Military and civilian officials from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island traveled to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on October 19 and 20 to visit with and provide information to Sailors and their families who will relocate to the Pacific Northwest as part of a homeport change.
The three Maritime, Patrol and Reconnaissance squadrons currently stationed at Kaneohe will relocate to NAS Whidbey Island as part of Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Ten’s transition to the P-8A Poseidon. This move will bring VP-4, VP-47 and then VP-9 to the Pacific Northwest at the conclusion of their next deployments, where they will turn in their venerable P-3C Orions and begin six-months of Fleet Introduction Training (FIT) for the Poseidon. As part of their FIT, transitioning squadron personnel will largely split their training between Whidbey Island and Jacksonville, Florida. Families from VP-4, the first squadron to transition, have the option of moving to the Pacific Northwest as soon as December of this year.
“Wing Ten has no higher priority than ensuring every member of our transitioning Maritime Patrol Ohana (Family) is fully informed and exceptionally sponsored” stated Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN (CPRW-10) Brett Mietus. “Reintegrating after deployment can be a difficult time for many Sailors and their families. We recognize that moving from Hawaii to Washington, and then onto training at Jacksonville will present extra challenges for even the strongest family. Personal connections and detailed, exhaustive communications are critical to ensuring a successful transition.”
The personnel from NAS Whidbey Island who visited Kaneohe Bay consisted of critical members of Team Whidbey; including, the CPRW-10 Command Master Chief, homeport change transition lead, ombudsman and officials from the base’s Fleet and Family Support Center. During two town-hall sessions, officials shared details and answered questions on the overall transition plan, housing availability, neighborhood schools, job opportunities and other pertinent issues for transitioning families.
“At the end of this visit, our team was confident we had provided the Skinny Dragon families the tools they need to make a safe and successful transition,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Baxter, the overall transition lead for the homeport change.
To further assist transitioning Sailors and their families a west coast transition information portal will be accessible via the Navy Life Pacific Northwest homepage at http://www.navylifepnw.com/ beginning in Mid-November.