40th Anniversary of Navy Hurricane Hunters disbandment

VW-4 Hurricane Hunters' patch
VW-4 Hurricane Hunters’ patch

At the end of the 1974 hurricane season, the United States Navy disbanded VW-4, its Hurricane Hunter squadron.  While the Navy had been flying hurricane reconnaissance since 1944, the predecessor of VW-4 was Navy Weather Squadron Two (VJ-2) established in 1952 and based at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.  Over the next twenty-two years, they shared hurricane reconnaissance duties with the Air Force Hurricane Hunters (WRS-53 and WRS-54) as well as providing support to Project STORMFURY experiments.  During this time the squadron used a variety of airframes, most notable P2V Neptunes, C-121 Super Connies, and during the last two years of operations, P-3 Orion airplanes.

US Navy Hurricane Hunter C-121 Super Connie participating in Project STORMFURY.
US Navy Hurricane Hunter C-121 Super Connie participating in Project STORMFURY.

At the end of each hurricane season, the Hans Brinker Silver Skate Award would go to either the Navy or Air Force hurricane squadron whichever had flown the fewest sorties that year. The “award” was an ice skate, spray painted silver, mounted on a board and signified which unit had managed to ‘skate’ through the season doing the least work.  With the end of VW-4, the award went permanently to the Air Force squadron, which also took over primary hurricane reconnaissance duties.