SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Maintenance Policy and Programs presented the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Maintenance Award to the "Wolf Pack" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 Jan. 23 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.
John B. Johns, DASD for Maintenance Policy and Programs, presented the Department of Defense (DoD) award, which recognizes six field-level maintenance programs annually for their outstanding performance involving military equipment and various weapon systems.
All DoD maintenance units around the world, both active and Reserve, are eligible to compete for the annual award in three different categories-small, medium, and large.
HSM-75 was one of the six 2014 SECDEF Field-Level Maintenance Award winners and was chosen as one of the two small category winners from a very competitive, worldwide group of outstanding DoD maintenance units.
Before presenting the award at command quarters, Johns toured the award-winning squadron's work spaces and had lunch with some Sailors. With the "Wolf Pack" gathered in formation in the squadron's hangar, Johns presented select Sailors with a special commemorative coin and then proudly presented the SECDEF Maintenance Award.
Also in attendance at the quarters were Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific, Capt., Shawn Malone; Executive Director, National Helicopter Association, retired Capt. Bill Personius; and Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky representatives.
HSM-75 earned the award for their accomplishments while flying more than 8,000 hours, maintaining 11 MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters, across five ships, during their first Fleet Readiness Training Plan and 2013 Western Pacific deployment as a part of Carrier Air Wing 11 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
While on deployment and at home, HSM-75 maintainers spent countless hours performing meticulous inspections and maintenance to ensure the squadron's helicopters were ready for the pilots and aircrew to carry out their mission.
"All of you should be rightfully proud. You are among the best in the entire Department of Defense. You serve as an example not only to the Navy, but across all of the military services," said Johns.
Johns' visit was capped off with a flight in a state-of-the-art MH-60R Sea Hawk simulator.
Cmdr. Jeff Melody, HSM-75's commanding officer, reflected on the importance of the award.
"We are incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award," said Melody. "Our maintainers take great pride in doing maintenance by the book and it's great to see them get the recognition they deserve. We strive daily to have safe, mission capable aircraft to fly. It truly is a team effort and this award is a reflection of that."
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