KANEOHE, Hawaii - Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented the "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy during a ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Nov. 15.
The trophy is awarded annually to the ship or aircraft squadron achieving the greatest improvement during the preceding year in operational readiness, inspections, retention and improvement in the Battle Efficiency Award program. One trophy is awarded each year in the Pacific Fleet and one in the Atlantic.
"Congratulations to each of you for your efforts in earning this prestigious award," Harris told squadron members. "As a fellow P-3 aviator, I know how important this award is and how difficult it is to earn. This is recognition of your impactful work while deployed in support of Operation Active Endeavor. I'm proud that you are part of the Pacific Fleet team." And Harris wished them fair winds and best of luck on their upcoming deployment back to the Sixth Fleet area.
During the period of the award, VP-9 was deployed to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility where the Golden Eagles flew hundreds of missions from multiple detachment sites while maintaining their 35-year record of mishap-free flying.
Cmdr. Brian Weiss, VP-9 commanding officer, was proud to share the Arleigh Burke trophy with his squadron and attributed their cooperation and work ethic as important factors.
"Our success is a product of our teamwork," said Weiss. "No one person is more important than any other. This award belongs to everyone from our maintenance professionals to those who operate our aircraft to those who provide administrative and intelligence support."
Enlisted Sailors and officers of VP-9 were honored to receive the trophy and glad to see their efforts acknowledged.
"It makes it especially satisfying because you don't really think of the award as a P-3 award. You think of it as a surface award," Aircrewman Operator 1st Class Beau Brian said. "It's great to have all of our hard work recognized so high up."
Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Kitzmiller, the squadron's former maintenance officer, couldn't agree more.
"Earning the Arleigh Burke was a great honor and testament to the hard work of our outstanding Sailors," Kitzmiller said. "Every Sailor should feel great pride knowing their long hours and continuous level of excellence earned the squadron as well as themselves such an exceptional honor."
VP-9 was established on March 15, 1951, and is assigned to Patrol Reconnaissance Wing Two, providing maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare services to its fleet and wing commanders. The squadron consists of 71 officers and 276 enlisted personnel who maintain and operate eight Lockheed P-3C "Orion" aircraft.