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Patrol Squadron FOUR Returns from Aloha Deployment

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington – The first wave of “Skinny” Dragons from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 returned home Thursday, Sept. 1 from a demanding, yet highly successful trisite deployment.

For the first time since 1964, that return home was not made to Hawaii, but instead to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island.

In the midst of deployment, the Skinny Dragons executed a permanent duty station change (PDSC) from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to Whidbey Island, Wash., with many families moving in advance of the squadron’s return. Despite the challenges that come with executing a move, VP-4 personnel committed each day to ensuring that their last P-3C Orion deployment was a resounding success.

The VP-4 “P-3 Sundown” or “Aloha Deployment” as it became known, involved the Skinny Dragons operating out of 12 different countries in three vastly diverse areas of responsibility (AORs). In fact, on June 13 VP-4 launched six P-3C aircraft from five different detachment sites to six different missions within 24 hours.

According to Cmdr. Christopher Smith, VP-4’s commanding officer, the commitment from aircrew, maintenance and support personnel were astounding throughout the entire deployment.

“The Skinny Dragons are finishing a very successful deployment that saw us deployed to several locations around the world. This deployment was a significant milestone for our squadron as 2016 marks 50 years of flying the P-3C Orion for Patrol Squadron 4,” remarked Smith. “This summer was a great opportunity to honor the fine heritage of our squadron and the history of the mighty P-3C Orion.”

Those already in Whidbey Island eagerly await the arrival of the rest of their squadron who will trickle home in waves over the next two weeks.

Smith commented that it is certainly bittersweet to leave the island paradise of Oahu, but the Skinny Dragons are excited for the move to the Pacific Northwest and are enthusiastic to join Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10. In addition, he added that the local community and sponsors from CPRW- 10 have been instrumental and the PDSC undoubtedly would not have been possible without their help.

“VP-4 is extremely excited to join the Whidbey Team and we have been welcomed with open arms at every step of our transition,” expressed Smith. “The local community, on and off base, has been aware of our arrival for over a year and has continuously worked to make our transition a seamless one. I am overwhelmed with the support we have been given and I am very grateful.”

The next step for VP-4 is a transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon. As the first of the three Hawaii-based Orion squadrons to transition, VP-4 is focused on a successful integration into CPRW-10 and continues their standard of excellence in maritime aviation throughout the transition.

The Skinny Dragons will begin the first portion of P-8A training in October with the “Pro’s Nest” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), who will provide a detachment of personnel to NAS Whidbey Island. After the New Year, VP-4 personnel will travel to the FRS in Jacksonville, Florida to complete the rest of their training.

Thankful for the support of CPRW-10 and the Whidbey Island community, VP-4 looks forward to bringing the Aloha spirit to the Pacific Northwest and their next chapter in maritime aviation.
By LTJG Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs

Original  article with images is located here:


Help bring back rating titles

Hello shipmates!

As you may be aware the SECNAV has ordered the removal of all of then 91 enlisted ratings titles. This means that sailors will no longer be identified by their job title, say, Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Joe Sailor, effective immediately. Instead, that would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.

Sailors past and present have longstanding and deep love of the titles that have defined their Navy lives. All of these now belong to the history books, but you can do something to help possibly change that.

Follow this link to sign a White House petition that asks the President to restore or at least comment on this horrible plan: 

Please share this with every sailor you know and help push the petition 100,000 votes before October 31st 2016.

Links to articles about the new rule from SECNAV:

And finally I think personally think this plan would have been much better in the long run:


Thanks for taking the time to read this, share this, and for signing the petition.

Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class Chad Derrington

VP-4 Returns Home to NAS Whidbey Island

Patrol Squadron FOUR returns from Aloha Deployment
LTJG Matthew Johnston

The first wave of Skinny Dragons from Patrol Squadron (VP) FOUR returned home Thursday from a demanding, yet highly successful tri-site deployment. For the first time since 1964, that return home was not made to Hawaii, but instead to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. In the midst of deployment, the Skinny Dragons executed a permanent duty station change (PDSC) to Whidbey Island with many families moving in advance of the squadron’s return – a stressor that certainly guaranteed the deployment was anything but mundane. Despite these factors, VP-4 personnel committed each day to ensuring that their last P-3C Orion deployment was a resounding success.

The VP-4 ”P-3 Sundown,” or ‘Aloha Deployment’ as it became known, saw the Skinny Dragons operate out of twelve different countries in three vastly diverse Areas of Responsibility (AOR’s). In fact, during one 24-hour period on June 13th, VP-4 launched six P-3C aircraft in five different detachment sites on six different missions. The commitment from aircrew, maintenance, and support personnel alike was astounding throughout the entire deployment. “The Skinny Dragons are finishing a very successful deployment that saw us deployed to several locations around the world. This deployment was a significant milestone for our squadron as 2016 marks 50 years of flying the P-3C Orion for Patrol Squadron FOUR,” remarked VP-4 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Christopher Smith. “This summer was a great opportunity to honor the fine heritage of our squadron and the storied history of the mighty P-3C Orion.” Those already in Whidbey Island eagerly await the arrival of the rest of their squadron who will trickle home in waves over the next two weeks.

While certainly bittersweet to leave the island paradise of Oahu, the Skinny Dragons are excited for the move to the Pacific Northwest and are enthusiastic to join Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN (CPRW-10). The local community and sponsors from CPRW-10 have been instrumental and the PDSC undoubtedly would not have been possible without their help. “VP-4 is extremely excited to join the Whidbey Team and we have been welcomed with open arms at every step of our transition,” expressed Cdr. Smith. “The local community, on and off base, has been aware of our arrival for over a year and has continuously worked to make our transition a seamless one. I am overwhelmed with the support we have been given and I am very grateful.”

The next step for Patrol Squadron FOUR is a transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon. The first of the three Hawaii based Orion squadrons to transition, VP-4 is focused on a successful integration into CPRW-10 and continuing their standard of excellence in maritime aviation throughout the transition.

The Skinny Dragons will take some much needed time to rest and relax with families before picking back up in October for the transition. For the first portion of P-8A training, VP-30, the P-3/P-8 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), will provide a detachment of personnel to NAS Whidbey Island. After the New Year, VP-4 personnel will travel to the FRS in Jacksonville, Florida to complete the rest of their training.

Thankful for the support of CPRW-10 and the Whidbey Island community, Patrol Squadron FOUR looks forward to bringing the Aloha spirit to the Pacific Northwest and their next chapter in maritime aviation.


By LTJG Matthew Johnston
Patrol Squadron (VP) FOUR participated in the NATO Exercise BALTOPS 16 from 3-18 June. BALTOPS is an annually occurring exercise that is designed to enhance interoperability and demonstrate the ability of partner and allied nations to defend the Baltic region. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 deployed two Combat Aircrews, 18 aircraft maintenance professionals, and one P-3C Orion to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and established Task Group (CTG) 67.2. Joining the Skinny Dragons as members of CTG 67.2 was a P-8A Poseidon from VP-26, a P-3C from VP-62, and numerous aircraft maintainers from both squadrons. Combat Aircrew Seven (VP-4) also flew one mission out of Lielvārde Air Base, Latvia.
CTG 67.2 aircraft flew 18 missions during the exercise, totally over 67 hours of on station training with NATO and partner forces. The Poseidon and Orion crews flew a diverse set of missions but their primary focus was Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare. The aircrews honed their ASW skills working with three submarines and over 40 surface combatants. The well trained NATO submarine crews and challenging environmental conditions in the Baltic Sea created excellent training opportunities for the P-3C and P-8A aircrews.
“BALTOPS provided our entire team a fantastic training opportunity. The dynamic mission scenarios challenged us and we are now better prepared for combined operations with our NATO allies and partners” remarked Combat Aircrew Ten Mission Commander and Detachment Officer-in-Charge, LCDR Brian Blaschke. “Additionally, a key to our success was our hard working and talented aircraft maintainers; they put our aircrews in a mission ready aircraft every time, on time.”
The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 worked tirelessly to support BALTOPS 16 and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to train with such talented NATO forces and build interoperability. VP-4 looks forward to future operations with NATO allies and partners as we exercise our mutual commitment to Baltic Security.
Quick Facts:

  • BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. This is the 44th year of the exercise.
  • One P-3C Orion aircraft and two aircrews from the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 were assigned to participate in BALTOPS 2016. The crews flew Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) operations.
  • One P-3C from VP-62 and one P-8A Poseidon from VP-26 also participated in the exercise.
  • Combined Task Group (CTG) 67.2 was formed for the exercise and is comprised of 92 Sailors from three squadrons. CTG 67.2 was commanded by VP-4 Commanding Officer, Cdr. Christopher Smith.

A Skinny Dragon Kind of Day

By: CDR Chris Smith, Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron FOUR

Over the course of one 24 hour period from the 13th through the 14th of June, the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) did something amazing; they launched six different aircraft spread across five different locations around the world on six very different missions.

ELSALIn Comalapa, El Salvador, the 70 person detachment launched their 35th counter-drug mission of the deployment. The men and women of this detachment work closely with several other units of the Joint Interagency Task Force, South (JIATF-S) to stop the distribution and sale of illegal drugs. Money from the sale of these drugs is often used to support international terrorist organizations and the efforts of JIATF-S have a direct and meaningful impact on national defense. To date, VP-4 has contributed to 21 busts totaling 19,808 kilos of illegal drugs with a street value of over $501,170,000.

DJVP-4 also has a permanent detachment stationed in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. This team of Skinny Dragons operates in the sweltering heat of Africa to fly overland intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa. Their flight on this day represented VP-4’s presence on a third continent and demonstrates the P-3C’s ability to operate in extreme conditions.

Simultaneously, VP-4 participated in Exercise BALTOPS 2016 from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. With one aircraft, two aircrews, and 18 maintenance professionals, the detachment is a small part of the large multinational maritime exercise. BALTOPS 2016 included approximately 6,100 maritime, ground, and air force troops from 17 participating nations. The exercise is designed to allow the participants to hone their maritime interdiction, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, and air defense tactics, techniques, and procedures in a combined and joint environment. On this particular day, Combat Aircrew TEN conducted an anti-submarine warfare flight demonstrating the primary mission area of the P-3C Orion.

ROTAOperating out of Naval Air Station Rota, Spain, Combat Aircrew FIVE supported by several maintenance professionals provided airborne support for the USS Eisenhower as she made her way into the Mediterranean Sea. This kind of support to a Carrier Strike Group is another critical mission of the P-3C. An airborne P-3C gives the Strike Group Commander visibility on threats beyond his horizon and the ability to destroy those threats if the need arises.

SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)

SIGONELLA, Sicily (May 19, 2016) A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four taxis at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily in preparation to take off in support of the search for Egyptair flight MS804. The U.S. Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic Armed Forces, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)

In a rare feat, VP-4 provided support to a second Carrier Strike Group on the same day. Flying out of NAS Sigonella, Italy, Combat Aircrew EIGHT flew in support of the USS Truman as she conducted operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Even in the face of all these rigorous operational demands, the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 made time to continue training for tomorrow’s fight as well. The vision of VP-4 is to “Do right to fight, today and tomorrow”. To do that, the most experienced Sailors of this squadron must pass on the lessons they have learned to the next generation of warriors. On this day, the squadron also executed an important Pilot Training Flight to ensure that the long line of outstanding Skinny Dragon Aviators continues into the future.

Days like this are not unique to this squadron or this moment in history. Days like this represent any given day in the long and venerable history of the mighty P-3C Orion and the entire Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Community.

Skinny Dragons… Breathe Fire.

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command 2016

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command
LTJG Matthew Johnston
Public Affairs Officer, VP-4

160421-N-AL293-067 160421-N-AL293-086Commander Jonathan E. Spore was relieved by Commander Christopher E. Smith as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on April 21, 2016. The ceremony was held in Hanger 426 on NAS Sigonella, Sicily.

Commander Spore reported to VP-4 in June 2014 as the Executive Officer and relieved Commander Eric M. Hanks as Commanding Officer in June 2015. A native of Chantilly, Virginia, he graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1997. His previous flying tours include assignments in VP-5 as a Junior Officer, VP-30, and a Department Head in VP-16. Commander Spore’s other assignments include a tour on the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Flag Lieutenant for Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic, and most recently in the Pentagon, serving on both the Navy and the Joint Staff. Under his guidance, Patrol Squadron FOUR certainly lived up to their reputation as “Hawaii’s Best.” CDR Spore and the Skinny Dragons set the standard for maritime excellence, completing nine exercises and over 5,000 flight hours during his time as Commanding Officer. In March 2016, he led the way on VP-4’s last P-3C ‘Aloha Deployment’, and the Skinny Dragons are already achieving success executing their mission in the 4th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.

CDR Spore’s wife Jennifer and their three children, Mitchell, Landon, and Marion currently live in Hawaii. The family’s remaining time in Hawaii is short however, as Commander Spore has received orders to report to Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. The Skinny Dragons bid a fond Aloha and say Mahalo to Commander Spore for his leadership and guidance.

“As a former Skinny Dragon Skipper, there was no way that I would miss this change of command,” stated Captain Steve Newlund, Commodore of Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO (CPRW2). “VP-4 is a premier outfit and has long been ‘Hawaii’s Best.’ Skipper Spore is an outstanding officer and has taken VP-4 to new heights.”

Commander Smith was raised in Brunswick, Maine and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. He went on to earn his wings as a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and after completing training at VP-30 in Jacksonville, Florida, Commander Smith reported to the Golden Swordsmen of VP-47. Following his first tour at VP-47, Commander Smith went on to have successful tours at VP-30, the USS JOHN C. STENNIS, Navy Personnel Command, and another tour at VP-47 as a Department Head. As the next Skipper of VP-4, Commander Smith will have the opportunity to lead the Skinny Dragons through the transition to their next Fleet aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon.

CDR Smith and his wife Sarah now call Whidbey Island home with their four children Wyatt, Owen, Evan, and Elizabeth. Relieving Commander Smith as Executive Officer is Commander Bryan P. Hager. He is originally from Bangs, Texas and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Distribution. Commander Hager completed flight training in Corpus Christi, Texas and earned his Wings of Gold as a Naval Aviator in December 2001. His Fleet assignments include tours at VP-16 as a Junior Officer and Department Head, VP-30 as an instructor, a tour on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHHOWER (CVN-69), and lastly a tour with Naval Operations (OPNAV) working to facilitate future transitions to the P-8A. His wife Kristen and their three sons, Kenan, Sladen , and Stetson currently reside in Anacortes, Washington.

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)

VP-4 Departing Hawaii for the last time

Vp-4 departing on deploymentGreetings everyone,

I just got back from Hawaii this weekend.

I wanted to report to you that VP-4 has left Hawaii for their deployment. The first picture is the Skipper departing on Friday March 18th. They created a commemorative challenge coin for this significant event. This picture was taken from their Facebook.

The other picture is of the same plane the day before. It is the latest update P-3C. It is the AIP version. Also notice the nose art. It is a dragon’s claw opening up the aircraft.

I had a chance to talk to the XO and wanted to pass on some of what he said. The squadron will be flying out of multiple sites. They will be in Africa, Central America and Europe in one place and possible another sight off of the continent. This year marks the 50th anniversary that the P-3 has been in the squadron.

The P-8 is operating well, no major issues. When the squadron is finished with their deployment they will end up at NAS Whidbey Is. WA, where they will transition to the P-8A. That will begin on Halloween. I guess they will have to put on their dragon costumes. The only rate for the aircrew will be AW’s. The F/E’s, AT’s and in flight Ord will be gone. They will offer to transition to AW, go to the remaining P-3 squadrons, or stay in Hawaii doing other things.

It was good to get back to Oahu. I had to take a trip out to Barbers Pt and reminisce about the days when I was in VP-4. When all the Kaneohe have transitioned to the P-8, there will be no permanent squadrons based there. There will be dets to Hawaii for homeland security duties.

Take care

John Larson

VP-4 Veterans Assn PAO


1992 VP-4 Squadron Roster

No Name Rank Photos on Page(s) Position
Commanding Officers
1 Cashbaugh, David CDR 2 C.O. Apr 1992 – 16 Apr 1993
2 Hall, Marshall A. CDR 3 XO – CO 16 Apr 1993 – 1 Apr 1994
3 Angeli LT 16 Crew 1
4 Art LT 32, 51 Crew 9 SMO/NSO
5 Ausman LT 28 Crew 7
6 Banard LCDR 18 Crew 2 HSO/DAPA
7 Bennett LT 26 Crew 6 Safety Natops
8 Bienvenue LT 43 Medical
9 Boerger LCDR 34 Crew 10
10 Brennan LT 16, 47 Crew 1 Tactics
11 Brickman LT 36 Crew 11
12 Burleigh LTJG
13 Carey LT 30 Crew 8
14 Carlisle LT 30, 36 Crew 8, Crew 11
15 Carrol LT 20 Crew 3 Safety Natops
16 Chinman LTJG 36 Crew 11
17 Clautice LT 26, 47 Crew 6 Tactics
18 Colmen CWO3 57 Material Control
19 Daniel LT
20 Danielson LT 34 Crew 10
21 De La Garza LT 28, 34, 61 Crew 7, Crew 10 SMO/NSO
22 Delaney LT 18 Crew 2
23 Easterling LCDR 26, 54 Crew 6 AMO
24 Eastman LT 34 Crew 10
25 Elston LT 28 Crew 7 Safety Natops
26 Fleming LTJG 24 Crew 5
27 Foppiano LTJG 41 HSO/DAPA
28 Frye LT 26 Crew 6 Safety Natops
29 Fulgham LT 30, 52 Crew 8 COMM/CMS
30 Gardinal LT 54 MMCO
31 Gilmer LT
32 Gnibus LT 50 AIO
33 Grunder LT 28, 42 Crew 7 Legal
34 Haloburdo LT 30 Crew 8
35 Harrington LTJG 22 Crew 4
36 Hill LT
37 Holbrook CWO4 57 Material Control
38 Hulse ENS
39 Jenson LT 22 Crew 4
40 Johnson LCDR 36. 54 Crew 11 MO
41 Kelly LTJG 32 Crew 9
42 Kim LT 34, 41 Crew 10 HSO/DAPA
43 Klepper LCDR 46 Operations
44 Lanoue LT 20 Crew 3
45 Lawson LCDR 18 Crew 2 Safety Natops
46 Lewis LT 16 Crew 1 Safety Natops
47 Lilienstein ENS
48 Macquoid LT 24 Crew 5
49 Mantay LT 36, 46 Crew 11 Operations
50 McGee LT 20 Crew 3 Operations
51 O’Connor LT 28 Crew 7
52 Phillips LTJG
53 Ralston LT 22 Crew 4
54 Robinson LT 16 Crew 1
55 Saiki LT 26, 47 Crew 6 Tactics
56 Salomon LCDR 32, 47 Crew 9 Tactics
57 Sapsis LTJG 18 Crew 2
58 Scanlon LT 22, 47 Crew 4 Tactics
59 Scarry LT 16 Crew 1
60 Slocum LT 18, 47 Crew 2 Tactics
61 Smith LCDR 36, 46 Crew 11 Operations
62 Spiers LT 22, 51 Crew 4 SMO/NSO
63 Springer LT 20 Crew 3 HSO/DAPA
64 Swanson LT 34 Crew 10
65 Tamashiro LT 20 Crew 3
66 Thomure LT 32, 51 Crew 9 SMO/NSO
67 Tregoning LT 32 Crew 9 HSO/DAPA
68 Westerkom ENS 24 Crew 5
69 Wooden LT 24 Crew 5
70 Baranda ASC 58 Tool Room
71 Barbour AMHC 55 Maint Control
72 Boroughs AWC 24, 47, 48/49 Crew 5 Tactics AW’s
73 Cheyney ADCS 55 Maint Control
74 Clark PRC PR/AME Shop
75 Davis PRCS
76 Gorman ATC 36 Crew 11
77 Grogan AWC 48/49 Operations AW’s Safety Natops
78 Hagood AWC 34, 48/49 Crew 10 AW’s Safety Natops
79 Hollingworth AEC 55 Maint Control
80 Holzboog AVCM 4
81 Hunt ADCS 34 Crew 10 FE
82 Kascsak ADC 41 HSO/DAPA FE
83 Kelley AEC FE
84 Land YNC 38 Administration
85 McEntee ATCS QA
86 Quiogue ADC 55, 67 Maint Control Power Plants
87 Read AWC 30, 48/49 Crew 8 AW’s
88 Rhoads AZC 56 Maint Admin
89 Sanftner ADC 55 Maint Control
90 Shields ATC 56 Maint Admin
91 Stair AVCM 54 MMCPO
92 Adams YN3 38 Administration
93 Adams ATAN 70 AIMD
94 Aitken HM3 43 Medical
95 Akiona AE2 30, 59, 60 Crew 8 FE AE’s
96 Allen ADAN
97 Anderson PN1 42 CC
98 Anderson AE1 60 AE’s
99 Anderson AD2 62 Line Shop
100 Angel AD2 18, 59 Crew 2 FE
101 Armendariz AE2 70 AIMD
102 Ashby AWAN 62 Line Shop
103 Ates AW1 26, 48/49 Crew 6 AW’s
104 Avery AT3 61 AT’s
105 Badger AT3 61 AT’s
106 Bailey AA 62 Line Shop
107 Barney AE1 69 QA
108 Barnstein AO3 70 AIMD
109 Baskin PR3 68 PR/AME Shop
110 Baumgardner AW3 24, 32, 47, 48/49 Crew 5, Crew 9 Tactics AW’s
111 Bayani PR3 68 PR/AME Shop
112 Beabes AME1 68 PR/AME Shop
113 Beauman AN
114 Beeson AD2
115 Berryman AK3 57 Material Control
116 Bertram AE1 60, AE’s
117 Bertsch AO2 24, 64/65 Crew 5 Ordnance Shop
118 Bitzelberger AW2 16, 47, 48/49 Crew 1 Tactics AW’s
119 Bitzer AN
120 Blain IS3 50 AIO
121 Booker AN 39 Personnel
122 Brown AO3 64/65 Ordnance Shop
123 Brown AW2 16, 34, 47, 48/49 Crew 1, Crew 10 Tactics AW’s
124 Buel AMH3 70 AIMD
125 Byrne AT2 20, 61 Crew 3 AT’s
126 Callaghan AE3 20, 59 Crew 3 FE
127 Camacho AT1 16, 61 Crew 1 AT’s
128 Cambell AN 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
129 Campbell AW1 36, 48/49 Crew 11 AW’s
130 Carden AN
131 Carter AT3 18 Crew 2
132 Castle AT3 61 AT’s
133 Cathey AW2 16, 48/49 Crew 1 AW’s
134 Chaffin YN3 38 Administration
135 Clark AT2 70 AIMD
136 Clark AZ2 55 Maint Control
137 Clay AO3 66 Corrosion Shop
138 Coffelt AW3 20, 48/49 Crew 3 AW’s
139 Coladonato AMS3 59 FE
140 Cole ADAN
141 Colmer AW3 22, 48/49 Crew 4 AW’s
142 Cook AD2 67 Power Plants
143 Courtney DK1 40
144 Cousins AMH2 63 Airframes
145 Cuento AD3 66, 67 Corrosion Shop Power Plants
146 Cunningham AW3 28, 48/49 Crew 7 AW’s
147 Davis AO1 64/65 Ordnance Shop
148 Davis ADAN 36, 59 Crew 11 FE
149 Davis AMH2 34, 59 Crew 10 FE
150 Demarino AO2
151 Depew AMH2 63 Airframes
152 Derrington AO3 64/65 Ordnance Shop
153 Dewald AO2 64/65 Ordnance Shop
154 Dorpinghaus AE2 30, 59 Crew 8 FE
155 Dozier AE1 20, 59 Crew 3 FE
156 Duplito AD3 70 AIMD
157 Durante AW2 18, 48/49 Crew 2 Operations AW’s
158 Durrance AW2 28, 48/49, 53 Crew 7 AW’s Safety Natops
159 Duszkiewicz AMS2 66 Corrosion Shop
160 Dutrieux AMS2 18, 59 Crew 2 FE
161 Dwyer AMS1 52, 66 COMM/CMS Corrosion Shop
162 Eagle AO1 22, 64/65 Crew 4 Ordnance Shop
163 Edgren AW2 18, 48/49 Crew 2 AW’s
164 Edwards AME3 68 PR/AME Shop
165 Esteves AMSAN 66 Corrosion Shop
166 Ferguson AT2 70 AIMD
167 Ferrera AMS1 63 Airframes
168 Festervand AT3 70 AIMD
169 Fischer PRAN 68, 70 PR/AME Shop AIMD
170 Flinn AO1 34, 64/65 Crew 10 Ordnance Shop
171 Fluegel PH2 26, 50 Crew 6 AIO
172 Fox AT3 61, 70 AT’s AIMD
173 Frees AO2 36, 53, 64/65 Crew 11 Safety Natops Ordnance Shop
174 Garrett AA 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
175 Garver AW2 18, 48/49 Crew 2 AW’s
176 Glenn AE3 60 AE’s
177 Godboldte AD2 67 Power Plants
178 Gonzales AW2 20, 48/49 Crew 3 AW’s
179 Grady MS3 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
180 Grant AA 66 Corrosion Shop
181 Grider ATAN 61 AT’s
182 Grisham AD1 59 FE
183 Hannah AE3 60 AE’s
184 Hanson AWAN 32, 48/49 Crew 9 AW’s
185 Harn AT3 61 AT’s
186 Harris AK3 57 Material Control
187 Hart AW2 48/49 AW’s
188 Hill AO3 16, 64/65 Crew 1 Ordnance Shop
189 Houck AD2 67 Power Plants
190 House PR1 68 PR/AME Shop
191 Housley AN 60 AE’s
192 Howard AMS2
193 Huitt AT2 70 AIMD
194 Hume AT1
195 Jackson AE3 60 AE’s
196 Jacobs AD2 67 Power Plants
197 Jacques AO3 64/65 Ordnance Shop
198 Jones PR3 68, 70 PR/AME Shop AIMD
199 Jones AMSAN
200 Jordan AT3 61 AT’s
201 Julian AE2 28, 59 Crew 7 FE
202 Kidson AO1 28, 64/65 Crew 7 Ordnance Shop
203 Kilmartin AMSAN 63 Airframes
204 Kinchen YN3 38 Administration Operations
205 Kinney AMHAN 63 Airframes
206 Kinney AMH1 36, 59 Crew 11 FE
207 Kirk YN1 38. 52 Administration COMM/CMS
208 Knight AK1 57 Material Control
209 Kosler AMH2 32, 59 Crew 9 FE
210 Lamothe AD1 24, 59 Crew 5 FE
211 Lancaster ADAN 22, 59 Crew 4 FE
212 Lapierre AMS1 24, 59 Crew 5 FE
213 Lee AO1 32 Crew 9
214 Lefemine AW3 20, 48/49 Crew 3 AW’s
215 Leslie PN1 39 Personnel
216 Ling AW1 48/49 AW’s
217 Loge AMSAN 70 AIMD
218 Lundborg AW2 48/49 AW’s
219 Lunsford AN 62 Line Shop
220 Lyles MS2 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
221 Maddock AE3 60 AE’s
222 Marini AE3 60 AE’s
223 Marty AW2 30, 48/49 Crew 8 AW’s
224 Mayberry AW2 26 Crew 6
225 Mayer AD1 67 Power Plants
226 McClafferty ATAN 61, 70 AT’s AIMD
227 McClellan AN 62 Line Shop
228 McClintock AW2 16 Crew 1 Operations
229 McDaniel YN2 38 Administration
230 McDaniel AMS2 63 Airframes
231 McGregor AD3 70 AIMD
232 McLearran AT3 61 AT’s
233 McMullen AD3 67 Power Plants
234 McNeal AZ2 56 Maint Admin
235 Meath AE1 22, 59 Crew 4 FE
236 Medows ADAN 67 Power Plants
237 Mejia MS2 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
238 Metcalfe AT1 22, 61 Crew 4 AT’s
239 Michalak AW3 48/49 AW’s
240 Miller PH3 50 AIO
241 Montana ATAN 70 AIMD
242 Montez AK3 57 Material Control
243 Moore AW2 32, 48/49 Crew 9 AW’s
244 Moss AK3 57 Material Control
245 Moyd ADAN
246 Mullins AN 60 AE’s
247 Neilson AT3 61 AT’s
248 Nelson AME3 68 PR/AME Shop
249 Neri AD1
250 Nguyen ADAN
251 Nuebling AT3
252 O’Leary AE2 59 FE
253 Odell AD2 67 Power Plants
254 Pabona AE3 60 AE’s
255 Pakaki AZ1 56 Maint Admin
256 Perry AN 62 Line Shop
257 Peterson AT2
258 Pettis AMS1 69 QA
259 Plauman ATAN 34, 61 Crew 10 AT’s
260 Prather AW3 28, 48/49 Crew 7 AW’s
261 Probansky AZ1 69 QA
262 Quesada AD2 67 Power Plants
263 Quinones AT1 61 AT’s
264 Ramey AT3 66 Corrosion Shop
265 Ramirez PN3 39 Personnel
266 Randolph AT3 28, 53 Crew 7 Safety Natops
267 Rash AT3 70 AIMD
268 Reynolds AE1 24 Crew 5
269 Reynolds MSSN 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
270 Robinson AKAN 57 Material Control
271 Roper IS2 50 AIO
272 Rovreit AT3 24, 61 Crew 5 AT’s
273 Rowell AE2 70 AIMD
274 Ruleau AME1 68 PR/AME Shop
275 Russ AO2 18, 58 Crew 2 Tool Room
276 Salcido AMH1 28, 59, 69 Crew 7 FE QA
277 Salter AZ2 55 Maint Control
278 Saramo DK2 40
279 Schiele AW3 36, 48/49 Crew 11 AW’s
280 Schmies YNSN 38 Administration Operations
281 Schneider AT3 61 AT’s
282 Schneider AMSAN 66 Corrosion Shop
283 Schraven ADAN 16, 59 Crew 1 FE
284 Seedorf HM2 43 Medical
285 Sevier AT3 61 AT’s
286 Shaffer AT2 70 AIMD
287 Shaw AO2 64/65 Ordnance Shop
288 Sims AW2 48/49 AW’s
289 Sims YN2 38 Administration
290 Singletary AMS1
291 Slone PH3 50 AIO
292 Smith AT2 70 AIMD
293 Snyder AN 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
294 Souls AZ2 69 QA
295 Staley ADAN 58 Tool Room
296 Stamey YN2 38 Administration
297 Stewart AD1
298 Stoddard AW1 48/49 AW’s
299 Stone AS2 62 Line Shop
300 Stroud AT3 70 AIMD
301 Sumerall AO2 26, 64/65 Crew 6 Ordnance Shop
302 Swanson DP1 52 COMM/CMS
303 Takase PN1 39 Personnel
304 Talamoa AE2 60 AE’s
305 Terwilliger AW3 30, 48/49 Crew 8 AW’s
306 Thoemmes AMSAN
307 Thompson AT3 32, 61 Crew 9 AT’s
308 Thompson AT3
309 Thompson AO1 69 QA
310 Towk AOAN 20, 64/65 Crew 3 Ordnance Shop
311 Trimble AW1 47, 48/49 Operations Tactics AW’s
312 Tuggle AMEAN 68 PR/AME Shop
313 Uter AK2 57 Material Control
314 Vanvalkenburgh PC3 42 PC
315 Vaughn AMH2 26, 53, 59 Crew 6 FE Safety Natops
316 Villa AT3 30 Crew 8
317 Wallace AWAN 24, 48/49 Crew 5 AW’s
318 Wareham ATAN 61 AT’s
319 Wareham AW1 22, 48/49 Crew 4 AW’s
320 Warren ATAN 26 Crew 6
321 Warringer AWAN 34 Crew 10
322 Watson AMS3 70 AIMD
323 Wilkins MS3 44/45 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
324 Williams AD2 67 Power Plants
325 Wilson AMS1 63 Airframes
326 Wingate AW2 36, 48/49 Crew 11 AW’s
327 Winget AMSAN 63 Airframes
328 Winslow YN3 38 Administration Operations
329 Wiseman MS1 Coffee Mess / First Lieutenant
330 Wood AT2 61 AT’s
331 Wren AE3 70 AIMD
332 Wynn AWAN 48/49 AW’s
333 Yarrington AT1 53 Safety Natops
334 Zavodny AO1 30, 64/65 Crew 8 Ordnance Shop
335 Zuniga AT3 61, 70 AT’s AIMD

JMSDF Detachment visits Kaneohe Bay

LT Jan R. Krsak
Public Affairs Officer
VP-4 Kaneohe Bay, HI

On Monday, September 21 2015, The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Detachment 50 from Patrol Squadron 5 arrived at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. JMSDF Patrol Squadron 5 is based in Naha Air Base on the island of Okinawa and currently flies the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Over a span of 4,500 miles, the squadron managed to bring two aircraft and full maintenance support. JMSDF will be working in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) for about three weeks aiming to foster international relations and cohesiveness between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

On Friday, September 25, the JMSDF conducted a local area familiarization flight with one of VP-4’s combat air crews. “I was impressed with their professionalism and crew cohesiveness. I was also fascinated by how well maintained and clean their aircraft was.” Said LT Jack Turner, a pilot assigned to VP-4.

The detachment is projected to conduct a torpedo exercise and joint coordinated operations with U.S. Navy ships and aircraft. The exercises designed to continuously contribute to honorable international relations between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

Japan navy

Patrol Squadron Four conducted a search and rescue mission September 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and good Samaritans aboard a fishing boat helped rescue a sailing vessel that was taking on water Wednesday, September 9th approximately 30 miles north of the island of Maui. At around 11:45 a.m., the 36-foot Honey Cutter enroute from Hawaii to San Diego sent a SOS message that stated the vessel had suffered a keel fracture and was taking on water.

The Coast Guard requested help last week from Patrol Squadron Four based in Kaneohe Bay and good Samaritans on board the Captain Kenneth, located approximately 40 miles from the Honey Cutter. The Navy’s P-3C Orion arrived on scene and quickly established communications with the distressed vessel. The crew remained overhead for several hours and coordinated the arrival of the Captain Kenneth to the scene. The efforts of the aircrew helped ensure a successful meet up and tow with the two boats. Were it not for the capabilities and training of the aircraft and crew, the distressed boat may have capsized into the ocean stranding the crew. The Honey Cutter crew said they were prepared to abandon ship and were manually dewatering the vessel. The Captain Kenneth arrived on scene and was able to start towing the Honey Cutter at around 11 p.m. No injuries have been reported.

-LT Krsak
Patrol Squadron Four PAO.

VP-4 P-3

VP-4 moving to NAS Whidbey Island, WA

Time for another chapter in the history of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4).  As reported in SeaPower magazine on July 17th 2015,  VP-4 will be transitioning to the P-8A and changing duty stations from MCAS Kaneohe Bay to NAS Whidbey Island.

Here is the link to the article on the SeaPaower web site: and the article itself.

Posted: July 17, 2015 12:07 PM

Navy Shift of Hawaii-Based Patrol Squadrons to Whidbey Island Set for 2016

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has set in motion its plan to shift its patrol squadrons based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to Whidbey Island, Wash., as they make the transition to the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is scheduled to change duty stations on Oct. 1, 2016, from Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. The squadron will go through transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A at NAS Jacksonville, Fla.

VP-4 will begin the transition as the last of six active-duty VP squadrons based at Jacksonville completes transition to the P-8A. VP-4 will join three VP squadrons at Whidbey Island and will be followed in succession by the other two VP squadrons based at Kaneohe Bay, VP-9 and VP-47.

The Navy’s strategic laydown plan calls for 12 active-duty VP squadrons and two Reserve VP squadrons divided between Jacksonville and Whidbey Island. When completed, it will end more than 80 years of permanent basing of patrol squadrons in Hawaii.

This move is a bit of a coming home for  VP-4 as it was our first duty station after being formed up at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Miramar, CA.  The squadron was first stationed at NAS Whidbey Island in the spring of 1948 and stayed there until our move to Naha, Okinawa in 1956.


Igniting the Spark: VP-4 participates in ‘Discover Your Future in Aviation’

Navy LT Julie Reichel
Patrol Squadron FOUR

VP-4 Discover your future in Aviation 2015Recently four pilots from Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) represented the United States Navy at the Pacific Aviation Museum’s sixth annual “Discover Your Future in Aviation.”

The purpose of this year’s “Discover Your Future in Aviation” was to expose young people to the thrills and joys of a career in aviation. For many people, the highlights of the event were the guest speakers, including Jessica Cox, the first licensed armless pilot; Rob Kelso, a former NASA flight director; and Lt. Col. Karen Fuller Brannen, the first female Marine F-18 pilot. In addition to the guest speakers the event also showcased a handful of both active and retired aircraft accompanied by their respective pilots and volunteers.

To help play their part in exposing young people to aviation, the pilots of VP-4 spent the afternoon in front of a bright yellow RC-3 “Seabee,” a post-World War II amphibious aircraft, and helped children climb in and out of the cockpit. Additionally, the pilots also took the time to pin “wings of gold” on the children’s chests.  Noting how knowledgeable some of the children were, many of the VP-4 pilots realized that this wasn’t their first exposure to aviation or aircraft.

Corbin Lewis, 11, knew enough about planes to finish one of the pilot’s sentences. When his mother, Nola, was asked where his fascination comes from, she replied “His whole life is flying. We take him to every air show we can find, we come to the museum a lot, and he even walks around the house in a flight suit.” Corbin Lewis is also the youngest person to ever request to volunteer at the Pacific Aviation Museum and dreams of one day becoming a military pilot.

Another visitor, 3-year-old Henry, hardly spoke a word that was not related to his toy planes or his pilot uncle. Looking at the yellow amphibious plane, he became so excited that he, uncharacteristically, was hardly able to speak. Watching Henry, as well as many other children, climb into the plane was like watching a person’s first taste of chocolate. The smile that transformed their faces and the excitement that shown from their eyes conveyed the beginning spark of passion that has captured aviators for more than 100 years.

The VP-4 pilots said they truly enjoyed their time at the “Discover Your Future in Aviation” event and they felt fortunate to play a part in exposing the thrills of aviation to so many young people.

“I really enjoyed introducing children to aviation,” said LTJG Branden Roy, a VP-4 pilot. “It was great to see how enthusiastic the kids felt about learning to fly and becoming pilots someday.”

LTJG Katie Medford-Davis agreed.  “It was great to represent VP-4 (in) the community and to see how many kids are excited about aviation today,” she said.

VP-4 Celebrates 50 Years as Skinny Dragons

By LT Trent M. Pietsch
VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

In 1965 Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) deployed to Iwakuni, Japan sporting a black Griffin patch but returned home with their current namesake the “Skinny Dragons.” Since that deployment, VP-4 has been carrying this unintentional nickname for 50 years.

A former VP-4 Skipper from 1966-1967, CAPT Charles (Chuck) Walker, USN, Ret. and a fellow officer who he flew with, CAPT Jerry Crumly, USN, Ret. were part of that 1965 deployment. Recently they reached out to their former squadron in regards to the current squadron patch. The history of the squadron patch is detailed both on the VP-4 command website and on placards hung in squadron spaces in Kaneohe Bay, HI. These placards only cover some of the history behind the evolution of VP-4’s squadron patch and the nickname “Skinny Dragons.”

By 1963-64, the decision was made to bring squadrons based overseas back to the United States because the Department of the Navy knew they would all eventually transition from P-5M/P-2V to P-3A’s so seaplanes went to San Diego and land based planes (VP-4) went to Barbers Point, Hawaii. A light blue patch with a skinny black Griffin had recently won a vote by squadron members to replace the previous patch of Poseidon riding a “Truculent Turtle,” as this patch was deemed not appropriate for P-3As. The skinny black Griffin, featured in front of a white four was homage to the patch before the Truculent Turtle patch which featured an orange Griffin. Although as with any vote there was dissention and some squadron members referred to the skinny black figure as an “intestinal virus.”

In March 1965 VP-4 deployed to Iwakuni sporting their black Griffin patch. On arrival, 5 crews were sent to Sangley, Phillipines for briefings to go to Saigon, Vietnam as a detachment, and 7 crews remained in Iwakuni.

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (left) and Komiko (right).

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (left) and Komiko (right).

CAPT Walker described how a waitress named Samiko changed the history of VP-4 forever. From the fateful conversation which led to the confusion: “As I remember we had the logo/patch on display but pretty and popular waitress Samiko asked a pilot what the black image on the patch was (it was intended to be a Griffin). Samiko said in reply, ‘Huh, don’t look like Griffin to me, look more like Skinny Dragon.’ The story circulated and before it could be corrected to be a Griffin, every one called it a Dragon. As you know Dragons are very popular in Japan.”


All previous VP-4 squadron patches and Capt. Walker’s son’s designed patch on top of the 1967 Cruise Book.

All previous VP-4 squadron patches and Capt. Walker’s son’s designed patch on top of the 1967 Cruise Book.

CAPT Walker’s son, now 64 years old, designed a patch during that deployment which contained all of the previous four squadron patches on a four leaf clover. This patch is extremely rare and contains the first two squadron patches. These patches aren’t maintained in any history of VP-4. Clockwise the patches are a four leaf clover (~1928-~1935), number four with orange Griffin (~1935-1947), Truculent Turtle with Poseidon (1947-1964), and four with black Griffin/Dragon (1964-1993).



CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (right) and Komiko (left).

CAPT Walker, USN, ret. with O Club waitresses Samiko (right) and Komiko (left).

CAPT Walker served as CO in VP-4 from December 1966-November 1967. He became a Captain 1969 when he reported to Naval War College. He now lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is an active member of the VP-4 Association and Maritime Patrol Association. CAPT Crumly flew as CAPT Walker’s copilot when they were in VP-4 together. CAPT Crumly retired following PG school and tours in VP-56, overseas joint staff, and a command in the Naval Air Training Command.


Squadron Awards

This gallery contains 2 photos.

A discussion on Facebook made me think:   What awards has VP-4 gotten throughout the years, and if VP-4 was a person, what would the Medals or Ribbons look like. Well, after search through the information US NAVY AWARDS (the Chief … Continue reading

Patrol Squadron FOUR Change of Command 2015

LT Trent Pietsch
VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

002 VP-4 CoC 6-4-15Commander Jonathan E. Spore relieved Commander Eric M. Hanks as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on June 4, 2015. The ceremony was held at Hangar 104 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Commander Hanks, originally from Jennings, Louisiana, detached U.S. Africa Command in June 2013 to report for duty as Executive Officer with the “Skinny Dragons” of Patrol Squadron FOUR. On June 18, 2014, Commander Hanks became their 65th Commanding Officer.

The Change of Command ceremony culminated a highly successful tour for Hanks. Hanks led the Skinny Dragons through an arduous and challenging multi-site, seven-month deployment covering much of the EUCOM and AFRICOM AORs. Under his command, Patrol Squadron FOUR continued its tradition of excellence surpassing 265,000 hours of mishap-free flying, spanning 42 years of operations. Patrol Squadron FOUR and Hanks were recognized for their mission accomplishment at the national level. Commander Hanks will continue his career in Washington D.C. at the National War College. He and his family are excited at the prospect of continuing their journey together as a part of the Navy. Commander Hanks had this to say about serving as Skipper of VP-4, “This tour has been outstanding in many ways. The Sailors of VP-4 haven’t missed a beat from the time I stepped in to be their Commanding Officer before deployment. We’ve accomplished above and beyond what was required and all credit should go to their workmanship and professionalism.”
Commander Spore reported to VP-4 in June 2014 as the Executive Officer. A native of Chantilly, Virginia, he graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1997. His previous flying tours include assignments in VP-5 as a Junior Officer, VP-30 and a Department Head in VP-16. Commander Spore’s other assignments include a tour on the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Flag Lieutenant for Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic, and most recently in the Pentagon, serving on the Navy Staff and on the Joint Staff.

Commander Spore lives in Kailua with his wife Jennifer and their three children, Mitchell, Landon, and Marian. When asked about becoming the newest Skinny Dragon Skipper, Commander Spore commented, “With the last home cycle in Hawaii and final P-3C deployment for the Skinny Dragons before moving to Whidbey Island and transitioning to the P-8A, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this great squadron through the challenges ahead. VP-4 has always been a leader in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”

Relieving Commander Spore as Executive Officer is Commander Christopher E. Smith. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1998. His most recent assignment was in support of the Director of Intelligence at Cruise Missile Support Activity, Pacific. Commander Smith is married to Sarah and they have four children, Wyatt, Owen, Evan, and Elizabeth.

001 VP-4 CoC 6-4-15

We Walked Away

Reference Only

Reference Only

Sometime in the summer of 1959 I flew on one of our assigned missions as a member of a U.S. Navy Patrol Plane aircrew. Our mission was to locate and tag shipping traffic in or around the East China Sea. To tag was to identify the ship, note its deck cargo, take its picture, identify the rigging such as masts, kingposts, funnels (smokestacks), and note the architecture of the deck structure. Our home base was at the U.S. Air Force base, Naha, Okinawa. Just before dawn, that morning, we took off from Naha, and were to return that evening. Some of our flights terminated in places such as Japan, Luzon, Taiwan, or other locations. On this one, we were to return to Naha.

We flew north, that day, up to southern Japan, then over to the Yellow Sea, and back down the China coast to Okinawa. The trip took ten hours. I don’t recall anything special about the patrol itself. Our problem started when we arrived back at Naha. At that time, we were at the point of starting to use our fuel reserve. That was a term used to indicate that we had about two and one half hours of flying time left before we ran out completely. There was absolutely no reason to worry, until we were told by Naha Control Tower that the field had just been closed because of dense fog and inclement weather. Naha told us to go up to Kadena Air Force base, which was about twenty miles north of Naha. We called Kadena on our radio and asked for landing instructions. Kadena said we’d better hurry because their field was becoming socked in also. It took only about five minutes to get to Kadena, then they informed us that their field had just closed, We called Naha again to see if there was any change. Naha told us that the weather had let up a little. They said they were moving the GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) unit to the other end of the field, and that they could probably bring us in when it was moved. Naha had us circle for a few minutes while they moved the GCA unit.

In the meantime, we informed both Kadena and Naha that we were just beginning to use our fuel reserve. The nearest other place to land, in the entire Pacific Ocean and East China Sea was in southern Japan. That trip would take us two and one half hours. So, it was a tossup whether or not we could make it there. If we did not land soon, the pilot said we would probably have to ditch at sea. Naha then told us they had successfully moved the GCA unit, and that they were at borderline landing conditions. They started bringing us in. Before we even got close, Naha informed us they had, again, gone below the GCA minimums for landing. We could not land there. We were just about ready to attempt to make the trip to Japan, although we probably would not have made it, when Kadena called us and said we could land there. We headed north again, and Kadena Ground Control started bringing us in for landing. We were in heavy fog, and could not see anything. Listening to the UHF radio, I could hear the GCA person bringing us in. If you have ever heard one talking, you will think he was vaccinated with a phonograph needle. During the final few minutes, you are talked down with constant, almost uninterrupted dialogue. It sounds something like, “You are now on the glide path, keep your nose up. You are drifting left, turn right two degrees. Your heading is proper, you are fifty feet high, bring it down. You are now on proper heading and glide slope. Keep it there. You are now three miles from the end of the runway, doing well. Your nose just went high, bring it down. You are two miles from touchdown. You’re drifting right. Bring it back. You . . . etc. etc.” The directions and corrections keep coming and coming.


Finally, at some point, the controller tells you that you are over the end of the runway, and that you should be able to see it. Well when he told us that, we couldn’t see anything. For what seemed like minutes, but was probably only seconds, we still failed to see anything. I was thinking we would be colliding with something very soon. Soon the pilot said to the copilot, “I don’t see the damn runway, do you? The copilot said, “I don’t see it either” The controller said that we had to see it by then. Suddenly the pilot said, “I see it!” We were all relieved, whew! But the copilot said, “That’s not the runway, that’s a taxiway.” Pilot said, “Let’s land on it anyhow. If we crash, we might survive.” I think everyone in the crew was happy with that decision. In a few seconds I could feel the touchdown. We still couldn’t see too well, but could determine that it was very narrow and bumpy. We had a roller coaster ride while the propellers were thrown into reverse pitch to slow us down. We still couldn’t see very far ahead, but finally we slowed enough to perform a normal taxi down to the parking area. Everyone in the crew thanked the pilots for the wonderful job of bringing us in. There is an old saying in military aviation. It goes, “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.” We walked away. That was one of the best landings I ever experienced.


Mao Tse Tung’s Airspace

YD-1In March of 1959, I was on my second mission as a Combat Aircrewman in a large U.S. Navy patrol aircraft. I, and ten other men comprised the crew. I had been an aircrewman in a previous squadron of smaller aircraft, and had many hundreds of hours as a search-radar operator, along with several other aircrew jobs. My first mission with the new squadron was uneventful, so much so, that I don’t recall anything in particular about it. On this day’s mission I was to serve as radar operator, the long-range eyes for the entire flight crew. Our mission was to leave our home base at Naha, Okinawa, patrol an area of the East China Sea up toward Japan, then back down past Okinawa, and through the Formosa Straits to southern Taiwan. The mission started off in an ominous manner, however, because the navigator told me as he sat down at his table beside my position, that I was not to talk to the pilot about anything, without going through him first. This was not standard procedure, but I could not argue with him, as he was a Lieutenant Junior Grade, and I was a mere first class petty officer. I had bad feelings about that deal, even before we left the ground.

Our leg up to Japan was routine. We scoured the seas looking for, and plotting the presence of shipping traffic. The radar usually picked up the ships at a range of one hundred miles or more, long before anyone could see them. Then the radar operator would vector the pilot toward the ship in question so we could take pictures, record data about deck cargo, plot the position, speed, etc. On this mission, the only way I could talk to the pilot, without going through the navigator, was if he contacted me first. Occasionally, the navigator would ask me for a “radar fix” to some prominent point of land, so he could cross-check his dead reckoning navigation, or his skills at using a device called LORAN. Sometimes he would use a sextant to observe the stars through a plexiglass dome above our heads. We finished our northbound leg, and headed south down past Okinawa, and on to Taiwan. After about nine hours of flight time, we entered the Formosa Straits, a channel separating Taiwan from mainland China. Scattered all along the China coast were very prominent rock formations that presented very distinct radar presentations. If you have a map of the coast, and the radar is functioning, you get an absolute fix on your location.

About half way down the straits, the navigator asked me for a fix to “point Chevrolet”. Those prominent rock formations were called, by our American crews, by the names of American automobiles. There were Oldsmobile, Ford, Plymouth, etc. Each had its own unique radar presentation which exactly matched the visual presentation on the navigation charts. I maneuvered the radar bearing cursor around to Chevrolet, and ran the range strobe out to its distance. Then I told the navigator the range and bearing to “point Chevrolet”. He grabbed his dividers and compass and applied them to his big navigation chart, then with an air of superiority, gave me a supercilious look of disbelief and disdain. He was too good a navigator, in his mind, to believe my precise location, which did not agree with his superior navigation. At that time we were too far from any land to see anything, and we had also encountered thick fog. We were flying in the “soup”, as aviators like to say. We were supposed to be heading almost due south through the straits, but I could see we were drifting west toward the China coast. There was no immediate worry, however.

We were bound by international rules to observe the twelve-mile limit on approaches to China, as well as other countries in the area. As we continued on through the straits, five or ten minutes passed, and the navigator asked me for a fix to “point Plymouth”. I obtained that fix, and reported it to him. He plotted it on his chart and just shook his head. I looked very determined back at him, and he said, “You’re wrong. We’re sixty miles from there.” He showed me where he thought we were. A person who had no experience at all could see by the radar that we were not located where he said we were. But he could not see the radar scope from his position. Well, there was still no immediate concern, as we were still about twenty miles from the China coast. We were still in dense fog, otherwise the pilot would have seen the coast. But, I could not tell him, due to my orders from the navigator. We flew on some more, and when we were about to cross the twelve-mile limit, I told the navigator that we were about to cross. He just shook his head, feeling sorry for that poor incompetent radar operator.

A few more minutes went by, and I was getting scared. China would shoot us down if we got too close. As we approached the three-mile limit, still in dense fog, I shouted to the navigator, “We’re three miles from the coast. We’d better tell the pilot to turn away.” Again, he ignored me. About that time, I panicked. I jumped up and told the navigator, “Sir, look at this radar scope. If you don’t tell the pilot to turn, I’m going to bail out.” The navigator casually got up, slowly stepped to the scope, and looked. Then he jumped back to his seat and hastily called the pilot on the intercom. He tried to say in a calm voice, “Pilot from Navigator. Sir, there seems to be a controversy between the radar operator and myself. Please turn ninety degrees to port for a while.” The pilot immediately turned away from the coast. By the time we got turned away, we had flown one half mile inland into Red China. Even then, the fog was too thick for the pilot to know we had overflown the mainland.

It was only about thirty seconds after our turn that our radio operator picked up a message for us directly from the Pentagon Building, relayed via San Francisco, Honolulu, and Iwakuni, Japan. The radio operator told the pilot that we had an urgent encrypted message from Naval Headquarters at the Pentagon. The pilot said, “Well, decrypt it and read it to me.” The pilot still did not know of our close call. We were still in the fog. The radio operator decrypted the message, then read it to the pilot. It said, “The United States of America has just received its one hundred and fifty-first serious warning for violation of Chinese Communist airspace. You violated that airspace. China informs us that you would have been shot down in another thirty seconds, if you had not veered away.” Well, you can’t believe how irked the pilot was, at the radar operator. He came back over the intercom and asked me, “Radar, what in the hell is the matter with you? I can’t believe you didn’t see the Chinese coast on the radar. I’m going to have your butt. Why in God’s name didn’t you tell me?” He also used a lot of cuss words, vernaculars, etc., and I couldn’t blame him a bit.

I was glad to tell the pilot about my orders from the navigator, and that I had tried to convince him of our situation for more than thirty minutes. The pilot came back on the intercom with, “Oh, I see now. Radar, I’m sorry I jumped all over you. I understand your dilemma.” I said, “Thank you sir.” The pilot then added, “Radar, whenever you’re flying with me, you have my permission to talk to me anytime, anyplace, for any reason, regardless of anything anyone else says. Do you understand?” I told him I did. That was good, because we stayed together as a crew most of the time. He reestablished my faith in our ability to function properly. Then the pilot said, “Navigator, I’ll see you in my quarters immediately after we land. Do you understand?” The navigator meekly said, “Aye aye, sir.” We landed at our destination, Tainan, a small Chinese Nationalist Airbase in southern Taiwan. As most of the crew was caring for our aircraft, we could see the navigator following the pilot to his quarters. Of course I do not know what the pilot, a Lieutenant Commander, had to say to the navigator, but I can make a good guess. That navigator stayed with our crew for quite a while longer, and he never again caused me any trouble, or doubted any of my radar observations.


Ronald Moore

The Mountain Looms

P-2 NeptuneSometime during the summer of 1959 I was on one of our missions as a Combat Aircrewman in a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft patrolling the East China Sea. Our mission, that day, was to depart our home base at Naha, Okinawa, patrol thousands of square miles of ocean to plot shipping traffic, and land at Tainan, Taiwan. After ten hours of patrol, we were approaching our destination of Tainan. About an hour before, we had encountered scattered clouds, and as we got within approximately seventy-five miles of our destination, we flew into broken clouds. Visibility was very poor, as we broke out of the cloud cover only occasionally. Our pilot called Tainan Approach Control for a radar guided approach to the Chinese Nationalist airbase at Tainan. The person who responded to us was a Chinese controller who spoke broken English. This was not uncommon, and usually caused no problems. This time, it was different, however. The controller then asked us to shut down our radar as it interfered with his. I, as radar operator, did not like that, but it couldn’t be helped. We were then flying blind with our only eyes being many miles away at the control site.

The Chinese controller first told us to transmit a certain code on our IFF, which was a means of identifying certain aircraft on his radar scope. He then told us to turn left and transmit a different code. After a few seconds, the controller said he had our location spotted. He then told us to descend from twenty-five hundred feet to fifteen hundred feet, and take a heading of 180 degrees. We were in dense cloud cover as we descended, and were still in it when we got there. The controller let us fly 180 degrees for a few minutes, then told us to turn left to 095 degrees. We were to fly that heading for ten minutes, at which time he would give us a new heading. We had flown the heading about five minutes, breaking out of the cloud cover once or twice for a few seconds. We had another five minutes to fly, when we broke out of the cloud cover again. We were headed directly for a collision with a five thousand-foot mountain which was about one quarter mile ahead. I was looking through the cockpit, and could see the mountain directly ahead, It looked like we couldn’t possibly miss it. The pilot turned the aircraft violently to the left, as we pulled five Gs, just barely missing some rocks and trees. It’s really difficult to say how close we got, but it was close enough to see individual leaves on the trees. Then we were back in the clouds again.

As we pulled out of our close call, the pilot called Tainan Approach Control, told them of our mishap, and asked for an American controller to bring us in. Quickly, an American speaking controller took over, and began locating us. He had us send our code over the IFF again, three times, with course changes in between. The new controller said he had us located, which was a spot about fifty-five miles from where the Chinese controller said we were. Our pilot asked him if he was sure, because he said, “We can’t afford another close call with a five thousand-foot mountain.” The American controller assured us that he had us located. Indeed he did, because he brought us into the control of GCA, which is Ground Controlled Approach, who brought us in for a successful landing under the adverse visual conditions.





Radar ScreenIn October 1959 I was the radar operator in a U.S. Navy Patrol Plane aircrew, consisting of myself and ten other souls.  We were performing a routine, night patrol in the East China Sea.  Our location was approximately

200 miles north of Taipei, Taiwan, and 150 miles east of the China coast. We were flying in scattered clouds at an altitude of 2500 feet with broken clouds below. The time was a few minutes before midnight. We had been flying for two to three uneventful hours when we were “intercepted”. Interception was a term used when we were closely approached by aircraft from an unfriendly or unidentified source. Interceptions were not frequent, nor were they rare either. Within the realm of general   knowledge, this was the first incident of a nighttime interception. Whenever an interception occurred, we were required to make immediate notifications to several of our military superiors via radio communications.


We had endured many minutes of humdrum silence punching holes in the sky when the incident started. The pilot broke the silence when he casually asked the copilot “Did you see that light?”. The copilot responded “What light?”. “It just passed across the bow from left to right” said the pilot. “No, I didn’t see any light” said the copilot. A minute more of silence passed, when the copilot stated “I see a light.  It’s at one o’clock right now.” The pilot responded “I see it also.”  The light then disappeared into some clouds.


I had been constantly monitoring radar and had not seen anything unusual until the copilot located the light at one o’clock.  At that time, I picked up a small radar blip at one o’clock at a distance of eight miles from our aircraft.  From that time until the end of this incident I had constant radar contact with this item.


As the contact had disappeared into the clouds at the one o’clock position, visual contact was lost, but I still had radar contact.  I kept telling the crew exactly where it was at all times.  It flew from one o’clock to two o’clock to three o’clock, etc. When it reached a position of five o’clock, it broke out of the cloud cover and was spotted by our aft observer. The observer said “I see the light at five o’clock.”  Several other crew members also spotted it at that time. It was at this time that our pilot decided that we did have an interception.  He ordered our radio operator to send the appropriate messages; then we took some evasive actions.


We descended deep into the cloud cover to an altitude of 200 feet and increased our speed from 200 knots to 325 knots.  The contact followed us down and continued to circle. As we were in dense broken clouds, we emerged only occasionally.  Whenever we broke out, the contact would be visually located by various members of the crew exactly where the radar located it. There was never a disparity between the radar and the visual sightings. The contact was flying complete circles around us in a time of 30 seconds while maintaining a distance of eight miles.  This calculates to a speed of about 6000 miles per hour.


Immediately upon the realization that we had been intercepted, we headed south toward Taipei. The contact continued to circle us while maintaining an eight-mile distance. The complete encirclements continued to take 30 seconds. Visual sightings and radar locations continued to reinforce each other.  After 20 minutes of attempted evasion, we were about 50 miles from Taiwan. At that time our radar picked up a squadron of Chinese Nationalist F-86 Sabre-jet fighters that had been dispatched to our aid. I could see the F-86s and the unknown contact all on the radar scope. As the F-86s approached us to within 10 miles, the unknown contact veered off and headed toward the China coast. The F-86s apparently had some kind of awareness of the contact, as they attempted to follow, but it was hopeless. I had radar contact with the unknown target for only a couple more sweeps.  The contact’s departure speed was calculated at an incredible 25,000 miles per hour. It is stressed that during this incident, every member of the crew saw this light numerous times, and that every visual sighting agreed with the radar location.


That was the end of the incident except that on the following day, the Pilot, the Navigator and I had to meet with the Admiral’s staff aboard his flagship, be questioned, and be talked into the concept that we had experienced nothing at all.


Ronald C. Moore ATC USN (Ret.)