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VP-40 Returns to Whidbey Island

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071214-05
Release Date: 12/14/2007 1:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Northwest

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 returned home Nov. 29 from a deployment to the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa.

The "Fighting Marlins" were deployed in May for more than six months in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as well as conducting anti-piracy operations.

"We did a lot of anti-piracy flights out of Djibouti supporting Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, near Somalia," said Cmdr. Chris Saindon, VP-40 executive officer. "We also did a number of flights over Iraq, supporting multinational coalition forces doing counter-improvised explosive device operations and eye in the sky coverage for forces on the ground."

The contributions made by VP-40 were well received by the forces they were serving.

The crew of 140 conducted approximately 1,600 sorties and logged an unprecedented 10,500 flight hours using P-3 Orion aircraft.

"As long as I can remember, and I've been in the VP community for about 18 years, that's the most flight hours executed on a single deployment," said Saindon.

There were 16 new parents welcomed home by their newborn sons and daughters. Lt. Cmdr. James Keating was present for the birth of his first two children, but missed the latest addition to the family by 10 days.

"It's definitely different for me and it's kind of hard, but there are really no words that describe seeing your children for the first time," said Keating.

Cmdr. Mark Stevens, VP-40 commanding officer, was thankful of his crew for the effort they put forth during the deployment.

"We worked extremely hard out there providing time-critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to support 5th Fleet commanders," said Stevens. "I thank you for all the hard work. I couldn't have done it without you."

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