SIGONELLA, Italy (NNS) -- The Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 "Golden Eagles" achieved a significant milestone in maritime patrol aviation safety, surpassing the 200,000 mishap-free flight hour mark Dec. 6.
The flight was in support of 6th Fleet tasking led by mission commander Lt. Cmdr. Dan Kitzmiller and plane commander Lt. Nate Durham.
"The 200,000 hour mark is one to be humbly celebrated. Our goal is another 200,000 mishap-free hours. An all-hands effort is crucial to sustaining our record of safe mission execution," said VP-9 commanding officer Cmdr. Brian Weiss.
VP-9 has operated for 35 years since its last Class-A mishap Oct. 26, 1978. On that date, PD-2, a P-3 operating out of Adak, Alaska, ditched in the Bering Sea. Since that date, from Cold War missions to flights in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the squadron has operated around the world with an outstanding record for safety.
The squadron's Safety NATOPS Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Desmond attributed the command's success to the dedicated Sailors who operate and maintain the squadron's eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
"Go slow to go fast' and 'by the book, every time' are mantras that pervade the culture here at VP-9," Desmond said. "We will continue to build on this foundation of safety through professionalism, training and compliance."
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 P-3C Orion aircraft. The squadron 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 areas of responsibility.
For more information, visit http://www.vp9.navy.mil/about.htm and www.navy.mil/local/vp9/.