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Patrol & Reconnaissance Wing TWO

Fleet Wing Two, redesignated as Commander, Patrol Wing Two, assumed operational control of the Barbers Point-based patrol squadrons when Fleet Air Hawaii decommissioned in 1973. After the disestablishment of Patrol Wing TWO in June 1993, Commander Patrol and Reconaissance Forces, US Pacific Fleet (formerly Commander, Patrol Wings, Pacific) provided operational development and maintenance of patrol squadron combat readiness.

Since the 1950s Barbers Point was most famous for its "Rainbow Fleet" -- the patrol squadrons that routinely deployed with P-2 and later P-3 aircraft to the northern and western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. These squadrons tracked Soviet submarines patrolling off the western coast of the United States and supported operations in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and most recently the NATO air campaign over Kosovo. Of the squadrons present during the 1960s and 1970s, VPs 6, 17, 22 and 28 were disestablished by the mid-1990s, leaving only VPs 1 and 4. During the mid-1990s, however, two squadrons, VPs 9 and 47, transferred to the Rainbow Fleet from NAS Moffett Field, Calif., when it was disestablished. VP-1 later moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The Rainbow Fleet also was the home of Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 2 since 1982.

The end of the cold war, in which Barbers Point figured so heavily, eventually brought about its closure. Congress accepted the recommendation of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission that Barbers Point be closed. Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, Pacific; VPs 4, 9 and 47; VPU-2; and HSL-37 were moved to Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Kaneohe Bay, part of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, located on the lush windward side of Oahu.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:00:10 ZULU