A Lockheed P-3C Orion arrived at Kalaeloa Airport in Hawaii on March 28th, destined for the Barbers Point Naval Air Museum. Bu.no 160770 was based locally with Patrol Wing 2, and represented the unit during the Naval Aviation Centennial celebration in 2011, painted up as an early model P3V-1. The special markings represented VP-6, a decommissioned squadron known as the “Blue Sharks”. She became an instant celebrity wearing these colors on the air show circuit with VP-9 in 2011.
Barbers Point Naval Air Museum, with support from Hawaii’s Governor, Neil Abercrombie, gained approval from the National Museum of Naval Aviation for ‘770’s final mission: educating the public about the cold war and how naval personnel from Barbers Point helped to win it. That victory came with the tragic cost of four Orion crews from NAS Barbers Point; lost with their aircraft while guarding the US against the threat posed by Russian submarines. The “Blue Sharks” of VP-6 were one of NAS Barbers Point’s more famous squadrons.
Bu.160770 has a significant history, having served with no less than eleven squadrons. A Charlie model, she rolled off the Lockheed production line in 1979. 160770 joins the museum’s current Alpha model, UP-3A Bu.152169, in telling the story of Barbers Point sub hunting from 1962-1999. The station’s P-3 era defined its mission and existence in Hawaii for over 40 years. The museum will open the P-3C to the public once the interior is rigged for display. The two P-3s, parked side-by-side, will help demonstrate the evolution in anti-submarine warfare technology from the early 1960s until the present day.
Naval Air Museum Barbers Point first opened on January 19th, 1999 at the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point, now known as Kalaeloa Airport. The Museum currently has four retired US Navy fighter and attack jets (three A-4 Skyhawks, and an F-4N Phantom II), the afore-mentioned UP-3A Orion, a US Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter, a UH-1H Huey, SH-60 Seahawk, two UH-3H Sea Kings and numerous military ground vehicles and equipment. The museum is currently awaiting delivery of four WWII-era aircraft.
Tours, by appointment only due to it being located on an active airport, are given by a living history interpreter in period flight gear. Calling ahead to the museum’s readyroom at (808) 682-3982 is a must. The museum is open from 0800-1530 Tuesday-to-Saturday, from 1030-1500 on Sundays, and closed on Mondays. For more details, please visit the museum’s website at www.nambp.org.