|Commanding Officer: Commander Derek Adametz||CMC: Command Master Chief Patrick Campbell||Executive Officer: Commander Andrew Barlow|
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HISTORY OF PATROL SQUADRON EIGHT: CONTINUING A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE
The FIGHTING TIGERS of Patrol Squadron EIGHT were commissioned in September 1942 as Patrol Squadron 201 in Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II, VP-201 flew the sea-based PBM Mariner combating the German submarines that threatened allied shipping throughout the Atlantic. In September 1948, the squadron received its current designation, Patrol Squadron EIGHT. In October 1962, the FIGHTING TIGERS became the first operational squadron in the Fleet to fly the P-3A Orion.
Today, the squadron is comprised of seven P-3C aircraft operated by 12 combat aircrews. Each combat aircrew consists of three pilots, a Tactical Coordinator, a Navigator/Communicator, two Flight Engineers, two Acoustic Operators, a Non-Acoustic Operator and an In-Flight Technician. The combat aircrews are responsible for employing the aircraft mission systems to accomplish complex and dynamic tasking. Squadron manning includes a remarkably talented group of 65 officers and more than 300 enlisted personnel.
TIGER Maintenance, comprised of more than 200 highly skilled maintenance professionals, has earned a reputation of “best in the fleet” through their record of generating superb levels of aircraft availability and material readiness. These highly trained professionals include Aviation Machinist's Mates, Aviation Electrician's Mates, Storekeepers, Aviation Structural Mechanics, Aviation Ordnancemen, Aviation Support Equipment Technicians, Aviation Electronics Technicians, Aviation Maintenance Administrationmen and Aircrew Survival Equipmentmen.
A motivated corps of administrative specialists supports the squadron's worldwide operations. A Career Counselor, Hospital Corpsmen, Information Systems Technicians, Intelligence Specialists, Personnel Specialists, Mass Communication Specialist and Yeomen execute numerous and substantive responsibilities daily that remain instrumental to the squadron's operational effectiveness.
The P-3C Orion is recognized throughout the world for its capabilities as an Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Precision Strike Target and Under-Sea Warfare (USW) platform. The P-3C is unequalled in its ability to locate, track and, if required, attack hostile submarines beneath the waves. The FIGHTING TIGERS and other maritime patrol squadrons have successfully demonstrated their preeminent USW capabilities in every ocean of the world.
The success of these operations is made possible by the array of sophisticated communications, navigation, detection and monitoring systems installed on the P-3C aircraft. Non-acoustic detection systems include the APS-137 radar, Advanced Imaging Multi-Spectral System (AIMS) electro-optical sensor, ALR-95 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system, USQ-78B Acoustic Signal Processor, and Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) system. Information from these tactical sensors can be transmitted via a satellite communications suite in near real-time.
One of the most dramatic improvements for the P-3C has been the Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP). Some of the upgrades include the APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) / Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), long-range image radar used to identify land and sea targets; the Advanced Imaging Multi-Spectral System (AIMS), a sophisticated, long range electro-optical and infrared sensor suite; and a robust communications suite. This communications suite allows the aircraft to transmit imagery and data to shore nodes near real time. AIP aircraft has conducted ISR missions in support of Operations DELIBERATE FORGE over Bosnia-Herzegovina; JOINT GUARDIAN, ALLIED FORCE, and NOBLE ANVIL over Kosovo and the Adriatic Sea; ENDURING FREEDOM over Afghanistan; IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN over Iraq; and ODYSSEY DAWN over Libya.
In addition to its significant sensor capabilities, the P-3C is unsurpassed as an all-weather strike aircraft. The Orion is capable of carrying a payload of 20,000 pounds of ordnance – including the HARPOON missile, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), AGM-65F MAVERICK air to ground missile, MK-46 / MK-50 / MK-54 torpedoes, rockets, mines, depth bombs, and conventional bombs such as CBU-99 ROCKEYE cluster bombs and MK-80 series bombs. The multi-mission P-3C offers naval and joint task force commanders a potent weapons platform for worldwide employment with rapid response time.
Whether in direct support of the Strike Group or shore commands, conducting long range reconnaissance, strike warfare or anti-surface/anti-submarine warfare, the P-3C is firmly in place as an extension of the eyes, ears and arm of the Strike Group or Task Force.
In June 2012, the FIGHTING TIGERS began their dual-site deployment to the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Southern Command areas of responsibility (AOR). While deployed, VP-8 flew 652 sorties totaling 3,065 mishap-free flight hours and achieved an exceptional 97 percent mission completion rate. Based out of Japan's Naval Air Facility Misawa and Kadena Air Base, while in the 7th Fleet AOR, the FIGHTING TIGERS performed anti-submarine warfare missions; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support; and maritime domain awareness flights. Simultaneously in the 4th Fleet AOR, VP-8 operated out of Comalapa International Airport, El Salvador, in support of counter transnational organized crime missions. Their efforts directly resulted in the interdiction and seizure of 18,800 kilograms of cocaine valued at $1.2 billion and 1,500 kilograms of marijuana valued at $8.7 million dollars, as well as the detention of 61 suspects. The FIGHTING TIGERS also found time to volunteer more than 1,600 hours in support of 30 community relations projects across both AOR's, including tsunami disaster relief projects in Japan and support of local orphanages and homeless shelters in El Salvador.
Upon return, VP-8 began their inter-deployment readiness cycle consisting of supporting carrier strike group exercises, anti-submarine warfare training, and individual and command qualifications and certifications highlighted by a record score on the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection (CWTPI). In December 2013, the FIGHTING TIGERS began their final P-3C Orion deployment prior to transitioning in 2014 to the newest maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8 Poseidon. The FIGHTING TIGERS are currently on a dual-site, seven-month deployment to Bahrain and El Salvador.
The FIGHTING TIGERS have achieved a reputation of operational excellence without sacrificing safety standards – the squadron has completed more than 200,000 mishap-free flying hours since 1978. The pride and professionalism of every squadron member serves as a reminder to all of VP-8's dedication to excellence and service to our Nation.
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