NAS Jacksonville honors service of P-3C Orion aircraft with ‘sundown’ ceremony

P-3C Orion aircraft prepares to depart NAS Jacksonville for the last time. (WJXT)

NAS JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30), the “Pro’s Nest,” honored the end of service, or “sundown,” of the Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft on Friday before it departed for “The Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

The ceremony at Hangar 30 at NAS Jacksonville marked the last time the United States Navy will fly the P-3C Orion aircraft.

In June 1963, VP-30 began training in the newly introduced P-3C Orion aircraft. Following 60 years of honorable service to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, the Pro’s Nest will gather Friday to honor the aircraft’s service.

As Naval Aviation’s largest Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30 will soon have transitioned all 12 active component squadrons, two reserve squadrons, and eight countries from the P-3C Orion aircraft to the Navy’s premier maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.

With nearly 1,000 Sailors assigned, VP-30 is manned by a staff of aircrew and maintenance personnel who standardize the U.S. and allied countries’ maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft procedures for operational use around the globe.

Since 1960, VP-30 has trained pilots, naval flight officers and enlisted operators aboard various aircraft, including the P-5 Marlin, SP-2 Neptune, P-3C Orion, MQ-4 Triton, and the P-8A Poseidon.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.