End of an era…

On Oct. 3, 2019, three P-3C Orions belonging to VP-40, coming from Souda Bay, Crete, landed at Lajes Field. The aircraft were the first P-3s belonging to the “Fighting Marlins” to perform a stopover in the Azores, on their way from the type’s final deployment to Sheik Isa Air Base, in Bahrain.

August 1962-October 2019… 57 years of US Navy active duty service for the P-3 Orion.

Full article, HERE.

It’s been a helluva run. And a lot of us owe our lives to the airplane, and the maintainers that kept them flying and bringing us home time after time.


End of an era… — 11 Comments

  1. “And a lot of us owe our lives to the airplane”

    I can attest to that from multiple incidents.

    I can feel a lump in the back of my throat and my heart tightening a little bit. Another cold war warrior put out to pasture.

  2. Good picture!

    Bet that old bird doesn’t owe anyone anything after all these years.

  3. Damn, this is a sad day. I’ve loved that aircraft since the first time I saw one at corrosion control school in VP-31. I was sad when they decommissioned my squadron (VP-48) a few months after I got out. But phasing them out completely just hurts. I just find it hard to believe that the P-8 is going to have a similar legacy. I hope it does though. I hope in 32 years there will be some other person who loves them the way I loved the P-3.

  4. So much for long term slow loiter armed recon and patrol.

    Now we’ll do so much better at 500mph. Yippee!!!

    Always hate to see a proven, practical platform disappear. Though I wonder how much the maintenance costs have been climbing over the years. Still sad.

    We still need to bring back something like the mighty War Hoover to carrier ops, set up for multi-role functions. Elint, subhunt, cargo ops, whatevs…

    It must be a tremendous hit to you P-3 people to see your rides disappear.

    I know my dad was very sad when all the range tracking and instrumentation ships were struck after all the years he spent dealing with and on them.

  5. Sad to see a still viable platform get removed from service.

    Those are tough birds! I remember watching films of them penetrating hurricanes for the NOAA!

  6. Hey Old NFO;

    I get why they are retiring the platform, I don’t like it but I get it because I am in maintenance. The problem is getting parts and metal fatigue. NDT can only go so far in detecting metal fatigue and corrosion. then it becomes very expensive. Only reason the B52’s are around is because there are so many in the boneyard so part harvesting isn’t a problem. The P3 is not as common as a plane as the BUFF. I hope they save a couple of them for posterity because of the excellent track record of the plane and the crews. The planes and crews did stuff in keeping the Soviets in check during Vietnam and especially during the bad days of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when the force was stretched really thin and the professionalism of the crews gave them pause. I would love to hear stories of their adventures but unfortunately that 75 year nondisclosure is a bitch.

  7. A glass of Kentucky’s best has been hoisted to the memory of the P-3.

  8. I’ve been wondering what VQ-1 is flying these days, since they’re out of P-3s and anything that will fly off of a carrier.

    I wouldn’t trade my EP-3E hours (or EA-3B hours, for that matter) for anything, but I’m also glad those days are well behind me.