SOUDA BAY, Greece (NNS) -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 Dec. 9 as part of his third annual USO Holiday Tour.
Gen. Martin Dempsey received a tour of a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from members of Combat Aircrew 7 and visited with VP-9 Sailors forward deployed for the holidays.
Dempsey, the 18th chairman, hosted the USO tour with Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche; Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Bridget Kelly; former New England Patriots offensive tackle and three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light; actor and comedian Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles; stars of A&E's hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" Jep and Willie Robertson and former correspondent for NBC's "The Voice" Alison Haislip.
Cmdr. Brian Weiss, VP-9 commanding officer, said he was proud to share his crew's expertise with the nation's highest ranking military officer.
"It is a rare privilege to host the chairman and the USO tour," said Weiss. "This visit highlights the importance of our mission here in 6th Fleet, as well as the sacrifices made by our Sailors and their families while deployed forward."
VP-9 crew members appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of their platform. "I was able to show how our ability to utilize multiple sensors simultaneously allows us to handle even the most complicated missions," said Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 1st Class (NAC/AW) Richard Medrano of Bakersfield, Calif.
VP-9 was established March 15, 1951, and is assigned to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The squadron consists of 71 officers and 276 enlisted personnel who maintain and operate eight Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft. VP-9 is forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility and is currently assigned to CTF 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout the European and African area of responsibility.
For more information, visit http://www.vp9.navy.mil/about.htm and www.navy.mil/local/vp9/.