Following their return home from a busy deployment, the “Mad Foxes” of Patrol Squadron 5 were excited to discover that one of their crews, Combat Air Crew (CAC) 12, had received recognition from Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 11 as Combat Air Crew of the Year.
A typical CAC is made up of three pilots, two naval flight officers and four sensor operators. With few exceptions, members of the crew always fly together. Camaraderie grows and tactical effectiveness is fortified as crewmembers learn to work with each other and operate effectively to complete the mission.
“This deployment wouldn’t have been the same with any other crew,” said AWO2 Tiffany Escoffery. “I thoroughly enjoyed being a member of CAC-12 as my last P-8A crew before I transfer.”
CAC-12 embarked on deployment late September 2017 to Comalapa, El Salvador to conduct counter-narcotic operations. An indispensable asset to the effectiveness of Operation Martillo, CAC-12 was the first crew to employ the P-8A in drug interdictions. From El Salvador, CAC-12 participated in humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts in Dominica following the wake of Hurricane Irma by providing high-definition imagery of the damage. When the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan went missing, CAC-12 was quick to detach to Bahia Blanca, Argentina and search tirelessly for two weeks. Though the San Juan was never found, the thousands of square miles searched and dozens of hours flown by CAC-12 were a testament to the crew’s resolve to assist however they could.
Joining the rest of the squadron in December at NAS Sigonella, Italy, CAC-12 remained dedicated to the mission. In addition to routine intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, CAC-12 detached to several other locations including Iceland, Portugal and Greece in support of 6th Fleet operations.
CAC-12 prides itself on professional execution of missions and an unparalleled atmosphere of efficiency, optimism and instruction.
“There’s always something that can, and usually does, happen to disrupt the normal flow of a flight, whether it be equipment failure, weather conditions or an unanticipated mission development,” said Lt. Ken Flannery, CAC-12 mission commander. “My measure of success is how well our crew is able to respond to obstacles and complete the task. I can confidently say that CAC-12 has been a successful crew.”