Patrol Squadron [VP-69]

The mission of VP-69 is to maintain assigned personnel, aircraft and equipment in a state of maximum combat readiness to allow rapid deployment in the event of war or national emergency and to provide peacetime contributory support to the fleet.

Patrol Squadron 69 was commissioned as a RESFORON in November 1970 at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington. Prior to that time, the personnel and SP-2H "Neptune" aircraft were divided into small independent units flying from the former Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle.

The squadron's primary mission is to provide flight and ground antisubmarine warfare training to volunteer civilian Selected Reservists in preparation for fleet patrol service in the event of mobilization. The squadron also provides qualified aircrews and aircraft to perform fleet surveillance and antisubmarine missions on a regular basis.

The squadron's flight crews are capable of deploying and operating anywhere in the world with minimal advance notice. To enable the squadron to carry out missions on a 24-hour basis, seven full-time officers and 100 enlisted personnel (TAR) are assigned to the command. This permanent cadre administers the training and operations of 75 officers and 269 enlisted personnel, which make up the civilian Selected Reserves.

In 26 years, the squadron performed highly successful missions and training periods from Rota, Spain; Agana, Guam; Kadena and Misawa, Japan; Adak, Alaska; Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines; Barbers Point, Hawaii; and Howard AFB, Panama.

The 1976 Annual Training ("AT") deployment to Hawaii marked the first time the squadron deployed in its newly acquired P-3 aircraft. In 1979, VP-69 replaced its fleet counterpart in Adak, Alaska. This marked the first time a reserve squadron had completely taken the commitment of a fleet squadron at this forward base six hundred miles from the then Soviet Union.

The new decade brought with it four major awards. In early 1980, Patrol Squadron 69 received both the Navy's coveted Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award and AVCM Donald M. Neal (Golden Wrench) Award for outstanding work during 1979 and 1980. In 1983, the squadron received two more awards, the "Secretary of the Navy Energy Conservation Award," the only aviation squadron in the U. S. Navy to win that award, and the Golden Helm Award for retention excellence in the Naval Reserve. Additionally, the squadron received an unprecedented four consecutive Lockheed ASW Crew of the Quarter Awards for superior antisubmarine warfare performance in 1983.

During 1980 and 1981, VP-69 augmented fleet operations from Kadena, Japan, flying over 700 hours each period, performing Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue missions for the Vietnamese "Boat People" in the South China Sea. The following two years saw VP-69 operating from Cubi Point in the Philippines, which included operations throughout the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.

The squadron operated from Misawa, Japan in 1984 and 1985. Operations were conducted in such areas as the Yellow Sea, Sea of Japan, and the northern Pacific. VP-69 was the first P-3A Reserve Force Squadron to deploy to Misawa, Japan and conduct extended surveillance flight operations out of Panama, for which the squadron was awarded the coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with Operational Device. The Squadron's performance was recognized on the national level in 1986 by being awarded the SECNAV, Federal Energy Efficiency and Department of Defense Energy Conservation Awards.

In January 1987, Patrol Squadron 69 completed the transition to the P-3A TAC/NAV (MOD), doing so in the shortest period of time and at the highest readiness level ever by a RESFORON. While in transition, Crew 5 participated in the Liberty Bell competition and captured first honors among the finest crews from each of the other 12 P-3 Reserve Squadrons.

In July 1987, VP-69, in support of a CNO project, became the first RESFORON to drop a MK-50 torpedo, another milestone in the Reserve VP Navy. In June 1988, Patrol Squadron 69 returned to Misawa, Japan for "AT." The Squadron's superior performance was emphasized by Crew 12 winning the CTF-72 "Golden Lens Award" for obtaining the first exclusive photographs of a new class of Soviet Submarine. In July 1989, Patrol Squadron 69 completed its highest readiness gaining "AT" in the history of the squadron during a one-month period spent in Misawa, Japan. In January 1990, VP-69 received the COMRESPATWINGPAC Administrative Excellence Award for Calendar Year 1989.

In June of 1990, Patrol Squadron 69 completed another extremely successful AT period, this time staged out of Kadena AFB in Okinawa. Each of the six participating aircrews obtained at least one "On-Top" as the "TOTEMS" achieved the highest Operational Systems Evaluation (OSE) average of all RESFORON's. In June, the squadron also received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for its drug interdiction efforts during the previous three years.

1991 proved to be the most successful year in the history of the fight'n Totems. In February 1991, Patrol Squadron 69 set an unprecedented record of 98% participation and 96% passing all exams on the COMNAVAIRESFOR Unit NATOPS Evaluation. In March 1991, Patrol Squadron 69 was awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for calendar year 1990. During April and May 1991, VP-69 completed another outstanding AT period at Kadena AFB, achieving the highest OSE average in COMRESPATWINGPAC. In August 1991, two crews participated in the UNITAS XXXII detachment staged in Ecuador. Crew 6 was named COMRESPATWINGPAC "ASW Crew of the Quarter" for the fourth quarter. In November 1991 Crew 11 won the COMRESPATWINGPAC "Mining Derby," achieving the highest mining score since the inception of Mining Derby competition. In February 1992, the Squadron Admin Department was again awarded the "COMRESPATWINGPAC Administrative Excellence Award" for calendar year 1991. The squadron performance during the 1992 COMNAVAIRESFOR Unit NATOPS Evaluation once again set the standard for all reserve P-3 squadrons with a participation rate of 94%, 93.4% passing all exams and all seat positions qualified. In March 1992, Patrol Squadron 69 was awarded the Noel Davis "Battle E" Award recognizing the Squadron as the best in the Naval Reserve.

In 1993 February saw the squadron exceed its highly successful FY-92 NATOPS evaluation with a 93% participation rate, 100% seat qualification and the highest average test scores in the last 4 years. In August the command completed the triennial COMRESPATWINGPAC Command Inspection with extremely favorable results, and an overall grade of "satisfactory". In September, CDR Charlton D. Parker relieved CDR Kenneth E. Thompson as the 17th Commanding Officer of VP-69. CDR Rodney A. Harris assumed the position of Executive Officer. During the month of December, the squadron surpassed 46,000 accident free flying hours. VP-69 received the RESPATWINGPAC Administrative Excellence Award in recognition of their superb attention to detail and administrative acumen.

In February 1994, the squadron received recognition as COMRESPATWING "Admin Excellence" award recipient. Additional accolades were garnered following the Commander, Naval Air Reserve Force NATOPS Evaluation where the squadron earned nearly perfect scores on the written examination phase of the inspection. In May, VP-69's aircrew and maintenance personnel completed transition to a new airframe, the P-3C. Aggressively upgrading their skills with a comprehensive training syllabus, the squadron now operates the P-3C Update aircraft enabling improved on-station performance. In October, the command completed the arduous COMRESPATWINGPAC Management Assist Visit and Material Condition Inspection with exemplary results and an overall grade of "satisfactory". During the month of December, the squadron surpassed 50,000 accident-free flight hours and the Maintenance Department received special recognition as the COMRESPATWINGPAC nominee for the 1994 Donald M. Neal "Golden Wrench" award. The squadron also successfully fired its first live Harpoon missile from Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

In February 1995, the squadron received recognition as COMRESPATWING "Admin Excellence" award recipient. In April the squadron successfully completed annual COMNAVAIRESFOR NATOPS Evaluation. In May, three aircraft flew 187 hours in support of COMDESRON FIVE "Teamwork South". In June, CDR Rodney Harris relieves CDR Dennis Parker as VP-69 Commanding Officer. LCDR Jeff Freeman relieves LCDR Craig Love as VP-69 Officer-in-Charge. July, CDR Michael B. McGee assumes duties as VP-69 Executive Officer. In August, Combat Aircrew 14 detaches to Barranquilla, Columbia to participate in UNITAS 36-95. In September, Combat Aircrew 14 flies over 1700 miles to relocate a capsized sailboat in a fierce North Pacific storm. After finding the floating wreckage the crew remained on station as long as prudently possible redirecting surface units and coast guard vessels to successfully conduct the rescue. In October, Naval Safety Center performs safety survey of VP-69. Squadron completes COMRESPATWINGPAC Management Assist Visit and Material Condition Inspection with an overall grade of "satisfactory". In December. Maintenance Department is nominated as the COMRESPATWINGPAC nominee for the 1995 Donald M. Neal "Golden Wrench" Award.

In March 1996, squadron was awarded the Noel Davis Battle "E" Efficiency Award from COMNAVAIRESFOR for 1995. In April, Combat Aircrew 3 flew a Search and Rescue Mission in the Western Pacific, credited with saving 17 lives (4 children). Successfully completed annual COMNAVAIRESFOR NATOPS evaluation. In May, the squadron received CNO Safety "S" Award for 1995. In June, CDR Michael B. McGee relieved CDR Rodney A. Harris as Commanding Officer. Squadron completed COMRESPATWINGPAC Management Assist Visit and Material condition Inspection with a grade of "satisfactory". December, combat Aircrew 9 won the Liberty Bell competition.

In April 1997, CAC-9 conducts first ever Reserve HARPOON shot with a live warhead. Squadron completes annual COMNAVAIRESFOR NATOPS evaluation. In June, squadron completes transition to P-3C Update III aircraft three months ahead of schedule. CDR Malcolm J. McPhee, Jr. relieves CDR Michael B. McGee as Commanding Officer. LCDR Richard S. Cline assumes the duty as Officer-in-Charge. In September, first two squadron crews become Extended Echo-Ranging (EER) qualified. In November, CAC-6 wings COMNAVAIRESFOR Liberty Bell competition for ASW Excellence.

In 1998 CAC-9 detached to NAS North Island and flew 40.3 hours in support of JIATF West counter-narcotics operations. Officers began training on Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR). Squadron receives first ISAR/AVX-1 capable aircraft from VP-91 (BUNO 161766). Squadron surpasses 17 years of Mishap Free Flying and 60,000 hours. In April, completed annual COMNAVAIRESFOR NATOPS evaluation with outstanding results. First full evaluation since transitioning to the P-3C UIII aircraft. In June, launched pre-deployment aircrew and maintenance personnel to NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in support of VP-16 and JIATF East. In July, squadron commenced the WESTPAC deployment in support of VP-46 and CTF-72. In August, squadron completed highly successful nine-week, eight-crew, five-site deployment. In October, CDR Malcolm J. McPhee, Jr. turned over command to CDR Larry A. Peck as Commanding Officer. In November, CAC-5 wins the Naval Reserve Association sponsored COMNAVAIRESFOR Liberty Bell Trophy for the third consecutive year. Squadron kicks off a 4 week, 3-crew Caribbean counter-drug operations detachment. VP-69 completes successful year winning the CNO Safety "S" Award, Noel Davis Battle "E" Award, Liberty Bell and Golden Anchor Award.

From 16 January - 28 February 1999, Combat Aircrews 2 and 6 detached to Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Texas in support of JIATF West. Aircrews flew 254 hours with 100% Mission Completion rate. In April 1999 the Squadron completed COMNAVAIRRESFOR NATOPS evaluation with outstanding results. From 13 May - 13 June, Combat Aircrews 1 and 5 detached to Misawa Air Base and Kadena Air Base Okinawa in support of COMSEVENTHFLT and CTF-72. Aircrews flew 208 hours with 86% Mission Completion rate. From 24 July - 8 August, Combat Aircrew 7 detached to NAS Jacksonville Florida in support of SOCEX. Aircrew flew 16 hours during which the crew was called upon to assist the Coast Guard in locating a small boat adrift off the coast. The crew located the boat and directed the rescue crews to it's location. From 8 October - 23 October, Two Combat Aircrews detached to Salvador Brazil for UNITAS 40-99 in support of USCOMSOLANT and CTF-138. Aircrews flew 155 hours with a 100% Mission Completion rate. VP-69 completed a very successful year with over 63,000 mishap free flight hours and winning the Noel Davis Battle "E" for the second consecutive year.

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