The “War Eagles” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 and the “Lightning Riders” of Mobile Tactical Operations Center-1 begin their transition back to Naval Air Station Jacksonville Nov. 2 after a pioneering seven-month deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR). The War Eagles were attached to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 57 and 67 providing widespread intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capability to the fleet.
Squadron elements assigned to CTF-57 operated out of Bahrain in the Middle East. Squadron elements assigned to CTF-67 primarily operated out of NAS Sigonella, Italy. Altogether, VP-16 deployed across five detachment sites spanning three continents and over 7,400 miles flying missions in support of operations Freedom’s Sentinel, Sentinel Sentry (5th Fleet), Sea Guardian, and Assurance Measure (6th Fleet).
The War Eagles worked relentlessly to maintain mission readiness and provide theater security for the Joint Force Air Component Commander. During their deployment, VP-16’s maintenance professionals, maintained seven P-8A Poseidon aircraft requiring over 20,000 man hours. These flights included the Poseidon’s air-to-air refueling capability and supported over 200 maritime navigational transits through major global chokepoints for six different countries and two U.S. carrier strike groups.
“I am proud of every single War Eagle and Lightning Rider for their dedication, perseverance, and resiliency during this challenging and dynamic deployment,” said Cmdr. Kevin Kraemer, commanding officer of VP-16.
Jacksonville will be a welcoming sight for the War Eagles, eight of which will be returning as new fathers. The VP-8 “Fighting Tigers” are relieving the War Eagles in Bahrain.