OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The "Golden Swordsmen" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 returned to their new home at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island after a successful dual-site deployment, March 8.
VP-47 was deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, and to the U.S. 4th Fleet AOR at Comalapa, El Salvador, since September 2016. Additionally, the squadron sent detachments to the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Republic of Djibouti, Curacao, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Republic of the Philippines.
The Golden Swordsmen flew 503 sorties, accumulating 2,822 flight hours with a 94 percent mission completion rate over the six-month deployment, and were key participants in several multilateral exercises including Invincible Spirit 2016, Sea Survex 2017-1 and Keen Sword 2017. They also provided critical humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support in New Zealand following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, Nov. 14, 2016.
"I couldn't be more proud of the Golden Swordsmen team this deployment," said Cmdr. James Imlah, VP-47's executive officer. "They rose to the challenge and executed the mission flawlessly."
For the first time in more than 52 years, VP-47 returned to NAS Whidbey Island after deployment. The squadron was previously homeported at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, and conducted a permanent duty station change in conjunction with the deployment. VP-47 is the second of three Hawaii-based squadrons to make the move to Whidbey Island.
"It is a bittersweet feeling leaving our home in Hawaii, but we are extremely excited to be coming to Washington," said Imlah. "The people of Whidbey Island have done an exceptional job of making us feel welcome and making our transition as seamless as possible."
This was the Golden Swordsmen's final deployment with the P-3C Orion aircraft. VP-47 flew the Orion for more than 50 years. They will be transitioning to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon over the course of 2017.
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