VS-32’s Storied History Came to a Close Not Long After They Made This Awesome Viking Video
Sea Control Squadron THREE TWO (VS-32) Maulers completed their final combat deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) when they returned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville on 15 December 2007. During this, the final deployment for a full Lockheed S-3 Viking-equipped squadron, the Maulers flew 960 sorties totaling more than 2,200 flight hours and logged more than 950 carrier landings. VS-32 supported ground forces in Afghanistan and Iraq by conducting maritime security operations while operating at sea for 180 days. Enjoy the Maulers starring in the last Hoover combat cruise as uploaded to YouTube by Triple Nickel.
The Cast of Thousands
During CVW-1’s 7 July 2007 – 19 December 2007 OIF deployment aboard the Big E, in addition to the Maulers, the Air Wing consisted of VFA-211 Fighting Checkmates flying the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18F Super Hornet, VMFA-251 Thunderbolts, VFA-136 Knighthawks, and VFA-86 Sidewinders flying the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18C Hornet, VAQ-137 Rooks flying the Grumman EA-6B Prowler, VAW-123 Screwtops flying the Grumman E-2C 2000 Hawkeye, and HS-11 Dragonslayers flying the Sikorsky HH-60H Rescue Hawk and SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopters.
VS-32 first deployed aboard the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122) in 1950. Since then the Maulers have deployed as part of Anti-Submarine Air Group FIVE FOUR (CVSG-54) aboard the Essex-class antisubmarine carriers USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39), USS Essex (CVS-9), USS Randolph (CVS-15), USS Wasp (CVS-19), and USS Tarawa (CVS-40) among others and several other CVEs as well.
Deploying With the Hoover
VS-32 became a component of CVW-1 in 1976, deploying with CVW-1 most often aboard the carrier USS America (CVA-66) fourteen times. CVW-1 also deployed aboard the carrier USS John F Kennedy (CVA-67) six times, the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69) once, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) twice, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) once, the USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) once, and finally the Big E four times before disestablishment.
The Norsemen Started Something Special
VS-32 traces its origins back to 31 May 1949 when they were established as Composite Squadron THREE TWO (VC-32) Norsemen at NAS Norfolk. Initially equipped with Grumman TBM-3E and TBM-3W Avenger– some of the first carrier-based airborne early-warning radar aircraft, VC-32 was redesignated Air Anti-Submarine Squadron THREE TWO (VS-32) on 20 April 1950.
Flying the Stoof
After moving to NAS Quonset Point in 1951 the Norsemen transitioned to the Grumman S2F Tracker in 1954. In October of 1973 the East Coast VS squadrons moved en masse to NAS Cecil Field near Jacksonville in Florida. At that time the Norsemen became the Maulers. VS-32 completed their transition to the Lockheed S-3A Viking in 1975, and later to the S-3B in 1990. After NAS Cecil was BRACed to death in 1999 the VS squadrons took up residence a few miles east at NAS Jacksonville until the VS community was shut down for good in 2008.
Taking the Silver and the Gold
The Maulers earned themselves ten Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (COMNAVAIRLANT) Battle “E” awards. They also picked up six Capt. Arnold J. Isbell trophies for excellence in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and six Admiral Jimmy Thach awards for meritorious achievement by an ASW squadron. Safety was always a primary consideration for VS-32 and their 15 Chief of Naval Operations Safety “S” awards lead the way for VS squadrons. A couple of Lockheed-Martin Golden Wrench awards for maintenance excellence and an Arleigh Burke award for the most improved squadron also reside in the storied squadron’s trophy case.
During their S-3A transition training, Maulers flight crews and maintainers also received training on the systems the Viking shared with the Lockheed P-3 Orion as well as systems common to other aircraft. From there the personnel were transferred to NAS North Island for immersive training at the S-3 Replacement Air Group (RAG) squadron, VS-41 Shamrocks.
VS-32 initially received 11 S-3A Vikings as opposed to the VS-standard ten aircraft. The eleventh jet was provided as a ready spare parts airframe or ‘hangar queen” right from the start.
VS-32’s first S-3A Viking deployment was aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in 1976. The deployment featured North Atlantic and Arctic Circle operations and proved the S-3A’s ability by performing successful detection, localization, tracking, recording, and visual sightings of several Red Fleet submarines shadowing the Kennedy and her escorts.
On 20 February 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, VS-32 became the first S-3B squadron to engage, bomb, and destroy a hostile vessel- in this case an Iraqi gunboat. Piloting the Maulers jet was LCDR Bruce Bole.
In July 1997 VS-32 became only the second VS squadron to deploy with the AGM-65F Maverick Air-to-Surface missile system and worked to determine the weapon’s safe and effective tactical employment profiles and performance envelopes. The Maulers were also the first VS squadron to fire Mavericks from two different aircraft.
Sea Control Squadron THREE TWO was officially deactivated effective 30 September 2008 in a deactivation ceremony on 25 September 2008.