Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the “Pro’s Nest,” is the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS). VP-30’s mission is to provide P-3 specific training to pilots, naval flight officers, and enlisted aircrew prior to reporting to the fleet. More than 650 staff personnel train over 800 officer and enlisted personnel annually, utilizing 21 P-3 aircraft. Foreign military personnel from Thailand, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Japan and the Republic of Korea have all received specific aircrew and maintenance training on P-3 operations and systems at VP-30.
VP-30 was commissioned in June 1960 at NAS Jacksonville, to train flight crews for P-5 Marlin and P-2 Neptune aircraft. In June 1963, VP-30 Detachment Alfa was formed at Patuxent River, Md., to begin training in the newly introduced P-3 Orion. 2E2B Growth of VP-30 Detachment Alfa soon became significant enough that the squadron homeport was moved from NAS Jacksonville to NAS Patuxent in 1966. Flight operations continued at NAS Jacksonville until P-2 aircraft were phased out of service in December 1968. In 1970, VP-30 assumed the training of P-3 maintenance personnel with the Fleet Readiness Aviation Maintenance Program (FRAMP). From March to August 1975, VP-30 returned to its present homeport of NAS Jacksonville. In August 1991, the command was designated a major shore command as the Maritime Patrol Community Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS).
VP-30 not only ensures the fleet receives safe and competent replacement naval aviators, naval flight officers, and aircrew, but the “Pro’s Nest” also provides post-FRS training to the fleet as well. In 1998, VP-30 formed the P-3 Weapons Tactics Unit (WTU) to provide fleet-wide training on topics including advanced tactics, weapon system employment, and in an effort to improve survivability during overland missions, established counter threat training. As a result, full operational integration of this platform was achieved during operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP)-equipped P-3’s fired missiles in combat for the first time since Vietnam. In 2002, VP-30 graduated the first VQ naval flight officers after assuming the duties as EP-3E Sensor System Improvement Program model manager. In 2003, the squadron instituted the Fleet Instructor Training Course, and the NATOPS Department integrated the Naval Portable Flight Planning System into the P-3 fleet for training and evaluation.
With the consolidation of VP-30 and VP-31 into a single-site FRS in 1993, VP-30 is now the largest squadron in the Navy. There are currently 12 active duty VP fleet squadrons homeported in Jacksonville, Fla., Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and Whidbey Island, Wash.; two special project squadrons homeported in Jacksonville and Kaneohe Bay; and two Fleet Air Reconnaissance squadrons, both homeported in Whidbey Island. In addition, a Squadron Augment Unit was established at VP-30 to aid in the responsibilities of supporting the Reserve Component Units as part of Active Reserve Integration. All of these operational squadrons are supported by the dedicated men and women of the “Pro’s Nest.”
VP-30’s awards include six Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, including three for the training and introduction of P-3s for the Norwegian Navy, for P-3C Update II training of the Japanese and Royal Netherlands Navies, and for the consolidation of all P-3 training into a single-site FRS. VP-30 also received the United States Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with Operational Distinguishing Device for participation in the 1985-1986 Winter Law Enforcement Operation; the 1971, 1983, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2007 and 2008 CNO Safety Award, and the 1995, 1999, 2000, and 2001 CINCLANTFLT Golden Anchor Award for retention. VP-30 was honored to receive the 2008 Golden Wrench Award as well as the 2010 DEFY Fulcrum Shield award and 2010 Retention Excellence award. In December 2010, VP-30 surpassed 46 years and over 450,000 flight hours without a Class-A mishap. Additionally, the 2010 Naval Safety Center Aviation Maintenance Survey assessed VP-30 as having the best overall score of more than 300 units evaluated over the previous year. VP-30 has twice received the Cmdr. T.G. Ellyson Award for aviator production excellence which is presented to the Navy's most effective fleet replacement squadron.
The future of VP-30 and the Maritime Patrol community is the P-8A Poseidon. The P-8A is the newest long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. It possesses an advanced mission system for maximum interoperability in battle space. Capable of broad-area, maritime, and littoral operations, the P-8A is expected to influence how the U.S. Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance forces train, operate, and deploy.
Patrol Squadron Three Zero, the "Pro's Nest", is the U.S. Navy's maritime patrol fleet replacement squadron. VP-30's mission is to provide aircraft specific training for pilots, naval flight officers and enlisted aircrew prior to reporting to maritime patrol aviation fleet. VP-30 trains approximately 650 officers and enlisted annually, using 29 P-3 Orion aircraft of various models. Additionally, foreign military personnel from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Chile, Norway and Argentina have received specific aircrew and maintenance training on P-3 operations and systems.
VP-30 was commissioned in June 1960 at NAS Jacksonville to train flight crews for P-5 Marlin and P-2 Neptune aircraft. In June 1963, VP-30 Detachment ALFA was formed at Patuxent River, Md., to begin training for the newly introduced P-3 Orion. Growth of VP-30 Det ALFA soon became significant enough that the squadron homeport was changed to Patuxent River in 1966. In 1970, VP-30 assumed training fo rP-3 maintenance personnel, and in 1975, VP-30 returned to NAS Jacksonville. In August 1991, the command was designated a major shore command as the maritime patrol community's fleet replacement squadron.
VP-30 is the Navy's largest aviation squadron and the only site conducting maritime patrol fleet replacement training. Since its establishment, VP-30 has epitomized professionalism in naval aviation. This ideal has been the command's trademark, which is largely due to a rigorous process used to screen ground and flight instructors who come to the Pro's Nest with vast fleet operational experience. They also undergo an extensive instructor-under-training syllabus prior to assignment as trainers. VP-30 ensures the fleet receives safe and competent replacement pilots, naval flight officers, aircrewmen and maintenance technicians who are ready to do the job upon reporting to fleet squadrons.
For more information, go to VP-30.