Solomons na­tive keeps Navy Wing fly­ing

The Calvert Recorder - - Engagement - By CHIEF PETTY OF­FI­CER BILL STEELE Navy Of­fice of Com­mu­nity Out­reach

A 2009 Patux­ent High School grad­u­ate and Solomons na­tive is serv­ing in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Whid­bey Is­land, the pre­mier naval air in­stal­la­tion in the Pa­cific North­west re­gion.

Lt. Al­li­son Haas is a pi­lot serv­ing with Com­man­der, Pa­trol and Re­con­nais­sance Wing 10. She flies the P-3C Orion, which is be­ing phased out by the new P-8A Po­sei­don. The P3’s mis­sion is to hunt for sub­marines.

“Fly­ing the Pa­cific North­west, there’s noth­ing like it,” said Haas. “The views and moun­tains are fan­tas­tic.”

Ac­cord­ing to Navy of­fi­cials, Wing 10 has continued to fly com­bat mis­sions in di­rect sup­port of the troops on the ground and de­liv­ered tra­di­tional mar­itime ca­pa­bil­i­ties, real-time in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance.

Be­gin­ning in the 1960s, the P-3C Orion, a land-based, lon­grange anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare pa­trol air­craft, re­placed the P-2V Nep­tune fleet. Af­ter 50 years of faith­ful ser­vice and the 50th an­niver­sary of Mar­itime Pa­trol and Re­con­nais­sance Force, the P-3C Orion is be­ing phased out of the fleet and re­placed by the P-8A Po­sei­don, ac­cord­ing to Navy of­fi­cials.

The P-8A is a mod­i­fied Boe­ing air­frame fea­tur­ing a fully con­nected, state-of-the-art, open ar­chi­tec­ture mis­sion sys­tem de­signed for long-range anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare; anti-sur­face war­fare; and in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance mis­sions, Navy of­fi­cials ex­plained.

“Pa­trol and Re­con­nais­sance Wing 10 mans, trains, and equips P-3 and P-8 squadrons to de­ploy any­where, any­time,” said Capt. Rob Patrick, com­modore of Pa­trol and Re­con­nais­sance Wing 10 at Naval Air Station Whid­bey Is­land. “This is crit­i­cally im­por­tant as we are the eyes and the ears of our na­tional de­fense, putting pres­sure on strate­gic lo­ca­tions around the world. Our sailors are the sin­gle big­gest asym­met­ric ad­van­tage that al­lows us to suc­ceed at our mis­sions. With­out their agility and ex­per­tise, we would not be able to do what we do.”

Haas is part of a crew striv­ing to be the best Naval Avi­a­tion Wing in the United States, ac­cord­ing to Navy Of­fi­cials. Their mis­sion is to safely build and main­tain a team of sailors ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing prompt and sus­tained com­bat op­er­a­tions.

“It’s not easy fly­ing an older air­craft like we do,” Haas said. “We’re not the shiny new P-8, we’re the legacy P-3. The coolest thing is how our main­te­nance crews ac­com­plish the mis­sion that we do with 50-year-old planes.”

Ac­cord­ing to Navy of­fi­cials, the Navy con­tin­ues to meet mile­stone af­ter mile­stone on this world-class mis­sion and is pro­vid­ing an air­craft with su­pe­rior ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the men and women in uni­form that will have a last­ing legacy pro­mot­ing a global mar­itime strat­egy.

“My grand­fa­ther and fa­ther served in the Navy, so I looked up to them and wanted to fol­low in their foot­steps,” Haas added. “It’s been quite a jour­ney.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lt. Al­li­son Haas

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