USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, a new component to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, is the first squadron of its kind to embark a carrier as part of an air wing.
Their mission is to employ the Navy's most technologically sophisticated rotary aircraft in the fleet to carry out the objectives of strike group commanders, their weapon is the MH-60R Seahawk.
"It feels great. The whole air wing and ship have really come together smoothly; the espirit de corp has been great, and we're just happy to be a part of it," said HSM-71 commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael Nortier.
"We bring some dramatic improvements to the strike group. We combine the capabilities of two older helicopters as well as radar capabilities from the S-3 and we also have Link-16 which no rotary aircraft has ever had before," said Nortier.
With state-of-the-art avionics, mission and weapons systems, the multipurposed MH-60R specializes in everything from various warfare areas to logistical support, and search and rescue operations to communication relay.
"The Raptors are very excited and motivated to operate as an integral component of Carrier Air Wing 9 and Carrier Strike Group 3," said HSM-71 pilot Lt.j.g. Chris Yost. "Personnel are working extremely hard to bring the 'Romeo' to the fleet, providing an unparalleled ASW (anti-submarine warfare) and ASuW (anti-surface warfare) support asset for the carrier strike group."
Not only will HSM-71 deploy aircraft aboard Stennis, but the squadron will simultaneously support combat elements embarked aboard cruisers and destroyers in the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.
"Basically, any platform that can support our aircraft, we will be landing on and conducting daily operations with," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class John Gonzalez of HSM-71. "Our contribution to the mission of the other ships in the carrier strike group will, no doubt, be just as significant as our presence aboard Stennis."
For more news from USS John C. Stennis, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/.