Logo from a painting by Robert Morris

A Brief History of VJ1/VW3

note: This was written before June of 1960. mc

Airborne Early Warning Squadron Three (AEWRON Three of VW3) will be decommissioned on board the Naval Air Station, Agana, Guam, by her commanding officer, CDR. P. W. Ustick on 30 June 1960. AEWRON Three based on board NAS Agana, Guam has as her primary mission Radar Airborne Early Warning coverage for the Seventh Fleet in the Far East.  Operating out of Okinawa, Japan and the Philippine Islands as well as Guam, her gray Lockheed WV-2 Super-Constellations have become a familiar sight throughout the Far East. The aircraft work in close liaison with the Carrier Task Forces providing close and distant early warning and control of intercepts.  The squadron also conducts typhoon reconnaissance and search and rescue as assigned.  The squadron is compose of 508 men, 91 officers and 9 WV-2 aircraft.

Airborne Early Warning Squadron Three was first commissioned on 19 March 1952 as Weather Squadron One (VJ_1) at Settle, Washington and in July of the same year moved to Naval Air Station, Agana Guam under the operational control of Commander Naval Forces Marianas.  With an allowance of six P4Y-2S aircraft the squadron had a mission of providing weather reconnaissance in the Pacific Area for Fleet Weather Central, Guam.  Other missions were to conduct island surveys for the Trust Territories.

After one and one half years of service the squadron designation was changed from VJ-1 to VW3, Airborne Early Warning Squadron Three, and conversion was begun to P2V-5jf aircraft.  The primary mission of the squadron continued to be weather reconnaissance.  In October of 1955, to further increase its effectiveness, Airborne Early Warning Squadron Three received the first of its WV-3 Radar Super Constellation weather reconnaissance aircraft.

During 1956 AEWRON Three began participating in air defense and "bogey" detection exercises and in the latter part of the year the operational control of the squadron passed to Commander Seventh Fleet.  The primary mission then became Airborne Early Warning for the Seventh Fleet with Weather Reconnaissance as a secondary mission.

In 1957 the last of the squadron's P2Vs were phased out as well as its WV-3s and by the first part of 1958 AEWRON Three had received twelve WV-2 Radar Super Constellation Airborne Early Warning aircraft.

When the Seventh Fleet moved into the Formosa area during the Taiwan crises in 1958 VW-3 was called upon to provide a continuous twenty-four hour coverage from August thru November operating out out of the Philippines. Despite the Philippine monsoon season AEWRON Three flew 1477 hours in September and 1511 hours in October for an all time squadron record.

In its normal operations VW-3 has alternated with VW-1 in five week shifts providing AEW coverage for the Seventh Fleet as well as participating in the regular fleet exercises.  In addition VW-3 has provided weather reconnaissance as required.  Crew #3 with the skipper aboard welcomed in the new year of 1960 while tracking typhoon Harriet between Guam and the Philippines.  AEWRON Three participated in numerous search and rescue missions from Wake Island to Japan and the Philippines providing various services including visual search, radar vectoring of other aircraft, or acting as On Scene Commander coordinating the searches. AEWRON Three regularly provides Navigational Assistance for jet and single engine type aircraft in the Pacific area.

Since VW-3 was moved to Guam in 1952 the squadron has flown 41,500 hours or an average of about 15 hours every day and in that time has covered a distance equivalent to 19 round trips to the moon.  Despite the average of 6,000 hours flown each yearVW-3 has been accident free since it received its WV-2s over two years ago.

The officers and men of the squadron have already been at work for several weeks at the task of deactivating the squadron.  Of the squadrons 600 personnel, a large share will remain on Guam and be attached to other activities at NAS Agana.  Part of AEWRON Three's aircraft will be transferred to AEWRON One, the other Airborne Early Warning Squadron on Guam, and part of them will be sent back to the states.                                  contributed by Earl Beach


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