In this file photo, a P-3C Orion from Patrol Squadron 40 flies a mission in August during GUAMEX 2014, a multilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise to enhance interoperability and strengthen personnel ties between the U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jillian Lotti)

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. - The "Fighting Marlins" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 returned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, Jan. 29, following a seven-month deployment to the Pacific in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

The "Fighting Marlins" primarily conducted operations out of Kadena Air Base in Japan where the P-3C Orions of VP-40 and the P-8A Poseidons of the "Mad Foxes" of VP-5 coordinated their efforts to exercise interoperability while patrolling the western Pacific in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.

The "Fighting Marlins" executed more than 550 operational sorties, exceeding 2,900 flight hours while maintaining a 98.9 percent mission completion rate. VP-40's missions spanned every skill set in the maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) inventory, from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights to anti-submarine exercises.

The squadron's mission success was largely due to the efforts of VP-40's maintenance personnel. The maintenance department operated a detachment in Misawa, Japan, where they conducted long-term scheduled maintenance and major aircraft repairs. Moving these scheduled aircraft overhauls to Misawa streamlined VP-40 maintenance performance, ensured consistent aircraft availability, and led to persistent mission readiness. The flight crews and maintenance personnel of VP-40, through their flexibility and determination, were able to meet and exceed all expectations.

VP-40 had the opportunity to participate in Valiant Shield, an annual joint multi-national exercise in Guam. The squadron completed 115 tactical flight hours during the exercise. Detachments from the "Fighting Marlins" also visited locations throughout the western Pacific, including the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Palau, Malaysia, Pohnpei, Indonesia, Brunei, and New Zealand.

The "Fighting Marlins" touched down on the home soil of NAS Whidbey Island after seven months of separation from family and friends. Over the course of the deployment, VP-40 welcomed nine baby "Marlins" into the family, and the happy fathers, along with the rest of the "Fighting Marlin" personnel, arrived to a warm welcome at NAS Whidbey Island.