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VP-8 Tigers
Vp-8 logo.jpg
VP-8 Unit Insignia
Active September 1, 1942 – Present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Squadron
Role Anti-Submarine Patrol
Part of United States Navy
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida
Nickname(s) The Fighting Tigers
Engagements World War II
Battle of the Atlantic
Cold War
Vietnam War
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Decorations Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2)
Navy Unit Commendation (3)
Meritorious Unit Commendation (7)
Navy Expeditionary Medal (1)
Southwest Asia Service Medal (1)
Navy "E" Ribbon (9)
Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy (1)
Aircraft flown
Patrol PBM Mariner (1942–1947)
P-2 Neptune (1947–1962)
P-3 Orion (1962–2014)
P-8 Poseidon (Present)

Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) is a U.S. Navy land-based patrol squadron that was based at the Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, but is now stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. VP-8 is tasked to undertake maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

VP-8 served as a land-based anti-submarine patrol squadron in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. VP-8 also became the first operational P-3 Orion squadron in the United States Navy, occurring in October 1962 just prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Squadron History[edit]

World War II[edit]

VP-201 PBM-3Cs at NAS Banana River, 1942.

The lineage for Patrol Squadron 8 can be traced to Patrol Squadron 201 (VP-201), a unit of Fleet Air Wing 5 (FAW-5), which was established at Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine, on September 1, 1942.[1][2]

VP-201 underwent flight training at the Naval Air Station Banana River, Florida, beginning October 9, 1942, and the squadron began receiving its new Martin PBM-3C Mariner patrol bomber flying boats starting on December 1, 1942.[3]

The German U-boat U-134 under attack by VP-201, 1943.

VP-201 returned to the Naval Air Station Norfolk on February 6, 1943, following the completion of flight training, and began patrol operations along the Atlantic seaboard as a unit of Task Force 28 within the U.S. Navy Eastern Sea Frontier’s area of responsibility (AOR).[4]

VP-201 began receiving the latest model of Mariner flying boats, the PBM-3S, which featured an improved radar system. Refitted with the PBM-3S aircraft, on May 27, 1943, a six-aircraft detachment was deployed to Naval Air Station Bermuda to protect Allied convoys en route to Europe. Beginning August 1, 1943, the entire squadron was transferred to NAS Bermuda under the administrative control of the Commander Bermuda Air Group[5]

On June 8, 1944, VP-201 was transferred back to NAS Norfolk, and as a unit of Fleet Air Wing Five (FAW-5), began flying personnel and supplies between Norfolk and Bermuda.[6]

Following ASW refresher training, the squadron was transferred to Naval Air Station Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone, beginning July 12, 1944, as a unit of Fleet Air Wing Three (FAW-3) under the operational control of the Commander Panama Sea Frontier.[6]

On July 27, 1944, VP-201 was re-deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, and as a unit of Fleet Air Wing Twelve (FAW-12), continued to fly ASW patrol and convoy escort missions. The squadron began outfitting its PBM-3S aircraft with new L-8C Leigh searchlights, and also began rotating to Harvey Point, North Carolina, for replacement aircraft training.[6]

VP-201 was re-designated as Patrol Bomber Squadron 201 (VBP-201) effective October 1, 1944.[7] Starting May 29, 1945, VP-201 finished its wartime service at NAS Coco Solo in the Canal Zone.[8]

In total, during World War II, VP-201 flew more than 28,000 hours as a unit of the U.S. Navy involved in the Battle of the Atlantic.[4]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
May 2, 1943 – June 1944 FAW-5 Bermuda PBM-3S Atlantic
July 12, 1944 – July 27, 1944 FAW-3 Panama PBM-3S Caribbean

Cold War[edit]


A VP-8 P2V-3 in 1949.

On March 1, 1946, the squadron was assigned to Naval Station San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the operational control of Fleet Air Wing (FAW-11). A detachment was sent to Trinidad to serve as a unit of the Air Sea Rescue Task Unit.[9] In June 1947, the squadron was assigned to Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island.[4]

VBP-201 was re-designated as Patrol Squadron 201 (VP-201) effective May 15, 1946, and was subsequently re-designated as Patrol Squadron, Medium Seaplane 1 (VP-MS-1) effective November 15, 1946 and Patrol Squadron, Medium Landplane 8 (VP-ML-8) effective June 5, 1947.[10] During December 1947, VP-MS-1 received its first Lockheed P2V-2 Neptune at NAS Norfolk, its new home base, and began the transition to this new aircraft.[11]

The squadron became the second U.S. Navy land-based patrol squadron to be assigned the VP-8 designation when it was re-designated as Patrol Squadron 8 on September 1, 1948.[10] On March 1, 1949, the squadron deployed to Naval Air Station Argentia, Newfoundland, to begin testing the P2V-2 under cold weather conditions.[12]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
October 24, 1945 – October 31, 1945 FAW-5 Galapagos PBM-5 South Atlantic
June 1, 1946 – June 10, 1946 FAW-1 Chaguaramas P2V-3 Caribbean
May 1, 1949 – May 1, 1949 FAW-5 Argentia P2V3 North Atlantic


Task Force Alfa (1959)

VP-8 made its first deployment to NAS Argentia with it new P2V-5F aircraft July 15, 1955 Detachments from the squadron operated out of Goose Bay, Frobisher Bay, and Thule, Greenland, providing air cover to supply convoys for Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar installations.[13]

In April 1958, VP-8 transferred to its new home base at Chincoteague, Virginia, and began operating with Task Force Alfa, a Hunter-Killer (HUK) group created to develop improved ASW tactics and technology by integrating carrier-based ASW aircraft, land-based patrol aircraft, refitted destroyers, and hunter-killer submarines into a single task force structure.

During the next two years, VP-8 actively participated in the evolution of antisubmarine warfare, to including the development and evaluation of new tactics and equipment.[14]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
February 1, 1949 – April 1, 1950 FAW-5 Argentia P2V3 North Atlantic
February 22, 1950 – March 28, 1950 FAW-5 Cuba P2V-3 Caribbean
January 5, 1952 – May 20, 1952 FAW-3 Keflavik P2V-3 North Atlantic
December 1952 – July 1953 FAW-3 Keflavik P2V-3 North Atlantic
August 1, 1953 – January 1954 FAW-3 Keflavik P2V-3 North Atlantic
April 1, 1954 – September 1954 FAW-3 Morocco P2V-3 Mediterranean
February 19, 1955 – March 4, 1955 FAW-11 San Juan P2V-3 Caribbean
July 15, 1955 – October 8, 1955 FAW-3 Argentia P2V-5F North Atlantic
December 1, 1955 – January 10, 1955 FAW-3 Argentia P2V-5F North Atlantic
October 31, 1956 – April 4, 1957 FAW-3 Morocco P2V-5F Mediterranean
October 1, 1957 – January 1957 FAW-3 Argentia P2V-5F North Atlantic


VP-8 P-3As in the original blue/white colours.

The VP-8 moved to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland in July 1961. After relinquishing the last of its P2V-5FS aircraft to the U. S. Naval Reserve in October 1962, VP-8 became the first operational P-3A Orion squadron in the U.S. Navy.[15][16]

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, VP-8 sent a four-aircraft detachment to Bermuda to support the naval quarantine, including monitoring of Soviet submarines operating in the Caribbean and Eastern Atlantic.[15][17] VP-8 subsequently deployed detachments to Iceland, Ireland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and Caribbean bases.[4]

VP-8 made the first trans-Atlantic flight by a P-3 Orion when it flew to West Malling, England, on March 9, 1963. During 1964, VP-8 participated in Fleet Exercise Steel Pike I from bases in Spain. The squadron also began its first P-3B Orion aircraft in December 1965.[17]

VP-8 made its first deployment to the Western Pacific when it relieved VP-28 at Naval Station Sangley Point, Republic of the Philippines, on May 25, 1966. During this deployment, VP-8 carried out combat missions throughout Southeast Asia for the U.S. Seventh Fleet in support of the Vietnam War.[17]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
August 31, 1962 – December 1962 FAW-11 Cuba P-3A Caribbean
May 25, 1966 – December 2, 1966 FAW-8 Sangley Pt. P-3B Western Pacific
December 1967 – June 8, 1968 FAW-5 Bermuda P-3B Atlantic
February 28, 1969 – June 28, 1969 FAW-5 Bermuda P-3B Atlantic



From 1969 to 1974, VP-8 made several deployments to Bermuda, and it was transferred to its current homeport at Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, in July 1971.[4]

From March 1 to March 2, 1972, P-3B Orion aircraft from VP-8 maintained a constant surveillance of the stricken Soviet nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-19 which had been forced to surface because of an onboard fire that broke ot on February 24.[18]

Starting in February 1976, VP-8 closed out the decade with a number of split deployments.[4]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
March 2, 1970 – July 17, 1970 FAW-5 Multiple P-3B Mediterranean
October 25, 1970 – February 26, 1971 FAW-5 Multiple (split) P-3B Mediterranean
November 1970 – April 1971 FAW-5 Bermuda (split) P-3B Atlantic
November 1971 – March 1, 1972 FAW-5 Bermuda P-3B Atlantic
October 3, 1972 – November 3, 1972 FAW-5 Rota P3B Mediterranean
January 10, 1973 – June 6, 1973 FAW-5 Bermuda P-3B Atlantic
July 1975 – February 1976 PatWing-5 Rota P-3B Mediterranean
October 1976 – March 1977 PatWing-5 Bermuda/Lajes P-3B Atlantic
February 8, 1978 – August 8, 1978 PatWing-5 Bermuda/Lajes P-3B Atlantic
July 1979 – December 1979 PatWing-5 Rota/Lajes P-3B Mediterranean/Atlantic


From 1980 through 1988, VP08 carried out deployments to Rota, Lajes, Bermuda, and Sigonell.[4] Its deployment to Sigonella included VP-8 participating in numerous ASW exercises with detachments operating out of Rota, Souda Bay, Crete, and Nîmes-Garon, France.[18]

Between October 27 to December 8, 1985, a two-aircraft detachment on rotation at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puetro Rico, assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in anti-drug interdiction operation the Caribbean Sea.[18]

Deployment Duration Wing Base Aircraft Operating Area
November 4, 1980 – May 12, 1981 PatWing-5 Rota/Lajes P-3B Mediterranean/Atlantic
August 5, 1982 – January 12, 1983 PatWing-5 Bermuda P-3B Atlantic
October 5, 1983 – March 13, 1984 PatWing-5 Sigonella P-3C UII.5 Mediterranean
February 1985 – July 15, 1985 PatWing-5 Rota/Lajes P-3C UII.5 Mediterranean/Atlantic
October 27, 1985 – December 8, 1985 PatWing-5 Roosevelt Roads P-3C UII.5 Caribbean
May 24, 1986 – November 10, 1986 PatWing-5 Keflavik P-3C UII.5 North Atlantic
December 10, 1987 – June 10, 1988 PatWing-5 Rota/Lajes P-3C UII.5 Mediterranean/Atlantic
May 2, 1989 – November 9, 1989 PatWing-5 Keflavik P-3C UII.5 North Atlantic
December 2, 1990 – June 10, 1991 PatWing-5 Sigonella (split) P-3C UII.5 Mediterranean
December 1990 – March 10, 1991 PatWing-1 Jeddah (split) P-3C UII.5 Persian Gulf

Operation Desert Storm[edit]

Starting December 31, 1990, VP-8 deployed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to support carrier battle groups for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, as well as monitor Soviet, Libyan, and Iraqi naval units in the Mediterranean from Naval Air Station Sigonella in coordination with U.S. Sixth Fleet carrier battle groups.[4]

Post-Cold War[edit]


Military operations[edit]

In January 1996, VP-8 returned from NAS Sigonella where they flew more than 900 sorties and 6,000 hours in support of Operation Sharp Guard and Operation Decisive Endeavor.[4]

During its 1997 deployment to NAS Sigonella, VP-8 flew over 100 missions supporting the United Nations’ peacekeeping effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Operation Deliberate Guard) and 42 missions in support of Operation Silver Wake resulting in the safe evacuation of 889 civilians from Albania.[4]

During its 1998 deployment to NAF Keflavik, NS Roosevelt Roads, and Howard AFB, VP-8 conducted surface and sub-surface surveillance operations in the North Atlantic resulted in tracking 18 individual submarines from eight different countries. Following its return to NAS Brunswick, VP-8 began the transition to Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP) P-3 upgrade aircraft. During its 2000 deployment, the squadron’s new P-3C AIP aircraft flew over 545 missions, consisting of 5300 hours, out of NAF Sigonella in support of Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Determined Forge, and Operation Deliberate Forge.[4]

Counter-narcotic operations[edit]

Operating out of Naval Station Roosevelt Roads between July 1992 and January 1993, VP-8 flew over 6,000 hours in support of counter-narcotic operations and Sixth Fleet operations in the Mediterranean, with several detachment stationed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Naval Air Station Key West, NAS Sigonella, and Naval Air Facility Lajes.[4]

VP-8 flew nearly 6,000 hours operating out of 18 countries during a tri-site deployment to NAF Keflavik, NS Roosevelt Roads, and Howard Air Force Base, Panama, in 1998. The squadron flew 450 surveillance missions in support of counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean area of responsibility (AOR), resulting in 13 arrests and the seizure of 11 metric tons of illegal drugs worth $171.4 million USD. Search and rescue efforts in the region accounted for 14 saved lives.[4]

Operating in a split deployment to NAS Roosevelt Roads from August 2001 to February 2002, VP-8 was active in counter-drug operations in the Caribbean, working with the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs, which interdicted or disrupted $7.6 billion in illegal drugs, including over 28,000 kg of cocaine.[4]

From NAF Keflavik, the squadron participated in NATO exercises, as well as undertaking new operational tasks involving homeland defense and Operation Enduring Freedom.[4]

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit]

VP-8 - Operation Iraqi Freedom

From February to August 2003, VP-8 deployed to NAF Sigonella and Souda Bay, Crete, to provide 24-hour P-3 support for the two carrier battle groups in the Mediterranean during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), flying nearly 100 overland combat missions and over 4,000 flight hours from Italy, Greece, Germany, Spain, and Senegal. This split-site deployment also included support to Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Deliberate Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and NATO Joint Command Lisbon.[4]

Its second OIF deployment, starting December 2006, involved VP-8 operation out of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as part of Task Group 57.2, a maritime patrol and reconnaissance organization consisting of 22 aircrews and 21 aircraft.[4]

Operation Unified Assistance[edit]

During its Western Pacific deployment to Misawa Air Base and Kadena Air Base, VP-8 participated in the U.S. military response to the aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (Operation Unified Assistance), sending the first U.S. military aircraft on station to the disaster area from to Utaphao, Thailand, and Diego Garcia, as well as flying Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HADR) missions to the affected region.[4]

Awards & Commendations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roberts, Michael D. (2000). "Second VP-8" (PDF). Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons Volume 2. Naval Historical Center. pp. 64–65. Retrieved 2008-09-08. ,hereafter referred to as Official VP-8 History
  2. ^ "Patrol Squadron Eight History". Patrol Squadron 8 - U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  3. ^ Official VP-8 History, p. 65
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Patrol Squadron Eight History". Patrol Squadron 8 - U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  5. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 65–66
  6. ^ a b c Official VP-8 History, p. 66
  7. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 64, 66
  8. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 66–67
  9. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 64
  10. ^ a b Official VP-8 History, p. 64
  11. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 67
  12. ^ Official VP-8 History, p. 67,
  13. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 67–68
  14. ^ Official VP-8 History, pp. 67–68, 70
  15. ^ a b On-line VP-8 Unit History
  16. ^ Official VP-8 History, p. 70
  17. ^ a b c Official VP-8 History, p. 68
  18. ^ a b c Official VP-8 History, p. 69


External links[edit]