Patrol Squadron Memorial
Veteran’s Memorial Park
HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDPatrol Squadrons have been on duty with the Navy since before World War I, first as experimental scouting squadrons, then through a range of various mission-specific titles. They have gone through a multitude of different squadron designations. Only after the Korean War did the Navy settle on the VP designation for all of its patrol squadrons. V for heavier than air – and P for patrol. Through World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and dozens of lesser named conflicts, patrol squadrons have served the Navy and the nation with valor and distinction.
Many types of aircraft have been used to accomplish the VP mission, which encompasses reconnaissance, surveillance, electronic counter-measures, mining and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Since the onset of WW II, ASW has been the primary mission of VP squadrons. In the period after WW II, known as the Cold War, when most other active duty military forces were limited to simulators and war games to train for their various warfare specialties, VP aircraft and crews were flying around the clock keeping track of the growing fleet of Soviet submarines in our waters and in theirs. VP crews did their training against real live Soviet submarines.
The work of the VP flight crews was often done in secret. Where they flew, what they were doing, and how they did it were always classified. That secrecy fostered a lack of recognition for the VP force. Since only a limited few knew what these squadrons really did, no one gave a thought to providing the recognition they deserved.
In 2002, the VP-2 Association voted to create a Memorial in Oak Harbor to honor those who had served in VP squadrons based at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. A Memorial Committee worked long and hard to come up with a fitting design, and then worked with the Oak Harbor city council for over a year to gain the city’s support for the Memorial. In 2004, the Oak Harbor city council unanimously approved the Memorial design and the placement of the Memorial in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.
The Memorial design, as depicted on the home page, consists of a life-size bronze statue of an airman in flight gear standing in front of a three-section granite wall. The outline of a P2V and the Memorial dedication are carved on the inside surface of the center section. On the outside of the center section is a map showing the many deployment and operating sites of the Whidbey Island VP squadrons. The two outer granite panels list the many patrol squadrons that were homeported at NAS Whidbey Island from 1942 to the present, and the names of those who perished in P2V operations.
The statue and granite walls are mounted on a patio surrounded with bricks that are inscribed in accordance with the wishes of donors who purchase the bricks (see FUNDING).
|The Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial is sponsored by the Patrol Squadron Two Association|