History of VP-7 Black Falcons
In August 1944, at NAAS Camp Kearney, California, Patrol Squadron SEVEN was commissioned as VP-119. During WWII the squadron operated out of MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and Clark Field in the Philippines. IN 1947, the squadron was renamed VP-ML-7 and moved to MCAS Miramar during which it transitioned to the P2V aircraft. That same year it moved again to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. In 1948 the designation of Patrol Squadron SEVEN was given to the command.
In 1953, VP-7 again shifted operations to the Pacific to become the first east coast patrol squadron to join the United Nations forces in the Korean conflict. VP-7 operated out of Iwakuni, Japan under Fleet Air Wing SIX and in support of Task Force 77 until January 1954 and then returned to Quonset Point.
VP-7 transitioned to the P2V-5 aircraft in 1955 and the next year moved to NAS Brunswick, Maine to operate under Fleet Air Wing THREE. For the next seven years, the Black Falcons operated from Brunswick and numerous overseas bases. In the first four of these years, it tallied over 25,000 accident free hours.
In September 1961, Patrol Squadron SEVEN moved to NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Operational and administrative control was shifted to Fleet Air Wing ELEVEN. From February to August 1962, the squadron completed a Med deployment operating from the U.S. Naval Air Facility at Sigonella, Sicily. Later that year, squadron operations were directly involved in the Cuban Quarantine ordered by the President of the United States on 23 October. This duty resulted in the award of the Navy Expeditionary Medal to participating personnel.
On 4 May 1964, Patrol Squadron SEVEN commenced a five month split deployment to Rota, Spain and Keflavik, Iceland. The squadron returned to Jacksonville in October 1964 and transitioned to the more modern SP-2H aircraft in December.
During 1965, Patrol Squadron SEVEN detachments operated from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on several occasions and participating personnel were awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Dominican Republic Operations.
From December 1965 to May 1966 the Black Falcons deployed to the Med, based at NAF Sigonella, Sicily. During the following twelve months the squadron operated from its homeport in Jacksonville with detachments in key West, FL and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
On May 4 1967, Patrol Squadron SEVEN again deployed to NAF Sigonella, Sicily. During the Mid-East crisis in June the squadron maintained an alert anti-submarine posture and worked with the U.S. Sixth Fleet while conducting round-the-clock surveillance of all naval activity in the Med. VP-7 “Neptunes” paroled thousands of square miles daily in support of Fleet Operations; sighting, reporting and photographing the movements of all significant shipping.
Returning to Jacksonville in November 1967, Patrol Squadron SEVEN was the first squadron to be assigned to the new Pentagonal Hangar 1000. The Black Falcons made their final deployment to NAF Sigonella from October 1968 to February 1969. Following its return to Jacksonville, a detachment from VP-7 was assigned to participate in Operation UNITAS in South America.
Following twenty-five years of distinguished service, the squadron was disestablished on 8 October 1969.
By CAPT Ted Hewitt, USN (Ret.)
MPA Plank Owner Member