Pat Henderson's

V P Navy P a g e

P-3 in Japan (60k)

P-3C Update-III of VP-9

Misawa air base, Amori prefecture, northern Japan ( early 1990 )

What is the "VP Navy"?

"VP" is U.S. Navy shorthand to designate "patrol squadron". (Often shortened to "Patron".)
In the case of P-3 Orions, they are four-engine turboprop Navy land-based aircraft designed for conducting anti-submarine warfare during the cold war era using a variety acoustic and unacoustic (we didn't like "non-acoustic") equipment.

How Pat became part of Patron

Part of the credit (or blame) goes to Forrest Sterling's book, Wake Of The Wahoo, which young Pat was reading in class because he'd gotten so far behind in his engineering course at Oregon State University.
Sadly, two events conspired to interupt his higher education:

1. His draft lottery number was "4"
2. His friendly local draft board got wind of his less-than-stellar grade point average

With draft notice in hand, Pat found a friendly Navy recruiter who let him join the military branch with floating foxholes.
After stumbling through a longer-than-average boot camp (thanks to volunteering for Drum and Bugle Corps) in San Diego, he let himself be persuaded to change from AT (avionics technician) "A" school to the relative new rating of AW (anti-submarine equipment operator) being taught at Naval Air Station (NAS) Memphis. (Which is really to the north in Millington.)
Thanks to the extra two weeks of bootcamp, Pat's AW class was the first in several months to receive orders to VP squadrons.
Three class members even went to the same squadron, VP-4, stationed at NAS-Barber's Point, Hawaii. (Well someone had to go there.)
And as it happened, the squadron was and is nick-named the "skinny dragons".

  • Here are some thumbnail photos from Pat's VP Navy era.

  • © 2010 by Pat Henderson

    ( Please don't use this material without permission or attribuation unless you enjoy degaussing a M.A.D. boom with a fire axe.)