The Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadron Four Seven, based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, have reached the halfway point of their deployment.
The Golden Swordsmen of VP-47, deployed early April in a partial capacity to the 4th Fleet AOR in support of Enhanced Counter Narcotics operations.
Because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and movement restrictions forced the remaining Golden Swordsmen to extend their time at home before deploying to the 6th Fleet AOR in May.
“While navigating the challenges of COVID-19, VP-47 has continued to demonstrate ASW and ISR excellence across the 6th Fleet AOR,” said Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. David Shultz. “The squadron’s continued presence has enhanced maritime security and promoted US/NATO interoperability throughout the region.”
“In 4th Fleet, VP-47 has been integral to the federal Enhanced Counter Narcotics mission, aiding in the seizure of over $1.5 billion worth of cocaine,” said Shultz. “Although COVID-19 has added an additional layer of complexity to deployment, the Squadron has fluidly adapted and continued to ensure aircraft are on-station and ready to perform throughout both AORs.”
While deployed, VP-47 has supported several multinational exercises to help strengthen regional allied and partner relationships.
These allied forces include Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Belgium, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“Over the past few months, we have participated in numerous real-world operations and exercises spanning from Central America to the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andy Rump, Commander Task Group Operations. “Multinational exercises like Martillo, Baltops, Dynamic Mongoose, Breeze and Sea Breeze were conducted in the Eastern Pacific, Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and North Atlantic. The interoperability demonstrated during these exercises enhanced the tactical cooperation between participating naval units and staff, such as conventional and non-conventional warfare procedures, counter-drug operations, and asymmetric threats.”
The next exercise on the horizon for VP-47 is Mighty Shield, which will allow the Swordsmen the opportunity to work alongside NATO in support of maritime warfare procedures and support forces taking part in maritime security operations.
The Golden Swordsmen are currently deployed to the 4th Fleet AOR with VP-26 and the 6th Fleet AOR with VP-16.
VP-47 is concurrently serving under CTF 47 and CTF 67 performing maritime patrol and reconnaissance missions throughout Central and South American, European, and African theaters.
The P-8A Poseidon provides the fleet with essential information from operations supporting both peace and conflict.