Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 held a final graduation ceremony for the P-3C “Orion” Jan. 24, sending the last five VP P-3C student pilots to the Fleet.

“Today is another momentous day in our community’s ongoing transition – and truly transformation – from the mighty P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon,” remarked VP-30 Commanding Officer Capt. Adam Kijek.

With 10 of the 12 active duty maritime patrol squadrons now solely operating the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, the time has come to cease production of students to fly the Orion. Graduates from class 1805 will join the VP-40 “Fighting Marlins” in Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, for the last deployment while operating the P-3C.

Several notable attendees helped to celebrate the occasion including Rear Adm. Sean Buck, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and guest speaker, Rear Adm. Peter Garvin, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. Both are from the Maritime Patrol community and have spent numerous tours flying the venerable P-3C.

Garvin took a moment to reflect on the illustrious and indelible mark on history the P-3 has made.

“In 1957, the U.S. Navy opted to replace the aging P2V Neptune and P5M Marlin with a new, advanced maritime patrol aircraft,” he said. “At the time, Lockheed proposed a repurposed version of their existing L-188 Electra, and the P-3 Orion was born. The first P-3s built were delivered to VP-30 in 1962, when the squadron at that time hosted a detachment in Patuxent River, Maryland. Since then, over 700 Orions have been in service around the world.”

For the past 56 years, aviators chosen for the Maritime Patrol community have come to VP-30 for instruction under the tutelage of the Fleet’s premier cadre of maritime patrol instructors. This longstanding tradition has ensured the maritime community was properly manned to operate in both peace and war – and P-3s have participated in our nation’s wars going back to blockade of Cuba in 1962.

“Do not let up,” advised Garvin. “Continue to succeed in this last chapter of the mighty Orion’s invaluable service to the U.S. Navy. Be worthy of this legacy.”