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Circa 2016

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-16 History "...Midshipmen Learn from the ‘Tridents,’ ‘Spartans’ and Other Commands... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2016: Issue 4..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [01NOV2016]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-16 History "...VP-26 Takes On ‘Operation Steel Trident’... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2016: Issue 4..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [01NOV2016]
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Circa 2015

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...Job Done Well for the Final P-3C Deployment from East Coast... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 4..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [28OCT2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...Final Deployment of the East Coast P-3C Orions... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 3..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [29JUL2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera150408-N-ZI300-110 "...U.S. FIFTH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (April 8, 2015) Naval Air Crewman (Avionics) 2nd Class John McDaniel, an in-flight technician assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, reads a technical manual for the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft during a maritime surveillance patrol. VP-26 is on their final active duty deployment from the East Coast using the P-3. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith/Released)..." WebSite: NavyMil http://www.navy.mil/ [08JUN2015]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera150408-N-ZI300-040 "...U.S. FIFTH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (April 8, 2015) Naval Air Crewman (Operator) 2nd Class Seth Gurrola, left, Naval Air Crewman (Avionics) 2nd Class John McDaniel, and Naval Air Crewman (Operator) 2nd Class Jakyra Hunter, all assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, monitor targets while on a maritime surveillance patrol. VP-26 is on their final active duty deployment from the East Coast using the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Smith/Released)..." WebSite: NavyMil http://www.navy.mil/ [08JUN2015]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 Commemorates 65th Anniversary of Fallen Squadron Members... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [02MAY2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 Provides Eyes in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [02MAY2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26, Coast Guard Team Chalks Up $17 Million Drug Interdiction... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [02MAY2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 begins historic final deployment of P-3C Orion... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [02MAY2015]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...Tridents Lead the Way Once Again... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2015: Issue 1..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [06FEB2015]
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Circa 2014

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...Weinzatl named NFO of the year... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2014: Issue 3..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [29JUL2014]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 Recognized by CNAL... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2014: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [01MAY2014]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...VP-26 recognized by CNAL By LT(jg) Joseph Bayo VP-26 PAO - Awarded Battle ‘E’ and Isbell Trophy - Posted: March 19, 2014 - 4:32pm..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [26MAR2014]

Photograph Caption: Photo courtesy of VP-26 - A P-3C Orion assigned to the “Tridents” of VP-26 returned home to NAS Jacksonville, Florida Dec. 10, 2013 from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. Pacific Command. Their deployment was the first integrated active-reserve P-3C deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL) recently recognized the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 as winner of both the 2013 Maritime Patrol Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle “E” – and the 2013 Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy.

Capturing both awards in a single year is a rare occurrence in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, but as the last NAS Jacksonville, Florida-based P-3C Orion squadron scheduled to transition to the P-8A Poseidon, VP-26 was given several unique operational opportunities in 2013, and they delivered with characteristic “Trident Pride.”

The Battle “E” is presented annually to the CNAL unit in each aviation community that best demonstrates warfighting efficiency and operational proficiency.

The Arnold J. Isbell Trophy is awarded for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare excellence.

The Tridents began 2013 in the second half of their 12-month Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle (IDRC). With the support of Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 11, they were preparing for an historic deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, where Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mark Sohaney would take charge of two task groups – including aircrewmen and maintainers from two P-3C reserve squadrons and Whidbey Island’s VP-1.

In 2013, VP-26 also took on a lion’s share of the P-3C maintenance workload at NAS Jacksonville, Florida because three local squadrons were transitioning to the P-8A.

VP-26 maintenance completed 14 modification line inductions, 15 aircraft acceptances, 13 aircraft transfers and 15 intermediate maintenance concept (IMC) inspections.

In early 2013, when CPRW-11 was tasked to respond to a foreign out-of-area deployer, they assigned VP-26 as the task group commander. Supported by NAS Jacksonville, Florida’s VP-30, VP-10, VP-16 and VP-62, the Tridents led a successful 24-hour operation for 19 continuous days.

“It is an honor to be a part of this outstanding organization,” said Sohaney. “These awards highlight for the rest of naval aviation the hard work and professionalism that I am privileged to witness every day. It is humbling to lead such great men and women. To see their efforts recognized in this way is truly rewarding.”

Also during the IDRC, VP-26 collaborated with the CPRW-11 Weapons School to launch an AGM-84D Harpoon and AGM-65F Maverick from the same aircraft on a single sortie. This team effort was the first time a CPRW-11 aircraft launched dissimilar anti-surface warfare missiles on a single flight.

These experiences and an Advanced Readiness Program syllabus run by CPRW-11 weapons and tactics Instructors prepared VP-26 to perform superbly during its pre-deployment certifications — an Operational Readiness Evaluation (ORE) and an Aviation Warfare Training Improvement Program (AWTIP) assessment – during which VP-26 earned the highest scores in the Wing in 2013.

During its U.S. 7th Fleet deployment, VP-26 assumed command of both Task Group 72.2 and Task Group 72.4. The squadron was augmented by six reserve crews from VP-62 and VP-69, as well as six crews from VP-1, maintaining 18 combat-proficient crews in theater throughout the deployment.

VP-26’s successful integration of aircrews from four squadrons was unprecedented and established the model for future active-reserve integration. Overall, VP-26 led more than 533 active and reserve sailors, including 24 aircrews and 12 aircraft achieving a 99.6 percent mission completion rate.

The squadron also conducted 36 detachments to 14 countries and supported 28 multinational exercises and 20 U.S. maritime exercises. Among the highlights from this demanding schedule were VP-26’s interactions with allies and partners, including the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and Royal Australian Air Force. In July, VP-26 detached a P-3C to New Zealand, yielding strategic gains as the first U.S. P-3 to fly there since 1984. In November, a combined active-reserve detachment went to Chennai, India to support Exercise MALABAR-13. During that detachment a mixed crew of VP-62 and VP-26 aircrewmen conducted the first “hot ASW” turnover with a Russian-made TU-142.

VP-26 also advanced the bilateral relationship with Japan and enhanced interoperability with the Japanese Maritime Defense Force (JMSDF), through numerous exchanges with JMSDF Patrol Squadrons 5 and 2 and hosting the three-star Commander, Fleet Air Force JMSDF at NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan.

These planned engagements are an important reason U.S. P-3Cs deploy to the Western Pacific, but NAS Jacksonville, Florida squadrons also operate forward in order to respond rapidly to crises.

VP-26 was deployed and responded superbly in October 2013 when Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated portions of the Philippines. Within hours of the government of the Philippines’ request for assistance, CTG 72.2 P-3Cs were on station to assess the damage. Aircrews and maintainers from VP-26 and VP-62 supported search and rescue missions and provided critical overhead imagery to help those on the ground identify areas in need and deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Overall, VP-26 flew 4,268 flight hours with 412 hours of anti-submarine warfare contact time, and surpassed 51 years and 342,908 Class A mishap-free flight hours in 2013. The squadron’s superlative performance across all maritime patrol and reconnaissance mission areas, unmatched maintenance effectiveness, and outstanding leadership during the first integrated active-reserve deployment were honored by CNAL with the 2013 Battle Efficiency Award and Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy.

Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/military/jax-air-news/2014-03-19/story/vp-26-recognized-cnal#ixzz2wyb4QdeT


Circa 2013

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 ‘Tridents’ return to NAS Jacksonville, Florida By Lt. Dan Baker VP-26 PAO - Posted: December 11, 2013 - 5:58pm | Updated: December 11, 2013 - 6:03pm..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [12DEC2013]

The men and women of VP-26 are returning to their home base of NAS Jacksonville, Florida after a dynamic, seven-month deployment. Operating primarily from NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan on the island of Okinawa, Japan they supported Commander, Task Force 72 executing operations across the Pacific. The deployment was the first integrated active-reserve P-3C deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Augmented with reserve aircrews and aircraft from NAS Jacksonville, Florida’s VP-62 and NAS Whidbey Island’s VP-69, the squadron formed two forward-deployed task groups, Commander, Task Group (CTG) 72.2 and 72.4. Through teamwork and dedication, the aircrews, maintenance professionals and support personnel of CTGs 72.2 and 72.4 stood watch over the7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) and are now returning home to the cheers of their loved ones.

VP-26 flies the P-3C Orion, The U.S. Navy’s legacy maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. While the P-3 is being replaced by the Boeing P-8 Poseidon it is still an effective weapons system, in high demand across the fleet. Traveling from Jacksonville, Fla. in May 2013, Team Trident undertook the significant logistical feat of picking up and moving more than 350 personnel, aircraft, tools and equipment to the island of Okinawa, located approximately 600 miles south of the main islands of Japan.

From NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan the squadron conducted a wide variety of airborne anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, and theater security cooperation missions.

CTG 72.2 conducted regular detachments, comprised of aircrew and supporting maintenance personnel, to support partner and allied nations, build international partnership and improve multinational interoperability. During the deployment Task Group 72.2 completed 29 detachments to 13 countries, including Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, The Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand,.

The majority of the detachments involved scheduled multinational exercises.

Among these were SEASURVEX-2013 with the armed forces of Indonesia, a series of cooperation and readiness afloat training exercises with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, Talisman Saber with the Australian Defense Force, AnnualEx in conjunction with the Japanese Self Defense Forces, Malabar-13 with naval forces from India, and numerous bilateral exercises with Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

These multilateral efforts build ties between nations and allow for greater coordination and interoperability between forces.

Other detachments were executed in support of operational requirements, such as Operation Big Eye which supports our partners’ attempts to curb illegal fishing within the territorial waters of Micronesia; search and rescue detachments to Guam; an historic detachment to New Zealand (the first by a U.S. Navy P-3C since 1984); and the humanitarian assistance detachment to the Philippines in response to Typhoon Haiyan last month.

Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on Nov. 7, 2013, killing thousands and devastating many islands along the nation’s eastern coast. The men and women of VP-26 and VP-62 were among the first on the scene to support the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief mission after the government of the Philippines requested U.S. assistance.

The P-3s played a vital role in damage assessment, providing a bird’s-eye view of the areas devastated by the typhoon so government officials could direct aid to those most in need.

Aircrews performed reconnaissance of roadways and bridges, located personnel isolated from aid, and scouted the islands for suitable helicopter landing sites to allow badly needed supplies to be delivered.

The successful response to this crisis demonstrated both the value of maintaining forward deployed naval forces the level of integration achieved by the active and reserve maritime patrol forces who were ready to respond and executed flawlessly.

In addition to VP-26, VP-62, and VP-69, aircrews from VP-1, stationed in Whidbey Island, Wash. also supported CTG 72.2 and 72.4 throughout the deployment.

Led, by VP-26 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mark Sohaney, the integrated team was tasked to meet all maritime patrol requirements across the Pacific Fleet AOR, while paving the way for the first operational deployment of the P-8A Poseidon. Sohaney and his team will turn over CTG 72.2 to NAS Jacksonville, Florida’s VP-16, the first P-8A squadron, later this month.

Although Sohaney and Team Trident are returning home to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, they will remain ready to answer the call.

“The chance to lead these fine men and women in support of such an important mission is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Sohaney.

“I could not be more proud of what they accomplished over the past seven months.”

With the last aircraft scheduled to arrive on home soil in mid-December, VP-26 Sailors will be re-uniting with their families just in time for Christmas.

But Sohaney and the Tridents will soon be back at work training aircrews, repairing aircraft, and preparing for the squadron’s next deployment.

Their tireless dedication ensured a successful deployment and is a testament to the squadron’s mantra that, “Trident Pride runs Bone Deep.”

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 and VP-62 join in typhoon relief By Lt. Dan Baker - VP-26 Public Affairs - Posted: November 20, 2013 - 5:39pm | Updated: November 20, 2013 - 5:42pm..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [14DEC2013]

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation in the Republic of the Philippines, a massive multinational effort, dubbed Operation Damayan, is underway to bring aid to those affected by the unprecedented storm.

Navy patrol squadrons VP- 26 “Tidents” and VP-62 “Broadarrows” – based at NAS Jacksonville, Florida and currently deployed to NAF Kadena, Okinawa, Japan with Commander, Task Group (CTG) 72.2 – have contributed to this effort by repositioning three P-3C Orions, three aircrews, and a detachment of maintenance professionals to Clark International Airport near Manila.

As the storm approached on Nov. 9, these aircrews were placed on an alert status prior to the storm’s landfall in preparation for the search and rescue missions. When the government of the Philippines requested assistance and declared a national state of calamity on Nov. 11, the aircrews were able to reposition to the Philippines in just a few hours. Immediately upon arrival, they began working with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade that was in charge of the U.S. military effort, to ensure every hour flown provided benefit to disaster relief operations.

The Tridents and Broadarrows P-3C aircrews have flown missions over the hardest-hit areas since Nov. 11, assessing damage and searching for populations cut off from sources of food, clean water and medical care. The geography of the Philippines makes the determination of where to focus relief efforts particularly difficult. The archipelagic nation, comprised of more than 7,000 islands, includes countless remote and isolated populations in desperate need of relief. P-3C aircrews help solve this problem by searching for and reporting high-need areas so rescue and relief efforts can arrive as quickly as possible.

Among the hardest-hit areas is the small island of Homonhan, in the province of East Samar. The 12-mile long island lay directly in the path of Typhoon Haiyan and was devastated by winds that measured more than 200 miles per hour.

A CTG 72.2 P-3C was the first aircraft on scene and the first to make contact with those on the ground in Homonhan.

VP-62 P-3C Mission Com-mander Lt. Cmdr. Jace Dasenbrock described what his crew witnessed on Nov. 12 as they first approached the Island.

“We arrived on scene at noon in the and immediately saw devastation throughout the entire island. Our first pass around the island saw no sign of life below. Buildings were destroyed, with few structures surviving. The only building left intact was the church that stood on the southeastern edge of the island. A sailboat was in a tree about 20 feet off the ground. After a second pass, a few heads popped out. A third pass around the tiny island saw about 100 residents sending S.O.S. signals. A fourth pass was made to give hope to the survivors. With roads washed out, relief needed to be brought in by air. We were able to identify several areas suitable for helicopters and Marine Ospreys (MV-22B) to land.”

This discovery was the first of several like it for the CTG 72.2 aircrews. The information and photographs they collect are sent in-flight to intelligence specialists who collate the products and provide them to the Marines coordinating U.S. military relief efforts on the ground. This enables U.S. and Philippine commanders and government officials to identify and prioritize humanitarian assistance requirements.

Within days of the first P-3C flight over Homonhan Island, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) Carrier Strike Group re-positioned close enough to bring relief to citizens as well as other communities in the region. SH-60 Seahawks and Ospreys fly countless round trip sorties carrying 20-pound bags of food, water, and medical supplies ashore. The air space has become so crowded with relief aircraft that E-2C Hawkeyes are now orbiting overhead to direct and de-conflict air traffic. The P-3C and E-2C aircrews are coordinating to pass locations of suitable landing zones as well as locations of more un-reached disaster areas to relief aircraft in real time.

The magnitude of the destruction in remote areas like Homonhan Island make restoring infrastructure and rebuilding communities a slow process. For now the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, with their ever-vigilant forward presence in the Asia-Pacific region, are on station bringing needed support and hope to the people of devastated locations in the Philippines.

VP-26 and VP-62 were among the first to provide crucial information about where to best focus relief efforts in response to this crisis. The Commander of CTG-72.2, Cmdr. Mark Sohaney, is extremely proud of the opportunity to support this effort. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Philippine people, and we are honored to help them in their time of need,” stated Sohaney, “We are postured to remain as long as the Philippine and U.S. government needs us.”

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera131111-N-ZZ999-001 "...CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines (Nov. 11, 2013) Two U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 prepare for a search and rescue mission in the Republic of the Philippines in support of humanitarian assistance efforts after Typhoon Haiyan. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)..." WebSite: U. S. Navy http://www.navy.mil/ [14NOV2013]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 CAC-6 Flies in Support of "Operation Big Eye" in Micronesia... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2013: Issue 4..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [30OCT2013]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 'Tridents' Claim Another Battle "E"... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2013: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [01MAY2013]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 Establishes Hall of Heroes... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2013: Issue 1..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [25JAN2013]
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Circa 2012

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly NewsletterVP-26 History "...VP-26 Welcomed Home... Maritime Patrol Association Planeside Quarterly Newsletter - 2012: Issue 2..." WebSite: Maritime Patrol Association [05JAN2013]
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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera120422-N-SK590-531 ARABIAN SEA (April 22, 2012) "...The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) move in formation with ships and submarines from partner nations including Great Britain, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as a P-3C Orion assigned to the Tridents of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 flies overhead. Sterett is deployed as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tim D. Godbee/Released) ..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [03MAY2012]


Circa 2011

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 Sailors Sharpen Shooting Skills at Firing Range...November 30, 2011 - 7:05pm - By Clark Pierce - Editor..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [06DEC2011]

As part of their pre-deployment certifications, seven petty officers from the VP-26 "Tridents" took part in small arms training and qualification Nov. 21 at the indoor firing range on board NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

Range safety officer AO1 Naomi Stout and firing line coach AO2 Dennis Mansion, both of VP-8, ensured that students were familiar with the range regulations – particularly the safety requirements associated with the weapon, in this case, the M9 Beretta semi-automatic pistol, the U.S. military’s primary handgun.

Stout said, "When VP squadrons deploy to the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet area of responsibility, it’s a requirement that 100 percent of personnel be to be qualified to handle and shoot the M9 Beretta from standing and kneeling positions.

She added, "Each Sailor must successfully complete the Navy Handgun Qualification Course, that requires shooting a minimum of 48 rounds with a score at least 180 points.

As firing line coach, Mansion watches the shooters and offers advice or calls a safety time out when needed.

"If you have a question while shooting –raise your non-firing hand. Weapons must be pointed down range and level at the deck at all times," said Mansion.

Hearing protection and shatterproof eye protection is required whenever firearms are being discharged during qualification fire at the range.

Approved hearing protection such as sound attenuators that reduce noise levels to 84 decibels or below is required.

Stout always stresses the four general safety rules for responsible weapons handling, whether in training or combat.

Rule 1: Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.

Rule 2: Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.

Rule 3: Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until ready to fire.

Rule 4: Keep weapon on SAFE until you intend to fire.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 Prepping for Deployment - August 31, 2011 - 5:38pm - By AT3(AW) Kerline Pierre Staff Writer..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [03SEP2011]

While some service members are beginning to plan holiday events, others, such as the "Tridents" of VP-26, are preparing for deployment.

From admin and flight ops to maintenance and ordnance, every department and division is working as long as it takes to successfully complete the squadron’s Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle – all in preparation for their December deployment.

"It's a busy time for the squadron," said VP-26 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Noel Dahlke. "It's a chance for us to test our skills, operational capability, contingency planning, maintenance – the ability to fix and fly planes, and sustain a high op-tempo environment."

An important part of their readiness cycle is the Operational Readiness Evaluation (ORE). The ORE is an assessment that all deploying squadrons go through in order for their parent command, in this case Wing 11, to determine the level of readiness and preparedness.

For patrol squadrons, the ORE is conducted in four phases: (1) examinations for AWs, in-flight technicians and officers; (2) flight phase of at least one tactical mission per crew; (3) weapon systems trainer phase for each crew; and (4) the conventional weapons technical proficiency inspection, where ordnance teams load sonobuoys and weapons safely.

Along with the ORE, the squadron is also participating in training exercises for other platforms.

"We are currently supporting an independent deploying certification as part of the Commander, Strike Force Training Certification program for ships being deployed," explained Dahlke.

To support this certification process, the Tridents recently provided anti-submarine warfare coverage using of their P-3C aircraft. "This was a big test for the VP-26 team, but we came through and proved our capabilities," said Dahlke.

Another concern before deployment is ensuring family members are prepared.

"This is not only a deployment for our squadron members, but their family members as well. We do everything we can – through our ombudsman and family readiness group – to ensure they have the information and support they need by hosting pre-deployment briefs and other family events," Dahlke concluded.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-5 Takes Out Libyan Combatant By Staff - April 6, 2011 - 1:20pm - (VP Squadrons Mentioned: VP-26 and VP-40)..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jacksonville.com/ [07APR2011]

The "Mad Foxes" of VP-5 became the first squadron in Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force history to successfully employ an AGM-65F Maverick missile against a hostile surface vessel, in support of Joint Task Force (JTF) Odyssey Dawn. Combat Aircrew (CAC) -11, while flying a VP-26 P-3C aircraft, made the historic shot after witnessing a Libyan Vittoria-class coast guard vessel, and accompanying small craft, firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels in the Port of Misrata.

Demonstrating the Maritime Patrol Reconnais-sance Force "surge" concept, VP-5 was augmented with VP-26 and VP-40 aircrews, maintainers and aircraft to provide 24/7 on-station coverage to the JTF Maritime Component Commander.

Lt. j.g. Miller, the Tactical Coordinator for CAC-11, was proud to be a part of the coordinated effort. "The shot was a culmination of all the hard work and training of VP-5, VP-26 and VP-40 aircrews and maintainers. From the maintenance department keeping our aircraft flying, ordnance teams loading the weapons, coupled with our training department developing the necessary skills – and finally, the aircrew for executing the shot – we all did our part."

Acoustic Operator AWO1 Adams said, "This happened exactly how we trained back home before we deployed."

VP-5 Gunner CWO4 Gerald Skees said, "The Mad Fox AOs are very excited and proud of the accomplishments during Odyssey Dawn. The role of the P-3 ordnance community is often over looked, but these are the kind of events we train for. All of the AOs from VP-5, VP-26 and VP-40 have shown that they possess the knowledge and skills to deliver ordnance on target, on time."

VP-5 is currently on a tri-site deployment in support of SOUTHCOM, EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of responsibilities. When the JTF was established to support the international response to the unrest in Libya, it was clear that the "Mad Foxes" needed support for the 24/7 on-station requirements.

CTF-67 Capt. Dan Schebler and his staff coordinated aircrew, maintenance and aircraft logistical efforts with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 and Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. "It was a great effort by everyone involved. The entire MPRF community quickly mobilized to give us the support we needed. This was a great accomplishment both in the air and on the ground." Schebler remarked.

Whether conducting counter narcotics operations, supporting overseas contingency operations, or supporting NATO operations, the "Mad Foxes" have been at the tip of the spear supporting United States interests overseas.

VP-5 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jason Jorgensen stated, "It was awesome to see Sailors from different squadrons come together and perform as a well-oiled machine while conducting around-the-clock flight operations. It validates our training programs and highlights the team-oriented spirit of the Sailors. I couldn't be more proud of our men and women who represent Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen across the world serving our country everyday."

The Mad Foxes P-3C Orion operated in conjunction with a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) March 28. Two smaller Libyan craft were fired upon by the A-10 – destroying one and forcing the other to be abandoned.?Barry provided situational awareness for the aircraft by managing the airspace and maintaining the maritime picture.

JTF Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 "Tridents' fly CoNA Orion to NAS Jax By Lt. Devon Simon - March 16, 2011 - 9:04am..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [18MAR2011]

As part of the 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) celebration, the "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 were recently honored with the assignment of flying a uniquely painted P-3C Orion from NAS Atsugi, Japan to NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History Photo by Clark Pierce - ADAN Eric Shields of the VP-26 Line Shack guides the CoNA-painted P-3C Orion (Bureau No. 161591) to its spot near Hangar 1000 on March 8 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

It was easy to distinguish the blue Bureau No. 161591 P-3C when it touched down March 8 and taxied to its spot near Hangar 1000.

"This plane serves as a link between the past and present. It represents the aviators and aircrew that flew the Consolidated PBY Catalina - the most famous maritime patrol aircraft of World War II," said Lt. Jim Reeves.

The blue-on-top/grey-underneath tactical paint scheme mirrors that of the twin-engine PBY "flying boat" that served the fleet in the 1930s and "40s. The aircraft was utilized for reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, search-and-rescue missions and cargo transport.

History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History Photo by Clark Pierce - (At right) P-3C Orion BUNO 591, painted in Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) World War II colors, arrived at NAS Jax March 8, where it is temporarily assigned to the VP-26 "Tridents." The crew that flew the aircraft from Japan to NAS Jax included: (from left, kneeling) Lt. j.g. James Rowe, Lts. Chris Brugler and James Reeves and Lt. j.g. Robert Lloyd. (From left, standing) AWF1 Frederick Berger, AZ1 Agustin Alvarez, AWO1 Scott Cox and AWF1 James Blum.

On the eve of the Battle of Midway in June of 1942, PBY Catalinas were dispatched from Midway to locate the approaching Japanese fleet. Well known in World War II history, a PBY-5 crew was the first to spot the Japanese ships northwest of Midway early on June 4, enabling U.S. forces to prepare for the coming attack that changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

Reeves, along with Lt. Chris Brugler, Lt. j.g. Rob Lloyd, Lt. j.g. Jamie Rowe, AWF1 James Blum, AWF1 Fred Berger, AWO1 Scott Cox and AZ1 Agustin Alvarez, comprised the VP-26 aircrew responsible for retrieving this aircraft from Atsugi, Japan where it underwent Phased Depot Maintenance and received its historic paint scheme.

Alvarez flew to Japan ahead of the crew to ensure the aircraft was ready to accept. Navy history came alive for these Tridents, as their journey across the Pacific took them past Midway Island and included a stopover in Hawaii.

As Reeves noted when he departed the aircraft at NAS Jax, "The flight home from Japan was an awesome opportunity to reflect on the history of maritime patrol aircraft. Landing 591 at NAS Jax allowed us to honor our past, just as other VP-26 crews prepare to forge our future by supporting emergent overseas operations."

The successful PBY missions during the Battle of Midway are just one of many contributions by the Maritime Patrol And Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) to our Navy and our nation. Numerous events planned for April 4-6 will highlight the proud heritage of the MPRF Community and Naval aviation over the past 100 years.

In the coming months, those who serve aboard NAS Jacksonville, Florida and live in the local area can expect to see Orion 591 flying in the pattern, as well as supporting various Centennial of Naval Aviation activities.


Circa 2010

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...'Tridents' support 235TH Navy birthday celebration - November 10, 2010 - 6:03pm - By Lt. Cmdr. Mark Domenico..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://jaxairnews.jacksonville.com/ [14NOV2010]

The VP-26 "Tridents" represented CPRW-11 and the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance (MPR) community for the Oct. 13 Navy birthday celebration at NAS Oceana, Va., where Navy leaders from the Norfolk area and beyond paused to mark 235 years of naval service.

The celebration commenced with a ceremonial flyover of the Colors by HSC-28.

After the invocation, Adm. John Harvey Jr. (Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces), Rear Adm. Richard O'Hanlon (Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic) and William Sessoms Jr. (Mayor of Virginia Beach) addressed the audience.

They talked about the history and rich tradition of the U.S. Navy, noting that the coming year will mark 100 years of naval aviation. Participating squadrons performed more flyovers throughout the program.

Following the ceremony, various static aircraft displays were available for inspection or tours.

Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson (Commander, Naval Safety Center) and Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt (Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group) also attended the event, which concluded with a reception hosted in the VFA-105 hangar.

The P-3C Orion static display was a popular attraction, as anti-submarine warfare - the primary mission of the MPR community - continues to be a key focus area among Navy leaders.

Military and civilian dignitaries toured the aircraft and talked with VP-26 aircrew and maintenance personnel.

They discussed the bright future of the MPR community, including the Navy's newest aircraft, the P-8 Poseidon which will replace the P-3 in the coming years.

Harvey and others paused for photographs with VP-26 Sailors. In addition to the Tridents P-3C Orion long-range ASW aircraft, several other navy aircraft were on display, including an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter, E-2C Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft, MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter and MH-60S Seahawk helicopter.

It was a privilege and unique opportunity for members of Team Trident to take part in this special celebration, honoring the United States Navy, the many Sailors who have served and those who continue to stand the watch.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...'Tridents' Arrive - VP-26 Comes Home to New Base - By Kaylee LaRocque, NAS Jacksonville, Florida Deputy PAO - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 12:07 PM..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [18JUN2010]

It was the beginning of a new chapter in the 66-year history of the VP-26 "Tridents" when the squadron's last P-3C arrived at their new home at NAS Jacksonville, Florida June 8.

History ThumbnailCamera Photos by Kaylee LaRocque AWV2(AW/NAC) Evelio Perez of VP-26 greets his six-month-old daughter Allison and wife, Shantelle upon his arrival to NAS Jacksonville, Florida from a deployment in El Salvador May 28.

VP-26 is the last of the patrol squadrons to transition from NAS Brunswick, Maine to NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

The crew included "Tridents" Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jeff Draeger and seven other members of the squadron. They were welcomed by Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven (CPRW-11) Capt. Mark Turner, Deputy CPRW-11 Capt. Bill Wheeler and NAS Jacksonville, Florida Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Maclay at a special ceremony held in their new spaces in Hangar 1000.

History ThumbnailCamera Lt. j.g. Brett Batz of VP-26 shares a moment with his 1-year-old son, Liam during the homecoming.

VP-26's skipper and his crew were also met by squadron members, families, friends and base employees gathered to officially welcome them to their new home.

"I really appreciate this wonderful greeting. To the Tridents - for the last six months, you've met the mission day in and day out over a long and demanding deployment. I'm exceptionally proud of the way we performed as a team on a very widespread deployment. Congratulations on a job well done," said Draeger. "To our Trident families - thank-you for your perseverance. It's great to see you back with your loved ones."

History ThumbnailCamera Lt. j.g. T.J. Franklin happily greets his family, 4-year-old Brenalee, wife, Melissa and 7-year-old son, Tyler at the VP-26 homecoming May 28.

"And, to our shipmates at Wing 11, NAS Jacksonville, Florida, VP-30, our sister squadrons and our new neighbors here in NAS Jacksonville, Florida, thank you for the steady helping hand you've given us over the course of our homeport change. The warm welcome you've been showing the Tridents is truly appreciated. We are proud to now call NAS Jacksonville, Florida home," continued Draeger. "We recognize and are humbled by the significance of this deployment - the last to launch from NAS Brunswick, Maine and the final step in the relocation of VP squadrons from Maine to Florida. Many of us have served here before and we know what a great place this is to live, work and play. It's good to be home."

The squadron was then officially welcomed by their new wing commodore. "I want to welcome VP-26 and their families. This is a big day for Wing 11 and we are glad you've arrived here safely. To the leadership - what you've accomplished - over 3,000 flight hours and 450 flights is nothing short of amazing. To the Sailors - from the Arctic to the equator to Central America and Central Asia - you were the ones who made things happen. Thank you for your undying efforts and attention to detail that made our nation stronger," said Turner. "To the families - for six months you carried the burden of home and you served every bit as much as those in uniform. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your service and your contributions to this nation."

History ThumbnailCamera Lt. Cmdr. Erik Cyre of VP-26 gets a great big welcome home hug and kiss from his wife, Corrie as their daughter, Arabella, 5, waits her turn. The family was reunited at NAS Jacksonville, Florida June 8 after a seven-month separation.

For the families, the return of their loved ones to their new home was a joyous occasion.

"We've been stationed here before. NAS Jacksonville, Florida is a wonderful community and it's great to have people here we know. It helped make the move much easier," said Renee Gage, wife of Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Gage, who has completed three moves while her husband has been deployed.

History ThumbnailCamera VP-26 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jeff Draeger and several other squadron members disembark off the last of the squadron's P-3's to arrive at NAS Jacksonville, Florida June 8.

"It's amazing to have them back again. We're really thrilled and have been waiting for this day for the past seven months," added Corrie Cyre, wife of Lt. Cmdr. Erik Cyre. "It's been a long deployment but it's been great to have the support of the rest of the VP-26 families and our new neighbors in NAS Jacksonville, Florida."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Tridents return to Maine, prepare to leave With the NAS Brunswick, Maine base's runways closed, a P-3 Orion lands in Portland, probably for the last time. By Dennis Hoey dhoey@mainetoday.com Staff Writer - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 1:10 AM..." WebSite: Portland Press Herald http://www.pressherald.com/ [08JUN2010]

PORTLAND - As Jeff Draeger and his P-3 Orion crew flew over the NAS Brunswick, Maine on Monday night, Draeger could see the giant X's that had been painted on the runways.

History ThumbnailCameraJill Brady/Staff Photographer Lt. Cmdr. Greg Smith of NAS Brunswick, Maine is welcomed home by his daughters, from left, Madeline, 11, Mary, 3, Riley, 8, and Rhyse, 1, at the Portland International Jetport. Smith is a member of VP-26, a Navy squadron that flew out of NAS Brunswick, Maine on Nov. 28 and returned Monday after a six-month deployment in Europe, Africa and Central America.

For Draeger, commanding officer of Patrol Squadron 26 -- also known as the Tridents -- it was a sad moment in the long history of the base, which has stood watch over the coast of Maine since World War II.

Draeger and his crew flew out of NAS Brunswick, Maine on Nov. 28. Their six-month deployment took them to Central America, Europe and Africa, and on relief missions in Haiti.

As they flew in from Sicily on Monday night, their P-3 Orion couldn't land in NAS Brunswick, Maine because the base's airfields have been closed since Jan. 29. The Navy is finishing its move of equipment and personnel out of Maine, and the base is scheduled to close in 2011.

That means Monday's touchdown at the Portland International Jetport was likely the last time a P-3 Orion will ever land in Maine.

History ThumbnailCameraJill Brady/Staff Photographer Conor, 6, left, and Cameron, 2, greet their father, Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Holmes, at the Portland jetport on Monday evening. The VP-26, a Navy squadron stationed at NAS Brunswick, Maine, returned after a six-month deployment in Europe, Africa and Central America.

"I am really going to miss NAS Brunswick, Maine," said Draeger, a Cumberland resident whose next assignment will take him and his wife to NAS Jacksonville, Florida.

Several crew members' wives and children waited near the landing field Monday night for their loved ones to arrive.

The historic moment wasn't lost on Jenn Smith, as she tried to manage her four young daughters. Their dad, Lt. Cmdr. Greg Smith, is a P-3 Orion navigator.

"That's it. This is the last Navy plane coming into Maine," she said.

Greg Smith has been assigned to the Pentagon, where he will work in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The family's next move will take them from NAS Brunswick, Maine to Arlington, Va.

Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Holmes of Portland held his sons, ages 6 and 2, in his arms.

Holmes and his wife, Cary, will move to NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Their 6-year-old son, Conor, thinks the move is more about fun than duty.

"The first thing he told his daddy was, 'Now we go to Disneyland,'" his mother said, moments after the crew landed.

Draeger said there will be a brief ceremony at the base today honoring the men and women who served overseas during the Tridents' deployment.

All that remains in NAS Brunswick, Maine are skeleton crews of military and civilian personnel. Spokesman John Ripley said the chapel is set to close in September.

The Navy Commissary in Topsham will remain open at least through March; Ripley said Maine's congressional delegation is trying to keep it open until at least September 2011.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: dhoey@pressherald.com

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...VP-26 prepares for return to new home - 'Tridents' last patrol squadron to relocate from NAS Brunswick, Maine - By LT(jg) Bryce Aubuchon, VP-26 PAO - Thu., May 27, 2010 - 09:19 AM..." WebSite: JaxAirNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [28MAY2010]

Photograph Caption: Photo courtesy of VP-26 The VP-26 "Tridents" are arriving at the their new home at NAS Jacksonville, Florida this week. The squadron is the last patrol squadron to transition from VP-26.

The "Tridents" of VP-26 are in the homestretch of a six-month deployment before returning to their new duty station at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. As the last squadron to finalize its homeport transition from VP-26; the men and women of VP-26 look forward to making their new home in Hangar 1000 and joining their sister squadrons in Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven (CPRW-11).

Aircraft and crews will begin the redeployment process this week, with all Tridents scheduled to be home from deployment by the first week in June. Over the past five and a half months, Team Trident has been flying a variety of missions from three widespread locations.

With its near global deployed presence, the squadron has supported counter-drug operations in Central America, maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, and anti-piracy and regional stabilization efforts in the Horn of Africa.

It has supported Operations Unified Response and Active Endeavor, the USS Eisenhower Strike Group, and has participated in numerous multinational exercises including Noble Manta, Brilliant Mariner and Caya Green.

"VP-26 has a long standing tradition of excellence. We look forward to being a part of the CPRW-11 Team and continuing that tradition in our new duty station," said Lt. Cmdr. Sam Gage, officer in charge of the squadron's El Salvador detachment. "Our Sailors look forward to making a new home in Jacksonville and contributing to the local community."

History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History Photo courtesy of VP-26 Members of VP-26 gather in front of their P-3 Orion aircraft while on detachment in Djibouti, Africa.

"The experience has been priceless," said Lt. j.g. Nick Grow, a tactical coordinator who has flown in all three deployed locations as well as several detachment sites. "Flying a variety of missions has enabled crews to hone their tactical skills and familiarity with multiple geographic areas."

On April 27, Cmdr. Jeff Draeger assumed command of VP-26, relieving Cmdr. Mike Parker. Cmdr. Noel Dahlke joined the squadron on deployment as the new executive officer. Spending time in all three deployed locations, Draeger saw firsthand how the squadron met requirements and overcame a variety of challenges in each site while maintaining its overall unit cohesiveness across so many miles and time zones. The teamwork forged by this demanding and dynamic deployment provides a strong foundation on which the Tridents will build during their upcoming inter-deployment readiness cycle.

"Our old and new neighbors in Brunswick and Jacksonville as well as our families can be extremely proud of what this squadron has done during its latest turn in the deployment barrel," said Draeger.

"While deployed we have made a positive difference for our loved ones back home, fellow Americans, and people around the world. We look forward to doing the same in Jacksonville."

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...VP-26 Holds Change of Command by LT(jg) Matt Hepfinger - VP-26 PAO - Thursday, May 6, 2010..." WebSite: JaxNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [07MAY2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...'Tridents' Host Senators In El Salvador - Thursday, March 11, 2010..." WebSite: JaxNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [04MAR2010]

A dozen VP-26 "Tridents" joined the Camp Lemonier Community Assistant Volunteers (CAV) Feb. 13 to interact with children at Guelleh Battal, a local Djiboutian school. The school, which teaches children from ages five to 12, is in a depressed community consistent with the larger Djiboutian population.

The children giggled with excitement as the volunteers were introduced and they had no qualms about the language barrier (French is the primary language of Djibouti). The younger children looked on intently as coloring books and craft supplies were distributed.

They smiled bashfully as eye contact was made with their new visitors. The shyness was fleeting once the activities began.

"Messieurs, messieurs" could be heard throughout the class rooms as each student vied for the attention of the volunteers, eager to show their progress on coloring pictures and carefully assembled necklaces.

To the delight of the children, at least one Sailor recalled some French from long-ago high school courses, enabling a warm greeting and some creative conversations.

The older children enjoyed playing volleyball and soccer, proving very eager to demonstrate their competitive spirit and athletic talent to their new friends. Digital cameras provided instant gratification for many of the children. Seeing their picture on the screen immediately after they were taken brought many smiles.

The few hours spent singing, playing and doing projects passed all too quickly for everyone involved. The volunteers were humbled by the resilience of the children and clearly enjoyed the exchange.

"Playing with the kids was the best . . . seeing that children here like the same things that we did when we were growing up - like coloring and paper airplanes - really hit home," said Petty Officer Chris Harrison.

This was the first Tridents visit to the school and the second for Camp Lemonier CAV. For many of the volunteers, unsure of what to expect, the realization of the extreme poverty was prevalent during the transit to the school.

"It was an eye-opening experience," Harrison said, recalling the trip from Camp Lemonier toward the city. Mounds of garbage accumulated over time, lined the roadsides. Shacks made of tin and whatever material might be useful to keep out the weather, were erected in the middle of vacant lots with small groups of people sitting in front.

Mohamed, a teacher at the school, indicated that he has taught there for more than 15 years.

"It is an important job," he said. In a country that has a 67 percent literacy rate, "Teaching the children is very important and we thank you for coming to see us."

The Tridents plan to continue their involvement with CAV, providing additional support and supplies toward future engagements with their host nation.

Camp Lemonier is the headquarters of the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are assigned to CJTF-HOA, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...VP-26 'Tridents' Visit Local Djiboutian School by LT Scott Brown, VP-26 Assistant Maintenance Officer - Thursday, March 4, 2010..." WebSite: JaxNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [04MAR2010]

A dozen VP-26 "Tridents" joined the Camp Lemonier Community Assistant Volunteers (CAV) Feb. 13 to interact with children at Guelleh Battal, a local Djiboutian school. The school, which teaches children from ages five to 12, is in a depressed community consistent with the larger Djiboutian population.

The children giggled with excitement as the volunteers were introduced and they had no qualms about the language barrier (French is the primary language of Djibouti). The younger children looked on intently as coloring books and craft supplies were distributed.

They smiled bashfully as eye contact was made with their new visitors. The shyness was fleeting once the activities began.

"Messieurs, messieurs" could be heard throughout the class rooms as each student vied for the attention of the volunteers, eager to show their progress on coloring pictures and carefully assembled necklaces.

To the delight of the children, at least one Sailor recalled some French from long-ago high school courses, enabling a warm greeting and some creative conversations.

The older children enjoyed playing volleyball and soccer, proving very eager to demonstrate their competitive spirit and athletic talent to their new friends. Digital cameras provided instant gratification for many of the children. Seeing their picture on the screen immediately after they were taken brought many smiles.

The few hours spent singing, playing and doing projects passed all too quickly for everyone involved. The volunteers were humbled by the resilience of the children and clearly enjoyed the exchange.

"Playing with the kids was the best . . . seeing that children here like the same things that we did when we were growing up - like coloring and paper airplanes - really hit home," said Petty Officer Chris Harrison.

This was the first Tridents visit to the school and the second for Camp Lemonier CAV. For many of the volunteers, unsure of what to expect, the realization of the extreme poverty was prevalent during the transit to the school.

"It was an eye-opening experience," Harrison said, recalling the trip from Camp Lemonier toward the city. Mounds of garbage accumulated over time, lined the roadsides. Shacks made of tin and whatever material might be useful to keep out the weather, were erected in the middle of vacant lots with small groups of people sitting in front.

Mohamed, a teacher at the school, indicated that he has taught there for more than 15 years.

"It is an important job," he said. In a country that has a 67 percent literacy rate, "Teaching the children is very important and we thank you for coming to see us."

The Tridents plan to continue their involvement with CAV, providing additional support and supplies toward future engagements with their host nation.

Camp Lemonier is the headquarters of the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

Approximately 2,000 U.S. and international personnel are assigned to CJTF-HOA, which works with the nations of East Africa on regional security programs.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S. takes part in Noble Manta 2010 - Release Date: Feb 16, 2010..." WebSite: United States European Command http://www.eucom.mil/ [17FEB2010]

Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen Oleksiak

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

AUGUSTA BAY, Sicily — Personnel from Commander Task Force (CTF) 67 and three P-3 Orion aircraft from VP- are taking part in NATO led exercise Noble Manta 2010, Feb. 10-24.

Noble Manta is NATO's largest annual joint anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise held in the Ionian Sea to the Southeast of Sicily, involving ten NATO countries which provide patrol aircraft, surface and subsurface assets in support of maritime security operations. Noble Manta is a direct support of a Naval Forces Europe/Sixth Fleet strategic priority to improve maritime security.

"I am privileged to be part of a team of ten NATO nations that are determined to accomplish the hard training required to enhance our readiness. Through exercises such as Noble Manta 2010, we will continue to improve our interoperability and hone our skills, particularly in ASW, in order to disrupt and deter those who might wish us harm. Over 2,000 sailors and airmen from the different countries all come together in this exercise to compliment their sustained effort to enhance security and stability in the region. It's an inspiration to be part of it," said Rear Adm. John M. Richardson, Commander Submarines Allied Naval Forces South.

The exercise is designed to provide each participating unit with NATO response forces training individually, sharpening their ASW skills and to provide an opportunity to practice current tactics being utilized in real world operations against terrorism like Active Endeavour and the anti-piracy operation Ocean Shield.

Personnel from CTF 67 and VP-26 will spend the next two weeks engaged in Noble Manta 2010 as a show of America's desire to strengthen bonds and affiliation with the nine other NATO nations participating in the exercise- Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom - each bringing their own muscle and tricks to the table of maritime security, thus improving the safety of the Mediterranean waters.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCamera100125-N-9402B-002 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2010) "...Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Janette Jackson, left, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Michael Thierry and Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Jason Dailey, both assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jacksonville, strap down pallets of humanitarian supplies. The supplies are being shipped to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage near Port-au-Prince, Haiti Jan. 12. (U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Nicole Bieneman/Released)..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [28JAN2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Haiti's Shattered Landscape: A View From Above - Navy crew sets out to capture images of a shattered landscape by Timothy J. Gibbons - Story updated at 1:31 AM on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. Squadron Mentioned: CPRW-11, VP-8, VP-16 and VP-26..." WebSite: Florida-Times Union http://jacksonville.com/ [25JAN2010]

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT - Even from 12,500 feet in the air, even in black and white, the devastation in Haiti is unmistakable.

Crumbled buildings, toppled shipping containers, destroyed homes: The scenes of destruction scrolled across monitors aboard a Navy P-3 Orion on Saturday as the surveillance plane sculled slowly through the air and studied the damage beneath it.

It was the first time this particular crew from NAS Jacksonville, Florida handled this particular job, but the mission is one the P-3 community has embraced in the past two weeks.

Airplanes from CPRW-11, the NAS Jacksonville, Florida unit that oversees all the P-3s on the East Coast, have been providing details on the situation in Haiti since the day the earthquake struck. Within hours of the quake, a plane from squadron VP-26 - on deployment in El Salvador - was in the skies overhead, providing the first pictures of the destruction.

In the days following, squadrons VP-8 and VP-16 joined in the mission, with three planes a day heading to the scene to check out helicopter landing zones, survey roads and pinpoint spots that need help. What they see is transmitted to ships in the area and brought back on tape to be analyzed.

"We look for a pattern of life," said Cmdr. Anthony Corapi, commanding officer of VP-16, the squadron known as the War Eagles whose plane surveyed the area Saturday afternoon.

In turn, those images will be used by the military and nongovernmental organizations as they plan their response to the disaster.

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail


SCAN, CAPTURE, ASSIST

Getting those images is a somewhat different job than the typical P-3 mission, which usually involves tracking pirates in the Mediterranean, finding drug runners in the Caribbean or hunting for submarines anywhere they may lurk. In fact, even as the War Eagles document the devastation in Haiti, they're also preparing for a more typical deployment coming up in about four months.

But supporting Operation Unified Response in Haiti flows naturally out of the more routine jobs, Corapi said.

"The combat missions we train for lead to this," he said. "They teach us cooperation and how to think on our feet."

Those things are vital in the skies above Haiti, with civilian agencies, different branches of the military and a number of countries trying to work together.

When the War Eagles arrived over Haiti around 11 a.m. Saturday, the radio was filled with chatter, a welter of American and Haitian accents as ships and planes and forces on the ground talked to each other.

As the plane, code named Red Talon, began its patrol, Petty Office 2nd Class Nick Dimare, the aircraft's camera operator, worked to get the lay of the land, zooming in on a white speck far below that resolved into a sailboat and tagging the various U.S. ships in the area.

The War Eagles started the mission by checking out assigned areas that those in charge wanted to keep an eye on, from a jumble of shipping containers in the port to parts of downtown slowly being cleared of rubble.

The goal was to provide a big-picture view for the helicopters and planes flitting through the sky thousands of feet below the War Eagles, said Lt. Errol Youngborg, who was in charge of the plane.

"Hopefully we'll be able to provide the assistance they're asking for," he said.

In some ways, this mission is easier than those that are more combat focused, said Lt. Rebecca Johnson, who as the tactical officer coordinates everything going on, from telling the pilots where to take the plane to advising the camera operator what pictures are required. The focus during the beginning of the five hours the War Eagles would stay on station was broad documentation, providing a literal 10,000-foot view.

Throughout the day, the plane's navigator, Lt j.g. Rachel Ingram, captured snapshots from the image feed as the plane moved over land: A listing crane slumped in the harbor. Unscathed building standing incongruously in the midst of rubble. Tent cities filled with the displaced.

MISSION COMPLETE

Things turned a bit more dynamic in mid-afternoon as the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson began handing out new tasks: Determine the mood of some people a group of Marines down below are about to run into. Check out a soccer field to see if tents are being set up.

Dimare zoomed and paned, zeroing in on tiny details. "I can just pick stuff out," he said. "I've done this a lot."

The job wrapped up around 4 p.m., the War Eagles replaced by another P-3 who would patrol into the evening.

"I think it was a pretty good mission," said Lt. Cmdr. Jon Spore, the mission commander aboard the P-3. "We helped provide more intelligence."

As the plane winged its way home, the crew relaxed a bit, the busy part of the day over.

Somewhat incongruously, the 116-foot-long tube hurtling through the air miles off the ground features a sort of homey feel, a side effect, perhaps, of a crew used to spending 12 hours or more working together.

Multiple pilots and flight engineers - required by regulations on long flights - allows some of the crew to take brief breaks: Grab some food, use the solid-waste-not-encouraged toilet or sit down for a few hands of Spades and Rummy. It's a brief lull in the long day, which started with briefings around 5 a.m. and still isn't over for the crew when the plane breaks through low-hanging clouds and gently touches down at NAS Jacksonville, Florida around 7 p.m.

A long day, Spore said, but worth it.

It feels like it was successful," he said. "Talking to the others on the crew, we think we helped to do some good."

timothy.gibbons@jacksonville,com, (904) 359-4103

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 History "...VP-26 Deploy's Across The World by LT(jg) Bryce Aubuchon - VP-26 PAO - Thursday January 7, 2010...Squadrons Mentioned: VP-5, VP-8, VP-16 and VP-62..." WebSite: JaxNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [08JAN2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: History ThumbnailCameraCPWR-11 History "...CPRW-11 Holds First ASW Competition - Thursday January 7, 2010...Squadrons Mentioned: VP-5, VP-8, VP-16 and VP-62..." WebSite: JaxNews http://www.jaxairnews.com/ [08JAN2010]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...P-3s join pirate patrol in the Seychelles - By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer - Thursday Jan 7, 2010 18:24:33 EST..." WebSite: NavyTimes http://www.navytimes.com/ [08JAN2010]

Waiting for permission to post entire article.

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...U.S. Africa Command adds aircraft, personnel to bolster anti-piracy force - By Mark Abramson, Stars and Stripes - Mideast edition, Monday, January 4, 2010..." WebSite: Stars and Stripes http://www.stripes.com/ [07JAN2010]

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. Africa Command has bolstered its anti-piracy forces with the recent addition of maritime patrol aircraft and more personnel in the Seychelles islands.

The Navy last month deployed three P-3 Orion aircraft from the Maine-based VP-26 Tridents, along with 112 sailors, to the Seychelles to patrol the waters off East Africa and the island nation for pirates. Patrol Squadron 26's insignia, a skull over a compass and two bombs or torpedoes that form an X, resembles the Jolly Roger flag, which symbolizes piracy.

"They can cover a wide area of water and a wide area in general and they can stay up a long time," said Navy Capt. John Moore, the commodore of Combined Task Force 67 in Sigonella, Italy, which flies P-3s. "The P-3 is uniquely suited for counterpiracy missions."

P-3s operating out of the Seychelles' Mahe regional airport can stay airborne for up to eight hours, he said.

Four vessels were seized off the Somalia coast last week as pirates continue to make millions of dollars in ransom money despite extra safety measures by merchant ships and an international armada.

The move to base P-3s in the Seychelles comes after the Navy tested the idea in August by operating an Orion out of the airport and the U.S. started flying Reaper drones from the island nation more than a month ago to combat piracy. U.S. Africa Command and Navy officials said there are no plans to arm the P-3s and Reapers.

Moore described the mission so far as a success, but he stopped short of saying whether P-3s will be deployed routinely to the Seychelles. Orions rotate in and out of the Horn of Africa area every six months.

The program to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the Horn of Africa was planned to last several months but may be lengthened as its effectiveness is determined, AFRICOM officials said in an e-mail.


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