More than a dozen Navy sailors return to families after 6-month deployment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5), the “Mad Foxes,” is returning home to Naval Air Station Jacksonville after a six-month deployment to the U.S. Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.

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Seventeen sailors returned on a flight Monday morning, which included Lieutenant Casey Fitzgerald, who came home to wife Alison and son Noah.

“He just turned a year on Saturday,” Alison said while looking at Noah in her arms. “It’s all worth it in the end. We’re really excited to have him home,” she added. “[Just to] be a family again.”

“It was a fun experience, but I’m happy to be home!” Casey remarked as he embraced baby Noah.

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In a press release, Naval Air Station Jacksonville explained:

“VP-5 conducted maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations as part of a rotational deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet and Task Force 72 lines of effort. The Mad Foxes participated in numerous multi-national exercises that required close cooperation with allies and partners. These exercises strengthened partnerships and enhanced interoperability of U.S. and partner nation military forces.

VP-5 conducted operations from their primary hub at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Throughout the deployment, VP-5 operated from detachment sites in Guam, Republic of the Philippines, Australia, Palau, Wake Island, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

The Mad Foxes participated in multiple exercises such as Valiant Shield and Pacific Vanguard during which they honed their high-end joint warfighting tactics and techniques and provided range clearance for live-fire events.

While operating from The Republic of Palau, the Mad Foxes supported Operation Island Chief 22. OPIC22 is a multinational effort organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center to provide surveillance over the FFA members’ exclusive economic zones and assist in the detection and prevention of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activity.

VP-5 flew more than 3,350 mishap free flight hours executing high profile missions demonstrating the commitment of the United States to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The VP-5 maintenance, administration, intelligence, and combat support departments worked together seamlessly to ensure that all 12 Combat Air Crews and seven aircraft were continuously mission-ready.

The advanced capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon enable the Mad Foxes to perform anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions.

Due to their excellence in the air, in the hangar, and on the flight line, numerous Mad Foxes received individual awards while deployed. Collectively they received 46 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and nine Flag Letter of Commendations.

During this deployment, the Mad Foxes were led by Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brian Blaschke, Executive Officer Cmdr. Stefanie Haseman, and Command Master Chief Tom Curtin.”

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“Definitely hard working sailors out there,” Haseman emphasized. “The Mad Foxes are always mission ready and focused.”

And these efforts create a lasting impact back home.

“It inspires me to work hard and keep achieving your dreams,” said Paityn Haseman, Stefanie’s 11-year-old daughter.

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There are several other scheduled flights throughout the week, which will bring all 300 sailors who are part of the squadron back home.

The Mad Foxes are based out of Jacksonville, Florida.