|Sea Control Squadron 32|
|Active||1950 - 2008|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|CDR Doug Carpenter|
VS-32, Sea Control Squadron 32, known as the Maulers was commissioned as Air Anti-Submarine Squadron 32 (VS-32) in April 1950. The squadron initially flew the Grumman TBM-3E/-3W Avenger and was based at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. In 1951 the squadron moved to Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island. VS-32 transitioned to the Grumman S2F-1 Tracker in 1954. The VS community moved in October 1973 to the homeport located at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida. Since the closing of NAS Cecil Field, the East coast VS Squadrons have moved to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1999. VS-32 disestablished on 25 September 2008.
Over land employ the LANTIRN Targeting System to localize enemies and track them until given the authority to kill them. Use laser guided maverick missiles or buddy laze in order for others to use laser guided weapons on enemies. Pass precise coordinates to allied forces on the ground or in the air to deliver precision guided munitions to bear. Over the sea, use Automated Information System, Data Link, ESM, Radar, ISAR, NVDs, and Infrared systems to find ships. Pass their position to surface ships who will board and detain the enemy. Overhead the ship, use refueling stores. The maintenance team will get the Vikings airborne and the aircrew will put the jets in position for expeditious rendezvous in the tanker pattern.
In early 1975, VS-32 had not transitioned to the S-3A, but maintained the existing S2Fs in Hangar 11 at NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville, FL. The Commanding Officer (CO) was CDR Ted Simpson, and the Executive Officer (XO), soon to be the CO, was CDR Procter. The Squadron was being repopulated by members that would receive the transition training to the new aircraft. During the course of the year, many members received training on common systems shared with the P-3C Orion at NAS Jacksonville, and also training on systems common to most Naval Aircraft. Many of the squadron members were chosen by the CO and XO for a particular training track.
With a few exceptions, the squadron members were transported to NAS North Island in San Diego (Coronado Island) for transition training. There was a one week layover at NSA Fallon, Nevada, due to the aircraft being needed for the final evacuation from Viet Nam. The transition training was performed by technical representatives from Lockheed Burbank, Sperry Univac, and others. Many classes were instructed by naval personnel as well. Practical on-the-job training was with VS-41, the RAG (Reserve Air Group) squadron. The aircraft were actual S-3As, flown by pilots in training, crewed by TACCOs (Tactical Coordinator Officer), SENSOs (Sensor Operators), and a copilot who was responsible for radar, FLIR, and other supplemental systems. The aircraft were maintained by members of VS-32 with assistance from VS-41 personnel.
By the end of the summer of 1975, many of the training tracks were complete, and many VS-32 members continued at VS-41 performing day-to-day operations. The first VS-32 S3A was delivered, and subsequently ferried to NAS Cecil Field by VS-32 personnel. The squadron returned to NAS Cecil Field en masse late 1975, and continued to receive new aircraft regularly. Bureau numbers (BUNOs) began with 159700 and ended with 159711. The purpose of having this number of aircraft, atypical for many sea going squadrons, was that one aircraft would essentially be used for parts, rather than a large purchase of spares alone.
In 1976, preparations for working up to the first cruise with the S3 were begun. The squadron sailed on the USS John F. Kennedy out of NS Norfolk, Virginia. During these work-ups, almost the entire squadron personnel, manuals, tools, test equipment, etc. were transported to Norfolk to be loaded onto the Kennedy. After a few weeks of underway training and verification, they would return in entirety to Cecil Field for a short break before returning to the ship.
In August 1976 the squadron began moving members and aircraft to Norfolk for a North Atlantic cruise. From September to December 9, they deployed to the North Atlantic for flight operations and training for winter operations. Of course, there were plenty of live opportunities to hunt for hostile submarines. There were many successful detections, tracking, identification, and recording on audio and digital tape of Soviet and other submarines. In addition there were a few visual sightings. The S-3A was shown to be an accurate and extremely good platform for ASW.
During this cruise there were flight ops north of the Arctic Circle, with flight deck personnel in extreme cold-weather gear. Aircrew members wore "poopy" suits in case of emergency ejections. These suits, worn underneath the flight suit would add just a few minutes of survival in the very cold waters. Many flight deck crew members would return to the inside after flight quarters and be forced to wait for the insulated masks to defrost from faces before being removed. On a lighter note, the VS-32 squadron mates enjoyed a festive ceremony inducting them into the "Blue Nose Club", receiving a Certificate of Membership, and many sported noses coated with blue indelible marker ink for some time. During the cruise, the Kennedy visited Edinburgh, Scotland; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; Brest, France and Portsmouth, England.
On a more serious note, the USS Kennedy and the USS Bordelon had a collision at night during underway fuel replenishment, which did cosmetic damage to the Kennedy, but seriously damaged the superstructure, and port side of the ship of the Bordelon. The main mast was broken and fell onto the signal shack. The Bordelon was subsequently towed by the USS Mount Baker to port. VS-32 suffered its first major incident when there was an explosive decompression at 24000 ft. The co-pilot broke his right arm when his side windscreen suddenly departed the aircraft. The pilot was blinded in one eye by debris, but returned his command to the ship with a near-perfect recovery. His blindness was temporary, and he returned to flight status shortly thereafter.
During this final deployment in 2007, VS-32 aircraft flew 960 sorties, which totaled more than 2,200 flight hours, and included more than 950 carrier landings. Squadron VS-32 operated at sea for 180 days with only 13 days spent in port.
VS-32 was officially disestablished on 25 September 2008.
- History of the United States Navy
- List of inactive United States Navy aircraft squadrons
- List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons
- United States Naval Aviator
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