MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 'Pelicans' deployed to Bahrain in July to provide land- and sea-based commanders with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support as part of its mission to support maritime security operations (MSO).
Pelican Sailors deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) with an additional mission - to provide a recognized maritime picture of the Persian Gulf to the Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander.
"With our long range capabilities, we are accomplishing in the air what ships are accomplishing at sea," said Lt. Christopher Ellison, VP-45's plans and exercise officer.
These four-engine turboprop maritime surveillance aircraft were originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. However, their mission has evolved over the years to include supporting U.S. and coalition forces' ability to conduct MSO.
"Our mission is to provide valuable intelligence for fusion into a master tracking database," said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Prest, VP-45's operations officer.
"We do reconnaissance to identify threats to coalition forces," said Lt. Dan Chuckle, Combat Air Crew 6 tactical coordinator.
Flights are conducted during the day and night. In constant communication with the ships they are tracking or the troops on the ground, this combat air crew has been throughout the North, Central and South Persian Gulf.
Based in Jacksonville, Fla., and Brunswick, Maine, the squadron rotates its air crew, maintenance and support personnel through all of its sites in the AOR during scheduled six-month cycles. With more than 400 members total, 200 in U.S. 5th Fleet and 100 in U.S. 7th Fleet, there is still a strong detachment at home, ready at a moment's notice.
"Our training is constant. We see it as a job. This is what we do wherever we go," said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class, Nick Jenson, acoustic operator, Combat Air Crew 6. "I enjoy my job and the crew. This is what I want to be doing every day."
"The men and women of VP-45 are honored to be serving in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility," said commanding officer Cmdr. William Zirzow IV. "Our missions are making a difference, and family, friends and fellow Americans at home can be proud of the Pelicans' effort."
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.