By Lt.j.g. Chris Smith, Screaming Eagles reporter
Early last December, the Screaming Eagles of Patrol Squadron One (VP-1) left NAS Whidbey Island for a deployment to the Western Pacific in support of 7th Fleet objectives.
This week, some six months later, they returned and were greeted by spouses, children, family and friends to a well-deserved, patriotic homecoming. With their American flags proudly waving from above the cockpits, four P-3Cs simultaneously rolled into their parking spots, completing a dramatic return to the nest.
The nearly 400 personnel that make up the squadron supported multi-mission operations out of Misawa, Japan and Kadena, Okinawa, by utilizing 11 variously equipped P-3C aircraft and 12 fully qualified combat aircrews.
As part of the Seventh Fleet Commander's objective to strengthen cooperative relationships with partnering nations, the squadron completed 18 operational detachments to nine different countries including South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Guam and Republic of the Philippines.
Throughout the various detachments, crews were able to highlight the Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Search and Rescue, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities that the P-3C possesses to our Western Pacific allies ultimately proving that the United States Navy stands ready to "take care of business" if called upon.
Additionally, the squadron flew 119 sorties executing more than 1,100 flight hours in direct support of the global war on terrorism.
Supporting up to six simultaneous detachment sites at one time would challenge any Maintenance department. Screaming Eagles Maintenance professionals met the heavy demand and kept aircraft flying. Aside from their routine maintenance, they were able to complete nine comprehensive aircraft inspections, 17 prop control changes, 12 valve housing changes and 10 propeller changes. The entire squadron team worked together to amass more than 4,700 mishap and incident-free flights hours for the deployment, adding to an already impressive safety record.
As deployment came to a close, the squadron turned over the 7th Fleet watch to their sister squadron, the Grey Knights of VP-46, wishing them a safe and successful deployment.
Note that in six months, twelve aircrews flew a total of 1,100 hours, or less than 100 hours per crew in six months. What a difference from VP-1's deployments to Vietnam, during which each crew flew 100 hours or more per month. -- KBS