- 28 April 1993.
Maritime Patrol FRS Consolidation on Track
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's Maritime Patrol (VP) community is
well on track toward restructuring to meet military drawdown and
downsizing objectives as part of the Department of Defense Base
Realignment and Closure initiative closing Naval Air Station
Moffett Field, Calif.
Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30), the Atlantic Fleet P-3 Fleet
Replacement Squadron (FRS), has been consolidating with its Pacific
Fleet sister squadron, VP-31, since December 1991. VP-31 is due to
disestablish in November 1993 and VP-30 will assume the full
responsibility for fleet replacement training for the maritime
Jacksonville, Fla., VP-30's home since 1975, will become the
single VP FRS site by October 1993. VP-30 currently trains U.S.
Navy pilots, naval flight officers, airborne systems specialists
and ground maintenance personnel in the operation of the P-3 Orion
aircraft. In addition, the squadron provides training for foreign
maritime patrol communities transitioning to the P-3.
"The maritime patrol force has taken the initiative in FRS
consolidation and it will save millions in manpower and operating
costs while achieving efficiency and maintaining quality training,"
said CAPT E. L. Morris Jr., commanding officer, VP-30.
As of January 1992, VP-30 was assigned 690 instructors, ground
maintenance and administrative personnel, as well as 18 P-3 Orion
aircraft. Over the past 15 months, the number of staff personnel
has grown rapidly and will eventually reach a manning level of
approximately 1050 in August 1993. Upon consolidation, VP-30 will
be maintaining about 32 P-3's required to train the increased
number of replacement personnel to meet fleet needs.
To accommodate the increasing number of personnel, staff and
aircraft, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC II) funding has been
allocated for construction of a new training facility, hangar, ramp
and associated support projects at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
A key benefit of VP consolidation is a significant savings for
the Department of the Navy. "By achieving a single site VP FRS,
the Navy will save approximately 19.2 million dollars a year, while
continuing to provide the fleet with the same high quality
instruction that two FRS's produced," explained Morris.
The increased number of staff and replacement personnel will
also benefit the Jacksonville community. Based on data provided by
Professor Lou Woods, a University of North Florida economist, the
consolidation will produce nearly 300 new jobs and 4 million
dollars in revenues for the surrounding community.
As part of the consolidation and in response to a reduced crew
manning factor in fleet squadrons, the VP community has developed
an enhanced training syllabus intended to increase the quality of
fleet replacement training and focus on the significant roles of
maritime patrol forces supporting the Navy's "...From the Sea"
philosophy. The new syllabus began on an interim basis in February
1993. The major focus continues to be providing the fleet with
safe, standardized and highly qualified replacement personnel.
Story by VP-30 Public Affairs
- 12 May 1993.
Navy Selects First Woman to Serve in Combat Air Squadron
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy has selected its first woman
to serve in a combat air squadron.
LCDR Kathryn P. Hire, a Naval Reservist currently assigned to
Anti-Submarine Warfare Operational Control Center, Naval Air
Reserve Jacksonville, Fla., has been selected to be assigned to
Patrol Squadron 62 (VP-62), a maritime patrol squadron that
performs anti-submarine and open ocean surveillance, battle group
support, drug interdiction and other combat missions.
"LCDR Hire was selected because she is a superb naval
officer," said RADM Thomas F. Hall, commander of the Naval Reserve
Force, "and she has the record and flight experience to support her
Hire was selected by a board of senior pilots and naval flight
officers (NFOs). She became eligible for a combat air squadron
assignment April 28, when Secretary of Defense Les Aspin directed
the armed services to implement changes regarding the future roles
of women in the military, including permitting women to compete for
assignments in aircraft engaged in combat missions.
The 1981 Naval Academy graduate will join VP-62 later this
month as an NFO, flying the Lockheed Orion P-3C Update III, the
Navy's newest maritime patrol aircraft.
As a civilian, Hire is employed by Lockheed Space Operations
Company at the Kennedy Space Center, where she serves as space
shuttle test project engineer (TPE). As a TPE, she is a member of
the launch control team and is responsible for troubleshooting,
testing and checking space shuttle systems. Hire has been involved
in approximately 30 space shuttle missions and has accumulated more
than 2,100 flight hours.
Story by COMNAVRESFOR Public Affairs
- 24 June 1993.
VP-49 Breaks New Ground During BALTOPS '93
NAS KEFLAVIK, Iceland (NNS) -- As part of exercise BALTOPS '93, the
"World Famous Woodpeckers" of Patrol Squadron 49 (VP-49) have been
breaking new ground by supporting goodwill missions to the three
newly independent Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and
BALTOPS is a U.S. invitational multinational exercise that has
been conducted annually for more than 20 years. BALTOPS '93
differs from past years in that naval forces and observers from
Russia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Finland are
participating alongside naval forces from Denmark, Norway, the
Netherlands, Germany and the United States.
"It's been a great experience and certainly an adventure.
Patrol Squadron 49 has transcended geopolitical boundaries in place
since World War II," said LCDR Pat Mills, Officer-in-Charge for the
squadron's participation in BALTOPS '93. LCDR Mills was on board
the first front-line U.S. military aircraft in recent history to
land in each of the three Baltic countries.
During the first mission scheduled for the "Woodpeckers," the
squadron piloted two P-3 Orion aircraft to the Netherlands,
Finland, Estonia and Latvia, and transported distinguished visitors
to Denmark, enabling them to ride U.S. and NATO ships for the at-
sea phase of the exercise.
"Flying in a U.S. military aircraft seemed to be an emotional
experience for several of the guests," said LCDR Mills. "It was
exciting flying with and hosting people who used to be part of the
Another P-3 was flown to Lithuania for a static display. The
crew was met by U.S. Ambassador Darryl Johnson, his wife, and
Commodore Batluksa, of the Lithuanian navy.
"If anyone would have told me 10 years ago I would be enjoying
liberty in Lithuania, I would have said they were crazy, said LCDR
Jim Denmark. "The world has changed a great deal for the better in
a very short time. These are exciting times for the P-3
For some sailors, the squadron's participation in BALTOPS '93
was an educational experience. "This was the first time that I had
been on a mission like this," explained Aviation Electrician's Mate
3rd Class Spencer Howell. "The Latvians and Estonians seemed very
interested in our aircraft and our gear -- they listened to every
word as we demonstrated the use of survival gear. They had many
questions and we all exchanged stickers and patches."
"In my 14 years in the Navy I have had the opportunity to
travel to many countries, but I've never seen anything like this
before," said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Mark Maverty.
"I hope that we continue to do this kind of thing so that more
people get to experience the cultures which have been restricted to
us. It was worthwhile and I'd like to go back someday."
The experience of traveling to a different country also gave
some crew members a greater appreciation of the United States.
According to LTJG Paul Hennigan, "The abundance of all that we have
is taken for granted by many Americans. What our country offers is
not always available somewhere else." He continued, "Even though
there was a language barrier, I'll always remember the hospitality
extended to us."
According to CDR Mark Anthony, VP-49's Commanding Officer, the
exercise is "a once in a lifetime opportunity for the squadron and
its aircrews. BALTOPS '93 clearly demonstrates the importance of
the global presence of maritime patrol and the United States Navy."
Story by Iceland Defense Force Public Affairs
- 7 July 1993.
Navy Patrol Squadron Plays Key Role in War Against Drugs
ROOSEVELT ROADS, Puerto Rico (NNS) -- To the Navy aircrews that fly
daily 10-hour patrols from Puerto Rico and other locations
throughout the Caribbean Sea, the name of the game is "D&M" --
detection and monitoring.
Day and night, seven days a week, Navy P-3 Orion maritime
patrol aircraft crisscross huge sections of open ocean in search of
boats, ships and aircraft suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics.
"Think of the area between South America and the United States
as a superhighway," explained CDR Duane Phillips, commanding
officer of Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10). "If military and federal
law enforcement assets weren't here on the job, that highway would
be bumper to bumper with boats and aircraft, all heading north and
all loaded with drugs bound for the United States."
VP-10 is currently on a six-month deployment to Puerto Rico
from its homebase at Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine. Since
the squadron's arrival in Puerto Rico in mid-January, VP-10 has
helped locate several dozen suspected drug runners. As a result of
the squadron's D&M operations, the Coast Guard and other federal
law enforcement agencies have made a significant number of busts.
More than 100 tons of illegal drugs worth an estimated $6 billion
have been seized and destroyed over the past year as a direct
result of DoD's anti-drug trafficking operations in the Caribbean
VP-10's presence in Puerto Rico represents the first time an
entire Navy patrol squadron has made a full six-month deployment in
support of anti-drug smuggling operations.
For nearly four decades Navy patrol squadrons regularly
deployed to overseas bases in countries such as Iceland, Spain,
Italy and Japan, where their primary mission was to conduct anti-
submarine warfare (ASW) operations using an array of electronic,
magnetic and acoustic sensors to locate and track submarines.
Today, some of the same technology is being used in the
Caribbean to detect and monitor a wide range of surface shipping
and aircraft suspected of drug smuggling.
"We're flying longer and harder today than when we used to
strictly fly ASW operations," said CDR Phillips. VP-10's eleven
aircrews, for instance, have a commitment to fly daily operations
conducting D&M operations throughout the Caribbean. This steady
commitment means that aircrews, support and maintenance personnel
are experiencing an operating tempo normally seen only during
VP-10 sailors say they're proud to be a part of this effort.
"I'm happy to be playing a role in the fight against drugs," said
Chief Petty Officer John Lipofsky. "Around-the-clock surveillance
is making the drug trade less profitable and more risky. That's
what our mission here in the Caribbean is all about."
For the Navy's P-3 community, the D&M mission represents a
return to a larger emphasis on one of its traditional missions --
The modern P-3 is a direct descendent of the PBY-Catalinas,
the renowned flying boats that were used in World War II to locate
and track enemy ships and submarines. Like P-3's flying D&M in the
Caribbean, the PBY's relied heavily on visual sightings by lookouts
to find their prey.
"P-3's have always been a multi-mission platform," said CDR
Phillips. "Even when we were primarily doing ASW, we did a lot of
surface surveillance. We're just spending more time doing it today
with the D&M mission."
D&M, however, is far from being the only mission performed by
VP-10 in the Caribbean. The squadron's P-3's often work with U.S.
and other NATO ships to maintain and hone their ASW proficiency.
P-3's also provide "over the horizon" targeting for shipboard
cruise missile firing exercises.
But the D&M mission is dominating VP-10's current deployment.
"It's a big change from just a few years ago," said VP-10's CDR
Koon, who headed up one of the first P-3 detachments assigned to
the D&M mission in Puerto Rico back in 1989. "When we first came
here four years ago, we operated out of the back end of a van with
only two airplanes, two crews and maybe 40 people."
VP-10 now occupies half of the hangar at Naval Station
Roosevelt Roads. The squadron's 200-plus maintenance department
works three shifts around the clock to ensure the P-3's are ready
when they're needed.
Puerto Rico has become the busy hub of extensive P-3 D&M
operations throughout the Caribbean. And until sometime in mid-
summer, the island will be home to Patrol Squadron 10, a Navy
command that is at the forefront of the nation's war on drugs.
Story by NAS Brunswick Public Affairs
- 8 September 1993.
VP-30 Becomes Navy's Largest Aviation Squadron
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.,
will soon be home to the largest aviation squadron in the Navy.
NAS Jacksonville's Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30) will merge with
Patrol Squadron 31 (VP-31), based at Moffett Field, Calif., Sept.
9. The consolidation, a result of the military's downsizing, will
enable the Navy to train all of its P-3 aircrews in Jacksonville,
eliminating the need to operate a training squadron on each coast.
Story by NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs
- 29 December 1993.
Behind-Scenes, Navy Aviators Keep Eye on Embargo Cheaters
NAS SIGONELLA, Sicily -- While the media spotlight continues to
focus on the humanitarian airdrops over Bosnia, another group of
U.S. aviators has been working in relative obscurity in support of
U.N. policy in the Balkans.
Navy aircrews from Sigonella have flown missions day and night
for more than a year as part of Operation Sharp Guard, a Naval
embargo imposed by the United Nations against Serbian-led
"We keep an eye on everything in general and pass information
on to the surface ships who do the boarding and direct monitoring,"
LT Chris Ramsden said.
Ramsden is a member of Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26), the U.S.
maritime patrol unit currently participating with similar units
from eight other NATO nations in Sharp Guard.
Now about halfway through a six-month deployment to Sigonella,
Sicily, from their home base at Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine,
VP-26 aircrews have flown more than 100 Sharp Guard sorties.