A Patrol Wing (PatWing) was a United States Navy aviation unit with the commander of a Patrol Wing known as the Commodore, the ComPatWing or COMPATWING. All active Patrol Wings have since been redesignated as Patrol and Reconnaissance Wings, with the Commodore designated as COMPATRECONWING or ComPatReconWing.
Currently, there are three Patrol and Reconnaissance Wings in the U.S. Navy:
- 1 Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2
- 2 Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10
- 3 Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11
- 4 Former patrol wings
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2
Patrol Wing Two was established at FAB Pearl Harbor on 1 October 1937. On 15 September 1942, FAW-2 was relocated to NAS Kaneohe Bay, where it remained until 1949. Redesignated Fleet Air Wing Two 1 Nov 1942 at NAS Kaneohe, Hawaii; On 30 June 1949, it was relocated to Barber's Point. Redesignated Patrol Wing 2 30 Jun 1973. Patrol Wing 2 was disestablished on 8 June 1993. Fleet Wing Two, redesignated as Commander, Patrol Wing Two, assumed operational control of the Barbers Point-based patrol squadrons when Fleet Air Hawaii decommissioned in 1973. After the disestablishment of Patrol Wing 2 on 8 June 1993, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces, US Pacific Fleet (formerly Commander, Patrol Wings, Pacific) commanded the line patrol squadrons.
Since the 1950s Barbers Point was most famous for its "Rainbow Fleet"—the patrol squadrons that routinely deployed with P-2 and later P-3 aircraft to the northern and western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. These squadrons tracked Soviet submarines patrolling off the western coast of the United States and supported operations in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and most recently the NATO air campaign over Kosovo. Of the squadrons present during the 1960s and 1970s, VP-28 was disestablished in the 1970s and VP-6, VP-17, and VP-22 were disestablished by the mid-1990s, leaving only VP-1 and VP-4. During the mid-1990s, however, two squadrons, VP-9 and VP-47, transferred to the Rainbow Fleet from NAS Moffett Field, Calif., when Moffett Field was disestablished as a USN installation and transferred to NASA and the California Air National Guard as a "Moffett Federal Airfield" via BRAC action. VP-1 later transferred to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 and relocated to NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. The Rainbow Fleet also was the home of Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two (VPU-2) since 1982.
The end of the Cold War, in which NAS Barbers Point figured so heavily, also eventually brought about its closure. Congress accepted the recommendation of the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) that NAS Barbers Point be closed. In 1998, the wing was temporarily redesignated as Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, Pacific. VP-4, VP-9, VP-47, VPU-2 and HSL-37 were moved to then Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, now Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay, part of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, located on the windward side of Oahu.
Later redesignated as Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two, the wing currently includes VP-4, VP-9, VP-47, and VPU-2. The wing previously included VP-1, VP-6, VP-17 and VP-22, which were deactivated in the Navy's post-Cold War drawdown in the mid-1990s.
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10
- Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Ten (COMPATRECONWING 10) is located at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Established for the third time at NAS Moffett Field, California on 1 June 1981, the wing relocated to NAS Whidbey Island on 1 July 1994 and currently consists of VP-1, VP-40, VP-46, VP-69, and VQ-1. The wing previously included VP-9 and VP-47, which were transferred to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two in Hawaii in 1994; VP-19 and VP-48, which were inactivated during the Navy's post-Cold War drawdown in the mid-1990s; and VQ-2, which was merged into VQ-1 in 2011. Although not part of the wing, VP-31, the Pacific Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for the P-3B, P-3C and EP-3E, was also located at NAS Moffett Field and was disestablished as part of that installation's BRAC closure.
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11
- Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven is located at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Redesignated as Fleet Air Wing 11 at NAS Isla Grande, Puerto Rico, on 1 November 1942, the wing relocated to NAS Jacksonville in April 1950. The wing received control of VP-56 in 1971 and VP-24 and VP-49 following their relocation from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland to NAS Jacksonville. Redesignated Patrol Wing Eleven on 30 June 1973, the wing includes VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26, and VP-45 operating the P-8A Poseidon, VP-62 operating the P-3C Orion, and VUP-19 operating the MQ-4C Triton. The wing previously included VP-24, VP-49 and VP-56, which were inactivated during the Navy's post-Cold War drawdown in the mid-1990s, and VPU-1, which was later merged into VPU-2 in 2012. Although not part of the wing, VP-30, the combined P-8A, P-3C and EP-3E Aries Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for the Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet is also located at NAS Jacksonville.
Former patrol wings
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One, Naval Support Facility Kamiseya, Japan, may have been redesignated Fleet Air Forward after 2008. PATRECONWING ONE, formerly Patrol Wing One and Fleet Air Wing One, fought in the Korean War. Patrol Wing One was established as Patrol Wing 1 1 Oct 1937; and redesignated from Fleet Air Wing One at Noumea on 1 November 1942. In December 1942 it was relocated to Espiritu Santo; and in March 1943 to Guadalcanal, and in February 1944 to Munda. In July 1944 it was relocated to Espiritu Santo, and on 11 September 1944 relocated to the Schouten Islands aboard USS Hamlin (AV-15). On 15 October 1944 the wing was relocated to Ulithi, and on 30 December 1944 relocated to Saipan. On 19 February 1945 it was relocated to Iwo Jima during invasion operations aboard Hamlin (AV 15); on 10 March 1945 relocated to NAF Agana, Guam; and on 26 March 1945: Relocated to Kerama Rhetto aboard Hamlin. On 14 July 1945 it was relocated to NAF Chimu Wan, Okinawa.
On 16 July 1950 Fleet Air Wing One was relocated to Naval Air Station Agana, Guam, to NAF Naha, Okinawa. In the 3rd Quarter 1952 was relocated to NAS San Diego, Calif. In the 4th Quarter 1954: Relocated to NAF Naha, Okinawa. Mid-1958: Relocated to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, aboard assigned flagship. In mid-1965: Relocated to NAF Naha, Okinawa. On 30 June 1973 it was redesignated PatWing-1. On 1 June 1999 it was redesignated Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One.
Fleet Air Wing Three
Previously Patrol Wings were known as Fleet Air Wings. Among previous Fleet Air Wings were Fleet Air Wing Three, which participated in Operation Strikeback in the Atlantic. FAW-3 was redesignated at NAS Coco Solo, Panama, on 1 November 1942. On 1 July 1950 it was relocated to NAS Quonset Point, R.I. In mid-1957 it was relocated to NAS Brunswick, Maine. On 30 June 1971 FAW-3 was disestablished. Fleet Air Wing Four (FAW-4) was redesignated at NAS Kodiak, Alaska, on 1 November 1942. On 15 March 1943: Relocated from NAS Kodiak to NAS Adak, Alaska. On 26 April 1944: Relocated from NAS Adak, Alaska, to NAF Attu, Aleutian Islands. On 17 April 1949: Relocated to NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., COMFAIR Seattle became dual hatted with additional duty as FAW-4 in May 1949. 15 February 1954: COMFAIR Seattle redesignated COMFAIR Whidbey and FAW-4 (dual hatted). On 15 March 1970 FAW-4 was disestablished.
Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Five
Patrol Wing and Reconnaissance Wing Five (previously Patrol Wing Five) at NAS Brunswick, Maine was disbanded in 2009 when that installation closed due to BRAC action. It had previously included VP-8, VP-10, VP-11, VP-23, VP-26, VP-44, VPU-1 and the Navy Reserve's VP-92. With the decision to close NAS Brunswick, VP-8, VP-10, VP-26 and VPU-1 were transferred to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, VP-11, VP-23 and VP-44 having been previously decommissioned during the Navy's post-Cold War drawdown of the mid-1990s which eliminated 50% of the Navy's active duty patrol squadrons. VP-92 was disestablished in 2007 as part of the BRAC action closing NAS Brunswick and the Navy's reduction of its thirteen patrol squadrons in the Navy Reserve to two patrol squadrons. VP-92 had previously been assigned to Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic (RESPATWINGLANT), but was transferred to COMPATRECONWING FIVE following RESPATWINGLANT's inactivation and VP-92's relocation from NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts to NAS Brunswick when NAS South Weymouth was closed due to an earlier BRAC decision in the mid-1990s.
Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic
Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic (RESPATWINGLANT) was established in 1970 and initially located at NAS Norfolk, Virginia through 2000, subsequently relocating to NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. A subordinate element of then-Naval Air Reserve Force (NAVAIRESFOR), RESPATWINGLANT provided then-Naval Reserve (now Navy Reserve) maritime patrol aircraft, flight crews and maintenance/support personnel in seven Reserve patrol squadrons (VP) in augmentative support to Commander, U.S. Patrol Wings Atlantic, later Commander, U.S. Patrol Wings, and now Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. RESPATWINGLANT was the Echelon IV command for VP-62 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida; VP-64 and VP-66 at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; VP-67 at NAS Memphis, Tennessee; VP-68 at NAF Washington/Andrews AFB, Maryland; VP-92 at NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts (later relocating to NAS Brunswick, Maine following the BRAC closure of NAS South Weymouth); and VP-94 at NAS New Orleans, Louisiana. Upon the inactivation of RESPATWINGLANT in 2004, the transition of VP-64 to a fleet air logistics squadron redesignated as VR-64, and the inactivation of all but two remaining Atlantic Fleet Reserve VP squadrons, operational control/administrative control (OPCON/ADCON) of VP-62 was passed to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven and OPCON/ADCON of VP-92 to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Five. VP-94 was later inactivated as part of the inactivation of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Five and the BRAC-directed closure of NAS Brunswick, leaving VP-62 as the sole remaining Naval Air Reserve VP squadron in the Atlantic Fleet.
Reserve Patrol Wing Pacific/Patrol Wing Four
Reserve Patrol Wing Pacific (RESPATWINGPAC), later dual-designated as Patrol Wing Four (PATWING FOUR), was established in 1970 and located at NAS Moffett Field, California. A subordinate element of then-Naval Air Reserve Force (NAVAIRESFOR), RESPATWINGPAC provided then-Naval Reserve maritime patrol aircraft, flight crews and maintenance/support personnel in six Reserve patrol squadrons (VP) in augmentative support to Commander, U.S. Patrol Wings Pacific, later Commander, U.S. Patrol Wings, and now Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. RESPATWINGLANT was the Echelon IV command for VP-60 and VP-90 at NAS Glenview, Illinois; VP-65 at NAS Point Mugu, California; VP-69 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington; VP-91 at NAS Moffett Field, California and VP-93 at NAF Detroit/Selfridge ANGB, Michigan. Following the closure of NAS Moffett Field in the mid-1990s due to BRAC action, RESPATWINGPAC/PATWING FOUR and VP-91 remained at the renamed Moffett Federal Airfield as a tenant activity named Naval Air Facility Santa Clara. Upon the inactivation of VP-91, RESPATWINGLANT/PATWING FOUR and the inactivation of all but one remaining Pacific Fleet Reserve VP squadron, operational control/administrative control (OPCON/ADCON) of VP-69 was passed to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Ten.
Other Patrol Wings
Other Fleet Air Wings included Fleet Air Wing Four, which fought in the Aleutian Islands campaign alongside Eleventh Air Force. During the winter of 1943–44, the burden of operations against the Kuriles was carried by Navy Consolidated PBY Catalinas and Lockheed Ventura of Fleet Air Wing Four. They carried small bomb loads and their primary objective was the securing of nighttime reconnaissance photographs.
- Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, Volume 2, Appendix 13: Organization and Development of Patrol Wings (Fleet Air Wings) 1918–Present, accessed May 2012