|‘War Eagle’ Aircrew Participate in Balikatan 2012
By Lt. j.g. Michael Glynn, VP-16 Public Affairs
|MANILA, Philippines –Aircrew and maintainers from the ‘War Eagles’ of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 paid a visit to the Republic of the Philippines to participate in exercise Balikatan 2012.
The exercise, which focused on improving interoperability and response to disaster relief, ran from April 16 to April 27 and included American and Filipino personnel.
‘War Eagle’ aircrew and officers from the Philippine Navy held a series of joint briefings to discuss maritime security and capabilities during combined operations. The meetings provided a forum to discuss safety, teamwork, and effective crew resource management.
“The joint briefings were the most interesting part of the whole exercise,” said VP-16 pilot, Lt. Adam Boland. “The briefings were very informative, giving us all insight into how the Philippine Navy incorporates maritime patrol assets.”
VP-16 aircrew flew several flights focused on building maritime domain awareness (MDA). The Philippines is an archipelago nation of over 7,000 islands, making maritime security a prime concern.
The ‘War Eagle’ aircrew hosted personnel from the Philippine Navy onboard one of their flights to observe patrol operations and exchange perspective.
“I really enjoyed allowing our hosts to come fly with us,” said ‘War Eagle’ plane commander Chief Warrant Officer Steev Ditamore. “It really gave us the opportunity to showcase the aircraft.”
The ‘War Eagles’ operate the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. With a robust sensor suite, high speeds, and long endurance, the P-3C is an ideal platform to conduct surveillance patrols.
The squadron is based ashore Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. and flies routine security, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. VP-16 is currently forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and flies in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.