Category Archives: MPA News

Last of the Orions are leaving Hawaii

As first reported by Hawaii News Now  on Monday, February 27th, 2017, 7:05 pm PST
Original Article with video and pictures posted HERE

Article By Jim Mendoza, Reporter

KALAELOA (HawaiiNewsNow) –
After more than 50 years in Hawaii, a fleet of planes that were once considered workhorses for naval surveillance operations will soon be flown for the final time over the islands.

Starting in 1964, dozens of P-3 Orion aircraft were stationed across Oahu, first at Barbers Point and then at the Kaneohe Marine base.

“It did a number of missions,” said retired Navy flight engineer Doug Gillette. “From anti-submarine warfare, shipping surveillance, sea and air rescue, VIP runs.”

In addition to its surveillance duties, the aircraft also carried weapons. Gillette, for example, spent 24 years flying on the [turboprop] planes, including combat missions over Vietnam and in the first Gulf War.

During the Cold War, P-3’s scoured the oceans for Soviet subs.

“Besides the submarines out of Pearl Harbor and destroyers looking for them, P-3 Orion guys were out there looking for them as well,” said Brad Sekigawa, a historian at the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point.

Despite their storied history, the Navy says it is phasing out Orions for a more modern jet aircraft.

“Parts will be sold to foreign nations that still operate the P-3, and the rest will probably be mothballed and then probably later scrapped,” Sekigawa said.

At their peak, there were about 50 P-3’s stationed in Hawaii. A year ago, 1,000 personnel were attached to Hawaii’s remaining three P-3 squadrons.

The last squadron leaves Thursday[2 Mar 2017], taking 300 sailors and the final four Orion aircraft with it.

“It is sad because when you talk about availability and what it can do, it’s a great airplane,” Gillette said.

“It did its job very well,” Sekigawa added.

After the Navy’s P-3 Orions leave Hawaii for the last time you’ll still be able to see the planes. Two decommissioned P-3s are already on display at Barber’s Point Naval Air museum.

To view more photos of the P-3 Orion fleet on your mobile device, click here.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Patrol Squadron Four Begins ‘Aloha’ Deployment

Story by LT j.g. Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (NNS) — P-3C Orion planes from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four, departed Kaneohe from Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the last time, March 18. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 began a challenging tri-site deployment to three different areas of responsibility (AORs).

The theme, ‘Aloha Deployment,’ was adopted by VP-4 and its meaning is two-fold. VP-4 says Aloha and Mahalo to their Hawaii home and will be saying Aloha to the P-3C in favor of the P-8A Poseidon.

Since 1964, VP-4 has a long and decorated history as a permanent fixture in Hawaii, so leaving is certainly bittersweet.

Upon return from deployment, VP-4 will execute a permanent duty station change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, and transition to the P-8A. The Skinny Dragons began flying the Orion 50 years ago, and the transition to the Poseidon is the next step in ensuring they remain the Navy’s premier maritime squadron.

“This deployment is an exciting time for our squadron and our families,” said VP-4 Commanding Officer Cdr. Jon Spore. “Between the move to Whidbey Island and the upcoming transition to the P-8A Poseidon, we have a lot to look forward to, but remain focused on our immediate goal of completing our last P-3C Orion deployment. That being said, our time in Hawaii was very special and we look forward to making new memories in a new location and with a new aircraft.”

Patrol Squadron Four is the first of three Hawaii-based squadrons to make the move to Whidbey Island and transition to the P-8A, and they will continue their standard of excellence in the new aircraft. The Skinny Dragons are motivated to face that challenge, however, their focus is currently on the deployment and executing the mission.

“VP-4 has enjoyed great success for many years in Hawaii. Our Sailors from today and years gone by have fantastic memories of serving in the Aloha State,” remarked VP-4 Executive Officer Cdr. Christopher Smith. “While it’s bittersweet to leave, we look forward to starting our next chapter in our new home after this deployment. We fondly say Mahalo to this wonderful community for all the great memories.”

After flying the P-3 for 50 years, the Skinny Dragons are committed to ensuring this last Orion ‘Aloha Deployment’ is a resounding success that sees them all return home safely.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit

Coordinated check conducted on a P-3C Orion

150609-N-MV308-001 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (June 9, 2015) Sailors assigned to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 perform a man-on-the-stand coordinated check on a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Coordinated checks are done on a routine basis to ensure proper functioning of the aircraft and continued mission readiness and performance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Porter/Released)

Japan considering sale of P-1 maritime patrol planes to UK

Kawasaki P-1Japan is reportedly planning to sell Kawasaki P-1 submarine-hunting patrol planes to the UK.

The planes could replace the UK Royal Air Force’s Nimrod jets and would be Japan’s first major military deal outside the Asia-Pacific region, if finalised.

Any possible deal could reach $1bn and would be a major step forward in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s initiative to export arms after decades of self-imposed restrictions, Reuters reported.

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson was quoted by media sources as saying: “We will continue to assess future requirements ahead of a decision in the next strategic defence and security review in 2015.”

An undisclosed Japanese source said: “If the UK gives it serious consideration, then the P-1 will garner attention internationally.”

However, the UK has not confirmed its plans regarding the procurement of maritime patrol planes, having abandoned an order for nine BAE Systems-built aircraft in 2010 because of delays and rising costs.

Kawasaki Heavy spokesperson Teppei Kobayashi said: “We are not aware of the discussion so we can’t comment.

“In general, it is a matter of national policy, so if there is a decision that results in an order, we will follow that.”

Since the lifting of restrictions on military exports in April, the Japanese Defence Ministry has been considering deals to sell submarines to Australia and sea jets to India.




Reposted from:


P-8 Briefing at VP-4 reunion

From John Larson:

p-8 poseidon

Sept. 9, 2013

Greetings everyone,

I attended the VP-4 reunion this past weekend in Seattle, WA. We were scheduled to get a tour of the Boeing Redding plant where the P-8 is being assembled. Since we had such a large group, we were not allowed at the plant for security reasons.

So we had a briefing at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The Boeing rep was a former TACCO in VP-4. He was in VP-4 during the late 1990’s. Some of this info will be a repeat of what I put out before.

So far VP-30, VP-16, and VP-5 have P-8’s. 10 planes have been delivered and they have flown 6000hrs and 1000 operational and training sorties since Feb 2012. VP-16 will deploy to Kadena, Okinawa this coming Dec.

The Mission systems are: updated multi-mode radar (7 modes), electro optics, ESM, acoustics; can monitor 64 sonobuoys. It has self-protection = chaff and flares. It missions will be ASW, ASuW, ISR, Maritime, and C-3.

The aircraft will carry 126 sonobuoys. There are 3 launchers that can hold 10 buoys each. They are pressurized; don’t have to depressurize the plane. There are individual tubes to launch buoys too. The new sonos will be more accurate and Boeing says there is no need for a mad boom now.

There is a weapons bay aft of the wings. It can hold 5 MK-52 torpedoes. There are 4 wing stations that will hold harpoon missiles.

There is a laser under the tail that is used for protection against inbound missiles.

The airplane has two engines generators and the apu has one. It will have 150% of the power required.

The aircraft will have 9 crew members, 3 pilots, 2 nfo, and 4 aw’s. There are 21 seating positions. There are 3 inertial systems on the plane. The NAV was referred as the second TACCO.

The engines are CFM-56 engines with 27,300 lbs. of thrust. Fuel flow at 200 ft. is 5500 lbs./hr. and at 20000 ft. it will be 5200 lbs./hr. The max ceiling is 41000 ft. and low altitude is 200ft. It has a range of 1200 miles with 4 hrs. on station. Max speed is 490 kts. Flt time will be 12 hours without in-flight refueling. With refueling it will be 22 hrs., that is based on the oil consumption on the engines. The Max gross weight will be 189,200 lbs.

The Navy will get 117 aircraft. The first 37 will be delivered thru 2015. They were allocated before sequester. Each aircraft costs $126 million. Each squadron will get 6 aircraft. They will be based at Jacksonville and Whidbey Is. Kaneohe will go away and will become a detachment site. Jax will convert first.

The fuselage are built in Wichita, KS and shipped by rail to the plant at Renton, WA. The wings, engines and tail are put on there. The plane goes to Boeing Field where the systems are installed and the plane is completed.

The Indian Navy is acquiring 8 aircraft. They wanted to have a MAD boom incorporated. Boeing had to make changes to the APU in the tail to make it work.

In the future the P-8 could control UAV’s from the plane. This doesn’t apply to the Global Hawk UAV. Also there might be UAV’s that could launch from the P-8. They would unfold their wings and fly under control from the P-8. The plane has CAT 3 landing capabilities, but the Navy will not certify the plane or keep the pilots or plane current. CAT 3 allows the pilot land in very low visibility. Also the plane has in-flight refueling capability. But the Navy is not going to do that for a couple of years.

It was interesting and informative to listen to the presentation.


John Larson

No permanent VP presence at MCB Kaneohe Bay with P-8A?

Navy Publishes Notice of Intent to Prepare Supplemental EIS for P-8 Basing
Story Number: NNS121114-10

From Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — A Notice of Intent (NOI) will be published in the Federal Register Nov. 15 announcing the Navy’s intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the introduction of the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) to the U.S. Navy Fleet.

The Supplemental EIS will address the potential environmental impacts of new home basing alternatives and updated P-8A MMA program information.

In September 2008, the Navy completed the Final EIS for the Introduction of the P-8A into the U.S. Navy Fleet, which evaluated the environmental impacts of home basing 12 P-8A MMA fleet squadrons (72 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) (12 aircraft) at established maritime patrol home bases. On Jan. 2, 2009, a Record of Decision (ROD) was issued that called for basing five fleet squadrons and the FRS at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, four fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, and three fleet squadrons at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, with periodic squadron detachments at NAS North Island (Alternative 5).

To meet the Navy’s current and future requirements and maximize the efficiency of support facilities, simulation training equipment, and on-site support personnel, the Navy now proposes to analyze additional alternatives for P-8A aircraft home basing. The Navy has determined that a dual-siting alternative, rather than home basing the aircraft at three locations, may best meet current requirements. The two potential home base locations for the P-8A MMA are NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island.

Home basing at two locations would result in an increase in aircraft and personnel at NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island compared to the 2008 ROD. There is no new facility requirement for additional aircraft at NAS Jacksonville. Additional aircraft at NAS Whidbey Island would result in an expanded facility footprint. Under a dual-siting alternative, a presence in Hawaii would be maintained with a continuous presence of two aircraft filled by rotating detachments at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay. The two-aircraft detachment would result in fewer personnel and a reduced facility footprint at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay when compared to the 2008 ROD. There would be no change to the periodic squadron detachment operations at NAS North Island, as described in the 2008 ROD.

No decision has been made to change the 2008 Record of decision. When the Supplemental EIS is complete, the SECNAV can decide to homebase at two locations, or to continue implementing homebasing at three locations in light of the updated information.

During the 45-day public comment and agency review period following release of the Draft Supplemental EIS, anticipated in the summer of 2013, the Navy will schedule public meetings to discuss the findings of the Draft Supplemental EIS and to receive public comments.

The public meetings will be held near each of the home basing locations. Dates, locations, and times for the public meetings will be announced in the Federal Register and local media at the appropriate time.

The Navy has established a public web site for the Supplemental EIS: [<>]. This public web site includes up-to-date information on the project and schedule, as well as related documents associated with the Supplemental EIS and 2008 Final EIS. To be included on the Navy’s mailing list for the Supplemental EIS (or to receive a copy of the Draft Supplemental EIS), interested individuals may submit an electronic request through the project web site under “mailing list” or a written request to: P-8A MMA EIS Project Manager (Code EV21/CZ); Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic, 6506 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

‘War Eagles’ take P-8A on first detachment | Jax Air News

‘War Eagles’ take P-8A on first detachment | Jax Air News.

Posted: September 26, 2012 – 5:26pm
Members of the VP-16 "War Eagles" gather in front of a new P-8A Poseidon aircraft currently being built at The Boeing Company in Renton, Wash. Sept. 14. The group travelled to Washington to tour Boeing facilities and to learn more about the new aircraft the squadron is flying.

Photo courtesy of VP-16
Members of the VP-16 “War Eagles” gather in front of a new P-8A Poseidon aircraft currently being built at The Boeing Company in Renton, Wash. Sept. 14. The group travelled to Washington to tour Boeing facilities and to learn more about the new aircraft the squadron is flying.

Lt. j.g. Nikee Giampietro

The newest addition to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community, the P-8A Poseidon, took flight for its very first detachment by a fleet squadron during a visit to the Boeing facilities in Seattle, Wash. Sept. 14.
VP-16 sent 21 aircrew, maintenance and support personnel on this momentous occasion. The “War Eagles” have been busy training since July, learning how to operate and maintain the P-8A. This detachment gave the squadron a unique opportunity to see the aircraft from the beginning stages of production to testing the newest improvements to mission equipment that will be incorporated in future upgrades.
The War Eagles started at Boeing’s Weapon System Integration Lab, known as the WSIL. The lab represents the brainpower of the P-8A mission systems. It contains a mock replica of the Poseidon interior and was the first place Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven and VP-30 instructors trained before NAS Jacksonville’s Integrated Training Center was complete.
At the WSIL, Boeing employees, including many former P-3C aircrew, work on current and future P-8A technologies. Their prior military experience gives them unique insight into how aircrew operators work and think.
Their mission is to continuously test the P-8A software and systems, looking for any malfunctions that need to be corrected. They also focus on new features that make the system more intuitive to the operators, allowing the mission to be completed as efficiently as possible.
The aircrew were excited to see all of the new updates the aircraft will soon receive as well as the exposure to the “behind-the-scenes” of how the mission systems are designed.
The maintenance and support personnel were eager to fly the simulator as well as get some hands-on experience and learn what their fellow “War Eagles” do operationally.
PS3 Cori Shea said, “It’s interesting to see how much effort goes into how the airplanes are designed. There’s so much more to the process than I ever imagined.”
After seeing the future of the P-8A, the VP-16 personnel headed to Renton, Wash. to see where every 737 and P-8A begins – the Boeing production lines. Boeing representatives Carl Lang, David Robinson, and James Detwiler led an eye-opening tour throughout the facilities. Lang first showed the main production line where all of Boeing’s 737 commercial aircraft are assembled and painted before being sent out for final testing. The tour then moved over to the P-8A line to show the similarities and differences in the process.
For many personnel, the most exciting part of this tour was being able to see the aircraft in various states of assembly, knowing that they are the first aircraft VP-16 will proudly fly during their first operational deployment with the P-8A.
The tour concluded at the Boeing Military Facility, where the aircraft is sent to have all of the mission equipment installed after it is fully assembled.
Lt. Ryan Burke said, “Seeing the aircraft in this state was a good learning tool for the aircrew. It gave us the chance to see how things are connected and flow together, which gives us a better understanding of how to operate the equipment.”
The information learned on this tour gave VP-16 an appreciation for all of the hard work that has been put into the aircraft design, production and mission system integration. Although it was a short detachment, the Sailors and officers of VP-16 view it as a sign of great things to come for squadron. VP-16 is scheduled to complete their transition to the P-8A by the end of the year and will commence pre-deployment training in January.



VP-4 Wins 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare Fleet Challenge

April 24, 2012
LTJG Jenna Rose
Public Affairs Officer
Patrol Squadron Four

VP-4 Wins 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare Fleet Challenge

Last week during the annual Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) Symposium at NAS Jacksonville, FL VP-4’s Combat Aircrew One (CAC-1) was named the winner of the 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Fleet Challenge. Nine CACs participated in the event from across the fleet including crews from CPRW-2 (Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two) at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, CPRW-10 at NAS Whidbey Island, and CPRW-11 at NAS Jacksonville. In addition, a Canadian CP-140 Aurora 405 from Squadron 14 Wing Greenwood and the P-8A Poseidon took part in the event. This was the first time the P-8A Poseidon, the replacement aircraft to the P-3C Orion, participated in the Fleet Challenge. Additionally, there were also Australian and Japanese riders that observed the flights onboard the U.S. P-3C Orions.

The ASW Fleet Challenge consisted of two evaluations. The first took place in the P-3C Orion simulator, known as the Tactical Operational Readiness Trainer (TORT). In this realistic trainer, crews executed standardized tactics in order to prosecute a diesel submarine. After completing the simulator portion, the CACs performed a flight event where they detected, localized, tracked, and conducted simulated attacks on a Los Angeles-class attack submarine off the northeast Florida coast. When asked about the weeklong challenge, AWO2 Sean Wawrzyniec, CAC-1 Acoustic Operator, stated, “It was good to go back to Jacksonville and visit with everyone. It was a great experience to be able to compete with my peers in other squadrons.”

During the competition, each aircrew position; consisting of a Plane Commander, Tactical Coordinator, two Acoustic Operators, and a Radar Operator; was evaluated on performance. “The evaluators looked very hard at our planning, prosecution, and crew resource management (CRM), which strengthens the fact that if a crew works well together, you get good results,” stated AWOCS Stanley Lenover, CAC-1 Radar Operator. “I was pleased to have a newly trained and qualified sensor one acoustic operator perform so well. It is a signature of our training plan when a brand new sensor one operator can compete with other seasoned operators. It is a privilege for us as senior operators and instructors to know how our training impacts our junior sailors, ultimately paving the way for the future.”

VP-4’s CAC-1 won the event, and Rear Admiral Michael Hewitt, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, awarded the championship belt to them at the MPRF Flight Suit Social on March 30, 2012. When asked about his crew’s performance, Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander, Lieutenant Justin Jennings remarked, “We were excited for our crew to represent VP-4 and Wing Two at Fleet Challenge. The competition was tough and I’m proud of the job our crew did. It was an honor to be recognized as the Fleet Challenge Champions.”

Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is located at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The squadron flies the P-3C Orion and is better known as the Skinny Dragons. The P-3C is land-based and the Navy’s premier long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, operating from locations throughout the world. The P-3C Orion missions range from submarine tracking to search and rescue, as well as overland missions, working alongside Navy, Army and Marine ground units.

Combat Aircrew One of Patrol Squadron Four, Fleet Challenge Champions. The Championship Belt was awarded at the MPA Flight Suit social on March 30. Pictured from left to right: AWOCS Stanley Lenover, LTJG Mario Tarver, LTJG Kathryn Robertson, LT Alex Dulude, LT Doug Marsh, AWO2 Sean Wawrzyniec with the Championship Belt, LT Justin Jennings, AWOC Brian Humphrey, AWVC E.J. Hopper, AWF3 Kerry Kerns, and AWF3 Tyler Campbell. Photo taken by MC1 Nathan Laird.


76th commander leads the Grey Knights – Whidbey News Times

76th commander leads the Grey Knights – Whidbey News Times.

Whidbey News Times Whidbey Crosswinds
MAY 8, 2012 · UPDATED 1:35 PM

KATHY REED/WHIDBEY NEWS-TIMES A suit of armor, the symbol of the Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron 46, stands as a sentinel at the edge of the podium as officers salute during a change of command ceremony Friday, May 4 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 continued a long tradition Friday on Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. For the 76th time, leadership of VP-46 was passed from one commander to the next.

Capt. Peter Garvin, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10, guest speaker for the event, lauded the men and women of VP-46 and their outgoing leader, Cmdr. James Jacobs.

“It has been a truly fantastic year for VP-46,” Garvin said. “How you conduct your daily business is as telling as the accolades you receive. You have met every challenge and I have no doubt you will continue to excel.”

Garvin told Jacobs he had led America’s oldest maritime patrol squadron exceptionally well, and offered words of encouragement to incoming Cmdr. Christopher Kijek.

“Without a doubt, I know this squadron will thrive under your leadership,” he said.

Retired Vice Adm. Barry Costello, who presented the change of command address, also had high praise for Jacobs, whom he recruited to work for him during his time in the Navy.

“Hiring James Jacobs was the best personnel decision I made in 34 years,” said Costello. He went on to share several positive conversations he’d had with various Navy officials over the past several months regarding Jacobs.

“I say these things in reference to your commanding officer, because he would say his success is totally because of all of you,” Costello told the men and women of VP-46. “To you, Grey Knights, well done — your reputation around the world is excellent.

“As one great commander moves forward, another steps up to the plate,” Costello continued. “Cmdr. Kijek is ready to step up.”

For his part, Cmdr. Jacobs extended his thanks and appreciation to several people in the audience and on the podium, including Commodore Garvin, Vice Adm. Costello, Capt. Jay Johnston, commanding officer of NAS Whidbey Island and the officers and sailors of the Grey Knights.

“You are some of the finest Americans I’ve served with in 18 years,” Jacobs said. “VP-46 understands the meaning of mission. VP-46 understands the meaning of execution. VP-46 understands the meaning of hard work and dedication.

“You all know what’s expected of you and you all know what to do,” he continued. “Now you just have to go do it. Remember, legacy is not gifted, or even earned, but built on excellence, teamwork and dedication. Work hard to continue the proud legacy of being the oldest and the best.”

With that, Jacobs read his orders, immediately followed by the Grey Knights’ new leader, Cmdr. Kijek, who also read his orders and then told the crowd he was honored to take the helm of VP-46.

“To the men and women who serve, there is no greater honor than to be your commanding officer,” he said. “The greatest nation on earth has entrusted me with its greatest treasure.”

In closing, Kijek said he would do everything in his power to continue to honor the legacy of the Grey Knights.

VPU-1 ‘Old Buzzards’ to disestablish

VPU-1 ‘Old Buzzards’ to disestablish |

VPU-1 ‘Old Buzzards’ to disestablish

Posted: April 25, 2012 – 1:07pm | Updated: April 25, 2012 – 1:11pm

Photo courtesy of VPU-1 A specially equipped P-3 Orion assigned to the "Old Buzzards" of VPU-1 is ready to start its turboprop engines on the Hangar 511 flight line at NAS Jacksonville. The squadron will be disestablished on Friday.

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.”


DVIDS – News – VP-1 assists in Taiwanese Fishing Vessel rescue

via DVIDS – News – VP-1 assists in Taiwanese Fishing Vessel rescue.

USS BLUE RIDGE, At Sea – A P-3 Orion from Patrol Squadron 1, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard’s district 14, assisted in the rescue of 10 Taiwanese fishermen April 21, 700 miles off the west coast of Guam.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., local time, Coast Guard Sector Guam received an initial alert from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon from the Hsin Man Chun, the 70-foot Taiwanese fishing vessel. After a request for assistance from the Coast Guard, VP-1’s P-3 located 10 crew members from the fishing vessel that was reported to be on fire.

VP-1 spotted eight crew members in a life raft with two crew members still on the burning vessel’s bridge. The P-3 deployed two life rafts to assist crew members in distress.

At the time of the request for assistance, the Semirio was only 40 miles away from the distressed vessel. Once on scene, the 980-foot bulk carrier launched a small boat and successfully rescued all 10 crew members.

The Semirio is one of many foreign flagged vessels operating in the Pacific that voluntarily participate in the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System.

AMVER, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

Read more:

A too close encounter

(From: Andoyposten)

Norwegian P-3 Orion in shock wave over Barentsz Sea
Close encounter with Russian fighter aircraft

Tuesday 10 April 2012 a Russian fighter passed a RNoAF P-3 Orion, flying over the Barentsz Sea, at un “uncomfortable distance”. Norwegian fighters often intercept Russian aircraft approaching Norwegian air space in that same area, usually without much drama. But last Tuesday’s event was a different story.

During a routine mission the Norwegian P-3 crew had spotted the Russian aircraft, a MiG31 Foxhound, twice at a visual safe distance. The third time however the MiG31 cme in from behind and passed the Orion very close to the Orion, said LtCol John Espen Lien, the communications director at the RnOAF HQ.

Lien said that the incident will be discussed with the Russian Armed Forces

25 years ago, on 13 September 1987, a RNoAF P-3B had a mid air collision with a Soviet Su27 Flanker in a quite similar event. The P-3B was damaged but landed safely.

Marco P.J. Borst
P-3 Orion Research Group – The Netherlands

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