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Patrol Squadron NINE [VP-9]
"Golden Eagles"

Patrol Squadron NINE (VP-9) provides Maritime Patrol and Undersea Warfare services to her Fleet and Wing Commanders. VP-9 currently utilizes the P-3C "Orion" aircraft, employing the latest technology and tactics available. Providing new and more advanced capabilities in multi-theatre environments, making Patrol Squadron NINE an invaluable asset to any Commander. Patrol Squadron NINE is currently homeported at MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The squadron enjoys a long rich history dating back to 1952. And, after the tremendously the successfully 1998 deployment was chosen to be the first pacific fleet VP squadron to receive the new AIP P-3C "Orion".

On March 15, 1951, Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9) was commissioned at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington under the command of CDR M.B. Bailey. The maiden flight of the new squadron was flown in a P-4Y2 Privateer. Within a few months, the "GOLDEN EAGLES" embarked upon their first deployment to NAVSTA Kodiak, Alaska. Since that time, the squadron has participated in a variety of missions throughout the world.

In June 1952, VP-9 deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. The squadron conducted numerous missions which included joint night operations with Marine Corps fighters in which flares were dropped to illuminate significant North Korean targets for attack aircraft.

In January 1953, VP-9 returned to the United States, and was based at NAS Alameda, California. The squadron transitioned to P-2V Neptune and subsequently deployed to Kodiak, Alaska in 1955 and Iwakuni, Japan in 1956, earning consecutive Battle "E" awards.

In May 1958 during an arctic tour, VP-9 assisted the world's first nuclear powered submarine, the USS NAUTILUS, in her historic passage under the polar ice cap. From 1958 to 1963, VP-9 continued its tradition of USW excellence, evidenced by its third Battle "E" in 1960.

In December 1963, VP-9 received its first P-3A Orion, and NAS Moffett Field, California became its homeport. The squadron deployed to Naha AB, Okinawa in November 1964. Here it supported SEVENTH Fleet operations and achieved the distinction as the first unit to operate the newly introduced P-3's in the Western Pacific.

In the spring of 1966, the "Golden Eagles" became the first Pacific Fleet squadron to receive the P-3B "Orion." The Squadron returned to Okinawa, Japan where it conducted missions in support of military operations in Vietnam. Many hours were flown within combat zones as the squadron participated in Operations "MARKET TIME" and "YANKEE TEAM."

In April 1967, a three plane detachment operated from NAS Agana, Guam, providing ASW coverage and island surveillance to U.S. Naval Forces in the Marianas Islands. VP-9 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its efforts. In November, the "Golden Eagles" embarked upon its first deployment to Adak, Alaska. Its sustained outstanding performance during this period resulted in its receiving the first COMNAVAIRPAC Royal Air Force Coastal Command Trophy for airborne USW excellence, as well as the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.

In 1969, the "Golden Eagles" returned to Southeast Asia where it aided the interdiction of enemy troops and supplies into South Vietnam. A total of 90 Air Medals were presented to the aircrew members who participated in these operations. For its performance during this period, VP-9 was awarded a second Coastal Command Trophy and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

During 1970, while deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, VP-9 achieved its third Meritorious Unit Commendation for patrolling more than nine million square miles of ocean ranging from the Arctic Ocean to the Philippine Sea.

In late 1971, the "Golden Eagles" returned to Iwakuni where it demonstrated VP mobility and flexibility by simultaneously operating detachments from Misawa AB, Japan and three thousand miles to the south in U'Tapao, Thailand. VP-9 returned to NAS Moffett Field in January 1972. The ensuing four years were highlighted by deployments to Cubi Point, Philippines; Guam; and Okinawa.

In 1976, VP-9 began a new era with the squadron's transition to the computerized and upgraded P-3C Update I. In early 1977, the "Golden Eagles" completed a highly successful deployment to Kadena AB, Japan. For its demonstrated ASW excellence, VP-9 was awarded the distinguished Captain Arnold Jay Isabell Trophy.

In 1978, VP-9 deployed to Misawa, Japan. During this time, extensive Vietnamese refugee assistance operations were conducted in the South China Sea in addition to surveillance and ASW missions from Guam, Okinawa and the Philippines.

In 1979, VP-9 maintained a six month detachment to Adak, Alaska. The year ended with the "Golden Eagles" playing a significant role in a major exercise, FLEETEX 1-79.

In late 1980, VP-9 became the second West Coast patrol squadron to deploy to NAVSTA Keflevik, Iceland. Extensive ASW operations were conducted throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and Norwegian Sea.

VP-9 returned to Adak in October 1981 for a four month detachment where it conducted ASW operations in the Northern Pacific. Also during this month, an additional three plane detachment was deployed on short notice to Kadena for two months of intensive ASW operations in support of SEVENTH Fleet requirements in the Western Pacific.

All Pacific theaters saw the P-3C "Orion" utilized to its full extent in 1982 and 1983. In 1982, VP-9 received its second Isabell Trophy. VP-9 was the first squadron deployed for six months to Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.

In January 1984, the "Golden Eagles" deployed to Diego Garcia and maintained a detachment in Kadena, Japan. It broke new ground on deployment by becoming the first squadron to conduct operations out of Berbera, Somalia, and Masirah, Oman.

In June of 1985, VP-9 became the first full squadron to deploy to Adak in over 15 years. Another successful deployment ensued which included numerous operational missions, training evolutions, and several SAR and MEDEVAC flights. After VP-9 returned to NAS Moffett Field in December, a fast paced training cycle commenced, combined with four months as the operational ready alert squadron. Successful participation in exercise COMPTUEX 86-3 resulted in commendatory correspondence from COMCARGRU 1.

In November 1986, VP-9 became the first squadron to deploy to the Western Pacific with the APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR). During a successful two-site deployment to Misawa and Cubi Point, the squadron completed numerous Undersea and Surface Warfare missions throughout the SEVENTH Fleet Area of Responsibility. In addition to several ASW prosecutions, VP-9 participated in SEA OF SLAM 87-1 and TEAMSPIRIT 87-2 exercises, and returned home in May 1987. While at home, it participated in FLEETEX 87-4B and 88-1, COMPTUEX 88-1A and 88-3, Operational Test Launch (OTL) 24, and successfully completed a multitude of aircraft maintenance inspections and modifications.

In July 1988, VP-9 deployed once again to Diego Garcia where it operated detachments to Kadena and the Arabian Gulf region. During this time, extensive USW, SUW, SAR, and joint service operations were conducted throughout the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. VP-9 was selected as the winner of the CNO Safety Award for 1988, and received its fourth Meritorious Unit Commendation for actions completed while forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf region, which included the introduction of the "OUTLAW HUNTER" avionics suite, and over-the-horizon targeting enhancement prototype that added a new dimension to MPA battle group support.

From February to August 1990, the "Golden Eagles" completed a very successful deployment to Misawa, Japan which included a record setting USW performance and a flawless coordinated missile shot in HARPOONEX 90. The "Golden Eagles" received the 1990 SEVENTH Fleet USW Excellence Award as well as the FY90 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.

VP-9 returned to NAS Moffett Field in August 1990 where it smoothly transitioned to the Update III aircraft while undertaking an ambitious aircrew training program. The "Golden Eagles" sustained exemplary performance was once again recognized by its receipt of a fourth Battle "E" Award, distinguishing VP-9 as the best Pacific Fleet Squadron.

During 1991, the "Golden Eagles" made three one month detachments to Panama to assist the CJTF-5 drug interdiction effort. VP-9 also detached to Adak, Alaska in June for a three month period and flew several missions in conjunction with UNDER ICE TRANSFER 91. In December, VP-9 conducted a detachment to NAS Whidbey Island to fly data collection missions for the Air Defense Initiative Critical Sea Test 6 projects. During this time, VP-9 participated in the second "ROCKEYE INVITATIONAL" where it was the only Patrol Squadron to score a direct hit during the bombing derby.

January of 1992 found the "Golden Eagles" gearing up for tri-site operations to Panama, Adak and Moffett Field. In addition, VP-9 received orders to make its third homeport change to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. In June of 1992, VP-9 began a series of detachments to Howard AFB, Panama to assist in the drug interdiction effort. Currently, VP-9 also operated a six month detachment to Adak, Alaska.

In October 1993, the "Golden Eagles" completed another demanding but highly successful at-home training cycle in preparation for a six month WESTPAC deployment to Diego Garcia. In addition to operation out of Diego Garcia, the "Golden Eagles" maintained detachments in Kadena, Japan and Masirah, Oman. While in Masirah, VP-9 crews played a vital role in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, RESTORE HOPE and DESERT STORM.

VP-9 returned to Hawaii in May 1994 to begin their Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC). In July, VP-9 was declared the winner of the COMPATWINGSPAC Tactical Excellence and Innovation Award. The training cycle proved to be challenging with inspections and detachments to Eielson AFB, Alaska and to NAS North Island, California for battle group support. In March, the "Golden Eagles" were awarded the 1994 Coastal Command Trophy for the highest level of airborne USW proficiency.

In May of 1995, following another challenging IDTC, VP-9 began a dual-site deployment to Misawa and Kadena, Japan. Once again placing itself on the leading edge of an expanding role of maritime patrol aviation, VP-9 was the first WESTPAC squadron to deploy with Maverick Missile capability. While operating from dual sites, VP-9 safely flew in support of the USS INDEPENDENCE and USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Battle Groups. In addition, VP-9 helped to strengthen maritime patrol connectivity throughout the Pacific by conducting 34 bilateral exercises including FOAL EAGLE.

VP-9 was selected as the 1995 COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E" Award winner. The squadron also earned the 1995 COMNAVAIRPAC Captain Arnold Jay Isabell Trophy for USW excellence, VP-9's third award of this prestigious community award.

After a one year home cycle, the squadron again deployed to Diego Garcia in November of 1996. The squadron was required to split the deployment into three different sites, including Masirah, Oman; Kadena, Japan and Diego Garcia. VP-9 set numerous precedents while in the Arabian Gulf region, including 24-hour coverage for the visiting battle groups and frequent armed escort flights carrying the Maverick Missile. The squadron arrived home in May of 1997 and immediately began training for the next deployment in 1998.

During the 1997-1998 home cycle, the "Golden Eagles" were rewarded for continued exemplary performance by being chosen to spearhead the Fleet introduction of the ASUW Improvement Program (AIP) P-3C aircraft. Among other improvements, the state of the art AIP aircraft includes a comprehensive upgrade of aircraft sensors and C4I capabilities. The squadron deployed once again to Diego Garcia, in June of 1998. The "Golden Eagles" were at the tip of the spear with operational missions flown out of Manama, Bahrain; Masirah, Oman; and Kadena and Misawa, Japan. In addition, detachments flew to Seychelles, Eritrea, Kenya, Australia and various other sites to show the flag and support operations and exercises. While operating from multiple sites, VP-9 provided an unprecedented level of support to the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Battle Group and the USS ESSEX Amphibious Readiness Group, and successfully participated in numerous USW, SUW and amphibious exercises. The sensors and capabilities of the new AIP aircraft were used to great effect in both the Arabian Gulf and the Pacific in support of tactical, theater and national tasking. VP-9's Maintenance Department earned the prestigious AVCM Donald M. Neal Aircraft Maintenance "Golden Wrench" Award for their hard work and dedication to keeping the squadron's aircraft in the best condition possible. In recognition of a successful deployment, a flawless introduction of the new AIP aircraft, and the sustained excellence of each and every "Golden Eagle", VP-9 was awarded the Coastal Command Trophy for 1998, the only squadron to ever receive this award five times. VP-9 returned to Hawaii in December of 1998 and immediately began another ambitious IDTC.

For Patrol Squadron 9, the predawn activity on 29 January 1999 proceeded with special urgency and attention to detail. The Golden Eagles' goal was to successfully launch an Harpoon (AGM-84) Missle in the online computer mode. VP-9's Combat Aircrew 3 (CAC 3), accompanied by the Commanding Officer, CDR Matt Peters, would have the honor of conducting the squadron's first missile launch since returning from their Arabian Gulf deployment December 1998. The Harpoon load was in support of a multi-missile shoot involving F/A-18s, P-3s, and surface and subsurface units. The target would be the former USS TUNICA, an old ocean-going tug, located at the Navy's Barking Sands Missile Range. Patrol Squadron 9 conducted two weeks of intense tactical training and aircraft grooming to prepare for the shot. Tactical training included developing a Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M), maintaining squadron focus, and ensuring readiness at the time of the shot. Keys to the POA&M were obtaining outside assistance and expertise, factoring in aircraft maintenance, Weapon System Trainers, Flight Trainers, Operational Risk Management (ORM) assessments, and ground training.

In July 1999 NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii was officially decommishoned. Barbers Point's distinguished service to her country was long and historic. VP-9 began settling in on-board Marine Corp Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

VP-9 met the new Millenium while deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean. Based at Masawa AFB, Japan the Golden Eagles have the responsibility of patroling an imense area, spanning from Northern Japan to Southern Australia. After completeing an intense Homeport trainning cycle the Air, Ground and Support Crews looked forward to the many challenging tasks ahead.

Patrol Squadron 9 (VP) 9 returned from a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility Dec. 10, 2004, in support of surface ships and ground troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During the deployment, VP-9's P-3C Orion aircraft conducted long-range surveillance and collected tactical images for the maritime battle space. Those images were transmitted to commanders in real-time via satellite communications to support Marine Corps and Army ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. VP-9 aircraft flew more than 400 operational sorties.

In addition to supporting ground troops, over half of the squadron's missions were conducted in the Persian Gulf to support carrier strike groups. VP-9 flew in support of three search and rescue missions over the course of this deployment, helping save the lives of more than 20 distressed mariners. Throughout the deployment, the squadron was able to maintain a 98 percent mission completion rate.

VP-9 also flew successful missions in four different multinational exercises with the navies of Japan, India, Australia and Pakistan. Air crews were challenged with language barriers when communicating with other country's aircraft; however, the missions proved successful.

While deployed, the "Golden Eagles" flew more than 2,700 hours, allowing them to reach a safety milestone - a continued achievement of 26 years and 162,000 flight hours of mishap-free aviation.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:04:15 ZULU