Golden Swordsmen Attend Memorial Service at Moffett Field, Calif.

Story Number: NNS160419-03Release Date: 4/19/2016 10:20:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua E. Walters, Patrol Squadron 47 Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Friends, families, shipmates, and Sailors assigned to the Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 attended the 25th memorial service for the 27 fallen Blue Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 50 Aircrewmen at Moffett Field, Calif., March 20.

In the early morning of March 21, 1991, two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from VP-50 collided into each other while conducting training operations 60 miles southwest off the coast of San Diego. Twenty-seven Sailors lost their lives.

The VP-50 Memorial attendees took a moment to remember and reflect the sacrifice those 27 Sailors made.

"It was a feeling of remembrance of the sacrifice those two crews made," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Miller, a mission commander for combat aircrew two in VP-47. "It was a sense of a loss knowing those guys gave the ultimate sacrifice."

The memorial ceremony was sombering for the attendees to express their feelings. For Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Emily Sthilaire, a maintenance person who frequently launches VP-47 aircraft, it gave her a sense of being humble.

"The ceremony was pretty humbling. Looking around you can see everyone who used to be in the squadron and see their emotions," said Sthilaire. "Makes you appreciate everything more. You never really think when you're launching people out that it could be the last time you see them. It's a reality check."

VP-50 was decommissioned at Moffett Field in 1992 and a plaque is located on the grounds honoring the 27 Sailors who lost their lives on that tragic night.

VP-47 is currently underway with their fleet response training program, conducting exercises and maintenance to maximize operational performance and efficiency.

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