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Whidbey welcomes back Grey Knights squadron
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Patrol Squadron VP-46 “Grey Knights” began arriving home from a six-month deployment on Monday.
The first 87 Grey Knights arrived by airlift Nov. 29. The remainder of the squadron will bring their stable of P-3C Orion aircraft back to NAS Whidbey Island over the next two weeks.
During the squadron’s deployment, VP-46 supported various missions across three different theaters of operation. In Iraq, they flew intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over-watch missions, supporting ground commanders as they safely withdrew from Iraq, representing the departure of the last major U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq.
Crews supported Sixth Fleet, flying missions with Combined Task Force 151’s counter-piracy campaign. The Grey Knights also provided anti-submarine warfare support for Seventh Fleet. Even with a rigorous flight schedule, VP-46 participated in numerous joint exercises with British, Kuwaiti, Pakistani, Thai and South Korean forces, helping build tactical capability and a positive spirit of cooperation and partnership between the U.S. and its allies.
Throughout the deployment, the Grey Knights continued their tradition of safe, effective, and efficient mission execution and furthered the command’s safety record with over 46 years and 312,000 mishap-free flight hours — a Pacific Fleet record.