KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (NNS) -- Following a seven-month deployment, the last P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, belonging to the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron 9, touched down, April 4, and Sailors were joyfully reunited with friends and family at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
From September through March, the squadron proved its capabilities through operations across Europe, Africa and South America. The squadron's versatile aircraft and aircrew maintained an impressive 99.8 percent mission completion rate, completing 760 missions encompassing a total of 4,839 mishap-free flight hours.
Commander Gonzalo Partida, the squadron's commanding officer, praised the tireless efforts and accomplishments of his Sailors.
The commitment and professionalism of more than 350 Sailors is what allows us to accomplish our great nation's tasking across the globe, said Partida.
"We've operated from 12 countries over the past seven months and I could not be prouder of what the Golden Eagles have achieved. Homecomings are a reminder of why we deploy, to keep our loved ones safe and to protect the freedom we enjoy."
During the course of deployment, VP-9 participated in eight major military exercises.
"Participating in multilateral exercises allows us to maintain interoperability with our allies and helps our crews stay sharp and ready for the fight," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Francis Riley, a naval aviator in the squadron.
"Working with NATO and non-NATO countries significantly increased theater security cooperation in Europe and provided VP-9 Sailors an opportunity to learn about the culture and people from our closest allies," said Lt. Celesse Hidrovo-Guidry, a naval flight officer.
"I feel so fortunate to have seen so many different parts of the world that most people never get a chance to experience," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Sabrina Rios. "As a squadron, we worked hard to keep the [aircraft] flying on these important missions and meet our objectives. I'm proud of our dedication while deployed, but I'm so happy to finally be coming home!"
Golden Eagles made an additional positive impact in the community of their host nations by participating in several community relations events.
"It has been great to get out into the local community and help other people while soaking up the culture at the same time," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Robert Leviker. "I am excited to have been part of such a unique experience."
"It's been an honor to serve my country overseas," said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Allison Grimes. "We've all made some great memories, but after seven months I'm definitely looking forward to making some new memories in Hawaii."
For more information about Patrol Squadron NINE, visit http://www.vp9.navy.mil