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VP-8 Completes Deployment to U.S. 4th and 7th Fleets Areas of Operations

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron EIGHT (VP-8) and the “Dog Pound” of Mobile Tactical Operation Center SEVEN (MTOC-7) have returned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville after a successful six month deployment to the 4th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AOR).

While deployed, the Fighting Tigers and Dog Pound operated from three deployment sites in the Philippines, Japan, and El Salvador, where they provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and conducted anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to advance U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Pacific Command lines of operation.

The VP-8/MTOC-7 team is attached to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN, and was one of several MPRF squadrons assigned to Commander, Task Force 72 for the last six months. VP-8 is led by Commanding Officer Cmdr. Rodney Erler, and consists of 300 personnel and seven P-8A Poseidon aircraft. MTOC-7 is led by Officer in Charge Lt. Taylor Cannon, and consist of 21 personnel providing media support, mission construction, and safety of flight following for all VP-8 missions.

Upon arrival to 7th Fleet, the Fighting Tigers were called to provide continuous coverage in support of search and rescue (SAR) efforts to locate a Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35 and its pilot. This effort involved 24-hour operations for over six days; an exceptional accomplishment for continual operations by a squadron. This extraordinary SAR effort was an example of the close friendship and alliance between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy that the Fighting Tigers continued to promote both on and off duty. Other than SAR efforts, VP-8 was tasked to conduct routine Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Anti-surface Warfare (ASuW), and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) throughout the 7th Fleet AOR.

Within the 4th Fleet AOR, the Fighting Tigers maintained a formidable presence, providing critical intelligence and reconnaissance in support of counter-narcotics operations in support of Joint Interagency Task force South (JIATF-S). The command worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and various partner nations to coordinate the seizure of over 54,733 kilograms of illegal narcotics worth more than $3.8 billion-a record-setting result for the MPRF.

By the numbers, the Fighting Tigers flew from 12 different countries in two AOR’s while safely executing 600 sorties that generated over 3,500 flight hours. They completed 16 detachments across 11 different sites within the 7th Fleet AOR to include Sri Lanka, Fiji, Thailand, Guam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, South Korea, Diego Garcia, Wake Island and Singapore. These detachments were of vital importance to U.S. engagements in the Indo-Pacific region, strengthening relationships with partners and allies, while promoting interoperability between the U.S. Navy and other armed forces and agencies.

The “Fighting Tigers” maintenance department executed over 10,000 man-hours and 4,800 maintenance actions enabling aircraft to be on station on time with a 99 percent mission completion rate. The team also provided essential ordnance logistics for numerous ASW missions, enabling VP-8 Combat Aircrews to expend more than 2,000 sonobuoys, eight Expendable Mobile ASW Training Targets, and six MK-84 MOD 1 Signal Underwater Sound. VP-8 was called upon time and again to answer short notice operational tasking to unplanned locations, and the VP-8 maintenance department always rose to the challenge to produce mission-ready aircraft at a moment’s notice.

“I could not be more proud of this team’s performance over the past six months,” said Cmdr. Erler. “Their dedication to safety, resiliency, and the ability to effectively complete the mission across two numbered fleets was nothing short of amazing.”

The last aircraft landed on home soil at NAS Jacksonville on October 7th after six months of separation from families and friends. VP-8 welcomed eight new baby “Tigers” into the family over the course of the deployment. The sailors, families, friends, and alumni joined the happy mothers and fathers with a warm welcome to these beautiful babies.

Date Taken: 10.07.2019
Date Posted: 10.11.2019 17:04
Story ID: 347555
Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 

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DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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