Lest We Forget

By Lieutenant Commander Rick Burgess, U.S. Navy (Retired)

From 1958 until 1963, VP-9 operated mostly in the Eastern Pacific. In December 1963, VP-9 changed home base to NAS Moffett Field, California, and transitioned to the P-3A Orion. In November 1964, the squadron became the first to operate the P-3 in the Western Pacific, deploying to Naha, Okinawa, and Sangley Point in the Philippines. During this time, VP-9 crews flew missions in support of Seventh Fleet units off Vietnam.

Upgrading to the P-3B in 1966, VP-9 made two deployments to Adak, Alaska, and five more to the Western Pacific by 1973, supporting Market Time and Yankee Team operations off Vietnam. In 1974, the squadron's reach included Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. After transition to the Update I version of the P-3C in 1976, VP-9 became the first Update I squadron to deploy to the Western Pacific, and the first to operate P-3Cs in the Indian Ocean.

Over the next 20 years, the VP-9 Golden Eagles operated regularly from such sites as Adak; Guam; Kadena and Misawa, Japan; Diego Garcia and Masirah in the Indian Ocean; and Cubi Point in the Philippines, tracking Soviet submarines and shipping and supporting carrier battle group operations. The 1979 western Pacific deployment involved the squadron in several successful rescues of Vietnamese boat people. VP-9 also deployed to Keflavik, Iceland, in 1980 to fill in for an Atlantic Fleet squadron that deployed to the Pacific.

VP-9 upgraded to the Update III version of the P-3C in 1991 and changed home base to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, in 1992. VP-9 is scheduled to move to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, when Barbers Point is closed before the end of the century. 


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