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VP-46 Returns to Whidbey Island

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061205-07
Release Date: 12/5/2006 2:42:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bruce McVicar, Northwest Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 "Grey Knights" returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Dec. 4 after a six-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.

The Grey Knights flew in two theaters, 25 detachments and eight countries supporting two global war on terrorism campaigns.

“It was an excellent deployment. The squadron was spread out all over the Pacific and Southwest Asia,” said Chief Aviation Electrician’s Mate (AW/NAC) Jacob Bristow. “We accomplished a lot supporting the United States’ global war on terrorism.”

The squadron completed a quad-site deployment which took VP-46 through 7th Fleet’s area of operation at Misawa, Kadena and Clark Air Bases to 5th Fleet in Southwest Asia. The squadron also was the first to begin using the complex Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) pod system in both 5th and 7th Fleet theaters of operation.

“My crew spent four months in the Gulf supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and two months in Japan,” said Lt. Jason Bracamonte, VP-46. “There was good coordination between the detachment sites and various surge crews that came out from other squadrons.”

VP-46 flew from air bases in Misawa and Kadena supporting Commander, Task Group 72.2 and 72.4.

“This deployment was particularly challenging due to the four detachments sites,” said Lt. Penelope Goode, the squadron’s flight surgeon. “We were able to accomplish more work with fewer people.”

The Clark detachment site in the Philippines flew dozens of sorties in support of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines to support Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines.

“It was a very busy deployment, which made time go fast,” said Aviation Systems Warfare Operator 1st Class (AW/NAC) Gamorro Cameron.

In Kadena, the squadron participated in Valiant Shield 2006, the largest naval exercise in the Pacific since the Vietnam era. With the quad-site deployment, members of the squadron were separated from other members of the crew to support the missions throughout the Pacific.

“The squadron was really spread out during this deployment,” said Lt. D.J. Liturn. “We didn’t get to spend much time together, and I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and catching up with each other.”

The air crews in Southwest Asia flew in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They contributed more than 200 sorties and flew in excess of 1,200 flight hours. Along with performing the missions assigned, squadron members were able to take in the sights of the various countries to which they deployed.

“The best part of the deployment was traveling to different countries like Malaysia and Thailand,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class (AW/NAC) Brian Owens.

After six-month deployment, the Sailors were able to reunite with their families just in time for the holidays.

“The girls missed their daddy so much during this deployment,” said the wife of Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class (AW/NAC) Paul Winch. “They sent him a ton of cards, drawings, letters and emails.”

“We were married three weeks before he went on deployment,” said the wife of Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st (AW) Class Mark Feinberg. “I plan on making every moment count with my family over the holidays.”

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