Navy Establishes New Helicopter Squadron

Story Number: NNS061003-14Release Date: 10/3/2006 12:25:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tyler Jones, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy's newest weapon in the global war on terrorism was brought to life Sept. 29, when the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 became the first new helo squadron at Naval Station Norfolk in 22 years.

The Sea Knights team will work together to provide mobile and efficient detachments that are easily deployable to carrier and expeditionary strike groups, said Cmdr. Michael M. McMillan Jr., commanding officer of HSC-22. While deployed, the Sea Knights will aid in vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and anti-surface warfare, he said.

"(This is) a great opportunity to connect with and see the helicopter community continue to maintain strong relevance in our continuing effort in the global war on terror," said Rear Adm. Rick R. Ruehe, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

HSC-22 isn't the only new helo squad in the Navy. HSC-26, based at Naval Station Norfolk, and HSC-23, in Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., have also been established.

Under the Navy's Helicopter Master Plan, approved by the Chief of Naval Operations in 2002, the Navy is gradually moving away from its existing six rotary-wing aircraft. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the plan, said Lt. Mike Hoskins, HSC-22's quality assurance officer, will save the Navy money by streamlining training, maintenance and logistics.

The six existing helos are being replaced by the MH-60S and MH-60R, two of the most modern H-60 models. HSC-22 will fly the MH-60 "Sierra" model.

According to LCDR Daniel F. Olson, HSC-22's executive officer, HSC-22 is slated to acquire 10 MH-60S helicopters by the year 2010.

"We've got a lot of challenges ahead of us," Olson said. "We've got the responsibility of living up to the standards of the other squadrons, and we still have a lot of work to do."

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