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Patrol Squadron Eight

Patrol Squadron Eight

The Fighting Tigers of Patrol Squadron Eight were commissioned in September 1942 as Patrol Squadron 201 in Norfolk, Va. During World War II, VP-201 flew the sea-based PBM Mariner combating the German submarines that were threatening allied shipping throughout the Atlantic. In September 1948, the squadron received its current designation, Patrol Squadron Eight. In October 1962, VP-8 became the fleet’s first operational P-3A Orion squadron. 

Today the squadron is comprised of four P-3C aircraft operated by 12 combat aircrews. Each combat aircrew consists of three pilots, a tactical coordinator, a navigator/communicator, two flight engineers, two acoustic operators, a non-acoustic operator and an in-flight technician. The combat air crews are responsible for employing the aircraft mission systems to accomplish complex and dynamic tasking. Squadron manning includes a group of 65 officers and more than 300 enlisted personnel. 

Tiger Maintenance comprised of more than 200 highly skilled maintenance professionals and a corps of administrative specialists supports the squadron’s worldwide operations. 

In December 2008, the Fighting Tigers departed on deployment from NAS Brunswick for the final time as they commenced a homeport change to NAS Jacksonville in conjunction with a deployment to Qatar, Djibouti and Japan. The Fighting Tigers flew more than 650 missions and 4,500 flight hours in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and coalition counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. The Fighting Tigers were the first Department of Defense asset on scene during the Merchant Vessel Maersk Alabama hostage crisis and ultimately maintained round-the-clock coverage until Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued by the USS Bainbridge and Naval Special Warfare operators on Easter Sunday. The Fighting Tigers returned to their new homeport at NAS Jacksonville in June 2009. 

In November 2010, the squadron deployed its crews to three sites in both the Fifth and Seventh Fleet Area of Responsibilities. During the deployment they have flown more than 900 missions and 5,500 flight hours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, along with the continuing coalition counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. 

The Fighting Tigers have achieved a reputation of operational excellence without sacrificing safety standards — the squadron has completed more than 195,000 mishap-free flying hours since 1978. The pride and professionalism of every squadron member serves as a reminder to all of VP-8’s dedication to excellence and service to our nation. 

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