By Clark Pierce
VP-16 just wrapped up the first 12-month inter-deployment readiness cycle (IDRC) for a maritime patrol squadron in six years. The “War Eagles” are slated to leave NAS Jacksonville for deployment to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan where they will support the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The squadron’s more than 350 personnel were busy packing Nov. 10 in preparation for airlifts the following week.
“Our War Eagles team has trained tirelessly to make our compressed IDRC a success,” said VP-16 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brad Rosen.
“Our ORE (Operational Readiness Evaluation) also went very well – which included our support of the two-week Joint Warrior exercise in Scotland this past October, involving five P-3Cs and eight combat aircrews from VP-16.”
Squadron Executive Officer Cmdr. Molly Boron pointed out that, in September, the War Eagles were awarded the prestigious Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, for demonstrating superior anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW) expertise in the P-3 community.
Skipper Rosen added, “The many accomplishments of our War Eagles team have positioned us as the most consistent maritime patrol squadron based at NAS Jacksonville. VP-16 has raised the bar for ASW and ASUW, sea control, power projection, deterrence, maritime security and overall readiness. I believe that our level of professionalism and operational effectiveness is matched only by our dedication to accomplish the mission, regardless of the challenges.”
Boron said the Japan assignment is a contrast to the squadron’s previous deployment.
“In 2010, we executed a ‘tri-site’ deployment that divided our squadron into three detachments for assignments in Central America, East Africa and Italy.”
“This time, we’re deploying as a single unit to Okinawa, Japan, where our 12 combat aircrews will be assigned a variety of missions utilizing our eight P-3C Orions throughout the vast U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. We expect to participate in joint and bilateral training exercises with allied countries, as well as conduct undersea and surface warfare, surveillance, search and rescue operations, and other missions as required to support 7th Fleet,” explained Boron.
Rosen noted that the P-3 Orion will mark its 50th year of operations in 2012.
“When you consider the age of our aircraft, it’s amazing how well our maintainers do their jobs to ensure mission readiness. Our leading chiefs and leading petty officers really know their business – as do our admin and support personnel,” said Rosen.
He also saluted the squadron’s plan to ensure that family members are prepared for deployment.
“Family readiness is absolutely essential to warfighting readiness. That’s why we have two very knowledgeable ombudsmen who can help solve issues and concerns specific to our Navy families. Ombudsmen are trusted, confidential advisors to our command master chief. And our VP-16 Family Readiness Group is well organized to create events and maintain communications among families and their loved ones. Before you know it, we’ll be planning our homecoming.”
This marks the final deployment of VP-16 utilizing the Lockheed P-3C Orion. Upon their return in 2012, the War Eagles will be the first operational squadron at NAS Jacksonville to transition to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/military/jax-air-news/2011-11-16/story/war-eagles-pack-pacific-deployment#ixzz1duHHVRVP