HM-15 CO, CMC Relieved of Duties

Story Number: NNS120901-07Release Date: 9/1/2012 11:51:00 AM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
From Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Capt. Paul Esposito, commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic (HSCWINGLANT), relieved Cmdr. Sara Santoski, commanding officer of the Norfolk-based Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) Fifteen, today due to loss of confidence in Santoski's ability to command.

The relief occurred in the course of an on-going assessment of the squadron following the July 19, 2012, crash of an MH-53E Sea Stallion in Oman that resulted in the death of two sailors, and another mishap involving an MH-53E in August at Bahrain International Airport. Santoski has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic in Norfolk.

Master Chief Petty Officer Bobby T. Anderson was also relieved of his duties as the squadron's command master chief due to unsatisfactory performance.

Initial findings from the assessment show that Cmdr. Santoski failed to strictly enforce appropriate operational, maintenance and safety standards and that she failed to ensure a proper command climate.

Capt. Todd Flannery, deputy commander, HSCWINGLANT, will serve as interim commanding officer until a permanent relief is identified. Master Chief Petty Officer Niela Jackson, command master chief, HSCWINGLANT, has been assigned as interim command master chief until a permanent relief is identified.

HM-15 is homeported in Norfolk, VA.

For more information, visit,, or

An MH-53E Sea Dragon, from Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15, performs mine countermeasure training using the MK-105 sled.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
November 14, 2007
Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click here.