NEWS | Aug. 13, 2020

Golden Swordsmen Reach Halfway Point on Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandon J. Vinson

The “Golden Swordsmen” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 reached the halfway point of their deployment to the U.S. 4th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR) in support of Maritime Security Operations at the end of July 2020.

The Golden Swordsmen deployed in early April 2020 in a partial capacity to the 4th Fleet AOR in support of Enhanced Counter Narcotics operations.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, travel and movement restrictions, the remaining Golden Swordsmen to extend their time at home before deploying to the 6th Fleet AOR in May 2020.

“While navigating the challenges of COVID-19, VP 47 has continued to demonstrate ASW [anti-submarine warfare] and ISR [intelligence, surveillance and recognizance] excellence across the 6th Fleet AOR,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Shultz, VP 47’s operations officer. “The squadron’s continued presence has enhanced maritime security and promoted U.S./NATO interoperability throughout the region.”

Shultz said that VP 47 capabilities and presence have already made major contributions in the area that they are deployed.

“In 4th Fleet, VP 47 has been integral to the presidentially directed Enhanced Counter Narcotics mission, aiding in the seizure of over 1.5 billion dollars’ 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 aircrafts 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: Belgium, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the U.K.

“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, Task Group Operations commander. “Multinational exercises like Operation Martillo, Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), Dynamic Mongoose, Breeze and Sea Breeze were conducted in the Eastern Pacific, Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and North Atlantic.”

Rump said that 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, a multi-nation exercise that will give the squadron an 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.

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