VP-94 Crawfishers Patch – Sew On
The VP-94 “Crawfishers” was a U.S. Navy Reserve P-2 Neptune and P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare and maritime patrol squadron based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Louisiana.
VP-94 was initially established in 1970 as part of a Navy initiative for the majority of combat aviation units in the then-Naval Reserve (now Navy Reserve) to be organized as front line commissioned units with their own aircraft and support equipment.
VP-94 was one of 13 Reserve patrol squadrons assigned to Reserve Patrol Wing Atlantic (RESPATWINGLANT) and Reserve Patrol Wing Pacific/Patrol Wing FOUR (RESPATWINGPAC/PatWing 4) under the operational control of Naval Air Reserve Force (NAVAIRESFOR), later redesignated as Naval Air Force Reserve (NAVAIRES). All Naval Reserve Force Squadrons, patrol, fighter, fighter/attack, etc., are/were colloquially referred to as Reserve Force Squadrons, or RESFORONS, manned by a combination of full-time active duty Training and Administration of the Reserve/Full Time Support (TAR/FTS) and traditional part-time Selected Reserve (SELRES) personnel. TAR/FTS personnel nominally comprised approximately 33% of these squadrons’ manning and SELRES approximately 67%. The squadron’s part-time personnel, especially the aircrews, were required and funded to perform far more than the typical one weekend a month and two weeks a year of duty, with many averaging 120 or more man-days of military duty annually.
Throughout the Cold War, VP-94 initially operated the SP-2H Neptune transitioning to the P-3A Orion in April, 1978, then the P-3B and finally the P-3C, routinely deploying world-wide, primarily tracking Soviet submarines and surface vessels. The squadron played a role in Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean drug interdiction operations with the U.S. Coast Guard. The squadron was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation with Operational Device and the Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon for these operations.
Following the demise of the Soviet Union, and the reduction in Russian naval activity, and the perceived “Peace Dividend” of the mid-1990s, much of the US Navy’s P-3 patrol aircraft fleet was subjected to budgetary reductions. In the case of the active duty P-3 fleet, the entire patrol aviation (VP) community was reduced by 50%, going from 24 deployable P-3C fleet squadrons and two fleet replacement squadrons, to 12 deployable P-3C fleet squadrons and one single-site fleet replacement squadron.
The Reserve VP community of 13 P-3B and P-3C squadrons was subjected to more drastic reductions. VP-94 was one of 11 Reserve VP squadrons disestablished to cut costs. Eliminated were all squadrons operating P-3B aircraft, which were retired to AMARC, and eliminating all but two Reserve P-3C squadrons, transferring the bulk of the Reserve P-3C aircraft to the Regular Navy at the principal active duty CONUS and Hawaii P-3 bases.
VP-94 was disestablished in September 2006. The remaining Reserve P-3C squadrons are VP-62 (the “Broadarrows”) at NAS Jacksonville, Florida and VP-69 (the “Totems”) at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.