By Lt. j. g. Richard Guevara
VP-47 Public Affairs Officer
The "Golden Swordsmen" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 recently completed the second phase of their three-phase transition to the P-8A Poseidon, the U.S Navy's premier maritime patrol aircraft.
The month of March marked the final deployment for VP-47 in the P-3C Orion after 52 years of operation. Their deployment to 7th Fleet included detachments to El Salvador, New Zealand, Djibouti, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines.
It concluded with the squadron's final return to Hawaii before they bid their former island home farewell and made their homeport change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island in Washington.
After only a month of being fully settled in, the transition to their new aircraft began. Phase I consisted of extensive classroom and simulator training for aircrew and maintenance personnel.
VP-30 instructors and aircraft were relocated from NAS Jacksonville to help get VP-47's training get off to a good start.
In June, most of the squadron boarded a transport plane headed to NAS Jacksonville where Phase II would immediately begin.
Maintainers were given on-the-job training as part of a fully functioning P-8A squadron and quickly started earning their qualifications while aircrew were put through the rigors of multiple flights and simulator events culminating in the qualification of all of the pilots.
Families and friends of Golden Swordsmen now eagerly await the return of their loved ones to Whidbey Island where they will continue to excel on their new platform.
Phase III will be a big step in achieving operational readiness as flight crews will be working together for the first time as combat air crews (CACs) on their new aircraft.
VP-47 is projected to obtain their "Safe for Flight" this fall and will hit the ground running as an operational squadron as they prepare for their Hawaii Homeland Defense Detachment, Rim of the Pacific exercise and every major evaluation that comes along with home cycle. All of this culminates in the true test of their skill and professionalism - VP-47's first deployment in the P-8A Poseidon.