VPU-1 ‘Old Buzzards’ to disestablish
From VPU-1 Public Affairs
Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 1 will hold its disestablishment ceremony April 27 at 10 a.m. at NAS Jacksonville Hangar 117.
The “Old Buzzards” trace their lineage back 40 years when the Chief of Naval Operations requested the creation of a specially trained maritime patrol unit possessing the necessary expertise, flexibility and quick reaction capability to respond to immediate tasking from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.As a result, a unique “special projects” detachment of P-3s was formed from operationally proven aircrew and maintenance professionals.
As the demand for P-3 Special Projects assets increased, the detachment became an independent unit under the command of its first officer-in-charge. During this period, the Sailors of VPU-1 continued their proud tradition of operational maritime patrol expertise, rapid response and professionalism.
The Old Buzzards served during the Cold War, in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, as well as numerous other military operations and crises.
In March 1996, the unit was formally established as a patrol squadron under the command of Cmdr. Walter Kreitler. For more than 16 years the “Old Buzzards” upheld the highest standards of the U.S. Navy and the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force.
The squadron, flying at least two specially equipped Orions, has operated from NAS Jax since July 2009 when they relocated from NAS Brunswick, Maine.
Squadron personnel have earned seven Joint Meritorious Unit awards, six Navy Unit Commendations, seven Meritorious Unit Commendations, seven Navy Battle “E” awards and various other unit, service and campaign awards.
Several “Old Buzzards” alumni are in town for the disestablishment events that include the Buzzard Ball, a golf tournament and Buzzard Night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville to see the Suns play.
As part of the Friday ceremony, Cmdr. Lee Boyer, the last “Old Buzzards” commanding officer, will lower the command pennant and dismiss the squadron for the final time.
“It’s definitely going to be a bittersweet ceremony. On one hand, it is sad to see such a great squadron being retired – but on the other hand, disestablishment has renewed the bond between every generation of Old Buzzards. I have truly been humbled by the support and the obvious attachment that former and retired ‘Old Buzzards’ have for this squadron,” Boyer stated.
Cmdr. Chris McDowell, the former VPU-1 executive officer and now commanding officer of VPU-2 at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii had these thoughts on the events.
“The ‘Old Buzzards’ of VPU-1, and the dedicated professionals, families and friends who support us, repeatedly accomplished some amazing things over the past 40 years. With several current ‘Old Buzzards’ destined to continue our fine tradition of mission accomplishment as members of our sister squadron, VPU-2, I look forward to carrying our unrivaled capabilities forward.”
Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/military/jax-air-news/2012-04-25/story/vpu-1-old-buzzards-disestablish#ixzz1t5zIWYmv