Reserve Patrol Wing [COMRESPATWING]
Commander Reserve Patrol Wing is responsible for the training, readiness and oversight of seven assigned Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) squadrons, two Mobile Operations Command Centers (MOCC) and three Weapons System Trainer Detachments. It is an Echelon IV command under the administrative and operational control of Commander, Naval Air Reserve Force. The force includes over 2,300 Reserve Patrol Wing Sailors, Chief Petty Officers and Officers who operate and maintain 48 P-3 "Orion" aircraft. These aircraft, which include state of the art P-3C Update III's and Update II/II.5's, are flown in support of CINC worldwide peacetime commitments and wartime requirements. The force represents a total investment of over $2.8 billion in hardware assets alone.
The command's mission is twofold: to achieve and sustain a high level of combat readiness that ensures the availability of the entire wing, component squadrons or individual aircrews and support personnel for immediate employment in the event of war or national emergency; and to provide fleet support on a daily basis during peacetime. Upon mobilization COMRESPATWING would combine with two Mobile Operations Control Centers (one in Point Mugu, CA and one in Willow Grove, PA).
Commander Reserve Patrol Wing became the Navy's largest Patrol Wing in January 1999 following the consolidation of the former COMRESPATWINGPAC at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA and COMRESPATWINGLANT at Naval Air Station Norfolk, VA. These two commands were commissioned in October and December 1970, respectively. Naval Reserve Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) decreased from thirteen squadrons to nine squadrons by the end of FY 1994. This downsizing paralleled active MPA reductions and left the MPA force with thirteen active and nine Naval Air Reserve squadrons [eight by FY1999].
Reserve MPA squadrons operate seamlessly with active squadrons throughout the world, training and providing continuous peacetime support exceeding 30,000 flight hours in 1994. Detachments operate in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Pacific theaters as required. Operations have included armed interdiction flights in the Adriatic Sea, surveillance flights enforcing the Haitian economic embargo, and direct support of major fleet exercises.
Naval Reserve Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) provide 40 percent of the Navy's total airborne ocean surveillance capability, with nine squadrons of eight aircraft each. These units flew more than 9,700 hours in FY 1995 - 55 percent of the total number of MPA hours flown during that period.
Reserve Patrol Wing squadrons sequentially transitioned from the SP-2H "Neptune" aircraft to the P-3 "Orion" during the mid-1970's. Reserve aircrews have continually transitioned into more capable aircraft over the years, moving from the P-3A to the P-3B TACNAV MOD and on to the P-3C. By the late 1990s four RESPATWING MPA squadrons operated the most modern P-3C Update III with the remainder operating P-3C Update II or II.5's. By the end of 2001 the very newest "Block Mod Upgrade" or BMUP kits were installed on a number of Wing aircraft as part of an ongoing and critical modernization initiative.
Through the years, RESPATWING personnel performed their two week Annual Training requirements while operating from all fleet deployed sites. As the size of the Navy has decreased due to smaller post Cold War defense budgets, the role of the Naval Reserve as an integral part of the "Total Force" of active and Reserve components has expanded. RESPATWING squadrons routinely integrate into active Navy operations, deploying year-round to world-wide locations in support of the Fleet Commanders. In recent years, Reserve MPA squadrons have made a significant contribution to the national counter-narcotic effort in the Caribbean theater and have been key participants in numerous Fleet exercises.
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