CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The Navy established Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79, the 'Griffins', with a commissioning ceremony held aboard Naval Base Coronado, Jun. 2.
HSM-79 became the sixth West Coast carrier HSM squadron, completing the expansion and consolidation of helicopter forces dictated by the Navy's Helicopter Master Plan.
"Today we had the great opportunity to establish the last HSM squadron in the wing," said Cmdr. Marcos Cantu, commanding officer of HSM 79. "I'm just really proud of the way this squadron has turned around in this short amount of time, going from zero to a functional squadron in just a few months. The Sailors have done a great job, and will continue to do a great job on their next deployment."
Operating the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, the 'Griffins' will embark aircraft carriers to carry out various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, humanitarian relief and medical evacuation operations.
The squadron adopted its name from two decommissioned Squadrons that focused on aircraft carrier-based anti-submarine warfare: Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 9 'Sea Griffins' and the Sea Control Squadron (VS) 38 'Red Griffins'. The 'Griffins' will be continuing their legacy.
Rear Adm. Daniel Fillion, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 3), served as the ceremony's guest speaker. He echoed Cantu's pride in the Sailors.
"I think it's an outstanding event and a tremendous opportunity," said Fillion. "You can sense the pride. You can talk to any of these Sailors and Chiefs, and they understand that they're a part of something really, really great. This squadron is going to make a difference."
As an establishing member of the command, or plankowner, many of the "Griffin" Sailors in attendance expressed how the ceremony served as a reminder of the role they have in establishing the squadron's heritage.
"Being part of a new command gives me the opportunity to create a legacy," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Jack Busby. "A legacy that thousands of Sailors will continue and it makes me very proud to be a part of this command and set a new tradition for the Navy."
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