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HistoryVP-26 HistoryHistory

Circa 2009

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...CPRW-5's VP-10, VP-26 and FSU-5 move to CPRW-11 in NAS Jacksonville, Florida..." Forwarded by SAVIEO, AT3 Gene gsavieo@gmail.com [26DEC2009]

CPRW-5 Sends:

All,

Last Friday we formally shifted control of VP-10, VP-26 and FSU-5 to CPRW-11 in NAS Jacksonville, Florida. With that, CPRW-5 is out of the operational business. By every measure, the difficult process of moving our squadrons and units while continuing to prepare them for deployments set a new standard for how to do it right while always taking care of our Sailors. There is no doubt that every organization on this great base played a key role in that, and I want to personally thank you. Throughout our history, our squadrons have always been able to raise the bar in deployment performance, just as VP-10 did on their last one.

I am often asked why that is, and the one thing I can point to is the amazing team approach that the base has always had. Each and every one of you understand the importance of what our Sailors do, and bend over backwards to ensure that they and their families are fully supported and always taken care of. I am humbled and honored to have had the chance to serve with each and everyone of you (many through multiple tours), and again want to express my sincere appreciation for all you have done for this Wing.

All the best and Happy Holidays. V/r, Jim

Captain Jim Hoke
Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing FIVE
5 Jay Beasley Circle
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 921-2424 DSN 476-2424

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...OPNAV NOTICE 5400 - February 23, 2009 - Permanent Duty Station Change for Commanding Officer Patrol Squadron TWO SIX (VP-26)..." Contributed by GALLARDO, LCDR Orlando gallardo@lhd2.navy.mil [12MAY2009]

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Circa 2008

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraAircrew Wings "...Wings Oof Gold Awarded To New Aircrew by LT Phillip Sautter - VP-30 Public Affairs Officer (VP-1, VP-4, VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-30, VP-16, VP-40 and VP-46. ) - Thursday, October 9, 2008..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://adserver1.harvestadsdepot.com/jaxairnews/ss/jaxairnews/ [09OCT2008]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...NEWS - Final Touchdown at BNAS: Squadron 26's Homecoming The Last One For Brunswick - 06/13/2008..." Contributed WebSite: The Times Record http://www.timesrecord.com/ [14JUN2008]

BRUNSWICK — A young boy in sandals clutched his sippy cup within view of where the last plane of Patrol Squadron 26 would land this morning. The scheduled homecoming, a private event closed to the media, would reunite sailors with their loved ones after six months abroad.

It was the last such touchdown for Brunswick Naval Air Station. The next squad-ron that deploys — this coming Christmas — will return to the Navy base in Jacksonville, Fla., when its work overseas is done.

By December 2009, all three regular squadrons, one reserve squadron and a fifth smaller squadron will have left Bruns-wick, never to return.

"(Today's) return is part of the regular rhythm and cycle of overseas deployments," said John James, public affairs officer for the base. "But for many of us here and for the surrounding communities, this is a historic occasion. This rhythm has been part of the fabric of Mid-coast Maine since the Cold War began in the early 1950s. The five squadrons will be gone by December of 2009."

That reality may be a splash of cold water for area residents, who have known for three years that the Navy would be leaving, but who also have become used to the oft-stated base closure date of 2011. Though most of the sailors and their families will be gone within the next 18 months, the majority of the 3,200-acre base won't be officially turned over to civilian redevelopers until September 2011.

Family members of sailors deploying this December can choose to relocate ahead of time, and families with children could find that to be an attractive option if they don't want to move midway through a school year.

That means Brunswick and its surrounding towns could begin seeing a population drop immediately. According to Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, "they're going to start leaving now."

But while Navy families and their spending power are going to begin disappearing from the local marketplace, Levesque said civilian redevelopment planners are hoping to make the best of the squadrons' departures. By early 2010, he said, "all the aviation units will be gone," freeing the airfield for possible reuse by civilian companies, which could help reinvigorate the economy before the final 2011 closure.

"That's when — if we have all our ducks in a line — we could start using the aviation complex for civilian uses, potentially," said Levesque.

The authority director added that there has already been interest in base property by businesses looking to relocate or expand into the area.

"We're turning stuff away, and helping them to find other locations in the region or the state," he said. "There's a lot of interest in this property. Some of it is tire kicking, but some of it is real. We get several calls a week," he noted.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraRear Admiral Brian C. Prindle "...Rear Admiral Prindle Makes Historic Visit by Navy LT Aaron Roberts - VP-47 Public Affairs - Hawaii Marine - Volume 38, Number 5 - February 1, 2008 - http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil - Page A5. Squadrons Mentioned: VP-26, VP-47 and MOCC..." Contributed by LT Roberts james.roberts@tlab.afcent.af.mil [15MAY2008]

Photograph Caption: Rear Admiral Brian C. Prindle, commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, addresses Task Group 57.18 Sailors in Iraq. Ali Air Base, Iraq was one of the last locations Prindle visited in his recent tour of the Fifth Fleet area of operations. Photograph by Seaman Meagan E. Klein

TALLIL, Iraq - Rear Adm. Brian C. Prindle visited the men and women of Task Group 57.18, comprised of Sailors from VP-47, VP-26, Consolidated Maintenance Organization 2, and Mobile Operational Control Centers Delta and Golf, at Ali Air Base, Iraq here.

Rear Admiral Prindle, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, visited Ali as one of his final stops touring forward deployed P-3C squadrons.

"I cannot think of another organization in the Navy, especially in aviation, that has more dynamic events going on," Prindle said. "Everyone I talk to has high praise for this command. You are the leading the way at the fighting edge of freedom." Task Group aircrews are flying in support of maritime patrol operations and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is an unprecedented era for the P-3 Navy, marking the first time a complete P-3 squadron and maintenance organization have deployed to Iraq.

Though originally designed for maritime patrol and submarine hunting, the P-3 has additional capability to enable it to be the "eyes in the sky" for Coalition Forces on the ground. The plane is equipped with cameras that allow surveillance over great distances with precise resolution, making it a force multiplier in counterinsurgency operations.

The Admiral spent his day touring the Navy compound, talking to Sailors, and answering questions about current P-3 operations. He wanted to see firsthand how the Task Group accomplishes its mission.

Prindle, a P-3 Naval aviator, gave a very enthusiastic speech to his fellow Sailors about the P-3 community.

"Coming out here is one of the most valuable things I do. I get reenergized when I watch this well-oiled machine doing great things for our nation. I see a lot of talented and motivated Americans doing tremendous work," Prindle said.

Prindle continued his journey to al Udeid Air Base before flying back to Norfolk, Virginia.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Wings of Gold Thumbnail "...Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group - RADM Brian C. Prindle, USN. Wings of Gold - Spring 2008 - Page 6-8. (Squadrons/Wings Referenced: VP-62, VP-69, VQ-1, VQ-2, VPU-1, VPU-2, VP-1, VP-4, VP-5, VP-8, VP-9, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-30, VP-40, VP-45, VP-46, VP-47, CPRW-2, CPRW-5, CPRW-10 and CPRW-11..." WebSite: Association of Naval Aviation http://www.anahq.org/index.htm [23APR2008]
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Open VP History Adobe FileMaritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group Article 166KB

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Far from the water, close to the mission by Senior Airman Tong Duong - 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs - 2/29/2008 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN)..." WebSite: Air Force Link http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123088340 [02MAR2008]

Far from the water but close to the mission, members of the Navy VP-26 Patrol Squadron are enjoying beng deployed on an air base, they say.

VP History ThumbnailCameraFar from the water, close to the mission Navy Aviation Operator 2nd Class David Vaneman performs pre-flight checks on P-3 aircraft radar equipment before take off Feb. 26 from an air base in Southwest Asia. The maritime is a diverse element of the U.S. Navy whose missions include battlespace surveillance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Domonique Simmons)

"We really appreciate being on an Air Force base, because of the facilities and it's a great feeling to come back to solid ground after a mission," said Lt. Jonathan Jacesko, a Navy flight officer. "With our flight schedule so varied, having services like a 24-hour galley (dining facility) is nice and we look forward to the opening of the Blatchford-Preston Complex pool."

VP History ThumbnailCameraFar from the water, close to the mission Navy aircraft structural mechanic 1st Class Leo Mackin spins a propeller as part of a pre-flight check Feb 26 at an air base in Southwest Asia. Checks are done on each of the four propellers for nicks, scratches and cracks prior to take off. The Navy members are stationed on the air base in support of battlespace surveillance missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Domonique Simmons)

Exposure and the ability to interact with sister services and coalition forces is another advantage the sailors pointed out.

VP History ThumbnailCameraFar from the water, close to the mission Navy Lt. Jed Magda, a VP-26 Patrol Plane commander (second from right), gives an emergency procedures brief to crew members prior to their mission Feb. 26 at an air base in Southwest Asia. The Navy members are stationed on the air base in support of battlespace surveillance missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Domonique Simmons)

"This is a very big and diverse base, everything seems to run so smoothly," said Tanika Milligan, Petty Officer 3rd Class, VP-26 personnel specialist on her second deployment. "One of the reasons that I joined the Navy was to experience different things."

VP History ThumbnailCameraFar from the water, close to the mission A Navy VP-26 Patrol Squadron member signals the aircrew prior to take-off Feb. 26 from an air base in Southwest Asia. Navy members are stationed on the air base in support of battlespace surveillance missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Domonique Simmons)

The Navy members have traded in their "Cracker Jack" and utility blue uniforms for desert camouflage and boonie hats. Their mission here is to fly the Navy's P-3C Orion in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

"Our primary mission is anti-submarine warfare, but we contribute to the security of the entire region by providing reconnaissance missions, which in turn improves the air wing's lines of supply and communication," said Lieutenant Jacesko.

VP-26, a maritime patrol squadron with a worldwide theater of operations is based out of Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine. These sailors deploy for six months at a time and currently have more than 200 sailors assigned in support of the P-3C Orion on the air base.

According to U.S. Navy fact sheets, the P-3C is a land-based, long range anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. It has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection equipment.

The P-3C's mission evolved in the late ninties and early 21st century to include surveillance of the battle space.

Either at sea or over land Its long range and long loiter time have been very useful during Operation Iraqi Freedom as it can view the battle space and instantaneously provide that information to ground troops.

"This base fosters a sense of camaraderie and really embodies the phrase, 'One team, one fight.' " Petty Officer Milligan said.


Circa 2007

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 Holds Change of Command Ceremony - Story Number: NNS070507-18 - Release Date: 5/7/2007 4:09:00 PM - By Lt. j.g. Kyle Malone, Patrol Squadron 26 Professional Development Public Affairs..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=29227 [25MAY2007]

BRUNSWICK, Maine (NNS) -- The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 held their change of command ceremony May 4 during which Cmdr. Greg Cozad relinquished command to Cmdr. Kevin King, the squadron's executive officer for the past year.

The squadron, joined by the guest of honor Capt. Tyrone Payton, commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 5, as well as family, friends, and other distinguished visitors, conducted the ceremony at Hangar 6 aboard Naval Air Station Brunswick.

The completion of the ceremony marked the end of a highly successful tour for Cozad, who took command during the squadron's last operational deployment to Sigonella, Italy.

Under his command, VP-26 continued a record of 44 consecutive years and 310,000 hours of flight without a mishap. Additionally, VP-26 earned the 2006 Arnold J. Isbell Award for Anti-submarine Warfare Excellence and won its fifth consecutive Gold Anchor Award for Retention Excellence.

King spoke quite highly of his predecessor as commanding officer.

"Although [it was] a team effort," he said, "the Tridents' success over the last year would not have been possible without the dedicated leadership of Skipper Cozad."

Upon leaving Brunswick, Cozad will report as a student to the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington.

As he prepared to depart, Cozad praised the Sailors of VP-26, "I am proud and humbled to have been a member of an outstanding group of patriots dedicated to service to our nation."

King, a graduate of Iowa State University, received his commission through the Naval ROTC program in December 1988 and his naval flight officer (NFO) wings in February 1990. Upon the completion of flight training, he joined VP-49 as the communications officer, readiness officer, and NFO training officer. Subsequently, he reported to VP-30 for service as an NFO instructor.

His later tours included a disassociated sea tour aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), where he served as the catapult and arresting gear officer, a shore tour at the Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., and a department head tour with VP-8 in Brunswick. Immediately before reporting to VP-26 in March 2006, King worked for commander Task Force 67 in Naples, Italy as the current operations officer.

King assumed command of VP-26 in the midst of a busy period. Throughout the next year, he will be tasked with leading the squadron through the remainder of its Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle, managing several crews in support of operations throughout the world, and executing the squadron's next deployment.

VP-26 also welcomed its new executive officer, Cmdr. Andy Westerkom, who served as the maintenance/logistics officer for Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th/5th Fleet.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-8 Patch ThumbnailCameraOperation Enduring Freedom "...VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-26, VP-40 and VP-45 - Deployment PATRON Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar Dec 2006 - Jun 2007..." Contributed by LT Donald W. Hartsell donald.hartsell@navy.mil [03MAY2007]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 Command Structure..." WebSite: VP-26 http://www.vp26.navy.mil/ [03MAY2007]

History ThumbnailCameraCO - Gregory J. Cozad Following initial P-3 Orion training with Patrol Squadron THIRTY ONE, Commander Cozad joined Patrol Squadron NINE in July 1991, where he served as the Aerial Mining Officer and Pilot Training Officer. During this tour he deployed to Panama, Adak, Alaska, Diego Garcia, BIOT and Masirah, Oman. In July 1994, Commander Cozad reported to the Bureau of Naval Personnel serving as Rating Assignment Officer for the Radioman and Electronics Technician ratings, enlisted assignment PCS/TEMDUINS manager and Special Assistant to the Director, Enlisted Assignments (PERS-40).

After attending Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer training in August 1997, Commander Cozad reported to the USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) where he served as Arresting Gear Branch Officer and Fuels Division Officer. During this tour, he completed one WESTPAC deployment in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and DESERT FOX. Following his disassociated sea tour, Commander Cozad reported to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN in October 1999 and served as the Assistant Maintenance Officer.

Following refresher training at Patrol Squadron THIRTY (VP-30) in Jacksonville, Florida, he reported in May 2001 to Patrol Squadron FORTY-SIX (VP-46) at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. While assigned to the "Grey Knights" he served as Safety/NATOPS Officer, Assistant Maintenance Officer and Maintenance Officer. During this tour he deployed to Misawa, Japan and served as the detachment Officer-in-Charge during a tri-site deployment to Diego Garcia, BIOT in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Following his department head tour, Commander Cozad reported to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, where he was assigned as the Maintenance Officer until November 2004. Commander Cozad reported as Executive Officer, Patrol Squadron TWENTY SIX (VP-26) in March 2005.

Commander Cozad's decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other campaign, service and unit awards.

History ThumbnailCameraXO - CDR Kevin King Following initial P-3 Orion training with Patrol Squadron THIRTY, Commander King joined Patrol Squadron FORTY-NINE in October 1990, where he served as the Communications Officer, Readiness Officer and NFO Training Officer. During this tour he deployed to Rota, Spain, Lajes, Azores and Keflavik, Iceland. In October 1993, Commander King reported to Patrol Squadron THIRTY as an instructor and served as IML Branch Officer, EER Fleet Introduction Team Leader and Assistant Operations Officer.

After attending Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer training in October 1996, Commander King reported to the USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN-74) where he served as Hangar Bay Division Officer and Catapult and Arresting Gear Division Officer. During this tour, he completed an around the world deployment in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Following his disassociated sea tour, he was assigned to Naval Personnel Command in Millington, TN where he served as the VP Shore and then Sea Detailer in the Aviation Assignment Branch. In October 2000, CDR King joined Patrol Squadron EIGHT in Brunswick, ME. While assigned to the "Tigers" he served as Tactics Officer, CTG Operations Officer and Operations Officer. During this tour he deployed to Keflavik, Iceland and Sigonella, Italy in support of Operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM.

Following his department head tour, Commander King reported to Commander, Task Force Sixty Seven, homeported in Naples, Italy, where he served as the Current Operations Officer. During NAVEUR transformation, he was re-assigned to the consolidated NAVEUR/ SIXTHFLEET staff and served as head of the Operational Plans Division. Commander King reported as Executive Officer, Patrol Squadron TWENTY SIX (VP-26) in March 2006.

His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other campaign, service and unit awards.

History ThumbnailCameraCMC(AW/NAC) - Jeffrey W. Murphy Master Chief Jeffrey Murphy, a native of Pensacola, Florida, entered the Navy in 1982, at Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon completion of basic training, he attended Anti-Submarine Warfare Operator (AW) "A" School, Millington, Tennessee; Naval Aircrew Candidate School, Pensacola, Florida; P-3C Fleet Replacement Squadron Acoustic Operator Course, Jacksonville, Florida; and Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center Operator Course, Dam Neck, Virginia.

His initial fleet assignment was to Tactical Support Center Bermuda. In 1986 he transferred to Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10) at NAS Brunswick, ME. During his tour with the "Red Lancers", he made deployments to Rota, Spain; Lajes, Azores; Keflavik Iceland; and Sigonella, Sicily. He transferred in October 1992 and attended Instructor Training at NAS Millington, Tennessee before reporting to Patrol Squadron THIRTY (VP-30) as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor. While assigned to VP-30, he attended the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and returned to manage Foreign Military Sales and Training. In 1995, he reported to Patrol Wing ONE detachment Diego Garcia where he served as Command Chief and Task Force Watch Officer. From 1996 to 1998, Master Chief Murphy was stationed with Commander Fleet Air Keflavik in Iceland as a Leading Chief Petty Officer and Task Force Watch Officer at the Tactical Support Center. He then attended Command Career Counselor School in San Diego, California and in October of 1998, he reported to Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi where he attended the Air Force Basic Instructor Course and then served at the Naval Technical Training Unit there as AG "C" School Division Officer and Command Career Counselor. From 2000 to 2002, Master Chief Murphy was stationed at Commander Air Surveillance Reconnaissance Force SIXTH Fleet in Sigonella, Sicily where he served as Command Senior Chief and Task Group Watch Officer at the Tactical Support Center. In May of 2002, he reported to Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10) at NAS Brunswick, ME as Operations LCPO and Task Group Operations Officer and made deployments to Keflavik Iceland and Sigonella, Sicily. His next assignment was as the Enlisted Lead Aircrew Detailer at Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee from 2004 to 2006.

In July of 2006, Master Chief Murphy reported to his current position as the Command Master Chief with the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron TWENTY SIX (VP-26) at NAS Brunswick, Maine.

Master Chief Murphy has qualified as a Naval Aircrewman, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Master Training Specialist. He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Southern New Hampshire. His personal awards include the Meritorious Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous campaign and unit awards.


Circa 2006

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Naval Air Station Brunswick Brunswick, ME 11/21/2006 - (Squadrons Photograph's: VP-8, VP-10 & VP-26 and VP-92)..." WebSite: Topgun Photography http://topgunphotography.net/basevisits/Nasb/index.htm [16MAR2007]

NAS Brunswick, Maine was constructed in March of 1943 and commissioned on April 15, 1943. The primary mission was training of the RCAF pilots. The first U.S. squadron to arrive at NAS Brunswick, Maine was VS-1D1, a scouting squadron. In October of 1946 the base was deactivated and turned over to Bowdoin College and the University of Maine . The Navy on March 15, 1951 raised the national ensign on the flag pole re-commissioning the dormant base back to a Naval Air Facility. They were to established a mission of supporting 3 land-plane patrol squadrons and one Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron.

The Navy requested $35 Million from Congress to transform this into a Master Jet base. Such a base required dual 8,000 foot runways. In 1951 Congress requested an additional 20 Million for additional barracks, officers quarters, and such to make it a permanent installation. The squadrons based at NAS Brunswick, Maine flew the P2V Neptune Patrol Bomber.

On July 1st, 1971, Commander Patrol Wings US Atlantic Fleet / Commander Patrol Wing Five established NAS Brunswick, Maine as their Headquarters. At present 3 Patrol squadrons (VP-10, VP-26 & VP-8) and 2 Reserve Squadrons (VP-92 & VPU-1) fly the P-3 Orion. A Fleet Support unit, VR-62 operates the C-130T out of NAS Brunswick, Maine.

I had the chance to visit NAS Brunswick, Maine and spend a few hours with VP-10, known as the Red Lancers. A little history of their patch, the insignia represents the mission of the Compass Rose as a backdrop. The Dipper and Polaris is superimposed to show how long overseas patrol is necessary for navigation. The lightning bolts represent the importance of sending and receiving radio information. The bomb in the middle of their unit patch represents their secondary mission as a VP Squadron.

The P-3 units deploy to the Mediterranean and throughout the Atlantic including successful deployments in Keflavik , Iceland , the Azores, Rota Spain , and many others. The P-3's main roll is land based, long range anti-submarine warfare (ASW). It has advanced submarine detection equipment such as sensors, directional frequency and sonar buoys. The P-3 can carry a variety of internal weapons on it pylons like the Harpoon anti-surface missile, MK-50 torpedo and the MK-60 Mine.

While walking the ramp with LTJG Christina Evans of the unit VP-10 & PAO Lt. Gomez, we were able to capture some shots of the ground crews working on a few aircraft. One had just finished some engine work and I was allowed to watch the engine run ups. There were multiple P-3s in the pattern flying touch and goes or landing and taxing back for another take off.

On our way back one of the crews were preparing to hang a dummy missile. I was allowed to take some pictures of how they hang this to the outside wing pylon. After this I went outside the base to capture some images of the P-3s in the pattern.

The BRAC recommendation is to close NAS Brunswick, Maine and move all the P-3s down to NAS Jacksonville FL. I appreciate the time LTJG Evans and Lt Gomez gave me during my visit. NAS Brunswick, Maine plans to host an Air Show featuring the Blue Angels this year.

Copyright © 2006-2007 Dave O'Brien - http://www.topgunphotography.net

VP-8 Aircraft at NAS Brunswick, Maine
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VP-10 Aircraft at NAS Brunswick, Maine
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VP-26 Aircraft at NAS Brunswick, Maine
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VP-92 Aircraft at NAS Brunswick, Maine
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Other Aircraft at NAS Brunswick, Maine
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera061026-N-8726C-002 Brunswick, Maine (Oct. 26, 2006) "...Lt. j.g. Patrick O'Brien, a P-3 Orion pilot from Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), flies above the clouds on his way to a Coast Guard ceremony honoring the crew that help rescue a P-3 Orion crew that crashed into the ocean over 30 years ago. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy News Stand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=40342 [05NOV2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Why the Afterbody Went Flying - By AD2(AW) Randy Penrod, VP-26 - Mech Spring 2006..." WebSite: Navy Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/mech/issues/spring06/whytheafterbody.htm [27JUN2006]

The P-3C is a multi-crew aircraft, and its aviators rely on crew resource management (CRM) every day for mission accomplishment. At the core of CRM are the tenets of decision-making, assertiveness, mission analysis, communication, leadership, adaptability and flexibility, and situational awareness. These same tenets work in maintenance. As a maintainer, I learned the importance and value of a few of the skills, specifically situational awareness and communication, one duty weekend in Brunswick, Maine.

That particular weekend was busier than normal as we focused on getting an aircraft full mission capable (FMC) for the coming week's flight schedule. Two props on the aircraft needed balancing, which entailed turning the aircraft, running the balance gear, adding or subtracting weights to the props, and turning the aircraft again to check the balance.

On the turn, I was the collateral-duty inspector (CDI) with an experienced third class petty officer and a new third class to assist me. The turn occurred without incident, and, afterwards, as I have done countless times before, I went into the shop to update maintenance control and the maintenance action forms (MAFs) while the other two maintainers removed the balance gear and installed the propeller afterbody assemblies.

Finished with the MAFs, I headed back out to the aircraft and intercepted one of my team members. That maintainer told me the ground-turn crew planned to start engines again to check reverse shaft horsepower (SHP) on the No. 3 engine—one of the engines we just had balanced.

Within seconds of returning to my shop, the maintenance chief called, saying the afterbody fell off the aircraft. My heart sank, and I could not believe it! I immediately proceeded out to the aircraft and saw that my team had failed to install the bolts, allowing the afterbody to fall free during the turn.

The flight engineer (FE) was new to the command and had failed to recognize I was the CDI and started the engines again without confirming the afterbodies were installed or completing another walk-around inspection.

I'm thankful that the flying afterbody didn't hit anyone or anything on the way down. Everyone involved in this fiasco relearned two basic CRM or MRM (maintenance resource management) skills: communication and situational awareness.

As the CDI, I should have let the FE know that I was heading into the hangar to sign off MAFs and my workers were installing the afterbodies. My workers should have told the FE that the installation had not been CDI'd and should have had the situational awareness to stop the turns, knowing I had not signed off on their work.

The FE, noticing the petty officers no longer were working on the afterbody, assumed the work was done. Instead of talking to someone or checking the work, he proceeded to turn the engine.

The requirement to have ready-for-tasking (RFT) aircraft, increased operational tempo, and perceived pressure are common to all fleet squadrons, and these conditions have the potential to cause a mishap. It happened to us, but we have the ability to learn from our mistakes, as do other Sailors and shipmates.

Petty Officer Penrod is a powerplants collateral-duty inspector with VP-26.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera060410-N-8726C-002 Sigonella, Sicily (April 10, 2006) "...Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Nathaniel Nasarow assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), directs a P-3C Orion during low power turns. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=33454 [04JUN2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060407-N-8726C-002 Sigonella, Sicily (Apr 6, 2006) "...Aviation structural Mechanic 3rd Class Julie Burney assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron twenty-six (VP-26), removes a bad rivet from the number one beaver tail on a P-3C Orion Aircraft. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=33389 [02MAY2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCameraU.S. Navy Photo by Photographer`s Mate 1st Class John Collins "...Aviation Electrician`s Mate 3rd Class Nathaniel Nasarow assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), directs a P-3C Orion during low power turns. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism (2006-04-11)..." WebSite: FutureKorea http://www.futurekorea.co.kr/article/article_frame.asp?go=content§ion=%ED%8F%AC%ED%86%A0%EB%89%B4%EC%8A%A4&id=12540 [12APR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060331-N-8726C-001 Sigonella, Italy (March 31, 2006) "...Sailors assigned to the "Trident" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) bring in Cmdr. Thomas G. Kollie, Jr's P-3 Orion into the hanger for the last time. Commander of (VP-26) based in Brunswick, Maine, changed hands when Cmdr. Gregory J. Cozad, Jr., relieved Cmdr. Thomas G. Kollie, Jr. The ceremony was held in the squadron's Hangar on board Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment supporting maritime patrol operations, Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (Released)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=33251 [07APR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060323-N-8726C-001 Sigonella, Sicily (March 23, 2006) "...Aviation Electrician's Theodore Sawinko, assigned to Patrol Squadron twenty-six (VP-26), walks the port wing of a P-3C Orion aircraft during post-flight procedures. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=33051 [26MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060217-N-8726C-007 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 17, 2006) "...Lt. j.g. Matt Watson, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), makes pre-flight checks on his navigation and communication systems. The Tridents are currently taking part in anti-submarine warfare operations in support of Operation Noble Manta. Operation Noble Manta is the largest anti-submarine warfare exercise (ASW) in the world. The eleven-day North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise is designed to improve joint ASW operations between NATO forces. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEAESD)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=32118 [26MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060217-N-8726C-006 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 17, 2006) "...A Sailor assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), makes last minute adjustments to equipment prior to the launch of a P-3 Orion. The Tridents are currently taking part in anti-submarine warfare operations in support of Operation Noble Manta. Operation Noble Manta is the largest anti-submarine warfare exercise (ASW) in the world. The eleven-day North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise is designed to improve joint ASW operations between NATO forces. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=32117 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060217-N-8726C-001 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 17, 2006) "...Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Charles Lindsay, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), load sonar buoys into a P-3 Orion. The Trident combat aircrew flying the P-3 launched sonar buoys during anti-submarine warfare operations in support of Operation Noble Manta. Operation Noble Manta is the largest anti-submarine warfare exercise (ASW) in the world. The eleven-day North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise is designed to improve joint ASW operations between NATO forces. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=32116 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060202-N-8726C-008 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb 2, 2006) "...A P-3C Orion assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) shown on the flight line prior to night operations at Naval Air Station Sigonella. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 1ST Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31711 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060202-N-8726C-004 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 2, 2006) "...Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Kenneth Ruch, assigned to the "Rawhides" of Patrol Squadron Twenty-Six (VP-26), re-threads a hinge to an interior aircraft door for a P-3C Orion. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31708 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060126-N-8228R-585 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 26, 2006) "...Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Steve Hastey assigned to Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), conducts routine maintenance on a P-3C Orion. VP-26 is currently deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime patrols. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31548 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060116-N-8726C-006 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 16, 2006) "...A Sailor assigned to Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), heads toward a P-3 Orion to put chocks under the aircraft wheels during shut procedures. VP-26 is currently on deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31305 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060115-N-8726C-003 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 15, 2006) "...Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Charles Lindsay, assigned to Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), begins the "stop" signal during recovering operations of a Trident P-3 Orion. VP-26 is currently on deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31298 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060115-N-8726C-001 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 15, 2006) "...Three P-3C Orion aircraft belonging to the Tridents of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) stand ready on a rain soaked airfield on board Naval Air Station Sigonella. Originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, the P-3C's mission has evolved in the late 1990s and early 21st century to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment supporting maritime patrol operations and the Global War on Terror. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31248 [04MAR2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060112-N-8726C-001 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 12, 2006) "...Sailors assigned the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) head back to the hanger after conducting a pre-flight checks on a P-3C Orion. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31174 [14JAN2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060112-N-8726C-004 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 12, 2006) "...Airman Christina Murphy, assigned the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) removes over wing plugs from the number three engine nacelle during pre-flight checks on a P-3C Orion. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class John Collins (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31175 [14JAN2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060102-N-8228R-360 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 2, 2006) "...Aviation Electrician's Mate Airman Thaddeus Greene assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) work to repair an auxiliary power unit (APU). VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jonathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31041 [14JAN2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060102-N-8228R-427 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 2, 2006) "...Aviation Electrician's Technician 1st Class William Cockshutt, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) removes a wing tip from a P-3C Orion to check an electronic system. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jonathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31042 [14JAN2006]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera060102-N-8228R-465 Sigonella, Sicily (Jan. 2, 2006) "...Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Larocque, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), takes hydraulic samples to check for contaminates in the hydraulic service center of a P-3C Orion aircraft. VP-26 is currently on a six-month deployment to Sigonella, Sicily in support of maritime patrol operations and the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jonathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=31043 [14JAN2006]


Circa 2005

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 43 years 304,000 hours..." WebSite: Naval Safety Center http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/issues/sepoct05/Mishap-Free.htm [30NOV2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "..."Tridents" of CAC-4 Return to Visit Squadron After 37 Years - Story Number: NNS051004-18 - Release Date: 10/4/2005 11:23:00 PM - By Lt. j.g. David Savery, Patrol Squadron 26 Public Affairs..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=20368 [14OCT2005]

NAVAL AIR STATION BRUNSWICK, Maine (NNS) -- The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 at Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, honored six members of the 1968 Combat Air Crew (CAC) 4, Aug. 20.

The reunion brought the CAC-4 veterans together from all over the United States to visit, share stories and reminisce about their adventures in the Navy. This tight-knit group of air crew flew missions in their P-3B Orion aircraft against Russian diesel and nuclear-powered submarines in the North Pacific during the Cold War.

"For diesel submarines, I've flown [against] Peruvian and Chilean type 209s, a Chinese Ming, two Japanese subs and a Russian Kilo during my career," said Lt. Cmdr. Dwayne Burbridge, squadron tactical coordinator (TACCO) and admin officer. "For this veteran Cold-War 'Trident' crew, which flew on hundreds of submarines, it would have been just a good week."

One CAC-4 member present was retired Cmdr. Robert Fant, who spent 56 months in the Hanoi, Vietnam, prison camp. He and recently-deceased Rear Adm. James Stockdale endured some of the worst torture received by the Viet Cong. Despite the horrible conditions, including complete isolation, both men displayed incredible courage and returned home with distinct honor.

"I am always honored to be in his presence. He is truly a great American," explained VP-26 Command Master Chief CMDCM Aaron Shipley, who worked with Fant as an instructor at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school.

The veterans, who flew the P-3B, toured a P-3C AIP aircraft and marveled over the improvements and upgrades. The crew sat at their former positional stations, and memories flooded back to them as they recounted stories of missions they once flew.

"The reunion of CAC-4 substantiates the tight bond all 'Tridents' enjoy and cements the 'Once a Trident, always a Trident' motto," said Shipley.

Members of the 1968 CAC-4 included retired Rear Adm. P.D. Smith, patrol plane commander; former Lt. Cmdr. Don Lundquist, co-pilot; retired Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Jim Grover, flight engineer; retired Cmdr. Robert Fant, TACCO; retired Master Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Jack Moore, acoustic sensor operator; and retired Senior Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Bill McDonough, radioman/sensor operator.

"It was really a neat thing to see the crew together like this," said McDonough's wife.

Finally, the group honored "Tridents" reported missing in action at the new squadron ceremonial quarterdeck. This included one VP-26 crew from 1950 and two crews from 1968.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Local military happenings - Wednesday, September 21, 2005..." WebSite: Suffolk News Herald http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/articles/2005/09/22/news/news5.txt [03OCT2005]

-Navy Airman Josh R. Grimes, son of Angel R. and Mike J. Grimes of Suffolk, recently reported for duty with VP-26, NAS Brunswick, Maine.

Grimes is a 2004 graduate of Lakeland High School of Suffolk and joined the Navy in November 2004.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy Marine Corps News - Aug 13, 2005 - VP Squadrons - VP-26...VIDEO..." WebSite: Navy News http://www.news.navy.mil/management/videodb/player/video.aspx?ID=5345 [14AUG2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Navy Marine Corps News - Aug 13, 2005 - Active/Reserve Integration - VP-26, VP-30 and VP-92...VIDEO..." WebSite: Navy News http://www.news.navy.mil/management/videodb/player/video.aspx?ID=5344 [14AUG2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050713-N-8228R-354 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 13, 2005) "...Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Lee Ramirez loads empty sonobouys into their carriers after downloading them from a P-3C Orion, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), after a training mission VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26309 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050712-N-8228R-280 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 12, 2005) "...Lt.j.g. Orlando Garcia, center, briefs his Combat Air Crew on their P-3C Orion aircraft's operating area prior to a training mission. The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26307 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050712-N-8228R-250 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 12, 2005) "...Maintenance personnel assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), conduct system checks on one of their P-3C Orion patrol aircraft prior to a night flight. VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26306 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050711-N-8228R-006 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 12, 2005) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Frank Wilson, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), preflights the engines of a P-3C Orion aircraft prior to a training mission. VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26303 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050711-N-8228R-019 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 12, 2005) "...Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Aaron Unruh, foreground, and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Scott Keating load sonobouys in launch tubes underneath a P-3C Orion, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26). VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26304 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050711-N-8228R-031 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 12, 2005) "...Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Frank Wilson and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Adam Gladding perform coordinated checks during a preflight check on a P-3C Orion, assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26). VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26305 [26JUL2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP History ThumbnailCamera050710-N-8228R-040 Jacksonville, Fla. (June 10, 2005) "...Sailors assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), show their hands during bomb bay operations while Aviation Ordnancemen check the security of the bomb bay door pin on a P-3C Orion aircraft. The hands raised are to assure that no one turns on the hydraulics, which would instantly shut the door, injuring personnel. VP-26 currently has two crews deployed to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, participating in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnathan Roark (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy Newsstand http://www.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=26302 [26JUL2005]


Circa 2004

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Sigonella aircraft aids in rescue of African refugees near Malta - By Jason Chudy, Stars and Stripes - European edition, Thursday, April 15, 2004..." WebSite: Stars and Stips http://www.stripes.com/ [15SEP2008]

The crew of a P-3 Orion patrol aircraft deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, recently aided in the rescue of 39 African refugees packed into an overloaded, 18-foot-long rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles south of Malta.

The 35 Eritreans and four Ethiopeans used a satellite telephone to make a distress call from the boat late Thursday night. The signal was picked up by Maltese authorities, who started to search for the boat and contacted Italian and U.S. military forces for help.

The Navy Orion and an ATL3 Atlantique of the Italian air force's 41st Stormo — or squadron — joined the search early Friday morning.

The Orion and its 11-member crew, attached to VP-26 of Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, spent 8˝ hours searching for the boat, which was located early that afternoon.

With their aircraft low on fuel, the crew dropped a search-and-rescue kit with two life rafts and survival gear to the refugees, then directed Armed Forces Malta Patrol Boat P-51 to the scene before returning to Sigonella.

"We've rehearsed doing this but have never gotten to do it," said mission commander Lt. Cmdr. Chip Barnes. "Overall, it's a rare occasion to push the SAR kit out the door."

According to the Malta Times, the P-51 escorted the boat to a maritime base on the island nation. The 34 men, three women and two children were reported by Maltese authorities to be in good health.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Mission Planning and Hangar Flying - by Lt. Christopher M. Barnes/P-3C - Lt. Barnes flies with VP-26..." Naval Safety Center WebSite: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/vault/articles/2004/0638.htm [04JUN2005]

As part of my flight training and upgrading process my instructors consistently harped on the importance of both mission planning and hangar or "chair" flying but, I never fully grasped their importance until my crew experienced an in-flight malfunction during a mission in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Some argue hangar flying is unnecessary once you are in the groove or when the missions seem relatively straightforward; however, the cornerstone of mission planning and hangar flying is to prepare you for whatever Murphy's Law might have in store. Though NATOPS provides the proven standards for handling malfunctions through emergency procedures, it also makes allowances "for sound judgment and decision-making to account for operational contingencies and considerations when our mission affects the lives of others." This is where hangar flying comes into play.

After three months deployed to the Mediterranean Theater my crew received short-fused orders to reposition to the Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility. Frantically, we mission planned for our upcoming detachment, employing hangar flying scenarios and drawing on the experience of others and the Commander's Guidance for insight. In less than two months, we would find ourselves drawing tools from this mission planning toolbox over hostile territory.

Tasked to conduct an overnight mission in support of Coalition Forces, my crew mission planned for the event several hours before takeoff, reviewing possible scenarios and malfunctions we might encounter during the flight. Night flying was nothing new but, my crew was far from seasoned on the mission and additional preparation was a must. The mission went off without a hitch until just prior to our off-station when, under a blanket of darkness, our Flight Engineer called out, "Oil Pressure Light on the #4 engine". We immediately checked the oil gauges and noticed: power section oil pressure at zero, reduction gearbox oil pressure at 30 PSI and fluctuating, oil temperature decreasing and no change in oil quantity. The first thing I recalled was our NATOPS verbiage regarding oil pressure malfunctions: "if out of limits, execute the Emergency Shutdown Procedure". Since we were about to check off-station and our aircraft weight was light enough to maintain sufficient altitude above our assigned hard deck, I ordered, "E-Handle #4 engine, HRD not required, Emergency Shutdown Checklist, 1010 TIT on the three operating engines". The copilot began to coordinate a descent with the controllers and I focused on maintaining sufficient airspeed to keep us above the hard deck. The off-duty pilot and flight engineer quickly reviewed NATOPS and calculated stall speed and 3-Engine SHP requirements for each engine in case we had to perform counter threat maneuvers.

With the emergency shutdown checklist complete and the aircraft in a controllable state, I faced a safety-of-flight decision. Do we stay above the hard deck and transit home at 190 knots or descend below the hard deck to gain more airspeed in case we have to evade? Descending would place the aircraft and crew inside the threat envelope and therefore at a greater risk. Fortunately, precious little time was wasted since my crew had discussed just such a scenario in a hangar flying session prior to the mission. Without delay I made the decision to remain at altitude. The fact that our crew performed a hangar flying scenario in advance and that the timing of our malfunction occurred just prior to off-station made me reasonably comfortable with my decision.

My personal experience proves the need for hangar flying, no matter what your platform. P-3C flight station communications and coordination have the potential to become hectic during the conduct of an emergency procedure. Having a plan in place that everyone has discussed in advance alleviates confusion and minimizes mistakes. Hangar flying gives you a relaxed environment that facilitates discussion amongst the crew and gives you an opportunity to obtain answers to questions about your mission without time and asset constraints. I encourage all aviators to conduct thorough mission planning and hangar flying-being prepared for whatever Murphy might throw at you will facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in the decision making process during times of stress and will enable your crews to fly safer and with increased confidence.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040416-N-5821W-005 Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Sicily (Apr. 16, 2004) "...Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Justin Donohue, assigned to Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), shows Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions a sensor station inside one of the squadron's P-3C Orion aircraft. Senator Sessions and Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss visited NAS Sigonella to tour the base and meet with Sailors. NAS Sigonella provides logistical support for Commander, Sixth Fleet and NATO forces in the Mediterranean area. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Stephen P. Weaver. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=13417 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040409-N-4179T-001 Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Sicily (Apr. 9, 2004) "...VP-26 Aids in Rescue Near Malta - Story Number: NNS040409-11 - Release Date: 4/9/2004 12:33:00 PM - By Journalist 3rd Class Stephen P. Weaver, Naval Air Station Sigonella Public Affairs..." Navy News Stand http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=12748 [23MAR2005]

Combat Aircrew 4 assigned to Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) pose for a photo following a successful Search and Rescue (SAR) mission off the coast of Malta. About 40 refugees were rescued after the VP-26 aircrew vectored in a Maltese Coast Guard boat to aid in the rescue. The "Tridents" of VP-26 are currently deployed to NAS Sigonella from Brunswick, Maine. NAS Sigonella provides logistical support for Commander, Sixth Fleet and NATO forces in the Mediterranean. U.S. Navy Photo. (RELEASED)

SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) -- Members of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 currently deployed to Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella aided in the search and rescue of about 40 people in the Mediterranean April 9.

The black rubber boat, which was said to be packed full of refugees, began taking on water about 65 miles south of the island of Malta. A person aboard the boat with a cell phone called in for assistance and was in communication with the Rescue Coordination Center in Malta.

A VP-26 P-3C Orion Search and Rescue (SAR) Ready crew received the call at 1:45 a.m. April 9 about the situation and took off at 5:30 a.m. An ATL3 Atlantique assigned to the Italian Air Force 41st Stormo also received the call to aid in the search and rescue.

"Someone from the boat used their cell phone and frequently would call the rescue coordination center on Malta to relay information to us and to the Italian plane," said. Lt. Cmdr. Chip Barnes, mission commander. "We took off and split up the area with the Italian aircraft."

At about eight and a half hours into the flight, VP-26 Combat Air Crew 4, the "Plug Uglies," spotted the boat adrift in the Med. "When we found them they were bailing water," said Barnes. "From then on, we were just talking to the rescue center, trying to vector in a Maltese Coast Guard boat to find them."

"They were very happy when they saw us," said Lt. Colby Morgan, plane commander. "They were waving their arms. They were very packed into that little boat."

The rescue boat was 45 minutes away at this point, and the P-3 was getting low on fuel. "We had one more fly-by left, so we decided, based on the overloaded condition of the boat and the fact they were bailing water, to drop the search-and-rescue kit," said Barnes. The search-and-rescue kit consists of two life rafts and a survival kit. This was the first time in a few years a VP-26 crew has dropped a kit such as this.

The boat crew's initial situation was unclear. "We don't know if maybe they were in another boat that sank, but the boat they were in ran out of gas," said Morgan.

The members aboard were taken to safety by the Maltese Coast Guard. "The rescue center called on our way back and said their rescue craft had picked them up," said Lt. Jason Romero, a pilot aboard. "[The Rescue Coordination Center] thanked us and wished us a happy Easter."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040308-N-3983C-005 Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Sicily (Mar. 8, 2004) "...Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Nelson Ramos directs a P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26) as it is towed to a parking spot on the NAS Sigonella flight line. The "Tridents" of VP-26 are currently deployed to NAS Sigonella from Brunswick, Maine. NAS Sigonella provides logistical support for Commander, Sixth Fleet and NATO forces in the Mediterranean area. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Betsi Currence. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=12605 [04MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040218-N-8228R-023 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 18, 2004) "...An Italian military police officer stands watch as another searches for possible threats to Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) inspection teams boarding a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), during Exercise Air Brake 04, a multi-lateral aviation interdiction training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea area. The exercise, led by Italy, is part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a collaborative effort to take active measures against trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The P-3C aircraft and crew assigned to VP-26 are participating in the exercise, along with French and Italian assets, to improve interdiction capabilities and interoperability among the eleven PSI nations. VP-26 is currently deployed to Sigonella, Sicily in support of Commander Task Force 67 (CTF 67), Sixth Fleet, and European Command operations. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class John Roark. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=12007 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040218-N-8228R-020 Sigonella, Sicily (Feb. 18, 2004) "...An Italian military police officer boards a U.S Navy P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), to ensure the area is safe for the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) team to search the aircraft for simulated Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD, during Exercise Air Brake 04, a multi-lateral aviation interdiction training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea area. The exercise, led by Italy, is part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) a collaborative effort to take active measures against trafficking in WMD. The P-3C aircraft and crew assigned to VP-26 are participating in the exercise, along with French and Italian assets, to improve interdiction capabilities and interoperability among the eleven PSI nations. VP-26 is currently deployed to Sigonella, Sicily in support of Commander Task Force 67 (CTF 67), Sixth Fleet, and European Command operations. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class John Roark. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=12006 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040218-N-8228R-006 Mediterranean Sea (Feb. 18, 2004) "...An Italian Air Force F-16 fighter intercepts a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), during Exercise Air Brake 04, a multi-lateral aviation interdiction training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. The exercise, led by Italy, is part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a collaborative effort to take active measures against trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The P-3C patrol aircraft and crew assigned to VP- 26 are participating in the exercise, along with French and Italian assets, to improve interdiction capabilities and interoperability among the eleven PSI nations. VP-26 is currently deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, in support of Commander Task Force Six Seven (CTF 67), Sixth Fleet, and European Command operations. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class John Roark. (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=12005 [05MAR2005]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCamera040619-N-5821W-007 Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily (Jun. 19, 2004) "...Oscar winning actor/producer Michael Douglas descends a ladder after his visit aboard a P-3C Orion assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26,). Douglas, star of movies such as "The American President" and "Wall Street," visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella to meet, sign autographs and pose for photos with Sailors and their family members before appearing at the Taormina Film Festival in Taormina, Sicily. VP-26 is currently deployed to NAS Sigonella, and is based in Brunswick, Maine. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Stephen P. Weaver (RELEASED)..." Navy News Stand http://newshome.news.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=15235 [03MAR2005]


Circa 2003

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "..."Was that a Bald Eagle?" - by ADCS (AW/NAC) Kevin Smith/ P-3C - ADCS (AW/NAC) Kevin Smith is attached to Patrol Squadron 26..." Naval Safety Center WebSite: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/media/approach/vault/articles/2003/0607.htm [04JUN2005]

I was scheduled to fly an early morning event as the Instructor Flight Engineer on a pilot check flight. The weather was overcast, 4500 ft ceilings with rain showers expected later that afternoon. Another typical summer day in the "Great State of Maine."

Preflight went without a hitch and we were airborne on time. ATIS reported moderate bird activity just as it had every day this summer, so we discussed the importance of keeping a good VFR scan for birds. There was no traffic in the bounce pattern and it looked like a great day for flying.

All of our work was primarily in the landing pattern conducting multiple simulated 3 engine, 2 engine, and no flap landings. A simple flight for the up-grading pilot, but one that would prove to be a first for all of us.

During our normal landings we noticed birds around the approach end of the runway, but they were remaining clear of the traffic pattern. The grass had recently been mowed, andthe smaller birds were busy catching their meals in the short grass.

Finished with the flight, the student pilot set up for a full stop landing from the right seat. As we rolled short final at 400 ft AGL with flaps at approach, I scanned outside just in time to spot a very large bird right in front of us at the same altitude! I called out the traffic and the Plane Commander (Instructor) took the controls in an attempt to avoid a collision. It was too late, and we hit the bird on our starboard side. We felt and heard a noticeable thump, followed by secondaries on the #4 engine. The shaft horsepower fluxed into the negative range, and the turbine inlet temperature increased by 60-80 degrees C. RPM remained stable and the engine continued to operate. I called these indications out and the Plane Commander made an approach flap full stop landing. I continued to call out engine indications until we came to a full stop. We secured the engine after clearing the runway and taxied back to our line. The entire evolution took no more than two minutes from strike to shut down.

On post flight, the #4 intake was filled with bird remains. It was completely wrapped around the inlet guide vanes. Fortunately, there was no appreciable damage and after engine cleaning the plane was returned to service. Post flight analysis by the base environmental office revealed we struck an Osprey.

Lessons learned:

Scan. Keep your scan moving inside and out. Even if you have good scan practices set up; do not let your guard down.

Surroundings. Get familiar with the birds in your local operating area. We struck an Osprey with a wingspan of approximately 3 feet. Other birds in the area are seagulls, pigeons, crows, hawks, and various types of jays. Know when it is prime feeding time.

Bottom line, expect the unexpected, and have a plan at all times when flying. It is a recipe for success.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "30OCT2003...VP-26 hosts POW/MIA ceremony - By:NC1 (AW/SW) Steven L. Rothert and AM1 (AW) Daniel B. Wagner, Photo by PHAN Jared W. Thurber, VP-26..." WebSite: The Dolphin http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10426675&BRD=1659&PAG=461&dept_id=8103&rfi=6 [03DEC2005]

Spotlight

NAS Brunswick, Maine - Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26) commemorated the missing crew of "HB 7" in a solemn POW/MIA ceremony Sept. 19.

Following an old maritime tradition, PN1 Corbett struck a ship's bell once as CMDCM (AW/SW/NAC) Aaron Shipley, VP-26 command master chief, read the name of each missing crewmember. A small table, set with symbols of grief and a solitary empty chair, represented missing crewmembers.

Retired Cmdr. Bob Fant honored the squadron as the guest speaker.

Fant received his wings in 1965 as a Naval Flight Officer and was assigned to VP-26. Following his tour at VP-26, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 102 aboard USS America (CV-66). While serving aboard the America in the Gulf of Tonkin, he was shot down in July of 1968 during his 52nd combat mission. The North Vietnamese immediately captured him and held him captive for four years and eight months, before finally releasing him in March 1973. Fant enriched each Sailor's perspective of the words "support and defend" and "true faith and allegiance" through his own accounts and experiences. The details of his survival as a prisoner of war became a tribute to those of those who didn't return.

AM2 (AW) Daniel Bogacki said of the ceremony, "It really revealed a new perspective of what some of our shipmates had to endure to protect my freedom."

"His experience brought home to me the reality of war," added YN3 (AW) Leandra Fernandez, "and the important role that the family plays in the emotional survival of a POW. If I were captured, it would be thoughts of my immediate family that would give me faith to endure."

On April 8, 1950, a VP-26 plane, a PB4Y-2 designated HB 7, took off from Wiesbaden Air Base, West Germany. Their primary mission was to record and analyze the signals of Soviet radars and electronic equipment. At 5:39 p.m., the "Privateer" was intercepted by four Soviet "La-11" fighters while flying over the Baltic Sea, south of Liepaja, Latvia. Encircling HB 7, the two lead fighters rocked their wings and turned to the left, signaling the Privateer to follow them back to Latvia. Hoping to evade the Soviet fighters, HB 7 turned sharply to the right and initiated a descent into the clouds. The Soviet group leader reacted by firing a warning burst parallel to the Privateer. Claiming the U.S. plane had returned fire, the Soviets again targeted the PB4Y-2, striking a fatal blow and sending the burning aircraft into a dense cloud layer below. This incident caused the crew of four officers and six enlisted men to become the first casualties of the Cold War.

On April 9, 1951, one year and a day after the incident, the U.S. government declared all 10 men "presumed dead" and posthumously awarded them the Distinguished Flying Cross. Fifty-three years later, the entire crew remains missing and now carries the status of "unaccounted for."

Today, on the Baltic coast, a limestone monument exists in memory of the missing crew. Standing atop the monument is a bronze statue of a mother shielding her eyes in vain, as she gazes towards the sea in an effort to find her missing Sailors. She has patiently waited for over 53 years for the story to be told, and for her brave sons' sacrifice to be recognized.

In the concluding moments of the ceremony, representatives of the VP-26 First Class Petty Officers' Association presented framed artwork to Cmdr. Mathew J. Carter, VP 26 commanding officer. The artwork, created from charcoal rubbings of the HB 7 crewmembers' names etched into the Latvian Memorial, is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices of our fallen patriots. The memorial is displayed on Team "Trident's" quarterdeck.

Those lost were: Lt. John H. Fette, USNR; Lt. Howard W. Seeschaf; Lt. j.g. Robert D. Reynolds; Ensign Tommy L. Burgess; AD1 Joe H. Danens; AD1 Jack W. Thomas; AE1 Frank L. Beckman; CT3 Edward J. Purcell; AT3 Joseph N. Rinnier and AT3 Joseph J. Bourassa.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-26 History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "08JAN2003...030108-N-7171K-003 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland (Jan. 8, 2003) -- Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Casey Demarse uses a fire hose to wash down the wing of a P-3C "Orion" assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), during an aircraft wash down in one of the Naval Station hangar facilities. Aircraft are washed every 28 days as part of preventative maintenance and corrosion control schedule. VP-26 is currently on deployment providing maritime reconnaissance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Catherine R. Kee. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-26 History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "08JAN2003...030108-N-7171K-005 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland (Jan. 8, 2003) -- Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Casey Demarse scrubs the wing of a P-3 "Orion" assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), during an aircraft wash down in one of the Naval Station hangar facilities. Aircraft are washed every 28 days as part of preventative maintenance and corrosion control schedule. VP-26 is currently on deployment providing maritime reconnaissance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Catherine R. Kee. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-26 History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "08JAN2003...030108-N-7171K-001 Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland (Jan. 8, 2003) -- Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Micheal Olver cleans the tire rims on a P-3C "Orion" assigned to the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron Two Six (VP-26), during an aircraft wash down in one of the Naval Station hangar facilities. Aircraft are washed every 28 days as part of preventative maintenance and corrosion control schedule. VP-26 is currently on deployment providing maritime reconnaissance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Catherine R. Kee. (RELEASED)..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "27JAN2003...VP-26 Celebrates Successful Deployment - Story Number: NNS030127-18 - Release Date: 1/27/2003 4:14:00 PM...http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5545..." WebSite: Navy NewsStand http://www.news.navy.mil/ [22FEB2003]

VP-26 Celebrates Successful Deployment
Story Number: NNS030127-18
Release Date: 1/27/2003 4:14:00 PM
By Journalist 3rd Class Landon Mason, Naval Air Station Keflavik Public Affairs

KEFLAVIK, Iceland (NNS) -- After obtaining $1.08 billion in drug seizures, logging more than 4,500 flight hours and collecting 17,000 toys for children in Ecuador on a six-month deployment, the Sailors of Fleet Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 are getting ready to head home.

For the deployment, one VP-26 detachment traveled to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (NSRR), while the main body of the squadron deployed to Keflavík, Iceland.

"Between us and the rest of the squadron, we've flown over the Mediterranean, Caribbean, El Salvador and South America," said Lt. j.g. Carolyn Holloway, a pilot with VP-26. "It's been an interesting challenge."

Between missions, the Sailors of VP-26 participated in the NSRR Adopt-a-Grade program and worked to give some families in Ecuador a Merry Christmas.

"Along with the 17,000 toys, we provided 800 outfits for families and 25 car packages, which included toys, diapers, washcloths, bed linens and the like, for students at the Institute of Special Education in Manta, Ecuador, and also for families visiting their children at the pediatric ward at one of the hospitals in Ecuador," Holloway said.

While many of the Sailors say they had a great time, going home is a beautiful thing.

"I had a great time down here," said Yeoman Seaman Abel Espinal. "I learned a lot about my job and about myself. Now I'm just anxious to get home and see my family."

VP-26 will return home to Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, in February. VP-5 from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., will relieve them.


Circa 2002

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Team 'Trident' surpasses 40-year Safety Milestone By LTjg Chris Barnes - August 22nd, 2002...http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2002/aug222002_20.shtml..." [19JUN2003]

The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 have been setting the standard in aviation safety for a long time and the Federal Aviation Administration recognized VP-26 as the safest organization throughout the entire spectrum of military and civilian aviation. On Aug. 8, team Trident surpassed a 40-year milestone for mishap free flying, having flown more than 290,000 hours without a "Class A" mishap.

The beginning of each safety record can be traced back to a single incident. For VP-26, that incident occurred with the loss of a P2E Neptune to a fire and explosion during a ground maintenance turn Aug. 4, 1962. The causal factor listed in the safety report is "the main primer line of the impeller section was improperly connected." Fortunately, no deaths or injuries resulted.

The squadron's safety record is based on the training and skill of flight crews, and equally, on the professionalism and vigilance of ground crews who maintain the aircraft. When Cmdr. Sean Buck became the commanding officer of VP-26 in March, his first goal during the inter-deployment training cycle was to "conduct ground and flight operations safely." From the front office to the most junior airman, a vigilant safety culture thrives in VP-26, allowing Team Trident to execute their plan flawlessly and uphold their long-standing tradition of "safety first" operations.

Sustaining this safety legacy requires constant attention to detail, "by the book" maintenance practices, and strict adherence to procedures. The safety record of VP-26 is the direct result of the diligence of more than 5,300 current and former Tridents, who "did it right the first time" and took appropriate action each time something did not "look right," according to Buck.

VP-26's safety program remains the epitome of a proactive aviation safety program. Safety-related issues are thoroughly evaluated and regularly re-examined by the enlisted safety committee and officer safety council. Safety is not confined to the hangar. Tridents take their "safety first" mind set and reapply it each day in their work centers and at their homes. Safety training has been integrated into each work center's training syllabus.

Knowledge gained through the training "pipeline" and at other commands is validated in accordance with current published standards. Published procedures are subjected to rigorous operational readiness management based scrutiny to discover mishap potential and to initiate corrective action. The use of standardized briefs prior to all aircraft moves and ground engine turns as well as preflight operational risk management checklists allow air crew to assess increased mishap vulnerability and to be proactive in their prevention. VP-26's Maintenance Department implemented ORM checklists at the maintenance control and individual work center level, further strengthening each link in the command safety chain.

Every member of VP-26, past and present, takes tremendous pride in their long-standing safety records. Their pride carries over in their excellence in the aircraft and on the ground. Congratulations to all the hard-working men and women of VP-26 for a job very well done.


Circa 2001

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Technician goes above and beyond - March 1, 2001..." WebSite: DC Military - Tester http://www.dcmilitary.com/navy/tester/6_09/local_news/5331-1.html [12DEC2005]

"We support the fleet." It's a motto that most of us take for granted. Not so for AT1(AW/NAC) Allen Claflin of Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron Orion Test Team Anti-surface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) Projects Office.

Claflin is currently accompanying VP-26, homeport NAS Brunswick, Maine, on its six-month deployment to NAS Sigonella, Sicily. Recent fleet manpower shortages in the in-flight technician community required VP-26 to send out the call for volunteers to assist them on their operational deployment cycle this year.

Cmdr. Robert Adrion, VP-26's commanding officer, welcomes Claflin with open arms. "His in-depth knowledge of AIP systems will bring a lot to the fight during our deployment to the Mediterranean area of responsibility," Adrion said.

Claflin is quoted as saying "Having a Force representative on deployment with an operational squadron is a win-win for us at Force, the deploying squadron and the fleet. We at the AIP Program office will be able to gather raw data on how our AIP equipment is performing under operational conditions."

The Anti-surface Warfare Improvement Program is the latest in avionics improvements for the venerable P-3 Orion. The communications, surveillance and data handling capability of AIP allows the P-3 to better integrate with other air, ground and surface units. Many of these systems have already been used in support of various missions around the globe. Currently, VP-26 is performing traditional maritime fleet support in the Adriatic and Mediterranean as well as supporting operations Joint Guardian over Kosovo and Determined Forge over Bosnia, all with "AIP Onboard."

In the months to come, Claflin will be flying with VP-26's Combat Aircrew 11. Having done a previous Mediterranean deployment with the "Mad Foxes" of VP-5 in 1998-99 and returning again in 1999 to augment VP-10 during the Kosovo Air Campaign, Claflin not only brings operational experience, but also a wealth of knowledge and technical ability in dealing with the latest in AIP systems. During his current assignment to the AIP Projects Office, Claflin has worked on some of the latest in avionics technology as well as assisting with the testing and delivery of AIP production aircraft to a number of fleet squadrons.

(Submitted by Force)

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Remembering three aircrews - Wings of Gold, Spring 2001 by Wagner, Daniel..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200104/ai_n8946441 [28MAR2005]

At VP-26's March 2001 change of command, departing CO, CDR Robert Adrion,recognized three lost Trident aircrews with a mural on a hangar wall featuring three diamonds (see photo). The first of the crews honored was lost in April 1950 in a PB5Y which launched from Wiesbaden AB, West Germany on a "Ferret" reconnaissance flight over the Baltic Sea. Intercepted by four Soviet La-11 fighters off the coast of Latvia the PB4Y refused the Soviet's "follow me" commands and was shot down, becoming the first publicized shoot-down of the Cold War. Some aircrewmembers survived the crash. Subsequent reports indicated they were incarcerated by the Soviets but their fate remains uncertain and today Russia contends no Americans are currently being held against their will within the borders of the former Soviet Union.

Shortly after midnight on February 6th, 1968 a VP-26 P-3B was lost off the South Vietnam coast while on a "Market Time patrol mission. There were no survivors. Two months later, on April 1st, 1968, in the same vicinity, a second P-3B came under .50 caliber fire. The number four engine was knocked out and a fire started. Attempts to extinguish the fire failed and being too low to bail out, the crew tried to make it to an airfield 20 miles away. Within sight of the runwway, the starboard wing tore off between the number three and number four engine and the aircraft tumbled into the sea. There were no survivors.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 tridents in Latvia - Wings of Gold, Summer 2001 by Jamiola, Don, Wagner, Daniel..." http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200107/ai_n8995447 [28MAR2005]

Fleet Squadron Report

The wind was blowing gently from the sea, and in the distance, the sound of waves crashing and church bells ringing could be heard as 23 Sailors in dress blues stood proudly at attention on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Their executive officer laid a wreath of yellow flowers at the base of a tall memorial dedicated to 10 fellow shipmates, aircrewmen from VP-26 who had taken off on a routine surveillance mission over 51 years ago, never to return.

On April 8th, 1950, a four-engine VP-26 PB4Y-2 Privateer designated "HB7" launched from Wiesbaden Air Base, West Germany. At 1724 hrs, four La-11 fighters took off from a small airfield in Soviet occupied Latvia. The fighters intercepted the Privateer at 1739 hrs, 8km south of Liepaja, Latvia, at just over 12,000 feet above the Baltic. Bracketing HB7, the two lead aircraft rocked their wings and turned to the left, signaling the Privateer to follow them to Latvia. Hoping to escape the Soviet fighters the American plane turned sharply to the right and descended toward clouds. The two trailing fighters opened fire on the Privateer, sending it burning into the sea.

SAR efforts started almost immediately after the plane was reported missing and continued for eight days. Even with 26 aircraft searching over 60,000 square miles of the Baltic Sea, no survivors or remains were recovered. The crew of four officers and six enlisted were thus presumed dead, the first casualties of the Cold War. All were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Latvia declared its independence in 1991. In the spirit of good will, the citizens of Liepaja and sailors from the Latvian Navy unveiled a memorial bronze plaque honoring those aircrewmen lost many years before. It is inscribed with the names of VP-26's Privateer crew and was placed on the Latvian monument which is dedicated to all sailors and fishermen lost at sea.

VP-26 was deployed to NAS Sigonella, Sicily when members learned of the memorial and became interested in visiting it. AM1 Wagner, the squadron's primary researcher of the 1950 incident, was a key player. Plans for the trip developed, involving Latvian citizens, the Latvian Navy, and especially the US. Embassy. Consequently, VP-26's Combat Aircrew Two and selected personnel flew to Riga, Latvia for the visit from April 7-9, 2001.

The group traveled by bus to Liepaja, a coastal town near the site of the shootdown. Dr. James Connell and RADM (Ret.) Boris Novyy of the U.S.-- Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, journeyed with VP-26 for the ceremony and informed the Tridents the investigation into the missing aircrewmen is ongoing. The memorial was breathtaking and the 51st anniversary ceremony inspiring.

The monument stands over 30 feet tall and is topped with a bronze statue of a woman peering out over the Baltic Sea, eternally searching for lost mariners. A large local crowd gathered for the event. Remarks included those by the Latvian Navy CNO, RADM Zeibolts, and CDR Sean Buck, VP-26 XO, who placed a large wreath of yellow carnations at the center of other bouquets. The wreath was augmented by two ribbons, one inscribed with "In memory of lost Tridents," and the other stating "Team Trident. Once a Trident, always a Trident." Other VP-26 squadron members proceeded one at a time to the monument, placing a single yellow rose at the base of the monument and saluting sharply. Squadron plaques were then presented to the citizens of Liepaja and the Latvian Navy in gratitude for their participation in honoring the lost Navy men.

VP-26's visit to the Latvian memorial will serve as a reminder to present and future Tridents of the importance in remembering and honoring those who went before them in the line of duty.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VP-26 History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...The chief petty officers of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 donned old uniforms to represent the early P-3 Navy as a farewell present for their commanding officer. Photo by PH2(NAC) Lynn Friant..." WebSite: ALL HANDS - October 2001 http://www.mediacen.navy.mil/pubs/allhands/oct01/pg1.htm [22FEB2003]


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