VP-26 Tridents P2V7 Model
Proudly display a VP-26 Tridents P2V7 Model and show your Naval Aviation legacy! Each model is carefully crafted from solid wood and meticulously painted to match vintage paint schemes.
The VP-26 Tridents are a United States Navy aircraft squadron based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida. The squadron flies Boeing P-8A patrol aircraft. It was established as Bombing Squadron 114 (VB-114) on 26 August 1943 and renamed Patrol Bombing Squadron 114 (VPB-114) on 1 October 1944; Patrol Squadron 114 (VP-114) on 15 May 1946; Heavy Patrol Squadron (Landplane) 6 (VP-HL-6) on 15 November 1946, and Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26) on 1 September 1948. The Tridents are the third squadron to be designated VP-26; the first VP-26 was renamed VP-102 on 16 December 1940, and the second VP-26 was renamed VP-14 on 1 July 1941.
As a member of Patrol Wing Eleven, VP-26 is a maritime patrol squadron with a worldwide theater of operations. Mission areas include anti-submarine warfare (ASW); anti-surface warfare (ASU); anti-morale warfare (AMW); command and control warfare (C2W); command, control and communications (CCC); intelligence (INT); mine warfare (MIW); tridents taking care of trident (TTCOT), and mobility (MOB).
VB-114 was established on 26 August 1943 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, as a bombing squadron flying the PB4Y-1 Liberator heavy bomber under FAW-5. From 14 October to December 1943, the squadron relocated to NAAS Oceana in Virginia for further training on the PB4Y-1. By December it became apparent that the squadron’s emphasis would be anti-submarine warfare and, on 11 December 1943, one of the squadron’s PB4Y-1s was sent to NAS Quonset Point in Rhode Island for installation of a General Electric L-7 searchlight. On 21 December, the remainder of the squadron aircraft and crews were sent to NAS Quonset Point for similar refits; this was followed by one week of specialized training in the use of the searchlight in night attacks on enemy submarines. Six days later, an advance party of one officer and 21 enlisted personnel were ordered to NAS Norfolk to prepare for the squadron’s shipment overseas. The rest of the squadron remained at NAS Quonset Point to complete the ASW syllabus on night attacks.
Between 12 February and 4 March 1944, transfer orders were received for NAF Port Lyautey in French Morocco. On 16 February, the Norfolk detachment and the squadron’s equipment left for Casablanca on USS Rockaway. Its aircraft left Quonset Point on 21 February for Morrison Field in West Palm Beach, Florida, and from there (in sections) to NAF Port Lyautey. The last aircraft arrived on 4 March 1944, and VB-114 came under the administrative control of FAW-15.
A detachment of three crews and aircraft was sent to Agadir, French Morocco, between 7 and 18 March for familiarization flights in the combat zone; the first combat patrols began on 18 March. A second detachment of six aircraft and crews was sent to Gibraltar on 29 April (arriving on the 30th), and was ready for patrol on 1 May. A lack of enemy contacts led to the return of four crews and aircraft to Port Lyautey on 7 June, leaving two crews and one aircraft at Gibraltar for contingencies. On 17 June, a detachment of six searchlight-equipped aircraft and nine aircrews deployed to RAF Dunkeswell in Devon, England, under the administrative control of FAW-7. Its mission was to protect Allied shipping from enemy U-boats during the invasion of Normandy. By 9 July, the detachment had increased by three searchlight-equipped aircraft.
The two remaining VB-114 aircraft and crews at NAF Port Lyautey were relocated to Lajes Field in the Azores between 20 July and 1 August 1944, leaving no squadrons in French Morocco. Two aircraft from the Dunkeswell detachment arrived on 24 July to supplement the group, and movement of all equipment, supplies, personnel and aircraft was completed by 28 July. The Azores detachment was under the administrative control of FAW-9. The first combat mission flown from neutral Portuguese territory took place on 1 August; the Azores belonged to Portugal, which was neutral in World War II. Britain, a longtime Portuguese ally, had been allowed to establish an air base on the Azores in 1943. Although the airfield could be used as a staging post by U.S. aircraft, it could not be a permanent base unless its aircraft had British markings. An agreement was reached for the squadron to be based on Terceira Island, operating under RAF Coastal Command control with British and U.S. markings. The detachment remaining in the UK continued under the operational control of FAW-7.
From 18 November 1944 to 14 February 1945, tour completion and crew rotation were imminent for the squadron. To have enough aircraft and experienced aircrews for replacement-crew training, the Dunkeswell detachment was reduced to four aircrews and four aircraft and the remainder were sent to supplement the Lajes Field detachment. Replacement crews began arriving in the Azores on 8 December 1944, and began the night-searchlight training program. The four aircraft and crews left at Dunkeswell rejoined the squadron on 14 February 1945.
On 26 May 1945, orders were received to establish a squadron detachment of six aircraft and seven crews for hurricane reconnaissance at NAS Boca Chica in Key West, Florida. The aircraft left the Azores for Florida on 31 May. Administrative control of the Lajes Field squadron was transferred from FAW-9 to FAW-11 on 29 May. On 29 June, VB-114 deployed a detachment of three aircraft and four crews to NAF Port Lyautey; this left six aircraft at Lajes Field with the squadron’s administrative-command staff.
In October and November 1945, squadron detachments at Boca Chica and NS San Juan in Puerto Rico were closed and moved to NAAS Edenton in North Carolina. The squadron was ordered to move its headquarters from the Azores to NAS Edenton on 29 November, maintaining detachments at NAS Port Lyautey and Lajes Field, and came under the operational control of FAW-5.
It was based at NAS Atlantic City in New Jersey in January 1947, and a three-aircraft detachment remained at NAF Port Lyautey with ASW its primary mission. Most flight activities, as assigned by ComNavEastLantMed, were mail and passenger transport, search and rescue and special flights. Within a year, the rest of the squadron was again based at NAF Port Lyautey.
The squadron deployed to NAS Argentia in Newfoundland on 4 January 1948 to conduct cold-weather operations and provide services to Commander Task Force 61. On 26 June, Russia and East Germany closed Berlin to all traffic except for specified air lanes. The Western Allied air forces began the Berlin Airlift (which became known as Operation Vittles) to sustain the city. VP-HL-6 flew a number of missions to bring medical supplies to airfields in the Allied zone of occupation, where they were transferred to unarmed transport aircraft flying missions into Berlin. The blockade was lifted in May 1949. In March of that year, the squadron’s headquarters and home port were changed from NAS Patuxent River in Maryland to NAS Port Lyautey; the squadron detachment at NAS Port Lyautey became a full squadron, with a detachment at NAS Patuxent River.
On 8 April 1950, PB4Y-2 Privateer BuNo 59645 was declared overdue by Flight Service Frankfurt in Germany. The Privateer, based at NAF Port Lyautey, was flying a patrol mission from Wiesbaden Air Base in West Germany over the Baltic Sea off the coast of Lepija, Latvia. A 10-day search in the Baltic area by VP-26 and USAF aircraft was fruitless, but a Swedish fishing vessel picked up a life vest from the missing aircraft several days later. Shortly afterwards, the Soviet Union published a note of protest accusing the missing aircraft of violating international law by crossing the Soviet border and exchanging fire with Soviet fighter aircraft; however, the Privateer was unarmed. Lieutenant John H. Fette and his crew of four officers and six enlisted men were never accounted for, and were presumed to be among the first casualties of the Cold War. Although unconfirmed reports said that the missing crew members were recovered from the sea after being shot down and forwarded to the KGB for interrogation, their ultimate fate was never determined.
VP-26 was relocated to a new home base at NAS Patuxent River under the operational control of FAW-3 on 30 June of that year, and began transition training from the PB4Y-2 Privateer to the P-2V4 Neptune. In February 1952, it was the first patrol squadron relocated to the newly-established NAS Brunswick in Maine. On 14 February, the squadron had its first fatal accident when P2V-4 EB-7 crashed in a wooded area off the end of the runway at NAS Brunswick; the copilot and four crew members were killed in the crash.
It participated in Operation LANTFLEX, the annual Atlantic Fleet exercise, in October 1954. Lieutenant (jg) C. O. Paddock disabled the USS Toro with a small target-practice bomb which made a direct hit on its periscope, and the Toro’s skipper presented Lieutenant (jg) Paddock with a mounted portion of the twisted periscope. In March 1955, VP-26 deployed to NAS Keflavik in Iceland. During the deployment, the squadron replaced its P2V-5 (MAD) aircraft with 12 new P2V-5F Neptunes with jet auxiliary-engine mounts. VP-26 deployed to Thule Air Base in Greenland the following year, and was the first patrol squadron to fly all 12 aircraft over the North Pole. On 5 September 1957 it deployed to NAS Keflavik for NATO aerial mine-warfare exercises, and a detachment was maintained at NAS Port Lyautey; on 3 December, a VP-26 P2V-5F was the first U.S. Navy combat-type aircraft to land at the Spanish air base at Rota, Spain (NAS Rota was established in November 1957). VP-26 made a split deployment to NAS Keflavik and NAS Argentia from 22 November 1958 to 4 May 1959, during which the squadron located a Russian trawler which deliberately severed transatlantic cables in February 1959.
On 25 January 1960, VP-26 deployed a six-aircraft detachment to NAS Rota. The squadron participated in NATO ASW exercise Dawn Breeze, based at Lann-Bihoué in France, in March; it was the first to operate from the base in nearly a decade.
VP-26 deployed a six-aircraft detachment to NAS Argentia for a planned five-month tour in September 1962, but the October Cuban Missile Crisis cut the deployment short. On 23 October, VP-26 deployed the detachment to NAS Key West in Florida to help maintain the Cuban quarantine by preventing Soviet-bloc vessels from bringing in intermediate-range missiles and long-range bombers. The remaining squadron aircraft were deployed across the North Atlantic from NAS Argentia to Lajes Field.
In October 1964, VP-26 supplied one aircraft and crew for a month to work with U.S. Army Special Forces personnel at Pope AFB in North Carolina. The SP-2E aircraft was reconfigured as a jump platform for Special Forces parachutists making high-altitude day and night jumps. From October 1965 to 5 January 1966, VP-26 began transition training from the P2V Neptune (flown by the squadron for over 15 years) to the new P-3B Orion. The first P-3B arrived at NAS Brunswick on 5 January 1966, when VP-26 was the Navy’s first operational P-3B squadron. It deployed to NAS Argentia on 19 July 1966, with a detachment at NAS Keflavik. Squadron personnel could see the newly-formed, ephemeral volcanic island of Syrtlingur (Little Surtsey), which rose from the sea in July 1965 before eroding and disappearing in late October.
From 24 November 1967 to April 1968, VP-26 deployed to the western Pacific with detachments based at NS Sangley Point in the Philippines and U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand. The squadron relieved VP-5 at NS Sangley Point and was tasked with Yankee Team patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin, Market Time surveillance off the southern coast of South Vietnam and open-sea patrols in the South China Sea. It lost two aircraft during the deployment. P-3B NuNo. 153440, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Robert F. Meglio, crashed at sea with the loss of the entire crew of CAC-8 on 6 February 1968. Twelve men from CAC-1 were killed when their P-3B BuNo. 153445, piloted by Lieutenant (jg) Stuart M. McClellan, was shot down on 1 April off the coast of South Vietnam near Phú Quốc Island. When the squadron returned on 2 June 1968, flight-crew members received several Air Medals and Vietnam service and campaign medals. In August 1968, the squadron received an “E” for Battle Efficiency from FAW-3.