Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN’s history and reputation remain unparalleled. Commissioned on August 15, 1942, at Norfolk, VA, Patrol Wing ELEVEN relocated five days later to San Juan, Puerto Rico to provide support for Allied shipping convoys in the Navy’s Caribbean Sea Frontier. As the Navy overcame Germany’s Atlantic/Caribbean U-boat campaign, Wing ELEVEN’s PBY-5Ns patrolled a million square miles of ocean, providing assistance and spotting scores of stricken Allied ships and sinking 10 German submarines while damaging 18 others.
In 1950, during the post-World War II drawdown, Wing ELEVEN shifted homeports to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL, and transitioned to the P-2V Neptune. Throughout the decade, Wing ELEVEN’s squadrons continued to patrol vast areas in support of long-range reconnaissance and fleet exercises. Operational commitments grew as the Cold War intensified, and Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) continued to refine warfighting competencies in anti-submarine warfare, aerial mine warfare, search and rescue, and aerial photographic intelligence.
MPA excellence continued in the 1960s as Wing ELEVEN supported the Project Mercury Space Program by operating aircraft on station during the recovery of the nation’s first astronauts. Later on when President John F. Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba, Wing ELEVEN squadrons monitored Soviet ship movements and provided overhead surveillance. Beginning in the 1960s, the venerable P-3C Orion, a land-based, long-range anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, replaced the P-2V Neptune fleet. In the years that followed, the squadrons recorded thousands of hours “on top” of Soviet submarines during Cold War operations from Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, Ascension Island, the Canary and Azores Islands, and bases throughout the Mediterranean.
Post-Cold War, the Wing continued to meet the evolving needs of the Navy, proving the P-3C as a multi-mission platform over land and sea; supporting Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, establishing an airborne reconnaissance capability during the Balkan wars; and supporting counterdrug detection by monitoring and interdiction operations in the Southern Hemisphere.
In 1998, the Navy formally recognized the close link between VP and VQ missions, bringing Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron TWO into Wing ELEVEN and amending the command name to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN.
The P-3C saw significant enhancements through its life at the Wing. The Anti-surface Warfare Improvement Program delivered traditional maritime capabilities, real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and Standoff Land-Attack Missile (SLAM) capability to theater and fleet commanders. Wing ELEVEN units proved their continued relevance and vitality during Operation ALLIED FORCE over Kosovo in 1999 and in subsequent stabilization efforts there.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, signaled a new focus for Wing ELEVEN units. In addition to traditional missions, units supported homeland defense and the Global War on Terrorism in Operations VIGILANT SHIELD and ENDURING FREEDOM, respectively.
During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Wing ELEVEN’s VP-45 was the first East Coast squadron to establish a permanent detachment site in Iraq, flying combat missions in direct support of the troops on the ground. Additionally supporting Department of Defense initiatives, Wing ELEVEN transferred administrative control of VQ-2 to Wing TEN in Whidbey Island, WA, and subsequently acquired Jacksonville’s Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department and Aviation Supply Detachment.
Wing ELEVEN’s more recent combat role includes providing thousands of on station hours in the skies over Libya in support of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR. In 2011, a VP-5 crew fired AGM-65F Maverick missiles at a Libyan patrol craft, causing it to be beached. The patrol craft was suspected of attacking merchant vessels in the port city of Misrata.
Since October 2014, Wing ELEVEN has also flown combat missions in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. Wing ELEVEN squadrons have flown hundreds of combat missions in support of U.S. objectives and coalition forces to degrade and, ultimately, destroy the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
In 2012, Wing ELEVEN accepted its first fleet delivery of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Subsequently, completing the transition from the P-3C Orion to the U.S. Navy’s first fully operational P-8 Wing in 2016. In addition, Wing ELEVEN has recently added the Navy’s newest squadron to its arsenal: Unmanned Patrol Squadron NINETEEN (VUP-19), flying the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The P-8A and MQ-4C will serve as the future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force.
Wing ELEVEN has a long and deep history that continues to serve Naval Aviation and the United States Navy.
Wing ELEVEN’s squadrons and subordinate units include VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, VP-45, VP-62, VUP-19, FSU-1, FSU-5, TOCRON JAX, MTOC - 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.