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Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 “Golden Eagles”

Squadron History

Patrol Squadron NINE (VP-9) is home-ported at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and provides Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Maritime Domain Awareness, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities to support United States Combatant Commander initiatives worldwide. Utilizing the P-8A “Poseidon” aircraft, they employ the latest technology, tactics, techniques, and procedures to execute on-station, providing next-generation capabilities in multi-theater environments. 

VP-9 was commissioned at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington on March 15, 1951 under the command of CDR M. B. Bailey. The maiden flight of the newly formed squadron was flown in a P-4Y2 “Privateer.” Shortly after commissioning, the Golden Eagles embarked upon their first deployment to Naval Station Kodiak, Alaska. In the 1950s and 1960s, VP-9 participated in numerous deployed operations throughout Asia and the Northern Pacific, including joint night operations with U.S. Marine Corps fighter aircraft. Utilizing flares, VP-9 aircraft illuminated significant North Korean targets for attacking aircraft. Other significant milestones included: homeport change to NAS Moffett Field, CA in 1963 and transition to the P-2V “Neptune” in 1953, the P-3A “Orion” in 1963 and the P-3B in 1966. 

With the advent of the computerized P-3C Update I, VP-9 began a new era in the 1970s. In the 1980s, VP-9 became the first squadron to deploy to the Western Pacific with the APS-137 Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar. In 1992 the squadron received orders to make a homeport change to NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. After their successful initial deployment to FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleets with the newly received upgraded AIP P-3C aircraft, VP-9 again made history with the launch of a Standoff Land Attack Missile. This first launch, using in-flight target reprogramming, occurred during Fleet Battle Experiment ECHO at Point Mugu, CA. 

The Golden Eagles executed another homeport change to MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii in May 1999. In 2012, VP-9 broke new ground by deploying to SIXTH Fleet in Sigonella, Italy for the first time in squadron history. 

In 2017, following a highly successful final P-3C deployment to the SEVENTH Fleet AOR, VP-9 executed a homeport shift back to NAS Whidbey Island, where the squadron had been commissioned 66 years previously. The Golden Eagles subsequently transitioned to the P-8A “Poseidon”, the world’s most advanced Maritime Patrol aircraft, bidding farewell to the venerable “Orion” after 54 years. 

Following transition, they conducted their inaugural P-8 deployment in 2019 to the SIXTH Fleet AOR, where they were awarded the C6F “HOOK’EM” award for demonstrating ASW superiority and a Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC). They proceeded to earn the coveted Battle Efficiency and Golden Wrench Awards in 2019. 

During 2020 and 2021, the squadron added to their reputation of resiliency and success with a dual-site deployment between the FOURTH and SIXTH Fleet AORs despite the obstacle of a global pandemic. Conducting operations from seven locations in six nations across Central America, the Caribbean Sea, the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean Sea, VP-9 set the P-8A record for most operational ASW contact time in a single deployment. The squadron’s detachment to El Salvador also earned the Humanitarian Service Medal for conducting Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions in the aftermath of Hurricanes Eta and Iota. 

In 2022, VP-9 deployed to the SIXTH Fleet AOR and was the first squadron to utilize NAS Sigonella’s new state-of-the-art hangar. There, the Golden Eagles steadfastly supported allies abroad via operations conducted in multiple NATO countries. VP-9’s dedication to the mission began to gather recognition from its higher authorities. This culminated in the Golden Eagles receiving the 2022 Battle Efficiency Award, Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy, and Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Award. 

VP-9’s recent 2023-2024 deployment included an emphasis on promoting NATO interoperability and enhancing security in a troubled Middle East. The Golden Eagles participated in the ARCTIC DOLPHIN, JOINT WARRIOR, and NORDIC RESPONSE exercises alongside NATO forces. Meanwhile, personnel in the Middle East flew hundreds of sorties supporting allied forces and international law, as well as Operation PROSPERITY GUARDIAN. Protecting the American people, as well as partners and allies, has been the hallmark of VP-9 for over 70 years as part of the world’s finest Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. 

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