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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Lest We Forget...Proceedings / September 1998 Page 126...Naval Institute U. S. NAVY INSTITUTE Magazine..." [04SEP98]

Patrol Squadron 50 (VP-50) had its beginnings as a reserve squadron, VP-917, flying PBY-5A Catalinas out of NAS Seattle, Washington. The squadron, redesignated VP-892, was called to active duty on 4 August 1950 following the outbreak of the Korean War and moved to NAS San Diego, California. Equipped with PBM-5 Mariner seaplanes, the squadron made three war deployments, and was redesignated VP-50 in 1953.

Based at NAS Alameda, California, VP-50 joined in the regular rotation of patrol squadrons to the western Pacific. In 1956, the squadron moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and retired the Pacific Fleet's last operational

PBM-5s, receiving P5M-1 Marlin seaplanes as replacements. In May 1960, after upgrading to the P5M-2S (SP-5B), VP-50 moved to MCAS lwakuni, Japan. In 1964, the Blue Dragons moved to NAS North Island, San Diego, California.

VP-50 took its Martins on two combat deployments to NS Sangley Point, Philippines and operated in support of Operation Market Time, the coastal interdiction effort off Vietnam. In 1967, the squadron ended its seaplane era by moving to NAS Moffett Field, California, and upgrading to the P-3A Orion patrol plane. VP-50 made three more deployments to the Vietnam war zone, operating out of Naha, Okinawa, and Sangley Point, and maintaining detachments at Naval Air Field Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.

In 1971, VP-50 upgraded to the P-3C version and took this aircraft on 12 major deployments over the next 16 years-including tracking Soviet submarines, supporting battle-group operations) and rescuing Vietnamese refugees fleeing their homeland.

In 1987, VP-50 became the first squadron to transition to the Update III retrofit version of the P-3C and flew the aircraft on three more Pacific deployments. During its final deployment to NAS Adak, Alaska, the Blue Dragons conducted the Navy's last airborne prosecution of submarines belonging to the former Soviet Union. VP-50 was disbanded as part of the post-Cold War drawdown. The squadron was disestablished on 30 June 1992...Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)..." [04SEP98]


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