Hawaii-based VP-47 Returns Home from Deployment
By Journalist 2nd Class Devin Wright, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public
Hawaii (NNS) -- After a six month deployment to the Middle East, Patrol Squadron
(VP) 47 returned home to Hawaii June 5.
Family and friends of the squadron cheered as the crew made their way back to
Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
The squadron was involved in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and
Operation Enduring Freedom by flying surveillance missions over Iraq and
The aircraft and aircrew were forward deployed to Bahrain. The squadron chalked
up nearly 3,000 flight hours in combat support.
Cmdr. Jim Landers, executive officer of VP-47, said the crew held up
“tremendously well,” although they were often subjected to extreme living
“The conditions were harsh,” said Landers. “The crew had to deal with the sand,
the heat, living in tents in some places, and part of the crew that was
stationed in Diego Garcia had the humidity, long hours and not a whole lot to
Landers returned a week before the bulk of the crew to prepare for their return.
“I’ve been an executive officer without a crew, and the family members here
today have been wives without husbands, husbands without wives, kids without a
parent, mothers without their kids, so today is a great day for everyone here,”
For some of the crew members, the long hours and hard work kept their minds
“I was stationed on Diego Garcia the whole time, helping maintain the aircraft
and packing parachutes,” said Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Tom Sidman
VP-47. “It was a lot of work, but that made it go by pretty quick. Also, we got
a lot of ‘any soldier’ letters from different schools around the States and
YMCAs that really made us feel good.”
Sidman said he’s got a lot to catch up on now that he is back in the States.
“I’m back in Hawaii now, so of course I’m going to get ready to go surfing --
and go to Taco Bell,” said Sidman. “We all worked hard and it feels great to
come home after a job well done.”
Kaneohe, Hawaii (Jun. 3, 2004) - Sailors assigned to the "Golden Swordsmen" of
Patrol Squadron Four Seven (VP-47), carefully place a flower lei on the nose of
a P-3C Orion. This is the first aircraft of VP-47 returning home from a
six-month deployment supporting operations in the 5th fleet Area of
Responsibility. The P-3C Orion is a land based, long-range anti-submarine
warfare patrol aircraft that provides effective undersea reconnaissance
capabilities to naval joint commanders. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate
2nd Class Kelton Washington
Skinny Dragons Tune Up for RIMPAC with “Silent
By Lt. j.g. Shawn Spooner, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The
Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 participated in the multinational
training exercise “Silent Fury” with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) diesel
submarine HMAS Rankin, as it transited from Australia to Hawaii June 4-8.
The exercise consisted of ships, aircraft and submarines from both navies
working with Rankin, the centerpiece of the exercise. Rankin is a Collins-class
diesel submarine known for exceptionally silent underwater operations.
Commander, Task Force 12 coordinated a combined anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
effort utilizing the sea and air assets. P-3C Orion aircraft from VP-4 (“Skinny
Dragons”) and VP-40 (“Fighting Marlins”) kicked off the exercise by conducting
Extended Echo Ranging (EER), as Rankin approached the Hawaiian Islands chain.
Next, Rankin proceeded into a littoral ASW free-play exercise, assuming the role
of a hostile diesel submarine.
“Silent Fury was an excellent opportunity for us to challenge our air crews in
our primary mission area of undersea warfare," said Cmdr. David Smith,
commanding officer of VP-4. “Rankin was a formidable opponent, and provided
unique training opportunities for the entire task force and us. Silent Fury was
an outstanding precursor for us as we get ready for RIMPAC.”
The Skinny Dragons - Fighting Marlins team linked a string of successful
missions during the five-day event, not missing a minute of tasked on station
time. Months of dedicated aircraft grooming paid off, as all planes were mission
capable on station.
Participating units included five combat air crews from VP-4; one combat air
crew from VP-40, based out of Whidbey Island, Wash.; the “Easy Riders” of
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, based at Kaneohe Bay;USS
O’Kane (DDG 77); USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60); USS Reuben James (FFG 57); USS Key
West (SSN 722); Destroyer Squadron 31 and HMAS Farncomb (SSG 74).
Station North Island, Calif. (Jan. 30, 2003) – A P-3C Orion patrol aircraft
assigned to the "Skinny Dragons" of Patrol Squadron Four (VP 4), takes off from
Naval Air Station North Island. VP-4 was participating in exercises with the
nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group. U.S.
Navy photo by Senior Chief Photographer’s Mate Mahlon K. Miller.