on a 1968 deployment to Japan. In May of 1975, VP-19 became the first patrol squadron to receive the P-3C "Update" ORION.

Patrol Squadron NINETEEN has deployed to various sites throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. These sites include: NAS Iwakuni, Japan, Okinawa, and NAS Misawa, Japan; NAS Adak, Alaska; NAS Cubi Point, Philippines; and the island of NSF Diego Garcia.

The squadron has supported many critical operations and participated in numerous military exercises. "BIG RED" participated in Operation "FREQUENT WIND," the highly publicized refugee evacuation of South Vietnam. In 1975 the squadron was a major participant in "VALIANT HERIT AGE," the largest Pacific Fleet readiness exercise of the decade. VP-19 was also a key player in "FLEETEX 83-1," the largest military exercise in the North Pacific since World War II. The squadron has conducted many Medical Evacuation flights and Search and Rescue missions that have gained VP-19 international recognition.

Patrol Squadron NINETEEN's many achievements have been recognized throughout the years with a multitude of awards and citations. These awards include: four Meritorious Unit Commendations, four Battle Efficiency "E" Awards, the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence, three A VCM Donald M. Neal "GOLDEN WRENCH" Awards for superlative aircraft maintenance, four consecutive Silver Shutter Awards for excellence in aerial intelligence photography, and six Platinum Link Awards.

Patrol Squadron NINETEEN has been awarded two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals for service during Operation "FREQUENT WIND," and for operations in the Persian Gulf region in 1987.

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