VMFP-3 Eyes of the Corps Patch- Plastic Backing
A 4″ W x 4″H squadron patch of the VMFP-3 Eyes of the Corps.
VMFP-3 was activated on 1 July 1975 as part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California (USA). The squadron was deactivated on 1 July 1990 ( See AlMar 24-1990).
Photo and electronic reconnaissance had previously been conducted by three Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadrons (VMCJ-1, 2, 3) located at MCAS Iwakuni (Japan), MCAS Cherry Point, and MCAS El Toro, respectively. These squadrons, (each flying RF-4Bs and EA-6As) were consolidated into two squadrons- VMAQ-2 at MCAS Cherry Point operating all the EA-6s, and VMFP-3 operating all the RF-4Bs. Each squadron would deploy detachments to Iwakuni to fly missions previously flown by VMCJ-1.
Overseas detachments, in addition to supporting FMF operations, continued the 7th fleet support started by VMCJ-1 in 1974. RF-4Bs of VMFP-3 were permanently deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) from 1975 to 1984. A six-plane detachment operated as part of Carrier Air Wing Five, although retaining their own tail code “RF”.
Two RF-4B Phantoms in flight
In 1990 Marine tactical reconnaissance was taken over by the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System carried by McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D Hornet aircraft of Marine fighter attack squadrons (VMFA). Consequently, all RF-4Bs were retired and VMFP-3 was disbanded.