NEWS | April 11, 2019

VP-47 Completes Deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations

By Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Flinn

OAK HARBOR, WA -- The “Golden Swordsmen” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island after completing a six-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) area of operations (AOO), Apr. 10.

During VP-47’s first P-8A Poseidon deployment, the squadron had 13 detachments across nine sites throughout the Indo-Pacific. The squadron conducted over 3,700 flight hours, including 87 individual flight missions to assist the United Nations Security Council Resolutions against illicit ship-to-ship transfers that violate North Korea sanctions.

“I’m beyond proud of every single person’s dedication and exceptional performance during the dynamic operations we’ve thrived in these past six months,” said Cmdr. Nathan Gammache, VP-47 Commanding Officer. “These Sailors have set a new standard and their diligent actions and work ethic will be impressed upon the maritime patrol and reconnaissance community in C7F’s AOO for years to come.”

Three detachments were to Guam, one of which included flying multiple missions during Operation Rai Balang, a Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)-led multilateral monitoring control and surveillance operation with eight FFA members. Operation Rai Balang supported FFA’s mission to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing activity and to enhance Pacific Island countries' involvement and participation in maritime fisheries surveillance and response operations.

Another Guam detachment included patrolling the Northern Mariana Islands conducting Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in response to the aftermath of Typhoon Yutu. Typhoon Yutu was a Category 5 super typhoon, the strongest tropical cyclone to ever impact the Mariana Islands and the second-strongest to hit any U.S. territory.

VP-47 also assisted in the search and rescue operations following a mishap between a KC-130 Hercules and F/A-18 Hornet about 200 miles off of the coast of Japan on Dec. 6. The mishap resulted in the casualties of six U. S. Marines and one survivor.

The maintenance department executed over 21,000 man hours, completed 8,573 maintenance action forms and 25 scheduled maintenance inspections to enable aircraft to be on time and on station at a rate of 97 percent and a 99 percent operational readiness completion rate.

Sailors assigned to VP-47 also participated in 10 community relations (COMREL) events throughout the deployment, including four international COMRELs outside Japan in Brunei, India, Malaysia, and Thailand.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of Sailors these past six months,” said VP-47 Command Master Chief Shon R. Nuanez. "On deployment, we were able to come together, strengthen camaraderie, and execute our missions. I think, now, our Sailors have more than earned this time to reunite with family and friends, recollect on all that they have accomplished, and enjoy being home.”

The “Golden Swordsmen” recently completed a six-month deployment conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations within the C7F AOO in support of Commander, Task Force 72, C7F, and U.S. Pacific Command objectives throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.