Contributed by LARSON, LCDR John Retired firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Jun 2001
Greetings from the Sunshine State
I have returned from another successful VP Reunion in Pensacola. I attended the VP-4 Reunion on May 18-20, 2001. The squadron flew in one of their P-3C II.5 planes. We were able to tour the plane. They had an early version of the new optical system installed. The camera is installed in the forward observers seat (now the Tacco station). The operator sat at the ordancemans seat. In the newer version, the operator will be SS3. The camera will be in the flir pod under the cockpit. It was interesting the Tacco was talking about the SS1/SS2 station and saying the new AW's can't operate the OLD gear on the II.5, they can only use the newest upgrades on the III. The crews don't fly with an ordanceman anymore. I am not sure who throws out the buoys from inside when they have to, maybe the 3P. They have GPS nav systems along with their INS. They are capable of firing the Maverick and Slam missiles now. Fired usually by the cockpit.
We had a luncheon at the O club and RADM Furlong (Ret) spoke on the future of the Navy. He spent 35 years in and was mostly a fighter type. His main topic was the surface Navy. The Navy is currently down to 301 ships. At the rate we are going we will be in the 200's shortly. We are building 8 ships a year. That is the lowest since 1932. We need to be building 12 ships a year to stay at the 300 ship figure. It takes 10 years to build a nuclear aircraft carrier. During the 1992-1999 era, the govt retired 4 carriers and 120 ships. He said that deployments are 4 times greater now then in the cold war era and of course with less people. The hot spots are Iraq, the Pakistan/India tensions(nuclear standoff) and of course China.
RADM Furlong is heavily involved in the Museum. He said that is 3-4 years they will double the floor space of the museum. So maybe then they will be able to hang our VP-90 print. I went looking for it and it was not hanging up. They have moved all the large aircraft from the behind the museum to the flight line, so you have to take a quick bus ride to see them. They now have a NASA P-3 too. The Cubi Cafe now finally has San Miguel Beer and Cubi Dogs!!!
The other speaker at the luncheon was the XO of VT-4, CDR Sadsad. He was born in Olongapo, he got a big cheer. Of course the active duty guys wouldn't understand. He served in VP-47 and VP-50. He said they are already starting to see changes for the better with the new administration, more money for parts. The S-3's are gone so the P-3 is the main player in ASW. They call it now USW, (Undersea Warfare). The other missions are intel and recon, mining, counter narcotics and SAR. There are six active West Coast squadrons left, 3 in MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Each squadron has 10 planes, VP-4 has 4 AIP, 4 ASW and 2 bounce birds. That is deploying squadrons. The ones at home might have to give a plane to the deploying squadron and have some as space part planes.
The Navy is trying to improve the quality of life for the sailors. The retention issue is another important area that needs to be addressed.
The current sights that the squadrons could go to are: Chile, San Diego, Anchorage, Misawa, Kadena, Diego Garcia, Masira Oman and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
When they go to that area they operate under 5th fleet. The possible sub treats are the kilos (Russian) from Iran, Pakistan, and India.
If there is a no aircraft carrier in the area of the Adriatic Sea off Yugoslavia, then the only act in town is the P-3's from Sig. VP-4 had fired missiles at land targets with their AIP P-3s in Kosovo. VP-8 was the first squadron to do that and VP-4 was second. So it looks like land attack will be the new mission for the P-3's.
Looking at the replacement for the P-3 are several possibilities: a) the Boeing 737 (VR is getting that to replace the C-9, it is called a C-40). b) the Nimrod, c) the Orion 21, a version of the P-3 and d) a UAF, which is an unmanned surveillance craft.(that would be interesting!)
VP-4 received the Battle E award for 2000 and was getting the Isabel Trophy this past weekend for 6 out of area ASW flights on their last deployment to Misawa. They had 2 Russian and 4 Chinese subs. They will be deploying to Diego Garcia in Dec.
I think we have found a new hotel for our next reunion in Pensacola. We stayed at the Bay Beach Inn in Gulf Breeze. We had a nice hospitality room on the beach. We had a luau by the pool facing Pensacola Bay and the city of Pensacola, listening to Hawaiian music. The room rates were good. So I vote for this place next time to we have a Reunion in Pensacola. (They had something going on last time, so we could not get them).
I made a trip to Trader Jon's the famous Navy bar downtown. It is open again under new management. So it was great to get there. We had planned on doing our Friday night socializing there in 1999 but it was closed. Next Time!!
I hope this was not to long for you, but I thought you might be interested in what I heard and saw this past weekend. VP Reunions are great!!. I hope you can make it our next reunion in March 2002 in Memphis.
Here is info I got concerning the Glenview Survivors Dinner from Don Mitchell for this year.
Those in attendance from VP-90.
All were accompanied with guests and the evening was good.
The guest speaker was Congressman Mark Kirk of the 10th Congressional
District who expounded on his Naval career and on the future of the US Navy.
The food and the cocktails were of the highest caliper..........
I have not sent out a newsletter since our last reunion last August in Chicago. The next reunion is planned for March 22-24, 2002 in Memphis. I don't have any additional information to pass out at this time. I should have more details around the end of the year, when I will send out another newsletter.
I send out a lot more newsletters to the members who have an email address. So if you have an email address and would like to hear more information, let me know and I will add you to my list. I have 200 names presently. If you have changed your address and not let me know, that is the reason why you are getting this letter.
My email address has changed, it is now email@example.com
"VP-90 Association Newsletter Summary Page"