Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN
The history of Fleet Air Wing TEN begins in September 1939 when Patrol Squadron 101, with their Catalina Flying Boats, arrived at Cavite, Philippine Islands. It was the initial squadron of large seaplanes the United States Navy deployed to the Asiatic station. Patrol Wing TEN was officially established in December 1940 at Sangley Point, Republic of the Philippines. Just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Patrol Wing TEN was engaged in reconnaissance flights between Luzon and Hainan Island to investigate reports of the massing of the Japanese Fleet in that area. Location of the enemy at sea became, and remained, one of Patrol Wing TEN's primary functions. From the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, through the hazardous days when the Japanese were still on the offensive, it was Patrol Wing TEN's Catalina reconnaissance that made possible the effective disposition of what forces the United States Navy could muster in the Southwest Pacific. Even though the Japanese planes were faster and more numerous, the Wing's Catalinas kept right on with their mission - "Location of the Enemy at Sea."
Later during the war, the Patrol Wing TEN staff coordinated and directed the famous "BLACK CAT" operations throughout the Pacific Theater. These were attack missions flown against Japanese shipping by Catalina seaplanes painted completely black. These night attacks became legendary throughout the Pacific, resulting in numerous sinking's of Japanese transports while inspiring forces throughout the Pacific.
On 1 November 1942, Patrol Wing TEN was officially renamed Fleet Air Wing TEN. Assigned missions included shipping surveillance, ASW, photographic reconnaissance, convoy patrol, bombing, and strafing. The Catalinas continued to make a name for themselves as rescue aircraft - during an eight month period in 1943 they rescued 161 downed airmen and evacuated 415 wounded personnel in the Solomons.
On 11 August 1945, Fleet Air Wing TEN received orders to avoid enemy fire in the conduct of reconnaissance searches and all armed strike operations were canceled. On 15 August, World War II was over. Fleet Air Wing TEN, having compiled an exemplary war record of distinguished combat performance, remained in the Philippines until it was decommissioned on 7 June 1947.
With the introduction of Navy P-3 Orion squadrons, Fleet Air Wing TEN was reestablished on 29 June 1963 at NAS Moffett Field, California, to provide the command and control necessary to coordinate the new organization.
In 1965, the growing intensity of ASW and surveillance operations being conducted in the South China Sea in support of South Vietnam required that a Wing level staff be stationed in the Southwestern Pacific to plan and direct these critical missions. For the next seven years Fleet Air Wing TEN, and the newly established Wing EIGHT, alternately covered the Far East responsibility on a six-month rotational basis.
Fleet Air Wing TEN returned from its last deployment in February 1972. On 30 June 1973, Fleet Air Wing TEN was disestablished and responsibilities were assumed by Commander, Fleet Air Wings, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Patrol Wing TEN was reestablished at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California on 1 June 1981 to provide direct command and control over seven Moffett operational patrol squadrons. With the inception of Commander, ASW Forces Pacific (CTF 12) in May 1988, Patrol Wing TEN assumed duty as Commander, Task Group 12.1.
In August 1990 Patrol Wing TEN assets were part of the earliest forces deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation DESERT SHIELD. Conducting surveillance operations in support of Maritime Exclusion Zone enforcement, followed by a transition to full wartime operations during Operation DESERT STORM, the missions flown were crucial to Allied success. The ability of VP crews to successfully detect, target, and vector attack aircraft for engagement resulted in the elimination of Iraqi Naval Forces.
After the liberation of Kuwait, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, nationwide military restructuring saw Patrol Wing TEN reduced from seven operational squadrons to two and moved to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington in December 1993.
The closure of Naval Air Station Agana, Guam in 1994 led to the assignment of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE to Patrol Wing TEN, adding reconnaissance to Wing TEN's title. In July 1995 Patrol Squadron ONE relocated from NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii to join Patrol Wing TEN. Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN was now providing support to forces around the world, including detachment sites in Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.; Bahrain; Misawa, Japan; Kadena, Japan; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, the VP and VQ communities have consistently provided mission essential intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to ground troops as well as surface assets. Staff and maintenance professionals within CPRW-10 continue support of forward deployed units and the Global War on Terrorism from NAS Whidbey Island.
CPRW-10 has continued to transform. Active-Reserve Integration aligned Patrol Squadron SIXTY NINE under Wing TEN cognizance. The establishment of Fleet Support Unit Detachment TEN added a sea-duty component to the Wing responsible for the administration, training, and operational support of CNO Special Projects. In October 2005, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron TWO (VQ-2) completed a homeport change from Rota, Spain to NAS Whidbey Island; bringing the total Wing TEN structure to five active and one reserve squadron.
2009 saw the disestablishment of Consolidated Maintenance and a return to organizational squadron based program. The EP-3E JCC Spiral III Integration was implemented providing three quick reaction capability systems. In 2010, CPRW-10 initiated the first-ever deployment of a CONUS patrol wing and scaled timed phase force airlift in conjunction with exercise Valiant Shield, Guam.
During 2015/2016, CPRW-10 stood-up six new Mobile Tactical Operations Centers (MTOC). The six MTOCs are designated MTOC-2, MTOC-4, MTOC-6, MTOC-8, MTOC-10, and MTOC- 12. This addition to the Wing is a part of the continued ongoing west coast transformation in support of the arrival of P-8A. These 26-man expeditionary units are paired with a deploying squadron from Whidbey Island. Both squadron and MTOC will train and deploy together.
On 1 October 2016, CPRW-10 assumed Operational Command and Control of THIRD Fleet Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Operations as Commander, Task Force 32.
The future of CPRW-10 and MPRA is bright. In 2016 and 2017, Wing TEN welcomed VP-4, VP-9, and VP-47 as they changed permanent duty stations from MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI to NAS Whidbey Island, after their final P-3C deployments. VP-4 was the first west coast squadron to transition to the P-8A Poseidon, and deployed aboard the mighty Poseidon in April of 2018. These assets will provide a significant increase in maritime patrol and reconnaissance support to our nation's defense, and mark a new chapter in the storied history of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN.