Patrol Squadron TWO FOUR [VP-24]
The Jacksonville-based Patrol Squadron 24 (VP-24) returned to Naval Air Station Jacksonville from its final six-month deployment to Keflavik, Iceland on 09 February 1995. During the deployment, VP-24 flew about 4,000 flight hours on a variety of missions ranging from anti-submarine flights over the Arctic, to surface patrols over the Adriatic Sea in support of Operation Sharp Guard. The squadron also flew missions in cooperation with NATO allies, operating from destinations as varied as Sicily, Scotland, Norway, Holland, Gibraltar, France, Germany, Spain, England and the Azores.
Established in 1943, the squadron was decommissioned 13 April 1995. During the 1994-1995 home cycle VP-5 played a significant role in squadron and aircraft realignments and operational support with the decommissioning of VP-24.
On 23 October 1962 President Kennedy declared a quarantine on shipping to Cuba during the missile crisis. VP-24 was deployed to Leeward Point Field, Guantanamo, Cuba, on 5 November 1962. The squadron flew continuous surveillance missions, reporting all Communist Bloc shipping transiting Cuban waters until relieved on 17 December 1962. VP-24 returned on 17 February 1963, conducting surveillance until relieved on 21 March 1963. During the second tour, the squadron photgraphed the removal from Cuba of intermediate range missiles and IL-28 Beagle bombers.
On 29 June 1965 VP-24 deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, relieving VP-5. A detachment was maintained at Souda Bay, Crete. While attached to the Royal Hellenic Air Force Base at Souda Bay, the detachment was supported by Tallahatchie County (AVB 2).
On 05 July 1967 VP-24 was relocated from it home base at NAS Norfolk, Va., to NAS Patuxent River, Md. The squadron assumed duties at the new station with its new aircraft, the P-3B Orion. Transition training from the SP-2H Neptune to the P-3B began in April 1967 and was completed on 7 December 1967.
On 6 March 1968 VP-24 deployed to NS Keflavik, Iceland, with a three-aircraft detachment at Lajes, Azores. The detachment was called to assist in the search for the missing submarine Scorpion (SSN 589) from 28 May to 25 June 1968. On 5 June 1968, the submarine and her crew were declared "presumed lost." Her name was struck from the Navy list on 30 June. In late October 1968, Mizar (AK 272) located sections of Scorpion's hull in 10,000 feet of water about 400 miles southwest of the Azores. No cause for the loss was ever been determined.
Beginning on 10 November 1969, after its return from deployment, VP-24 commenced transition to the P-3C, becoming the third operational P-3C Orion squadron. Transition training was completed on 9 March 1970. In 1974 the squadron maintained 2-crew/2-aircraft "mini" detachments at NAS Bermuda from 1 to 12 April, 15 to 24 May, 3 to 14 June , 26 to 31 August and 1 to 5 September 1974; and to NAS Lajes, Azores, 10 to 15 October 1974. This type of deployment was being tested as an alternative to the full squadron and split deployments.
On 12 Sep 1977, during the Batmen's deployment to NAS Keflavik, Iceland, the squadron successfully tracked and located the hot-air balloon Double Eagle that had gone down at sea several hundred miles west of Iceland while attempting a crossing of the Atlantic. The squadron's efforts led to the rescue of the balloon's crew.
In May 1980 VP-24 was tasked with the first of many Cuban refugee surveillance flights, which continued periodically through late September 1980.
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