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HistoryVP-9 HistoryHistory

Circa 2009

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-9 Individual Augmentees Support Joint Ops in Myriad Ways Story Number: NNS090104-01 Release Date: 1/4/2009 9:33:00 PM By Lt.j.g. Mike Strauss, Patrol Squadron 9 Public Affairs..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [14FEB2009]

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (NNS) -- Members of Patrol Squadron 9 returned home to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Dec. 17. after completing unique individual augmentee (IA) tours.

From May to November 2008, the Golden Eagles of Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9) deployed 155 personnel to Ali Air Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but Information System Technician 1st Class David Crawford and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brett Custer were on deployment disassociated from their parent command. Crawford served with the Army's 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Baghdad while Custer supplemented the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Public Affairs Office.

The IA program allows the Navy to provide specialized support from individual Sailors in a joint environment. It gives Sailors such as Crawford and Custer opportunities to serve in roles and locations they normally wouldn't.

"I have the pleasure of leading both Soldiers and Sailors," said Crawford in a recent letter to his squadron mates from Iraq. "This entire experience is amazing, and what's even better is that the Navy is playing a much bigger role than most know."

Civil affairs Soldiers provide the essential link between the on-the-ground commander and civilians, whether they be political or business leaders or private citizens.

Custer was utilized as a videographer covering medical civil affairs (MEDCAP) projects, veterinary civil affairs projects, safety non-government organization conferences and community assistance volunteer (CAV) team projects.

"I have been extremely lucky during this deployment to get the chance to travel to different parts of Africa for the majority of these projects and been given so many opportunities to contribute to the humanitarian missions we are providing here," Custer also wrote in a letter to VP-9.

During a MEDCAP, Custer put down the camera and helped distribute de-worming medication to more than 5,000 people.


Circa 2008

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...P-3 Squadron Returning from Deployment Wednesday Nov 26, 2008 14:54:26 EST..." WebSite: NavyTimes http://www.navytimes.com/ [27NOV2008]

Waiting for permission to post entire article.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera081026-N-7556C-417 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 26, 2008) "...Task Group 57.18 comprised of VP-9 and CMO-2B, home based at MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, has completed 180,000 hours of mishap-free flying in the past thirty years. Current squadron members include: (Front row left to right): LCDR John Brabazon (Safety/NATOPS Officer), Command Master Chief William Reed (VP-9), CDR Lance Scott (Executive Officer), CDR Curtis Phillips (Commanding Officer), LT Mark Puttkammer (CMO-2B Officer in Charge), CMO-2B Master Chief Angel Acevedo. Second Row (L to R): AWCS Kenneth Redman, LTJG Davidson Taveras, LT Dave Sullivan, LT Kurt Fredland, AW2 Edrian Hortinela, AZCS Angel Milca, AE2 Matthew Kelly, AM3 Christian Santos, SK2 Raquel Crisologo, PR3 William Durand, AM1 Wayne Mahrenholz. Third Row (L to R): AE1 Donald Snock, AT3 Owen Freeman, AE2 Ryan Sanders, LTJG Sean O'Neill, LT Matthew Hall, AW2 Jarrod Post, AW2 Adam Hawanchak, ADAN Perry, AMEAR Anthony Lowe, SKSN Ashawnte Towe, AE3 Luke LeFebre, AMAN Jarrod Hoyt, AT3 David Hubbell, AD2 Joe Harris. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniella Cossio/Released)..." WebSite: NavyNewsStand http://www.navy.mil/ [01NOV2008]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...For the love of country - 10/06/2008..." WebSite: Trentonian http://www.zwire.com/ [06OCT2008]

TRENTON - Navy LT(jg) Graham C. Gill, son of Christine S. and William F. Gill of Medford, along with members of VP-9 "Golden Eagles" stationed at MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, recently reached the midway point in their seven-month deployment to Ali Air Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The squadron deployed 155 personnel from VP-9 including 12 aircrews as well as support and intelligence personnel who have continually performed their duties during the 120-degree summer temperatures.

Traditionally used for anti-submarine warfare, the P-3 Orion aircraft flown by VP-9-9 with upgraded sensor capabilities, are a proven overland asset in the Global War on Terror. Working with the Army, Air Force, Marines, and in combination with multi-national forces, VP-9 provides Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance support for ground troops, contributing to counter-occupation, terrorism and insurgency efforts. Their efforts contributed to the troop surge and the reduction in violence during the past year.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...TRENTON - Navy Lt. J. G. Graham C. Gill, son of Christine S. and William F. Gill of Medford, along with members of Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9) "Golden Eagles" stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, recently deployed to Ali Air Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. VP-9 replaced Patrol Squadron 47 (VP-47) following its seven-month deployment, and will assume its sister squadron's mission in Iraq. The squadron deployed 155 personnel from VP-9 including 12 aircrews as well as support and intelligence personnel. Traditionally used for anti-submarine warfare, the P-3C Orion aircraft flown by VP-9 with upgraded sensor capabilities, are a proven overland asset in the Global War on Terror. Working with the Army, Air Force, Marines, and in combination with multi-national forces, VP-9 provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support for ground troops..." WebSite: Trentonian http://www.zwire.com/ [19AUG2008]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Wings of Gold Thumbnail "...Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group - RADM Brian C. Prindle, USN. Wings of Gold - Spring 2008 - Page 6-8. (Squadrons/Wings Referenced: VP-62, VP-69, VQ-1, VQ-2, VPU-1, VPU-2, VP-1, VP-4, VP-5, VP-8, VP-9, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-30, VP-40, VP-45, VP-46, VP-47, CPRW-2, CPRW-5, CPRW-10 and CPRW-11..." WebSite: Association of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/index.htm [23APR2008]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Comedians Bring Laughter to Troops in El Salvador - Story Number: NNS080125-02 - Release Date: 1/25/2008 2:55:00 PM - From Forward Operating Location Comalapa, El Salvador Public Affairs..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [26FEB2008]

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- Armed Forces Entertainment sponsored four comedians to perform a comedy show for military personnel stationed at Forward Operating Location Comalapa, El Salvador (FOL Comalapa) Jan. 17-18.

The "Your Momma Wears Combat Boots" comedy tour show featured Keith Barany; two-time Canadian Comedian of the Year Dez Reed; Black Entertainment Television comic Chris Z; and popular improvisation comedian Iliza.

The show is on tour in Latin America, having entertained troops in Curacao, Dutch Antilles before performing in Comalapa.

The group performed two shows for the Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.

"The comedians were a great boost to morale and hopefully they will continue making appearances in El Salvador as long there are deployed Sailors here," said Yeoman 3rd Class Diana Rivera, deployed to FOL Comalapa with VP-9.

FOL Comalapa Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Charles Groves was responsible for bringing the Armed Forces Entertainment show to FOL Comalapa.

"[We] thought [the] Sailors would enjoy seeing the shows and taking a break from their hectic schedules and the daily grind FOL Comalapa can bring," said Groves.

Also on hand to enjoy the show was Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Roy Saiz, the FOL independent duty corpsman.

"The comedians were hysterically funny and was just what the doctor ordered to end a hectic week," said Saiz.

FOL Comalapa's primary mission is to provide logistical support to aerial counter-drug aircraft and crews from U.S. military and government law enforcement organizations, and promoting various theater security cooperation events in the El Salvador area.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-46 History "...Grey Knights support COMPTUEX - By Lt.j.g. Evan Larsen - Grey Knights reporter - Friday, January 11, 2008. (VP-9 and VP-46)..." WebSite: Northwest Navigator http://www.northwestnavigator.com/ [13JAN2008]

Photograph Caption: Lt.j.g. Evan Larsen - The VP-46 aircrew plans the ASW water space for COMPTUEX.

Members of VP-46 recently supported Carrier Strike Group 9 in a Composite Training Unit Exercise, or COMPTUEX.

Conducted off the coast of San Diego, Calif., air anti-submarine warfare support centered around USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and was flown by both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 9, VP-46 and VP-9, against two exercise submarines.

Detaching 149 personnel, five aircraft, six aircrews and a maintenance division, VP-46 assumed the duties of Commander Task Group 32.2 for 21 days and flew 134 on-station hours for 25 scheduled events.

Of the 25 events, 18 of them provided ASW coverage with over 16.3 hours of subsurface contact, frequently controlling up to five helicopters simultaneously for coordinated ASW prosecution. Credit for completing 100 percent of the sorties rests squarely on the fine maintenance provided by Grey Knight Sailors.

On board Lincoln, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Darish represented the Grey Knight team as P-3 liaison officer. His expertise was instrumental in the management of maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in support of the Carrier Strike Group mission.

This coordination and information received from MPR aircraft, including live streaming video, improved tactical intelligence and facilitated time-critical decision-making for rapidly changing evolutions.

VP-46 completed five ASW flights in a "proof of concept" effort to integrate COMPTUEX with its operational readiness exam qualifications. Combining the training saved 32.5 hours of Health of Naval Aviation on the aircraft and the expenditure of 149 sonobouys. Overall, the squadron completed 45 crew readiness qualifications in a two-week period.

"Great teamwork from all involved entities resulted in a highly successful COMPTUEX for VP-46," said detachment officer in charge, Lt. Cmdr. Shannon Tolliver.

© 2008 Sound Publishing, Inc.


Circa 2007

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraU.S. Navy Photo "...Combined Maintenance Organization (CMO-2) at VP-9 Gets To Work - LT(jg) Dan Reinhardt - Patrol Squadron Nine Public Affairs..." WebSite: Navy News https://www.cnic.navy.mil/ [19JUN2008]

Photograph Caption: Cmdr. Adam Hunt (left), commanding officer of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two, hands out the new CMO-2 [combined maintenance organization] ball cap the Sailors will be wearing.

A major transformation took place for Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two on June 11 with the dismissal of quarters of the new Combined Maintenance Organization Two (CMO-2).

This represented the official kickoff for the largest reorganization of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two in recent years. With this change, all of the maintainers from the three P-3C Orion squadrons based at Marine Corps Base Hawai'I - Kaneohe Bay were placed into a new unit under the leadership of Cmdr. Adam Hunt.

This unit, now the largest single entity of Wing Two, has taken over responsibility for the maintenance and care of all of the aircraft in the wing from the three VP squadrons.

According to Hunt, "The mission of the CMO-2 Sea Raiders is to provide readyfor-tasking aircraft and qualified maintenance teams capable of supporting maritime patrol and reconnaissance objectives worldwide.

We are proud to be an integral member of the MPRA team and look forward to ensuring that the aircrews flying our birds have the most capable platform available to take the fight to the enemy."

The squadrons, in turn, have a redefined role with a larger focus on aircrew specific training which is evident through the rise of the new warfare development center where aircrews will continue to focus more on the warfighting side of the house. Many challenges undoubtedly lie ahead for the new CMO with such a large move of assets and personnel.

Hunt, the officer-in-charge, said he has no doubt that the Sailors under his charge will be able to successfully overcome these trials. "At the heart of CMO-2 are the talented Sailors that have combined to create it. We have the advantage of inheriting the best from three topperforming VP squadron maintenance departments based here in Hawai'i," Hunt said.

Hunt added that fundamental to the success of this transformation will be communication between CMO-2 and the three squadrons so that maintenance needs and aircrew training requirements will both be met.

While CMO-2 becomes the largest unit in Wing Two, the squadron manpower is proportionally reduced as part of the savings the Navy hopes will result from this reorganization.

This presents a wide variety of issues from the allocation of squadron spaces to the simple problem of new parking arrangements. The commanding officers of the three squadrons have had to lead their units in redefining the squadron role. In the end, the goal is to have a more efficient and effective force through the specialization of roles within the wing.

CMO-2 will be able to fully focus on the care and maintenance of the aircraft while the three squadrons will become better tactical operators of the P-3C.

Wing Two is just the second wing within the maritime patrol and reconnaissance community to undergo the change of CMO. Last year, the P-3 wing located at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. underwent the same change. Wing Two has been able to utilize the lessons learned in Jacksonville and apply those in order to make the transformation as smooth as possible.

In the coming years, the two remaining P-3 wings will also make the move to CMO.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy Personnel Bring Christmas to Orphanage in El Salvador - Story Number: NNS071218-18 - Release Date: 12/18/2007 2:16:00 PM - From Forward Operating Location Comalapa Public Affairs..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [26FEB2008]

COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- Personnel at U.S. Navy Forward Operating Location (FOL) Comalapa, joined efforts with Project Handclasp to carry out a community relation project at the "Hogar Del Nino" Orphanage in San Salvador, Dec. 11.

The U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, the Honorable Mr. Charles Glazer, and his wife, Janet, made a brief appearance before the volunteers handed out the toys. The ambassador thanked the U.S. Navy's FOL personnel and Project Handclasp for providing the children with the gifts then handed out the first few rollerblades provided by Project Handclasp to the children.

"The FOL personnel did a wonderful job of putting this successful event together for the children," said the Ambassador. "I was happy to receive an invitation to speak and hand out gifts to the children."

Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program designed to collect and distribute donated items to people in need. Project Handclasp relies on donations from individuals, organizations, and corporations to collect items, including medical supplies, toys, books and hygiene items. These items are then transported worldwide with the assistance of U.S. military transports, such as U.S. Navy ships and U.S. Air Force planes.

FOL Comalapa raised donations among command personnel, including FOL military permanent party, U.S. Contractors from PAE and DYNCORP, Sailors from VP-9 deployed to the FOL, and PAE's Salvadoran employees.

The donations paid for toys for the orphanage, which were donated in conjunction with three Project Handclasp pallets of toys. Over 250 children at the orphanage received the toy donations, including rollerblades and skateboards.

Volunteers also provided refreshments and two clowns for the children's entertainment. Nine teenage girls received gift certificates for shopping while the younger children enjoyed playing with their new toys and FOL personnel.

FOL Comalapa primary mission is to provide logistical support to aerial counter-drug aircraft and crews from U.S. military and government law enforcement organizations, and promoting theater security cooperation such as community relations events throughout El Salvador.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera070216-N-8937A-042 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Feb. 15, 2007) "...Sailors assigned to Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing's 2 CPRW-2, VP-47, VP-9, and VPU-2 stand at attention during an awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of Sailors from each of the commands throughout the past year. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Ian W. Anderson (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=43763 [20MAR2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera070216-N-8937A-042 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Feb. 15, 2007) "...Sailors assigned to Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing's 2 CPRW-2, VP-47, VP-9, and VPU-2 stand at attention during an awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of Sailors from each of the commands throughout the past year. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Ian W. Anderson (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=43763 [20MAR2007]


Circa 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera061018-N-3003C-108 Southwest Asia (Oct. 18, 2006) "...Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe Campa Jr., answers questions from the Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) and Fleet Air Recon Squadron 1 (VQ-1), relating to the upcoming merger of rates in the Navy aviation community. MCPON Campa is touring the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) in order to gauge the mission effectiveness of CTG 57.2, survey the working and living spaces of the Sailors, and to discuss the future of Maritime Patrol and Airborne Reconnaissance within the 5th Fleet AOR. CTG 57.2 consists of four Patrol Squadrons (VP), VP-9, VP-8, VP-16, and VP-46. The primary mission of CTG 57.2 is to conduct reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations throughout the 5th Fleet AOR in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brett A. Custer (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=40058 [22OCT2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera061018-N-3003C-116 Southwest Asia (Oct. 18, 2006) "...Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe Campa, Jr., discusses Individual Augmentation (IA) matters with Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) and Fleet Air Recon Squadron 1 (VQ-1) during his visit to Southwest Asia. MCPON Campa is touring the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) in order to gauge the mission effectiveness of CTG 57.2, survey the working and living spaces of the Sailors, and to discuss the future of Maritime Patrol and Airborne Reconnaissance within the 5th Fleet AOR. CTG 57.2 consists of four Patrol Squadrons (VP), VP-9, VP-8, VP-16, and VP-46. The primary mission of CTG 57.2 is to conduct reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations throughout the 5th Fleet AOR in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brett A. Custer (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=40059 [22OCT2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera061018-N-3003C-087 Southwest Asia (Oct. 18, 2006) "...Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe R. Campa Jr., talks to the Sailors of CTG 57.2 about their various experiences while maintaining the readiness of the P-3C-Orion aircraft throughout their deployment in South West Asia. MCPON Campa is touring the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) in order to gauge the mission effectiveness of CTG 57.2, survey the working and living spaces of the Sailors, and to discuss the future of Maritime Patrol and Airborne Reconnaissance within the 5th Fleet AOR. CTG 57.2 consists of four Patrol Squadrons (VP), VP-9, VP-8, VP-16, and VP-46. The primary mission of CTG 57.2 is to conduct reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations throughout the 5th Fleet AOR in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brett A. Custer (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=40057 [22OCT2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera061018-N-3003C-083 Southwest Asia (Oct. 18, 2006) "...Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe R. Campa, Jr. speaks to Aviation Structural Mechanic 2ND Class Doug Vaughn about the specific tasks he performs on a daily basis for CTG 57.2. MCPON Campa is touring the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) in order to gauge the mission effectiveness of CTG 57.2, survey the working and living spaces of the Sailors, and to discuss the future of Maritime Patrol and Airborne Reconnaissance within the 5th Fleet AOR. CTG 57.2 consists of four Patrol Squadrons (VP), VP-9, VP-8, VP-16, and VP-46. The primary mission of CTG 57.2 is to conduct reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations throughout the 5th Fleet AOR in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brett A. Custer (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=40056 [22OCT2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Patrol Squadron 5 Completes Surge - Story Number: NNS060919-15 - Release Date: 9/19/2006 5:02:00 PM - By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Harry J. Rucker III, Patrol Squadron 5 Public Affairs. Squadrons Mentioned: VP-5, VP-9 and VP-46...." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=25654 [26SEP2006]

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The "Mad Foxes" of Patrol Squadron (VP-5), based out of NAS Jacksonville, Florida, finished a successful "surge" that lasted from June 1 to Aug. 30.

Six combat air crews (CAC) from VP-5 departed NAS Jacksonville, Florida and traveled across the Pacific to NAF Misawa, Japan and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, as well as Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. CACs 6, 8, and 11 went from June 1 to Aug. 4, while CACs 1, 2 and 4 where overseas from July 31 to Aug. 30.

Combined, the air crews flew more than 350 hours in support of VP-46 and VP-9, who are currently forward deployed.

While overseas, the Mad Foxes helped fight the war on terrorism by providing support for Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines.

During Operation Valiant Shield, two VP-5 air crews had the unique experience of flying missions from the island of Iwo Jima, where more than 6,000 U.S. troops and more than 20,000 Japanese troops lost their lives in a battle for the small island during WWII. In addition, the Mad Foxes participated in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), which involved a VP-5 crew flying support missions with the Indonesian navy from Surabaya, Indonesia. Crews also visited a detachment sight in Utapao, Thailand.

"VP-5 did a fantastic job adjusting to an area of responsibility where they do not usually deploy and (also) helping Commander Task Force 72 accomplish its mission," Lt. j.g. Richard Parella said.

All air crews involved believed that their time overseas provided valuable training and real-world experience.

"Surge gave everyone the opportunity to put their training into action," said Lt. Brian Fichter, "and I couldn't be happier with the results."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera060628-N-9377B-141 Dhi Qar Province, Iraq (June 28, 2006) "...U.S. Navy Air Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Gregg Williams, assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), fires three round bursts from a M4 carbine assault rifle during a weapons familiarization exercise. The exercise help prepare Naval Air Crew (NAC) to be more familiar with weapons handling in areas of possible combat operations. VP-9 is currently on deployment to both 5th and 7th fleet areas of operation, supporting reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Eric J. Benson (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=36327 [23JUL2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera060620-N-1027J-002 Southwest Asia (June 20, 2006) "...Commanding Officer Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) Cmdr. James R. Wyatt greets Commander Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) Rear Adm. Shahid Iqbal of the Pakistan Navy. Iqbal visited with Wyatt in order to learn more about the operation and maintenance of the P-3C Orion asset. VP-9 is currently on deployment to both 5th and 7th fleet areas of operation, supporting reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations supporting the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John T. Jackson (RELEASED) ..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=36475 [23JUL2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera060618-N-9377B-030 Dhi Qar Province, Iraq (June 18, 2006) "...Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Cary Buel installs a MJU-49/B Decoy Flare bucket into the ALE-47 Counter Measure Dispensing system on a P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9). The Counter Measure Dispensing system is vital to the survivability of the P-3C by enabling the crew to dispense chaff and flare in defense of enemy fire. VP-9 is currently on deployment to both 5th and 7th fleet areas of operation, supporting reconnaissance and maritime patrol operations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric J. Benson (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=36363 [23JUL2006]


Circa 2005 - 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-9 2006 Photographs Circa 2005 - 2006..." WebSite: VP-9 http://www.vp9.navy.mil/images/photogallery/gallery1.html [10MAR2008]


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Sunset over the mountains across the flight line; one of the largest sunspots in years can be seen in the center.

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AE2 Mapson works on installing a new battery on the aircraft.

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The Main Terminal before sunrise on the Fourth of July.

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AT2 Batlle prepares the AIMS turret for removal.

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The Army returns from the field.

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AM2 Pavich, AD3 Backlund, AM2 Kloster, AT2 Batlle, and AD1 Samonte stand aroung a B-4 Stand discussing the upcoming prop change.

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AD3 Backlund examines an engine during a daily inspection.

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At the Bazaar an Afghani displays one of the headdresses he has for sale.

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The troops loaded up the C-130 for the flight to Kandahar.

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On either side of Chief Moser, AT2 Batlle and AD3 Backlund take in the only in flight entertainment on a C-130: sleep.

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Some of our Marine friends fly by in their Cobra Attack Helicopter.

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AE2 Mapson holding down a cooler.

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AM2 Layne does his best Builder Bob impression while operating the maintenance crane.

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A prop change cannot happen without teamwork.(Photo by AT2 Batlle)

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The are many blackpowder rifes and pistols from the 1800's available at the Bazaar.

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AD3 Backlund persuades the prop dome to turn loose.

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AZ3 Mesday looks out the forward escape hatch.

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A Med-A-Vac Helicopter prepares to take off at sunset.

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The only fireworks on the 4th. The small streak of light is an illumination flare shot off to ensure no one is sneaking around in the other side of the flight line.

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AZ3 Mesday plays with the small bells which give the Jingle Trucks their name.

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The majority of cargo transport in Afghanistan utilizes these type of brightly decorated "Jingle Trucks."

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A closer view.

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As the plane captain, AO3 Lane, waits to launch out the plane.

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AT2 Batlle enjoys a bottle of water after returning from the Bazaar.

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On the way back from the Bazaar, AZ3 Mesday, AT2 Batlle, and AO3 Lane hold on the tailgate of the 4Runner.

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AO3 Redman tries to get a better view of the prop change.

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The VP Maintainace Compound, Kandahar. (The flag was at half mast out of respect for President.

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The Main Terminal at sunset.

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An Afghani rug salesman smiles with cash in hand after a sale.

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Unlike the some Army squadrons on base Navy maintenance does not stop at night.

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Working under the stars.

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AM2 Pavich shows off his deep P-3 knowledge when someone asks "Where's the propeller?"

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AD3 Backlund makes some final adjustments the prop control.

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Sometimes you just need a…

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…Hammer.

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317 back from supporting the Marines from above.

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AE2 Mapson gets as close a road soda as you can in Kandahar.v
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The sun set between a U.S. bunker and a Mosque that saw the bad end of an American counter attack.

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The end of a day at the P-3 ramp.

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Bob Davis, the Airfield Manger, visits AM2 Kloster, AE2 Mapson, AO3 Lane, AZ3 Mesday, AO3 Redman, and AT2 Batlle at the smoke pit outside their tent.

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Takeoff.

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AM2 Layne turns up 922 out on the taxiway.

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The Chief and the OIC observe the final touches to the prop change.

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AO3 Lane has fun practicing good hygiene.

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922 ready to receive a new prop.(Photo by AT2 Batlle)

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AT3 Minier raises the flag atop the tower at sunrise on the 4th of July.

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LT Colvin hoists his own flag.

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LT Kahle gives Old Glory his respects.

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Members of CAC3 greet the fourth of July.

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CAC3 gives Bob Davis a tour of the plane.

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Surprisingly Starbuck has not made it to Kandahar yet, so AZ3 Mesday settles for a frozen coffee at the Green Bean Café on base.

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AME1 Gray out on the flightline.

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AZ3 Mesday enjoys the effects of large trucks on the bases dusty roads.

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AW1 Delahunt shows the plane is ready for flight.

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The Air Force EOD team who lives in the tent next to ours allowed some of us to attempt our best G.I. Joe poses with their .50cal sniper rifle. (AO3 Lane, AZ3 Mesday, AM2 Layne, AT2 Batlle)v
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AO3 Lane awaits 317 to shut down its engines after a successful mission.

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Blackhawk helicopters return from a mission.

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AT2 Batlle talks to others on the ground from the flight station.

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LCDR Scott at his command post.

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LTJG Metzler works on post flight reports at the MOCC.
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LT Colvin uses the computer at the MOCC.

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LT Platt readies the NAVCOM station during preflight.

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The Flight Engineers discuss the condition of the aircraft, while LT Kahle reviews the flight plan.

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AW2 Reed displays his enthusiasm for MRE's

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LT Walsh and LT Platt review mission records.

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317 being readied for flight before sunrise. (Venus is visible at the top left.)

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AZ3 Mesday in his ASF (Auxiliary Security Force) role directs an individual to the proper entrance to the flight line.

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AT3 Minier and AZ3 Mesday the maintainers on the det trained as ASF personnel.

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AO3 Lane back taxies the plane at the end of a flight.

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Marine Helicopters bring back grunts from out in the field.

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LCDR Scott at the helm of the 4Runner.

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AW2 Gammon cleans off the glass covering the instruments in the AIMS turret.

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LT Breed during his preflight walk around.

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AW2 Pavich checks the fuel level with the Hydrostatic tester.

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A Cobra Attack Helicopter flies with the VP birds in the background.

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Friday night brings a touch of home with pizza night at the firestation. AO3 lane, AM2 Kloster, AD1 Samonte, AT2 Batlle, and AZ3 Mesday indulge.

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AE2 Paul Hamilton browses the bootlegs at the Bazaar.

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AO3 Redman, AD3 Backlund, AE2 Mapson, and AT3 Minier attempt to bring a lightcart back to life.

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LT Breed ensures his port side is clear before starting #2 engine.

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AO3 Lane walks back in while the bird heads out for another mission.

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AD1 Samonte inspects the #3 prop during a daily.

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The maintainers waiting for the plane to return.

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AE2 Hamilton signals after a flight.

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The bird flies over the tents after returning from a mission.

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Although the Air Force has many personnel in Kandahar, they seem to have forgotten to bring maintainers, so when their planes break flying though here they call on the Navy; more precisely they depend on AM2 Kloster seen here repairing a C-130.

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The three Air Force planes he has fixed in Kandahar have only added to the numbers of planes he helped the Air Force with over his career. For his unselfish help with little or nothing received in return, AM2 Kloster is truly a Hero of the Air Force.

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AE2 Hamilton returns a prop to it proper position.

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Coming home.

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AT2 Batlle directs 922 while it backs up.

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Chief Moser gives the all clear signal as the aircraft continues back.

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And LCDR Scott provides a rear view for the aircrew.

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With the aircraft in position the ordinancemen, AO3 Redman, and Lineman, AT2 Batlle, await engine shut down.

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After the props have stopped, AO3 Lane directs AO3 Redman to install pins to disengage the flare defensive systems on the aircraft so they do not accidentally fire off while the plane is on the ground.

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AD3 Backlund, AE2 Hamilton, and AD1 Samonte discover a leak in the propeller housing which will require it to be replaced.

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LT Yakybisin calls out rotation ion #1 engine.

Circa 2005

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NAVY REGION HAWAII NEWS STAND - Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO Honors Sailors of the Year - Release Date: 12/16/2005 - By LCDR Nicholas Andrews, CPRW-2 Public Affairs. Squadrons Mentioned: CPRW-2, VPU-2 and VP-9..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.hawaii.navy.mil/NewsPAO/NRHNews_display.asp?story_id=496 [27DEC2005]

Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO (CPRW-2) recently recognized four Sailors for their outstanding performance by naming them Sailor of the Year. Congratulations to Senior Sea Sailor of the Year AD1 (AW) Leonard L. Williamson, Senior Shore Sailor of the Year AC1 (AW) Rodney H. Love, Junior Sea Sailor of the Year YN2 (AW) Rachel M. Olmsted, and Junior Shore Sailor of the Year AT2 (AW) Bradley J. La Fontaine. Each were presented with a plaque and awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal by CAPT Robert J. Adrion, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO.

CPRW-2, which encompasses over ten different units, is the parent command of four P-3C squadrons, one Executive Transport Detachment, and several other tenant Navy commands aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. This years recipients; both sea and shore, junior and senior; have each contributed significantly to improving not only the performance of each of their individual units, but also the overall performance of Wing TWO.

VP History ThumbnailCameraAD1 (AW) Leonard L. Williamson CPRW-2 Senior Sea Sailor of the Year. A native of Claysville, Pennsylvania, AD1 Williamson is the 100 Division Leading Petty Officer, VPU-2.

VP History ThumbnailCameraAC1 (AW) Rodney H. Love CPRW-2 Senior Shore Sailor of the Year. A native of Biloxi, Mississippi, AC1 Love is the Air Traffic Control Facility Leading Petty Officer, Marine Corps Air Facility.

VP History ThumbnailCameraYN2 (AW) Rachel M. Olmsted CPRW-2 Junior Sea Sailor of the Year. A native of Gillespie, Illinois, YN2 Olmsted is the Administrative Department Assistant Leading Petty Officer, VP-9.

VP History ThumbnailCameraAT2 (AW) Bradley J. La Fontaine CPRW-2 Junior Shore Sailor of the Year. A native of Edison, New Jersey, AT2 La Fontaine is the Work Center 660 Leading Petty Officer, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron TWENTY FOUR.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History "...Golden Eagle Sailor frocked while serving in Iraq - Release Date: 12/2/2005 - By "Golden Eagles" Patrol Squadron Nine Public Affairs..." WebSite: Hawaii Navy News http://www.hawaii.navy.mil/NewsPAO/NRHNews_display.asp?story_id=467 [08DEC2005]

Photograph Caption: U.S. Navy photo IS2 Michele Fry of VP-9, currently serving in Iraq, was recently frocked by Brig. Gen. Willard C. Broadwater.

One of Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9's) very own is doing the Golden Eagles proud while serving in Iraq as part of the ongoing war on terrorism. Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Michele Fry is part of an anti-terror task force disrupting the network of the Iraqi insurgency. Fry departed from Marine Corps Base Hawai'i - Kaneohe in late August to begin her six-month tour taking part in preserving freedom in Iraq.

During September, while in Iraq, Fry was frocked to second class petty officer in a ceremony conducted by Brig. Gen. Willard C. Broadwater, the Army commanding general of Joint Interagency Task Force -High Value Inventory.

This will be Fry's third operational detachment in just over a year while attached to VP-9. In addition to participating in VP-9's Fifth Fleet Deployment, Fry deployed to Thailand to assist in Operation Unified Assistance, working with P-3s in providing vital information to relief crews assisting refugees devastated by the December 2004 tsunami.

She worked closely with the aircrew and was involved with their daily intelligence updates and briefings as part of the squadron's tactics department. Before deploying to Iraq, she was temporarily detached to Texas for training with small arms and chemical biological radioactive equipment. At the conclusion of her training, Fry qualified expert in pistol. From Texas, she headed to Iraq to do her part in the war on terrorism.

Lt. j.g. Kalkas, Fry's division officer, described her role: "IS2 Fry deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for a six-month tour as part of an individual augmentation designed to fill vital intelligence support roles in the global war on terror. She is part of a joint military cell that is working to disrupt the networking and funding of the Iraqi insurgency."

Fry continues to make her shipmates proud as well as represent the Golden Eagles of VP-9 in the continuing global war on terror. Her friends and family anxiously await her return from Iraq.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History "...VP-9 Afghanistan Detachment - Operation Enduring Freedom..." WebSite: Patrol Squadron NINE http://www.nol.navy.mil/homepages/vp9/images/photogallery/Photogallery.htm [13NOV2005]

VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History VP-9 has continued the U.S. Navy's presence in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Picking up where its sister squadron VP-47 left off, VP-9 continued its mission of the eye in the sky role in support of Coalition Forces.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History "...Mrs. Kendra Phelps was the Dorothy M. Flatley Award winner for NAVAIRPAC. Her achievements in support of VP-9 won her the honors. With her is VP-9 CO, CDR Perry Yow - ANA - Wings OF Gold - Summer 2005 - Page 34..." WebSite: Association Of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/about/index.htm [20OCT2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraCPO Selectees Recognized "...CPRW-2, VP-4, VP-9, VP-47 and VPU-2 - Page A-4 Hawaii Navy News - August 5, 2005..." WebSite: Hawaii Navy News http://www.hawaii.navy.mil/NewsPAO/HNN_Archive/050805/080505NAVYNEWSA.pdf [11AUG2005]


Circa 2004

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy, Coast Guard team up to save kayaker - BY JO2 PHIL HASENCAMP - Aug. 22, 2002..." WebSite: The Flagship http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2002/aug222002_13.shtml [22APR2005]

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PEARL HARBOR — With his cell phone battery dead, John Stockton knew that his best chance to stay alive was to be seen, not heard.

Luckily for him, help was on the way.

The air crew aboard a Navy P-3C Orion aircraft saved the man's life off the coast of the "Big Island" (Honolulu) of Hawaii July 30 after Stockton had been adrift at sea in a kayak for more than two days.

The Patrol Squadron 9 aircrew spotted Stockton, of Phoenix, 188 miles southeast of Honolulu and 100 miles west of Kona, Hawaii. From there they directed the response from a Coast Guard C-130 and rescue helicopter which pulled the man to safety.

"We continued to orbit the site, as if to say: 'We're not going to leave you," said Navy Lt. Keith Demetriades, mission commander for the VP-9 P-3C Orion.

But spotting a tiny kayak in a huge ocean is a tall order.

"I didn't know how to improve my chance for being seen. I didn't have flares or anything to shoot up to get their attention, but finally all of their hard work paid off and I was spotted. It was a miracle," Stockton said.

AW1 Gary Phillips and AW2 Chad Lemerick spotted Stockton only after they were well into their search-and-rescue mission.

"We were all very tired by when we found him. We had been looking out the window at the water for about six hours and our eyes had begun to glaze over a little when suddenly, there he was," Lemerick said.

A wave of relief washed over Stockton.

"It was so encouraging to just see them flying over. By that time, I was so excited about even the possibility of getting rescued," he said.

Once the aircrew made a positive identification, they dropped a smoke signal and continued to circle Stockton while they directed the incoming Coast Guard C-130 to his location. The C-130 dropped a life raft and continued to circle the site as well.

At that point the P-3 crew moved to 1,300 feet and switched roles to scene of-action commander, which included responsibility for directing the efforts of the rescue helicopter. The Coast Guard helo came in, pulled Stockton to safety, sunk the kayak and life raft, and transported the survivor to the hospital.

"This is one of the greatest moments I've had as a pilot," Demetriades said.

Although Stockton was not seriously injured, his condition was beginning to deteriorate. Over the previous two days, he had capsized over 20 times in rough seas, and his body was beginning to show signs of exposure.

"We went out there in the morning with a really focused mentality. The last we had heard was that (Stockton) was calling for help from his cell phone two days prior, but his cell phone died. So by our calculations he had been in the water for over 50 hours and this was our best shot to find him," Demetriades continued.

"It's the best mission in the world," Phillips said. "We do all kinds of neat stuff. We track foreign submarines, we shoot missiles. But of the missions that we do, this is what really matters. Somebody can go home with their wife, that, if we hadn't been there, wouldn't."

Although the rescue was a significant event, VP-9 air crews are no strangers to search-and-rescue missions. In fact, P-3C Orion aircraft are the bailiwick of maritime patrol and reconnaissance. If you want to find something, ask a P-3 crew to help.

"SAR is part of our bag of tricks. Living on this island, we are aware that we're an asset for many SAR operations. Even when we go on deployment, we're put on many, many SAR missions," Demetriades said. "It's hard to tell your aircrew that you're going out to look at water for nine hours. But we're always vigilant, because if we were in [Stockton's] shoes, we would definitely want someone out there looking for us. It boils down to compassion and the fact that this is our job," he continued.

"When I saw the Navy plane circling above, I just knew that America's finest were up there and that if anyone was going to find me, it would be them. They deserve all the credit they get regularly because they really do work their tails off. Everything they do, all the training and hard work paid off big time for me. That's why I'm here today. So I'm very appreciative to them and of all of their hard work and training," Stockton said.

VP-9's home is Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The squadron was on station during the Sept. 11 attacks and was instrumental in Operation Enduring Freedom.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Pakistani delegation visits P-3C Orion squadron - BY JO2 WES EPLEN - Aug. 19, 2004..." WebSite: The Flagship http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2004/aug192004_7.shtml [22APR2005]

MANAMA, NSA Bahrain — Patrol Squadron 9 hosted a maritime surveillance familiarization visit of four Pakistani naval aviation experts in NSA Bahrain Aug. 1-5.

The Pakistani delegation consisted of a naval aviator, a tactical officer, a maintenance officer and an air crew operator, and was given tours of Commander U.S. Navy Central Command and Commander U.S. 5th Fleet spaces and VP-9 spaces, briefs on U.S. maritime patrol and surveillance capabilities and procedures in the 5th Fleet area of operations, and taken on two familiarization flights aboard U.S. P-3C Orion aircraft.

"There's very little difference between the way our countries do business," said Pakastani Tactical Officer Cmdr. Sajjad Akbar. "The differences are mainly due to differences in the aircraft and the equipment. It's all very similar."

One flight was conducted in cooperation with a Pakistani Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft.

"We gained a better understanding of just how proficient the Pakistani maritime patrol forces are," said Cmdr. Rod Urbano, commanding officer of VP-9. "We worked with the Atlantique and saw that their procedures and tactics are very similar to ours, and that working together we can be very effective in patrolling the areas in and around the North Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman."

However, in addition to their other maritime patrol aircraft, Pakistan has a P-3C squadron of their own. The familiarization visit was a big step toward its operational employment.

"We've been able to see how VP-9 operates, and since we're looking forward to operationalizing our own squadron of P-3Cs very soon, that has been a great help," said Akbar. "Just seeing how the aircraft and the crew and the squadron operate has been a huge help.

"Secondly, we have been able to clarify coalition requirements, so the opportunities we have to help the coalition, we know what is required of us," he said. "That is a great advantage, so we can be a big help."

Pakistan is already a key coalition partner in the global war on terrorism, and the visit only increased confidence between the nations.

"Communications between the aircraft (U.S. P-3C and Pakistani Atlantique) were very smooth," said Urbano. "The riders were able to see the capabilities of our aircraft, and they saw the ease of operating with U.S. forces. These opportunities just increase the comfort level between our two countries, and we hope to be able to do this more and more in the future," he added.

As for the future, both parties are optimistic.

"We know that by ourselves, we really cannot cover all of this ocean," said Urbano. "Only through cooperation with our coalition allies will we be able to do a better job in thwarting all the international terrorist organizations. So for us, it's a welcome opportunity. We can only grow stronger with these interactions."

Antismuggling, antidrug trafficking and protection of shipping is a primary concern for us, said Akbar, but like everyone, our focus has shifted now toward the global war on terrorism.

"As soon as our P-3Cs are online, we'll hopefully be even more active in the coalition," he added.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S. Navy patrol rescues fishermen - Stars and Stripes - European edition, Friday, December 3, 2004..." WebSite: Stars and Stips http://www.stripes.com/ [15SEP2008]

A U.S. Navy patrol aircraft helped rescue eight United Arab Emirates fishermen whose small boat sank off the coast of Bahrain.

A P-3C Orion from VP-9 — along with a pair of Bahrain police helicopters — immediately responded to a distress call and searched for the fishermen on Nov. 27, the Navy's 5th Fleet reported. The patrol and reconnaissance aircraft searched an area of 60 to 70 square miles for the dhow, according to Lt. j.g. Brian Hirte, the P-3C Orion tactical coordinator. A half hour later, members of the P-3C found a cooler and some life vests.

That spot helped Bahrain search-and-rescue teams find the eight fishermen floating in a raft nearby. Rescue swimmers helped retrieve four of the fishermen, while a helicopter plucked the remaining fishermen from the water.

The Navy plane helped coordinate the rescue among Bahrain air traffic control, two Bahrain police helicopters and a Qatari helicopter.

VP-9is deployed to the Persian Gulf region from its home base in Hawaii.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-9 'Golden Eagle Talom' - Volume 1 Issue V - November 21, 2004..." http://www.nol.navy.mil/homepages/vp9/Golden%20Eagle%20Talon%20Issue%20V.doc [19APR2005]

VP-9 Honors Russian Fishing Captain For Rescue Efforts

October 1978, in the midst of the Cold War, a VP-9 P-3 aircraft was patrolling the icy waters of the Bering Sea off the Russian coast. A propeller malfunctioned that caused an emergency that forced the aircraft to ditch at sea (land in the water). The crew was days away from an American at-sea rescue, and the only hope was a near-by Russian fishing trawler, Mys Sinyavin . After tedious communications between Washington D.C. and Moscow, the trawler's captain, Captain Arbuzov was directed to the crew's emergency rafts by US Coast Guard aircraft. The Soviet fishermen rescued ten men, and took them to a Russian hospital. The men were safely repatriated to the US Navy a few days later.

Crewmembers and families of those involved in the rescue of Crew 6 recently held a reunion in Las Vegas, NV. The event was highlighted by Captain Arbuzov's ability to attend the three-day reunion. He provided answers to many questions that had been on the flier's minds, and helped heal the loss of those who didn't return from that fateful flight. A special moment of the reunion occurred as Captain Arbuzov was awarded a Letter of Commendation from our current Golden Eagle Commanding Officer, Commander Rod Urbano. An interpreter translated the Commendation into the Russian language. He was quite surprised and kept touching his heart with his right hand to express his thanks. Then, Captain Arbuzov awarded the survivors a large model of his ship, the Mys Sinyavin. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.

To learn more about this historic rescue check out, Adak: The Rescue of Alpha Foxtrot 586, written by former P-3 pilot and author, Andrew Jampoler. Also, VP-9 would like to thank and credit Cindy Mette for her personal memoirs of the reunion that was used to write this feature.
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From the Commanding Officer


Well Golden Eagle Family, the deployment is almost over and I am proud to say that the men and women of Patrol Squadron NINE have performed magnificently over the past six months. The accomplishments of the aircrews, maintainers and support personnel are too numerous to list, but suffice to say that the Golden Eagles have met all operational requirements and have exceeded all expectations! The love and support we have received over the course of deployment from all of you has kept us going and contributed significantly to the success we have enjoyed so far. I know all the Golden Eagles are excited to return and reunite with all our loved ones. Being able to return right before the holiday season will make the homecoming that much more special.

On this last edition for deployment of the Eagle Talon, I want to "put a shout out" and a hearty BZ to all those Golden Eagles who submitted articles over the past months, and especially to LT Stephen "Splatt" Platt, for putting the Talon together each month. This publication has truly been a "first class" product that has kept our loved ones informed and in touch with the "goings on" of our deployment. Thank you so much.

It won't be too long before we are all reunited again. In the meantime, please continue to look out and support each other. These next weeks will be filled with much stress and anxiety in trying to prepare for our return. We must do what has made us get this far so successfully, and this is to continue to take of each other. WE ARE FAMILY!!!

Take care and God bless,

CDR Rod Urbano
Cruise book Committee Hard at Work


The Golden Eagles have had a busy and historic 2004 Arabian Gulf/Indian Ocean Deployment. How can you possibly remember and share all these great memories? A VP-9 Cruise book is the answer! The committee, led by PH1 Evelyn Haywood in Diego Garcia and PH3 Jeffrey Kraus in NSA Bahrain, is busy preparing a collection of memories for all VP-9 Sailors and supporters. This deployment's hardbound book will feature 120 color pages that will include all work centers and combat aircrews. Subsidized through numerous fundraisers, it only costs $25. The staff has already pre-sold over half their goal of 250 books. See your cruise book representative before the end of deployment to order yours; they will be delivered around March 1st.
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Diego Garcia Cruise Book Staff: AE1 Harrison, AO3 Hooter, CS3 McBride, PH1 Haywood, AN Jeanbapiste, and CS3 Laidlaw. Not pictured: YN2 Sherry, AO3 Eisel, and AM2 Lewis.

Command Services Department Stocks up for the Week
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Left: AE2 Rieman completes the line of CSD personnel stocking 1,070 sodas for the first few weeks of November.

Right: CS3 Laidlaw stocks 1,200 eggs into refrigerators as part of CSD's weekly supply.
Diego Garcia Family Thanksgiving Meal


The Culinary Specialists and CSD TAD personnel are busy planning a Thanksgiving meal for all VP-9 Sailors in Diego Garcia. CS1 Bishop has been collecting food supplies from multiple detachment sites to make the holiday feast special, and CS2 Ching has developed delicious recipes for those favorite holiday dishes. The department will be preparing the multiple course meal for the entire squadron for only $4 per person.
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AW3 Gary Kirkendall leads aircrew daily training on CPR and First Aid. The lesson was part of the Basic Military Requirements that account for approximately 100 questions on enlisted rating exams.
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AME3 Stair gives a brief on the low-pressure and high-pressure filters for the P-3C engines to AD1 Jenkins and AE2 Sanders. All three aircrew are Flight Engineers under instruction.
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VP-9's XO, CDR Yaw, proudly awards LTJG Mike Newhouse his new PPC qualification.
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Training Department heads, (L-R) LCDR Schlemmer and LCDR Ellis, blow off some steam at the Diego Garcia skeet range to break up their long workday.

Reenlistments on the Front Line
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AW2 Jared Victory reenlists for six years, as LTJG Brian Hirte recites the reenlistment oath. CAC-5 and CAC-3 serve as a willing audience while on detachment in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
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LT Felix Hopkins serves as the reenlistment officer for AW2 Doan, PR3 Cole, and AW2 Fullerton, on the North Ramp in NSA Bahrain.

Maintenance and Safety Departments Team Up for Diego Garcia Safety Fair


On Monday, 26 October the Quality Assurance Division of Diego Garcia's maintenance detachment held hands-on safety training. Maintainers and aircrew discussed a wide range of safety topics and current maintenance issues. Topics of instruction ranged from safety on and around squadron aircraft, support equipment pre-operation procedures, hazardous material usage & clean-up procedures to technical publications and responsible consumption of alcohol. The subject matter experts responsible for the event included several "squared away" safety conscious Sailors, such as ADAA Tate, AMEAN Swan, AD3 Mays, AE3 Cherry, AZ2 Upton, AM2 Layne, AE2 Gibler, AE2 Sanders, AD1 Jenkins, PR1 Vance, and AM1 Jakhel. Manning seven stations inside Hangar 300, the Golden Eagle team split squadron personnel into small groups and rotated then throughout all stations. The Safety Fair's goal was to increase safety situational awareness and provide interactive "hands-on" learning. Safety training organized by QA and Safety help keep our Sailors and aircrew focused on accomplishing their jobs in a safe and efficient manner. Naval aviation and squadron operations are intense and pose many potential hazards that can lead to loss of life and injury or damage to aircraft. The ultimate goal in repetitive training is to reduce the likelihood of future mishaps or accidents by reiterating the necessity of following proper procedures. The fellowship, lessons learned, and increased safety awareness benefited the entire "Golden Eagle" team and continue to ensure that all "Golden Eagles" accomplish their mission and job in a safe manner.
Training in Diego Garcia
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(L): AM2 Layne leads a discussion on hazardous material and spill kits

(R): AZ2 Upton discusses the importance of maintaining technical manuals.


GOLDEN EAGLE OPERATIONS


As our deployment enters its final month, the Operations Department makes a few changes. We bid fair winds and following seas to our Operations Officer, LCDR John Maxwell who is departing VP-9 to become the Weapons and Tactics Unit Team Leader at VP-30 in Jacksonville, Florida. He has been replaced by LCDR Lance Scott, formerly the VP-9 Tactics Department Head. Additionally, our hard working YN2 Sherry was awarded the very first "GEE" (Golden Eagle Excellence) Award entitling her to 24 hours Special Liberty. This honor is awarded exclusively at the discretion of the Commanding Officer (from a strong recommendation by her chain of command) and was reflective of the countless hours of work put into flight hour reports, aircrew logbooks, and personal award citations. YN2 Sherry makes an inter-departmental transfer to the Administrative Department in Diego Garcia, and has been replaced by YN3 Masella, who has already proven invaluable to the Operations team. Our final loss of the deployment was IT2 Charles who had to return to Hawaii unexpectedly for personal reasons. She has been the backbone of our NSA Bahrain detachment and with her vivacious personality and can do spirit, has really been the driving force behind our operational success. We miss her already and eagerly await her reunion with the squadron in December.

Even as the temperature here in NSA Bahrain starts to drop, the Golden Eagles find no reprieve from the demanding operational tempo of flight operations in the Arabian Gulf. In the past five months, we have provided invaluable intelligence and directly supported our troops on the ground fighting in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Through it all, the Golden Eagles have continued to perform spectacularly and have set new standards for maritime aviation. From the hot deserts of Iraq to the now-cold mountains of Afghanistan, the men and women of Patrol Squadron Nine have proven themselves to be consummate professionals.

The P-3 continues to be in high demand and our aircrews remain at the top of their game, supported by our ever-vigilant Intelligence Department, who provide up-to-the minute briefings in an ever-changing environment. The men and women of Patrol Squadron Nine are performing superbly in America's Global War on Terrorism. In NSA Bahrain, we continue to manage nine aircrews from two squadrons in three multi-national detachment sites. Meanwhile, in Diego Garcia, the daily training of flight crews and aircraft maintenance inspections keeps both aircraft and crew at peak performance. The diverse and essential work performed by all branches of the Operations Department truly represents the best that VP-9 has to offer.

The Operations Officer, LCDR Scott, said, "As I assume the reigns as VP-9 Operations Officer I couldn't be more impressed. Despite the heat, changes in tasking, last minute requests, and late night phone calls, every one has done a phenomenal job, all with a smile on their faces. I would be remiss if I didn't take time to say thank you to LCDR John Maxwell on behalf of the squadron. His tireless efforts and exceptional leadership has brought VP-9 flawlessly through deployment thus far. We still have more work to do and thanks in advance for the hard work ahead in setting our sister squadron, VP-4, up for success. Keep up the great work. Finally, 'Mahalo' to all of our loved ones back home. We couldn't do this without your support and we can't wait to see you next month!"

FROM THE AIR, NEWS ON COMBAT AIRCREWS


VP-9's missions are shared among eleven combat aircrews (CACs). Most crews are made up of 11 members to include, three pilots, a tactical coordinator (TACCO), navigator, two flight engineers, two acoustic operators, a non-acoustic operator, and an in-flight-technician. The crews spend a majority of deployment together, not only for flying duties, but also on liberty and detachments. This month the Golden Eagle Talon features CAC-7.

CAC 7 ARMED AND ANGRY


Combat Aircrew (CAC) 7, notoriously known as "Armed and Angry," recently took the reigns from CAC- 5 on the Team Eagle Operation ENDURING FREEDOM detachment. CAC-7 continues the support operations while simultaneously taking in all of the new experiences of the detachment site.

Although recreation is limited, the crew has never been short of entertainment, and the aircrew has made the most of their free time. LTJG Macdonald, AT2 Pierce, AW2 Stafford, and AD2 Mosher have found many versions of the ubiquitous card game, spades.

LCDR Scott, LT Burke, and LT Troilo have instituted an almost daily movie night on the projection screen at the Mobile Operations Command Center (MOCC). LTJG Hansen and AO1 McWatters have enjoyed the extensive workout facilities at the newly relocated Army Gym.

AW1 Howell claims, "I've been walking the Earth that I bombed two years ago" in reference to a Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) strike he participated in during the opening days of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. AW1 Thompson has been rumored to be intensely studying ASW tactics to keep the desert "submarine-free" for the remainder of deployment. IS1 Torres has been providing a solid intelligence package prior to each flight.

The Maintenance Department, led by ADC Shell, has done an outstanding job of keeping the aircraft ready to fly. AT2 Ives, AD2 Sanchez, AE2 Moore and ADC Shell have played their fair share of Spades on this DET as well. AM3 Bond has found some time to catch up on her reading at the Green Bean Coffee Shop. AZ3 Mesday and AT2 Manual have assisted with the installation of the new Air Force Gym, which is literally a stone's throw away from the tents in which we sleep. AM1 Eisele, AO2 Deluze, and AO3 Lane have also frequented the Saturday Bazaar, which resembles a local flea market.

Two Golden Eagles have made the commitment to continue to serve the Navy by reenlisting. AW2 Stafford and AD2 Edillor took the oath of enlistment on the 1st and 5th of November, respectively, with the entire DET personnel in attendance. Congratulations to both AW2 Stafford and AD2 Edillor (pictures below).

We remain dedicated to our mission and continue to fly (and play) safe. Our thoughts go out to our families and we look forward to the homecoming.
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ADC Shell reenlists AD2 Edillor
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LT Burke and AW2 Stafford pose with his reenlistment bonus check


VP-9 Rules the Volleyball Courts of Diego Garcia


After intense competition throughout the entire base, VP-9 ruled the base's indoor volleyball courts, securing the winning season trophy. In fact, due to VP-9's superior playing ability, the two final teams were both from VP-9.

Both teams were named after local Hawaiian words, Ohana meaning family and Kama'aina meaning local. Often players from each team would switch sides, due to conflicting work schedules; the team T-shirts even displayed both names.

After the final point, Ohana came out on top winning the season trophy, and Kama'aina proudly accepted the second place plaque. Great job to both teams!

OHANA (FAMILY)

Coach: PN1 Luisa Trapela
Captain: CS2 Bruce Ching
CS1 Christopher Bishop
PN1 Jennifer Richardson
IT2 Patrick Holden
AE2 Ryan Sanders
ADAN Steve Correa
AW2 Bear Resnick
AT3 Andrew Malone
AD1 Ray Jenkins

KAMA'AINA (LOCAL)

Coach: PH1 Evelyn Haywood
Asst. Coach: PN1 Luisa Trapela
Captain: AT3 Wes Winkler
PR3 Mindy Barkema
AW2 Christopher Donson
AW3 Arthur Maclang
AT2 Crystal Adling
AO3 Colt Clodius
AW2 Ricky Collins
PN1 Felicia Lemmob
AT2 Jeffrey Laban
AW3 Gary Kirkendall

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Sailor Spotlights

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AN Benkelmann, shares his lunch with the chickens of Diego Garcia. Local law prohibits harming the birds, and they often comfortably visit VP-9 Sailors in the shelter of our hangar.

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The Sailors of VP-9 look sharp while attending the Navy Ball, held at the Gulf Hotel in NSA Bahrain.

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PN1 Richardson checks in our newest Golden Eagle, AW3 Freeman

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PH3 Kraus puts down his camera to get a quick photo with the Navy's senior enlisted Sailor, MCPON Scott.

Parting Shot
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LTjg Metzler finally called the number to the truck driving school they gave him in flight training.

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Skipper Urbano congratulates LCDR Hemelstrand (L) and LCDR Maxwell (R) for their tour with the Golden Eagles at a wardroom Hail and Farewell function. LCDR Hemelstrand took orders to Fallon, NV, and LCDR Maxwell will be moving to Jacksonville, FL. Fair Winds and Following Seas to both.

For the Calendar

VP-9 Christmas Party
WHEN: 14 DECEMBER 2004
WHERE: HALE KOA HOTEL. Waikiki
Social Hour 1800
Seats AT 1930
Dance the night away!
OVER $2000 IN DOOR PRIZES!!

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-9 Golden Eagles Return From Overseas Deployment - Story Number: NNS041209-11 - Release Date: 12/10/2004 12:00:00 PM - By Patrol Squadron 9 Public Affairs, Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs..." Navy Newstand http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16231 [12DEC2004]

VP-9's home is Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay (NNS) -- Patrol Squadron 9 (VP) 9 returned from a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility Dec. 10.

The squadron played a versatile role in supporting surface ships and ground troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

VP-9's P-3C Orion aircraft conducted long-range surveillance and collected tactical images for the maritime battle space. Those images were transmitted to commanders in real-time via satellite communications to support Marine Corps and Army ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. VP-9 aircraft flew more than 400 operational sorties.

The squadron's P-3C Orion aircraft fly with an 11-member crew, and are primarily used by the Navy for maritime patrols and reconnaissance missions.

"The United States Navy has again provided indispensable contributions to our fight in Afghanistan over the last six months through the superb work of VP-9," said Commander, Combined Forces Afghanistan Lt. Gen. David Barno. "They were welcome members of the joint team as we build toward the ultimate operational success here in country, in concert with the government of Afghanistan and its people. I am eagerly looking forward to more of the same outstanding U.S. Navy P-3 support in the future."

In addition to supporting ground troops, over half of the squadron's missions were conducted in the Persian Gulf to support carrier strike groups. VP-9 flew in support of three search and rescue missions over the course of this deployment, helping save the lives of more than 20 distressed mariners.

The squadron's maintenance personnel worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, even in inclement weather. Throughout the deployment, the squadron was able to maintain a 98 percent mission completion rate.

"The maintenance team exceeded all my expectations," said Consolidated Maintenance Officer Lt. Terry Watkins. "Working under the extremely hot temperatures during the summer months in the Middle East is no easy task, but 'Team Eagle' maintainers accomplished their mission with pride and enthusiasm. I am proud to work with each of our maintainers."

VP-9 also flew successful missions in four different multinational exercises with the navies of Japan, India, Australia and Pakistan. Air crews were challenged with language barriers when communicating with other country's aircraft; however, the missions proved successful.

Many Sailors of VP-9 were advanced and earned warfare qualifications while on deployment. Forty-eight Sailors earned their Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) designation, 44 Sailors advanced in rate from the September rating exams, and 33 air crew qualifications were achieved during missions and training flights.

While deployed, the "Golden Eagles" flew more than 2,700 hours, allowing them to reach a safety milestone - a continued achievement of 26 years and 162,000 flight hours of mishap-free aviation. Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Rear Adm. Michael Holmes recently recognized VP-9 for its contributions to safety and success in the P-3 community.

"Our accomplishments over the past six months are due to the hard work and the intense pride of wearing this great nation's cloth by each and every Sailor in VP-9," said VP-9 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Rodney M. Urbano. "A six-month deployment is tough on the crew and our families, but supporting the ground troops and Sailors afloat is crucial and is what we are trained to do. I am humbled by the service by each Sailor of VP-9, and each of them should be justifiably proud of what they contributed to the global war on terrorism."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-9 Aids Multinational Rescue at Sea - Story Number: NNS041130-04 - Release Date: 11/30/2004 1:09:00 PM - By Journalist 2nd Class Jason Trevett, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs..." Navy Newstand http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16104 [12DEC2004]

ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Patrol Squadron (VP) 9, homeported at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, aided in a multinational rescue of eight United Arab Emirates fishermen whose dhow had sunk off the coast of NSA Bahrain Nov. 27.

One of the squadron's P-3C Orion aircraft received a distress call from NSA Bahrain Air Traffic Control that a fishing dhow with eight fishermen aboard had sunk approximately one hour previously, and air traffic control requested search and rescue assistance. The P-3C immediately responded to the call and began a search for the fishermen, along with two NSA Bahrain police helicopters.

"We started a ladder search of the general area where the dhow was believed to have sunk," said Lt. j.g. Brian Hirte, P-3C Orion tactical coordinator. "Together, we searched about 60 to 70 square miles of water. About a half-hour into the search, we found some floating debris in the water, a cooler and some life vests."

Moments later, a NSA Bahrain search and rescue helicopter spotted the eight fishermen in a small raft. The helicopter dispatched rescue swimmers to the raft, and four fishermen were retrieved from the water. The crew of the P-3 coordinated the on-station search and rescue efforts between NSA Bahrain traffic control, and two NSA Bahrain helicopters and one Qatar helicopter.

"We remained fixed on the raft and didn't loose sight of it," said Hirte. "One of our crew aboard the P-3C, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Carlos Paguaga, dropped a white flare to mark the location where the remaining four fishermen were floating in the raft."

A Qatari helicopter picked up the remaining four fishermen.

"The coordination of this multinational rescue was excellent, and we were happy to be instrumental in saving eight peoples lives," said Lt. Damon Hildebrand, P-3C mission commander. "Our crew did an excellent job of keeping the aircraft in position and maintaining a visual on the raft."

Maritime patrol and reconnaissance is the mission of VP-9. The squadron is operating in the Arabian Gulf under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 57.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera040814-N-0000X-003 Arabian Gulf (Aug. 14, 2004) "...A video frame from a P-3C Orion assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) shows an HH-60H Seahawk belonging to the "Red Lions" of Helicopter anti-submarine Squadron Fifteen (HS-15) hovering over the Iranian dhow Naji, during a rescue operation. HS-15 launched two Seahawk helicopters from USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), rescuing all crew members aboard the ill-fated Naji. Once on board, Kennedy's medical staff treated the international mariners, who are in good health, according to the ship's senior medical officer. Kennedy is working closely with the Navy's Fifth Fleet in NSA Bahrain to return the mariners safely to Iran. VP-9 monitored the dhow, and coordinated helicopter rescue operations. Kennedy and Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) are deployed in the region conducting missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the continued war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=17053 [02MAR2005]


Circa 2003

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: P-3 ThumbnailCameraVP-9 P-3 BUNO: 161003 "...PD-003 at NAF Andrews, Maryland on 12 July 2003 by Stephen Miller..." Contributed by Stephen Miller f134kilmil@comcast.net [27DEC2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...The Weather Looked Great! - by Lt. Annette Washburn/ P-3 - Lt. Washburn flies with VP-9..." Naval Safety Center WebSite: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/vault/articles/2003/0623.htm [04JUN2005]

The weather looked great! Besides a few scattered thunderstorms forecast over Texas and Oklahoma, the flight from Greenville, South Carolina to San Diego, California promised to be a smooth and beautiful one.

I, a fully qualified Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) who was sitting Patrol Plane Pilot (PPP) for an O-4 Plane Commander, and my Patrol Plane Co-Pilot (PPCP), a very junior pilot in the squadron, were at the helm. We were cruising along at 24,000 feet enjoying skimming the tops of several cumulous clouds. As we closed in on Texarkana we began to hear other airborne traffic deviating around thunderstorm cells in the area.

Fortunately, we were able to dodge all of these with only minor deviations, remaining on our airway. The coast looked clear except for one persistent cluster directly in front of us approximately 30 miles away. The mass did not appear to be convective and was quite wide. I called my Sensor 3 (SS3) on the ICS and asked him to take a look. Visually it looked like I'd be able to pick my way through the cotton candy shapes with ease, I was sure SS3 would agree. Luck was on our side. My radar operator called back assuring us we'd be able to punch through this patch and not have to deviate out of our way. His scope showed two cells, one to the North, the other to the South, and he put me on a heading to sufficiently split the two. As we entered, I instructed the Flight Engineer (FE) to turn on engine anti-ice as we were in a thin layer of moisture and my outside air temperature gauge read zero degrees Celsius. The ride was a little choppy, not unusual for IMC conditions, but what made me nervous was the rapid change in color all around us. What five seconds earlier had been blindingly white and bright was becoming an eerie combination of shades of grays and greens. I asked SS3 to update my vector to ensure we were not headed into danger. Before he could get the answer back to me, we hit severe turbulence. The starboard wing suddenly shot up and the aircraft rolled 40-50 degrees to the left. The front windscreen instantly iced over and apparently, so did the antennas as all radio communications were replaced by an incessant squeal in our headsets. I told the FE to pull back power for 220 knots. My hands were staying on the yolk. We were getting tossed around violently and it was all I could do to maintain control of the plane! The new and quite restrictive G limits imposed on the aircraft due to airframe fatigue kept running through my mind. Hail continued to pelt the aircraft and the wings began to ice up. I called SS3 and told him to get me the hell out of there in any direction that he could but back from where I'd come from! He directed me to turn 25 degrees to the south. We were completely NORDO but the PPCP continued making his radio calls "in the blind" letting ATC know we were in a thunderstorm and deviating. After what seemed an eternity, but realistically was probably only three to four minutes, the turbulence began to ease up. By five to six minutes we were in the clear and visually deviating further from the cell. Once out, communications were reestablished and ATC was notified of our intentions to stay clear and rejoin the airway. We all took a second to catch our breath, check on the crew and then check the aircraft for damage. None was noted at that time.

Once we landed in San Diego, I completed a thorough walk around inspection of the exterior of the plane. The only damage I saw was of seemingly minor significance. The nose Radome and wing tip leading edges had places where the paint had chipped off. I soon found out that what seemed insignificant to me, (how bad could it be, just a little touch up by an Air-Framer right?), had a pretty significant price tag. That Nose Radome was going to have to be replaced, at a cost of $13,750.00!

I just couldn't understand how I got trapped in that thunderstorm when it was so clear to me, and the entire cockpit, that we could scoot right through. I decided to check with some Specialists, beginning with my Radar operator. Keep in mind our radar, the APS 115, was not designed for weather avoidance and therefore has a limited capability to do so. As we approached the weather mass, he identified two cells, again one to the South and one to the North; he determined these to be thunderstorm cells due to their sharply defined edges. He noticed, as we got closer that they were growing quickly but there was still sufficient space for us to pass. He kept us on a steady course that appeared to, and subsequently did, keep us between the two. Pretty straightforward procedures from his perspective, but I still didn't have any answers. From this point the " Weather Guessers" took over and tried to explain the phenomenon we had encountered.

It turns out we were never in a true thunderstorm cell. My Radar operator did avoid those two cells and did successfully drive me right between them. What we encountered is sometimes referred to as an Umbrella Effect. Thunderstorms, as we all know, are made up of rain, wind shear, updrafts, downdrafts, hail, lightning, and turbulence. All of these are a result of warm and cold core masses meeting. The severity of the cell depends on the differences in masses. Thus, the resultant effects depend on the severity of the cell. Thunderstorms, especially strong ones, have the ability to launch hail out to twenty nautical miles from their core. Wind shear and turbulence are often felt many miles from the cell as well. Therefore, what the radar and naked eye saw as insignificant weather was shrouded by two threatening storms on either side. Both cells took my plane and crew for one eye-opening ride. So, what exactly is the lesson learned? Trust your crewmembers and your equipment but respect the weather. Take the time to deviate around the weather. Do not try to pick your way through when VMC is just a few miles out of your way.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Golden Eagles Host Fallen Vietnam War Veteran Families - By Lt. j.g. Lauren Ihrig, VP-9 Public Affairs http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=8841..." Forwarded by Mahlon K. Miller mkwsmiller@cox.net [05AUG2003]

Story Number: NNS030804-17
Release Date: 8/4/2003 5:49:00 PM

KANEOHE, Hawaii (NNS) -- June 14, VP-9 hosted family members of four maritime veterans who were killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1968. The aircrew members were assigned to VO-67 at the time of the mishap.

The son and daughter of Cmdr. Delbert A. Olson, the commander of the mission; the wife of Lt. j.g. Denis L. Anderson, naval flight officer on the crew; and the sister of Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Michael L. Roberts, crew ordnanceman, were in Hawaii to retrieve the remains of their loved ones, recently recovered in a remote area of Laos.

Thirty-five years have passed since the crew disappeared during their ill-fated mission from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base. Through developments in recovery techniques and the families' dedication to the recovery effort, the remains of the OP-2E Neptune crew were finally located and identified.

Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and (JTF-FA) the Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) sent multiple recovery teams to the crash site beginning in March 2001. The wreckage was located at 4,400 feet elevation on an isolated mountainside, deep in the Laos wilderness. The challenging terrain and adverse weather conditions hindered early rescue efforts. Finally in March 2002, members of a JTF-FA/CILHI recovery team recovered the last of the remains.

When the squadron was notified that family members of former Golden Eagles who flew in the Vietnam War wanted to visit, the squadron jumped at the opportunity. Olson, the pilot-in-command of the fateful mission and known to have made the aircraft's last radio transmission before they struck the mountainside, served as the executive officer of VP-9 prior to his assignment to VO-67.

The families were given a short brief on the current maritime patrol mission and VP-9's most recent 7th Fleet deployment, and then a tour of a P-3C aircraft.

Throughout their visit, the family members expressed the importance of the crew's recovery. The recovery and identification of the remains finally gave them closure after years of uncertainty.

This engagement with the families of the repatriated aircrew was a memorable experience for the "Golden Eagles."

Cmdr. Rod Urbano, executive officer of VP-9, commented, "This opportunity to host the families of fallen comrades was very special to the Golden Eagle family. First, it was a sobering reminder to our Sailors how dangerous this business of naval aviation is, and it gave them a tangible link to patrol and reconnaissance heroes of the past. Lastly, and more importantly, this visit from these heroes' families clearly demonstrated that this great nation does not forget its fallen heroes and will do everything in its power to never leave anyone behind."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030520-N-2911P-004 Misawa, Japan (May 20, 2003) "...Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class William Martel (standing) from Medford, Ore., and Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Todd Fallquist from Omaha, Neb., troubleshoot an Inter-Communications Set (ICS) jack box. The ICS is used by the P-3 Orion aircrews deployed to Misawa Air Base. Petty Officer Martel is assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), which is homeported at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe, Hawaii, and is currently on a routine deployment to Misawa, Japan. Petty Officer Fallquist is assigned to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment in Misawa. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class John Parker. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7828 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030516-N-9760B-002 Misawa, Japan (May 16, 2003) "...Naval Air Facility Misawa's Honor Guard is saluted at the start of the Change of Command ceremony for Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9). Cmdr. Daniel G. Rieck became the 54th commanding officer of the P-3 Orion anti-submarine squadron which is homeported at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe, Hawaii, and is currently on a routine deployment to Misawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Elizabeth L. Burke. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7825 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030516-N-9760B-001 Misawa, Japan (May 16, 2003) "...Cmdr. Daniel G. Rieck from Preston, Md., passes through the sidebuoys during a Change of Command ceremony for Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9). Rieck became the 54th commanding officer of the P-3 Orion anti-submarine squadron which is homeported at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe, Hawaii, and is currently on a routine deployment to Misawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Elizabeth L. Burke. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7824 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-002 Kadena Air Force Base, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...P-3C Orion aircraft, assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) sit on the flight line of Kadena Air Force Base. Members of VP-9 are deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7682 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-010 Kadena Air Force Base, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...Lt. j.g. Ceke A. Poiro and Aviation Electricians Mate 1st class David P. Hagan conduct engine start-up procedures in the cockpit of a P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) as they prepare for their mission en route to the Republic of the Philippines. VP-9 is forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7681 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-016 Kadena Air Force Base, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...Aviation Warfare Systems Operators 2nd Class Matthew L. Delahunt and Theresa R. Donahue monitor video displays of the Sensor One and Sensor Two stations aboard a P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), during a mission to the Republic of the Philippines. VP-9 and is deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7680 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-018 Kadena Air Force Base, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...Lt. j.g. Karensa L. Heidmiller operates the navigation station aboard a P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), during a mission to the Republic of the Philippines. VP-9 and is deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7679 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-019 Okinawa, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...U.S. Navy Lt. Eric A. Schuchard operates the tactical coordinator (TACCO) station aboard a P-3C Orion aircraft during a mission en route to the Republic of the Philippines. Lt. Schuchard is attached to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7623 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030509-N-6501M-014 Okinawa, Japan (May 9, 2003) "...Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Theresa R. Donahue monitors a video display of the Sensor Two Station aboard a P-3C Orion aircraft during a mission en route to the Republic of the Philippines. Petty Officer Donahue is attached to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=7622 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030408-N-6501M-004 Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan (Apr. 8, 2003) "...A P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) undergoes a post flight turnaround on the flight line at Kadena Air Base after completing a mission to Edwin-Andrews Air Base located in Zamboanga City. VP-9 is forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=6727 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030408-N-6501M-005 Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan (Apr. 8, 2003) "...Cmdr. Bradley A. Carpenter conducts post flight checks in the cockpit of his P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), after landing at Kadena Air Base and completing a mission to Edwin-Andrews Air Base located in Zamboanga City. Cmdr. Carpenter is the Commanding Officer of VP-9 and is forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=6707 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030408-N-6501M-002 Zamboanga City, Republic of the Philippines (Apr. 8, 2003) "...Lt. j.g. Dan J. Kitzmiller operates the navigation station aboard a P-3C Orion during a return flight from Edwin-Andrews Air Base located in Zamboanga City. Lt. j.g. Kitzmiller is attached to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) and deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=6706 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera030408-N-6501M-001 Zamboanga City, Republic of the Philippines (Apr. 8, 2003) "...Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Jill M. Gammon watches air traffic from her radar station aboard a P-3C Orion during a return flight from Edwin-Andrews Air Base located in Zamboanga City. Petty Officer Gammon is attached to Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) and deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=6705 [06MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP9 History Orion ThumbnailCamera030213-N-9760B-001 Misawa, Japan (Feb. 13, 2003) "...A P-3C "Orion" assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) circles Mt. Fuji. VP-9 is forward deployed to Misawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth L. Burke. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=4644 [07MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP9 History Orion ThumbnailCamera030126-N-9760B-004 Naval Air Facility, Misawa, Japan (Jan. 26, 2003) "...Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Roxana Guevara from Irving, Texas, attaches an access panel to the number one engine of a P-3C "Orion" assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9). The "Golden Eagles" are currently deployed to Misawa, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth L. Burke. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]


Circa 2002

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History (Aug. 22, 2002) "...Navy, Coast Guard team up to save kayaker - BY JO2 PHIL HASENCAMP..." The Flagship http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2002/aug222002_13.shtml [09MAY2005]

PEARL HARBOR — With his cell phone battery dead, John Stockton knew that his best chance to stay alive was to be seen, not heard. Luckily for him, help was on the way.

The air crew aboard a Navy P-3C Orion aircraft saved the man's life off the coast of the "Big Island" (Honolulu) of Hawaii July 30 after Stockton had been adrift at sea in a kayak for more than two days.

The VP-9 aircrew spotted Stockton, of Phoenix, 188 miles southeast of Honolulu and 100 miles west of Kona, Hawaii. From there they directed the response from a Coast Guard C-130 and rescue helicopter which pulled the man to safety.

"We continued to orbit the site, as if to say: 'We're not going to leave you," said Navy Lt. Keith Demetriades, mission commander for the VP-9 P-3C Orion.

But spotting a tiny kayak in a huge ocean is a tall order.

"I didn't know how to improve my chance for being seen. I didn't have flares or anything to shoot up to get their attention, but finally all of their hard work paid off and I was spotted. It was a miracle," Stockton said.

AW1 Gary Phillips and AW2 Chad Lemerick spotted Stockton only after they were well into their search-and-rescue mission.

"We were all very tired by when we found him. We had been looking out the window at the water for about six hours and our eyes had begun to glaze over a little when suddenly, there he was," Lemerick said.

A wave of relief washed over Stockton.

"It was so encouraging to just see them flying over. By that time, I was so excited about even the possibility of getting rescued," he said.

Once the aircrew made a positive identification, they dropped a smoke signal and continued to circle Stockton while they directed the incoming Coast Guard C-130 to his location. The C-130 dropped a life raft and continued to circle the site as well.

At that point the P-3 crew moved to 1,300 feet and switched roles to scene of-action commander, which included responsibility for directing the efforts of the rescue helicopter. The Coast Guard helo came in, pulled Stockton to safety, sunk the kayak and life raft, and transported the survivor to the hospital.

"This is one of the greatest moments I've had as a pilot," Demetriades said.

Although Stockton was not seriously injured, his condition was beginning to deteriorate. Over the previous two days, he had capsized over 20 times in rough seas, and his body was beginning to show signs of exposure.

"We went out there in the morning with a really focused mentality. The last we had heard was that (Stockton) was calling for help from his cell phone two days prior, but his cell phone died. So by our calculations he had been in the water for over 50 hours and this was our best shot to find him," Demetriades continued.

"It's the best mission in the world," Phillips said. "We do all kinds of neat stuff. We track foreign submarines, we shoot missiles. But of the missions that we do, this is what really matters. Somebody can go home with their wife, that, if we hadn't been there, wouldn't."

Although the rescue was a significant event, VP-9 air crews are no strangers to search-and-rescue missions. In fact, P-3C Orion aircraft are the bailiwick of maritime patrol and reconnaissance. If you want to find something, ask a P-3 crew to help.

"SAR is part of our bag of tricks. Living on this island, we are aware that we're an asset for many SAR operations. Even when we go on deployment, we're put on many, many SAR missions," Demetriades said. "It's hard to tell your aircrew that you're going out to look at water for nine hours. But we're always vigilant, because if we were in [Stockton's] shoes, we would definitely want someone out there looking for us. It boils down to compassion and the fact that this is our job," he continued.

"When I saw the Navy plane circling above, I just knew that America's finest were up there and that if anyone was going to find me, it would be them. They deserve all the credit they get regularly because they really do work their tails off. Everything they do, all the training and hard work paid off big time for me. That's why I'm here today. So I'm very appreciative to them and of all of their hard work and training," Stockton said.

VP-9's home is Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The squadron was on station during the Sept. 11 attacks and was instrumental in Operation Enduring Freedom.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-9 History ThumbnailCamera020730-N-1292P-001 Pacific Ocean - (JULY 30, 2002) "...A U. S. Coast Guard HH-65 "Dolphin" helicopter conducts a dramatic joint rescue of a stranded kayaker found adrift and taking on water, approximately 100 miles off the coast of Hawaii. A U.S. Navy P-3C "Orion" maritime patrol and antisubmarine warfare plane assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), spotted the kayaker who had braved 10 - 15 foot waves for four days. The P-3C stayed on station coordinating the arrival of a rescue team from Barbers Point U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Hawaii. Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class Gary L. Phillips was one of two VP-9 crewmembers who spotted the kayaker while conducting a training mission in the area. U. S. Navy photo by Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class Gary L. Phillips. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=2138 [09MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-9 History ThumbnailCamera020705-N-5055W-006 Kaneohe, HI (Jul. 5, 2002) "...Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Miguel Peterson from Luquillo, PR, guides Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Shane Kitterman from Copan, OK, on finding the center of gravity while loading an AGM-84 "Harpoon" missile under the wing of a P-3 "Orion" aircraft assigned to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9). The missile will be used in a sinking exercise (SINKEX) during exercise "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) 2002. The purpose of RIMPAC 2002 is to enhance the tactical proficiency of the participating units in a wide array of combined operations at sea among the seven participating countries. The exercises also help build cooperation and foster mutual understanding between the participating nations. Among the countries participating this year are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jane West. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy P-3 operations in the war on terrorism - Sea Power, Jun 2002 by Reade, David..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3738/is_200206/ai_n9124486 [27MAR2005]

THE SEA SERVICES - Special Report

Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the United States has been at war with organized terrorist organizations worldwide. Most of the military operations in that war have focused on the landlocked country of Afghanistan. Since the beginning of combat operations against the Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, however, the Navy's maritime patrol aircraft, especially the P-3 Orions, have been heavily involved in the war effort.

Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) was one of the Navy's first aircraft squadrons to respond after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. VP-9 had been on a relatively uneventful Persian Gulf deployment when word of the attacks reached the squadron, which had been operating 10 P-3C aircraft from three different sites-Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, NSA Bahrain, and Masirah in Oman-as part of the unit's normal support of U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

One mission on that deployment was the conduct of Maritime Interception Operations to stem the flow of illegal Iraqi oil exports. These operations usually included the detection and investigation of merchant ships in and around the Persian Gulf. In this mission, Navy P-3s transmit real-time imagery of suspect vessels to destroyer squadron commanders, who assign naval special warfare units to intercept and board the vessels.

After 9/11, VP-9's P-3s began littoral surveillance missions to provide operational commanders a clearer picture of enemy positions in Afghanistan. VP-9's support was key to the success of the first strikes launched by the United States and its allies on 7 October. Navy P-3s also participated in the initial night of attacks, firing approximately ten missiles-reportedly AGM-84H Standoff Land-Attack Missiles-Extended Range (SLAM-ERs)-against Taliban and al Qaeda targets. It later was reported that a number of buildings and an SA-13 missile control center were hit by the missiles. In 1999, Navy P-3s fired AGM-- 84E SLAM missiles against Serbian targets in Bosnia.

The P-3s also flew post-strike, battle damage assessment missions to provide operational commanders the options they needed in planning re-strikes or new strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda positions.

Once air supremacy over Afghanistan was established, about 17 October, by the U.S.-led coalition air forces, the VP-9 Orions-augmented by P-3s from VP-46-began overland surveillance missions to give ground commanders a day/night view of the U.S. Special Forces operations, on the ground in Afghanistan, to dislodge the Taliban and loyalist al Qaeda fighters. VP-4 later replaced VP-9 in theater.

In the battle for Tora Bora, the Navy's P-3 Orions provided reconnaissance of the cave complexes where the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters were hiding, transmitting real-time imagery to the operational commanders coordinating the U.S. Air Force B-52 and jet fighter strikes on and into the caves along the rugged mountainsides. The P-3s also flew target-recognition missions in other regions of Afghanistan in an effort to locate senior al Qaeda members seeking to escape over the border into Pakistan.

The P-3s also transmitted "force protection" real-time imagery to ground task force commanders, when U.S. Marines arrived in country and set up forward operating bases. The ability to provide real-time overhead imagery to Marine ground commanders allowed them to see well out beyond their positions-giving them an early warning against Taliban attacks on the Marine ground units.

These and other missions (many of them classified) established the P-3 as a key surveillance asset to coalition and U.S. ground commanders in Afghanistan as well as to battle group commanders at sea. The P-3s also have been engaged in antiterrorist reconnaissance operations in the Philippines. With its capabilities in such high demand, the P-3s seem guaranteed to play a major role in the war on terrorism, whenever and wherever they are needed.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Squadron ThumbnailCameraVP-9 Patch "...Here is a patch that belongs to my Father (Formerly AX2 Stubbs of VP-9 CAC-7) 2002/2003 deployment to NAS Misawa, Japan / NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan..." Forwarded by STUBBS, EWO Chris "Stubby" stubbsac@hotmail.com [04JAN2004]


Circa 2001

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera011027-N-1523C-005 Operation Enduring Freedom (Oct. 27, 2001) "...U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. John Greer (right), Communications and Navigations Officer for Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), Crew 5, and Aviation Systems Warfare Operator 3rd Class Mandy Florez brief the mission plan to crew members prior to leaving on a routine patrol flight in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Master Chief Photographer's Mate Terry Cosgrove. (RELEASED)..." Navy NewsStand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=164 [22NOV2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera011030-N-1523C-004 Operation Enduring Freedom (30OCT2001) "...Aviation Systems Warfare Operator 2nd Class Joel Delarme of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) searches for and tracks surface contacts using radar and the Infrared Detection System (IRDS) during a flight mission in support Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Master Chief Photographer's Mate Terry Cosgrove. (RELEASED)..." Navy NewsStand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=171 [22NOV2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Hangar Queen 761 Becomes a Flyer - by VP-9 Maintenance Department - Mech Jul-Sep 2001..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/MEDIA/mech/issues/julsep01/HangarQueen761.htm [27JUN2006]

Most articles in Mech are about near-misses or mishaps. This one is about a maintenance department doing its job right.

P-3C update II.5, bureau number 160761, was peacefully resting in the hangar of a fleet squadron, but it was stripped clean. A scene like this is every maintainer's nightmare: a bucket of bolts and ours to keep. It looked like an aircraft in the middle of a depot rework. It was going to be a great challenge.

This aircraft known as the "hangar queen" arrived in our squadron Sept. 17, 2000. Seven-six-one arrived with no engines, no propellers, most of its avionics package and many hydraulic parts missing, and no nose landing gear. These are just a few of its highlights or, more accurately, lowlights.

Our maintenance department enthusiatically took on the task of putting this bucket of bolts back together. The energy and passion of the maintainers made it clear this was more than a job. AE1 Soto and AMS1 Keith Leach were named to lead a team in the daunting task of getting this plane ready to fly.

The days quickly passed but parts arrived slowly, still 761 began to take shape. An upbeat attitude began to take hold of everyone in the hangar. Progress pictures were posted outside maintenance control. On Oct. 17, just 30 days after its arrival, we pushed 761 out of the hangar to do high-power maintenance checks for the first time since March 2000.

During a high-power check, one of the engines topped out at 89 percent efficiency--761 had failed the first test. Morale nearly was crushed, and it was almost a month before a new engine arrived. The pain of the first failure was forgotten as the maintenance team changed the engine and successfully tested it.

On Dec. 6, 2000, Lt. Glanzmann taxied 761 onto runway 4 at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, AMS1 Leach set 3500 shaft horsepower on all four engines, and the mighty Orion sprinted down the runway. At 115 knots, Lt. Glanzmann lifted 761 into the air for the first time in nearly a year. A successful functional-check flight followed, and, when it landed, a proud group of maintainers was watching. This success was a true testament to the commitment and teamwork of our maintainers. It was a memorable day when 761 became a flyer again.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...(20DEC2001) Naval Commander: P-3s Providing Vital Support To Operation Enduring Freedom Defense Daily 12/20/01 author: Frank Wolfe..." Counter Seat WebSite: http://www.centerseat.net/p3news.htm [01SEP2005]

Ten Lockheed Martin [LMT] P-3 aircraft are providing vital support to commanders in Operation Enduring Freedom against the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, a Navy official said yesterday. The VP-9 "Golden Eagles," a squadron of 10 P-3s based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, just returned after a monthlong deployment in support of the operation. VP-4, the "Skinny Dragons," has replaced VP-9. VP-9 has five aircraft with Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement (AIP) kits, while VP-4 has four of the planes. "The AIP aircraft has emerged as the platform of choice to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for land based and sea based operational commanders in Operation Enduring Freedom," Rear Adm. Anthony Winns, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet's Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, told Defense Daily in a telephone interview. "The most sought after capability has been the long range electro- optical suite which is part of AIP," Winns said. Canada's Wescam [WES] builds the AIMS pod, which contains the electro-optical suite and an infrared suite. VP-9 was the first squadron to deploy with the AIP kits, which also include the Raytheon [RTN] APS-137 synthetic aperture radar and communications improvements (Defense Daily, July 17, 1998). Since the arrival of VP-4 in theater for operations over Afghanistan, "we've been providing streaming video to the ground force commander so he has a direct video link and they can see the ground force commander," Winns said. "The Marines at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan can see what the P-3 is looking at, what we call eyes on target, for force protection for troops on the ground, aircraft over the target and for ships in the littoral." The AIP-equipped P-3s can provide commanders with real time live video from two of its three suites: electro-optical, infrared and synthetic aperture radar. Using the tactical common data link, a P-3 AIP plane can transmit such data "well beyond" line of sight, Winns said. In addition, the AIP P-3s can fire Boeing [BA] Standoff Land Attack Missiles (SLAM), which they shot during Operation Allied Force against Serbia more than two years ago. Winns said that the P-3s have been flying armed missions throughout Operation Enduring Freedom. The P-3s can carry torpedoes, depth bombs, mines, rockets, SLAMs, Harpoons and Raytheon [RTN] Maverick missiles. A senior naval officer in the Arabian Gulf region praised the performance of the P-3s last week, writing that VP-9 had carried out the "most significant maritime patrol" since Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and had provided target identification to commanders on Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. The commander of a destroyer squadron patrolling the region to interdict vessels trying to smuggle oil out of Iraq wrote that the P-3s had provided Naval Special Warfare support and "unrelenting enforcement of United Nations sanctions against Iraq," including the intercept of more than 40 smuggler vessels and the diversion of "hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit oil." Winns said that the P-3s are able to transmit imagery in less than 15 minutes to the destroyer squadron commander to facilitate the boarding of vessels carrying Iraqi oil. P-3s were deployed to the region before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but since then operations tempo for the aircraft has doubled, Winns said.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP9 History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History (28OCT2001) "...011028-N-1523C-005 Operation Enduring Freedom (Oct. 28, 2001) – The Co-pilot of Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), Crew 5, Lt. Bennett Glover (center) speaks with flight engineer Aviation Machinist Mate Electrician William Reed (right) during a reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Master Chief Photographer's Mate Terry Cosgrove. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP9 History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History (30OCT2001) "...011030-N-1523C-003 Operation Enduring Freedom (Oct. 30, 2001) – U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Ewain McDowell from Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9) flies his P-3C "Orion" on a surveillance flight in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Master Chief Photographer's Mate Terry Cosgrove. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP9 History ThumbnailCameraVP-9 History (27OCT2001) "...011027-N-1523C-005 Operation Enduring Freedom (Oct. 27, 2001) -- U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. John Greer (right), Communications and Navigations Officer for Patrol Squadron Nine (VP-9), Crew 5, and Aviation Systems Warfare Operator 3rd Class Mandy Florez brief the mission plan to crew members prior to leaving on a routine patrol flight in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Master Chief Photographer's Mate Terry Cosgrove. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...ADMIRAL TOUTS ROLE OF NAVY'S P-3 RECON AIRCRAFT IN AFGHANISTAN WAR..." Contributed by LARSON, LCDR John Larson Retired oriondriver1975@yahoo.com [21JAN2002]

Rear Adm. Anthony Winns, Commander of the Pacific Fleet's Patrol and Reconnaissance force, says the Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft are playing a significant role in the war in Afghanistan by providing Marines and other forces with valuable imagery from overhead.

"Once the Marines were sent into Afghanistan, the focus of P-3 operations in the region shifted to help provide force protection for ground forces at Camp Rhino", he said in a telephone interview last week from Kaneohe Bay, HI.

"More recently, we've been providing around-the-clock support for the Marines in the Kandahar region," said Winns, referring to a Southern region of Afghanistan where many Marines are stationed. Before the Marines entered Afghanistan, the P-3s were supporting other special forces, he said. The VP-9 Orion squadron, which just completed a successful deployment in that region, has been replaced by VP-4, he said. A typical squadron includes 10 aircraft and 11 aircrews, he said.

The P-3C, made by Lockheed Martin, is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. The Navy has been upgrading aging P-3s through efforts such as the Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program, which enhances sensors, weapons and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The AIP includes the incorporation of Standoff Land Attack Missiles and Maverick missiles.

"We are there on station the whole time," said Winns. "We're providing real-time imagery.

The streaming video is something that is fairly new. That's being provided to ground-based forces." The aircraft is equipped with electro-optical and infrared sensors, as well as synthetic aperture radar, Winns noted. The streaming video is not necessarily for targeting but it is providing a picture of the landscape to the task force commander, according to the admiral.

"Basically, he can see a lot further out in front of his position," said Winns. Meanwhile, P-3 aircraft are continuing to support maritime interdiction operations in the Persian Gulf and performing armed carrier battle group escort missions and surveillance missions in that region, he said. Winns said there is no doubt the P-3s are in high demand.

"The operational tempo is more than twice the normal 5th Fleet op-tempo, for a VP squadron. So, we ratcheted it up quite a bit," he said. "Also, VP-9, which just came back from deployment last week ... flew more armed missions in the Persian Gulf region than have been flown by a VP squadron since the Vietnam War." The admiral would not say if any of those missions required P-3s to fire weapons at an enemy target.

Winns said the U.S. Commander of the Maritime Interdiction Operation in the Persian Gulf recently praised the performance of P-3 forces.

"The [P-3] squadron is providing imagery of the ships that we suspect are smuggling oil out of Iraq," said Winns. That capability gives the U.S. forces real-time information about the appearance of suspected smuggling vessels, he said.


Circa 2000

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "00MAR2000 - Patrol Squadron 9 reunites families - Crew helps bring relief to disaster victims - LTjg Todd Copeland, VP-9 Public Affairs Officer..." http://www.c7f.navy.mil/news/2000/03/24.html [09JUL2003]

GUAM -- A P-3 Orion, flown by Combat Aircrew 2 from Patrol Squadron 9, visited the Philippines to conduct training exercises with the Philippine military in support of Balikatan 2000.

The exercises focused on coordinated operations between the Philippine navy and U.S. Navy in an effort to improve proficiency in communications between surface and airborne assets.

As well as conducting training missions, VP-9 was proud to be the first U.S. asset in Manila to provide relief to the victims of the recent Mayon volcano eruption. The eruption occurred in the southeastern region of the Philippines and left many families homeless and without the basic necessities of life.

This trip to the Philippines was a special one for many Filipino-Americans who were able to return to Manila after leaving many years ago. Among the Filipinos on board the P-3 was the Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron 9, CDR Earl Hampton.

Cmdr. Hampton was born in Olongapo and lived in the Philippines for much of his early life. He was excited to revisit his birthplace and to be reunited with family and friends. Cmdr. Hampton said, "It was special to return to the Philippines and see some people whom I haven't seen in years. The Mayon eruption was a tragedy and really hit home to me as well as many other Filipinos in the squadron. It was a moving experience to be able to return to the Philippines under these circumstances and give something back to those truly in need."

Eight other Filipino-Americans were on the flight to Manila and were able to reunite with loved ones. Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeannie Quidachay was reunited with cousins and the nanny who helped raise her after not seeing them for nearly 23 years. Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Galicia was reunited with his wife, "I hadn't seen her in months and was very happy to get the opportunity to visit her while on deployment."

The aircrew of the P-3, commanded by Lt. Reid Milligan, enjoyed their training with the Philippine military. Tactical coordinator, LT Mario Salinas, and Navigator, Lt. j.g. Phillip Rogerson agreed that the exercise was a huge success with most of the advances made in communications. Rogerson said, "The communications were awkward at first, but got smoother as the exercise progressed. I think all the platforms involved were happy with the progress that was made."

As well as working on communications, VP-9 had the opportunity to give presentations on Search and Rescue tactics.

Following the presentation, Crew 2 flew a successful Search and Rescue exercise in coordination with a Philippine vessel simulating distress. Cmdr. Hampton commented on the flight, "VP-9 has saved six lives in three months doing real world search and rescue. We were pleased to display our techniques for such an important mission."

VP-9's successful visit to the Philippines was a learning experience for everyone involved. The squadron's arrival in the Philippines during such a natural disaster as a volcano eruption was fortunate for everyone involved. Not only did the squadron arrive with boxes of relief for the victims of the volcano, but they were also able to share some of their experiences with saving lives in the event of a search and rescue.

The P-3's In-flight Technician, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Matthew Monczynski said, "This is a trip I will not forget. I enjoyed experiencing the Filipino culture and was glad that we were able to help the people who were left homeless by the volcano.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Too Much Presence - By Lieutenant Commander George S. Capen '89, U.S. Navy..." http://www.usna.com/News_Pubs/Publications/Shipmate/2001/2001_06/p37_OA.htm [05JUL2003]

On a chilly March morning last year, VP-9, deployed to NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, sent a P-3C out on a search and rescue (SAR) mission. The plane, commanded by Lieutenant Scott Gunderson '94, flew over a large island en route to investigate a contact several hundred miles east of Guam. Three people below, waving their arms frantically, matched the description of those lost at sea. The "S.O.S." spelled in the beach sand confirmed that these lost souls were looking for help. A radio contained in the SAR kit and dropped from the P-3 was used to determine that this group totaling four men had been on the island for about a month and ran out of food. On the third day of searching, the original mission was completed, the three missing fishermen were found adrift at sea. During 1999, P-3 missions accounted for 67 rescues and 17 assisted rescues in the waters of Seventh Fleet and VP-9 alone conducted 19 rescues in the first half of 2000.

A typical six-month VP deployment to the Western Pacific includes ten aircraft, almost 400 crew, and operations hubs from Japan at NAS Misawa, Japan on Honshu and NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan, as well as the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Training in primary missions of submarine and surface warfare account for much of the time in the air. Seventh Fleet conducts over 100 major exercises annually with regional nations. Together with disaster relief, surveillance missions and SAR missions, a typical deployment includes over 1,000 sorties and more than 5,000 flight hours. In this region of ever-growing global significance, less than 5% of Navy's aviation forces operate over waters that cover the routes of more than 40% of the world's merchant trade. The Seventh Fleet accounts for some 52 million square miles of ocean and holds half of the world's population. Seventy percent of global natural disasters occur in Seventh Fleet's operating areas. Piracy activity in the region now accounts for nearly one act per day. Ninety-eight percent of commerce between the United States and Asia flows across the Pacific in merchant containers. Do we have too much presence in Seventh Fleet?

On any given day, less than 10% of our Navy's sailors and about 10% of Navy's ships are in the Seventh Fleet. One aircraft carrier and one air wing routinely operate in this vital region.

At the heart of this region is the South China Sea. About 110 large container vessels move through the South China Sea daily. The disputed Spratly Islands within the South China Sea are claimed by six nations, only two with which we do not routinely conduct major exercises, China and Vietnam. Because of the unique nature of these rock islands, the drawing of maritime baselines and even Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) would prove difficult even if a consensus on ownership were at hand. These contentious claims have resulted in many skirmishes over the years and are likely to erupt again. Do we have too much presence here?

In April 1999 Chancellorsville (CG-62), while transiting through the South China Sea en route to the Arabian Gulf, paused to investigate a red light at night. As they drew near, shouts for help could be heard from the small boat adrift. Five Chinese men and four women were rescued at sea. These are not uncommon events. In fact, the international law requires that assistance to vessels in distress be rendered even if that means entering territorial waters.

What is unusual is that our EP-3E on a routine surveillance patrol of the South China Sea on 1 April became distressed. A Chinese F-8 passed within several feet of the aircraft twice and then collided on a third pass while the EP-3 was flying straight and level. Lieutenant Junior Grade John Comerford '97 was the lone USNA member of that flight. While the crewmembers were buckled tightly and in a steep dive, they considered life's end for a brief moment. Fortunately, with some heroic flying they survived to tell the true story of events that day. While Chinese protests of entering airspace without permission seem to indicate they would have preferred our crew had perished at sea, these warriors will live to fly again. The Chinese claim we do have too much presence there.

U.S. Navy presence in the South China Sea is important. Our men and women in the air and on the sea perform acts of heroism on a routine basis and serve the nations' interests without heroics continuously. Do we have too much presence in Seventh Fleet? After reviewing the facts, one could conclude we may not have enough.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...15JUN2000: Patrol Squadron 9 Completes Western Pacific Deployment - Crew Demonstates Competence, Versatility In Training, Real-World Ops - LT Todd Copeland, Patrol Sqaudron NINE public affairs..." http://www.c7f.navy.mil/news/2000/06/22.htm [20JUN2003]

NAS Misawa, Japan -- Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 returned to MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, after a successful six-month deployment to Japan.

The deployment consisted of two main sites and several other detachment sites where VP-9 operated with 10 P-3 Orion aircraft.

The squadron of 380 men and women was split between Misawa Air Base on northern Honshu and Kadena Air Base, located on the island of Okinawa. The squadron also operated in the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, and for the first time on a regular basis, Hong Kong.

During VP-9's six-month deployment, the squadron proved its proficiency in both submarine and surface warfare operations and set a new standard with successful search-and-rescue operations.

VP-9 began its deployment in early December and was challenged immediately with operating in northern Japan's cold and snowy climate. "I knew that coming from Hawaii and following a desert deployment, the snow and ice would be a challenge," squadron commander, Cdr. Earl Hampton said. "I commend the aircrew and maintainers for the way they were able to adapt and operate with no mishaps in a winter that brought almost 20 feet of snow."

The snowy winter did not stop VP-9 from establishing a reputation of excellence in the search-and-rescue arena. Although the P-3 was designed and is maintained for submarine and surface warfare missions, the aircraft's radar and experienced crew were quite effective in assisting the Coast Guard in search-and-rescue operations. The squadron was launched from a one-hour alert status six times to search for missing ships.

Aircrews rescued 19 missing people. While most of the missing people were lost at sea in fishing boats, four of those found were on an uninhabited island 300 miles from Guam and were seen as they waved to the P-3 and wrote S.O.S. in the sand. "We are fortunate that the sensor 3's (radar operators) are so well- trained. We are used to looking for a needle in a haystack in submarine warfare, and it is no surprise to me that our squadron has done so well conducting search and rescues," Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Mark Swygman said.

The squadron shared its success by conducting symposiums with other search-and-rescue assets. One such symposium took place during Exercise BALIKATAN 2000 in the Philippines. This exercise consisted of platforms from several nations conducting missions ranging from surface warfare to search and rescue.

VP-9 also conducted search-and-rescue symposiums with the Japanese and South Korean militaries.

Another highlight of the deployment was the squadron's historic visit to Hong Kong. This day trip, while appearing to be a routine three-hour flight, proved to be a significant event on an international level. It marked the first time a U.S. military aircraft was allowed to land in Hong Kong in several months. "Being the first squadron to land in Hong Kong in the millennium was an honor. Our flight into Hong Kong demonstrated the progress that is being made between the United States and Hong Kong, both diplomatically and politically," Hampton said.

Operationally, VP-9 flew more than 1,100 sorties and 5,700 hours. The squadron conducted surface and submarine warfare operations in the Sea of Japan, the western Pacific, off the coast of Guam and the South China Sea. VP-9 also operated in the Yellow Sea and the Philippine Sea. The squadron operated with surface combatants and submarines from the United States, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. VP-9 participated in joint operations in all areas of the western Pacific including, Adelaide, Australia; Osan, South Korea; Guam; Manila; and an early deployment detachment to Corpus Christi, Texas, to support the Coast Guard in counter-drug enforcement operations.

Most Sailors VP-9 agree that the best part will be landing in Hawaii and seeing their loved ones. "We return to Kaneohe with our heads held high," said Hampton. "Each and every member of the squadron contributed to the success of the squadron as a whole and has a great deal to be proud of."


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