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Number 125 Summer 2014



Maritime security demands the most advanced multi-mode anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter. One with a sophisticated mission system that provides complete situational awareness. One with network-enabled data links that allow information sharing and instant decision making. One that is operationally proven and in production.

MH-60R. The right choice for Maritime Security.

The Cover Design is the First Place Winner of the 2014 Photo Contest Photo taken by AWRC Kevin Freenor, and cover

Naval Helicopter Association

art by George Hopson, NHA Design Editor.

Š2014 Naval Helicopter Association, Inc., all rights reserved

Features Editor-in-Chief

LT Allison Fletcher, USN

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Design Editor George Hopson

Anatomy of a SAR Case


Osprey Squadron Operates Simultaneously Across Four Nations, Thousands of Miles


So Others May Live (SOML) Racing


LT David Birky, USCG

Capt Caleb Earnes, USMC

Aircrewman / Special Missions Editor

AWCM David W. Crossan, USN

AW2 Benjamin Dillon, USN

HSC / HS / HM Editor LT James Thomas, USN LT Ash Preston, USN

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HSL / HSM Editor LT Erin Pursley, USN LT Nick Holiman, USN LT Emily Lapp, USN


USMC Editor

Capt Rebecca Hagner, USMC

USCG Editor

2014 Rotor Review Photo and Video Contest 2014 Symposium Highlights

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LT James Cepa, USCG

Technical Advisor

2014 Top Photos


2014 Top Videos


NHA Logo Contest


2014 Symposium Highlights


LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret)

Various Photographers

Historian / NHAHS

Various Videographers

CAPT Vincent Secades, USN (Ret) CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret)

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Various Submissions Various Authors

Printing by SOS Printing, Inc. San Diego, California

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Rotor Review (ISSN: 1085-9683) is published quarterly by the Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. (NHA), a California nonprofit corporation. NHA is located in Building 654, Rogers Road, NASNI, San Diego, CA 92135. Vi e w s expressed in Rotor Review are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of NHA or United States Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. Rotor Review is printed in the USA. Periodical rate postage is paid at San Diego, CA. Subscription to Rotor Review is included in the membership fee in the Naval Helicopter Association or the corporate membership fee. A current corporation annual report, prepared in accordance with Section 8321 of the California Corporations Code, is available to members upon request. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Naval Helicopter Association, P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA 92178-0578.

In appreciation of our advertisers Lockheed Martin University of San Diego MSGL Navy Mutual Aid Association USAA LSI Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation



C2 27 40 49 C3 C4

Naval Helicopter Association, Inc.

Corporate Associates

Correspondence and Membership P.O. Box 180578 Coronado, CA 92178-0578 (619) 435-7139 / (619) 435-7354 (fax)

The following corporations exhibit strong support of rotary wing aviation through their sponsorship of the Naval Helicopter Association, Inc.

National Officers

AgustaWestland Inc. Airbus Group Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Breeze-Eastern CAE Inc. Elbit Systems of America FLIR Systems, Inc. G.E. Aviation Kongsberg Defence Systems Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors LSI, Inc. L3 Communications / Crestview Aerospace L3 Communications / D.P. Associates Inc. L3 Communications / Ocean Systems L3 Communications / Vertex Aerospace Navy Mutual Aid Association Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Robertson Fuel Systems L.L.C. Rockwell Collins Corporation Rolls-Royce Corporation Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Telephonics Corporation USAA UTC Aerospace Systems

President.......................................................CDR Brent Gaut, USN V/P Corporate Mbrshp..............CAPT Don Williamson, USN (Ret) V/P Awards ...........................................CDR Dewon Chaney, USN V/P Membership .....................................LCDR James Udall, USN V/P Symposium 2014................CAPT (Sel) Todd Vandegrift, USN Secretary.......................................................LT Kasey Scheel, USN Treasurer .................................................LT Jeremy Cappalo, USN “Stuff”...................................................................................... TBD Senior NAC Advisor.................................AWCM Justin Tate, USN Executive Director........................CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret) Admin / Rotor Review Design Editor.......................George Hopson Membership / Registration ....................................Jennifer Cappalo

Directors at Large

Chairman.....................RADM William E. Shannon III, USN (Ret) CAPT Chuck Deitchman, USN (Ret) CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret) CAPT Greg Hoffman, USN (Ret) CAPT John McGill, USN (Ret) CAPT Dave Moulton, USN (Ret) CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret) CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret)

Regional Officers

Region 1 - San Diego

Directors.………………........................CAPT Jack Schuller, USN .............................................................CAPT Shawn Malone, USN ...............................................................CAPT Mike Steffan, USN President..…............................................CDR Chris Hewlett, USN

Region 2 - Washington D.C.

Director ....…………...…….…….................CAPT Pete Brennan, USN ..................................................Col Paul Croisetiere, USMC (Ret) President ...........................................................CDR Roe Howell, USN ........................................................................CDR Pat Jeck, USN (Ret)

NHA Scholarship Fund President........................................CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret) V/P Operations........................................LT Jonathan Wendt, USN V/P Fundraising ..........................LT Gretchen Rybarczyk, USN V/P Scholarships ........................CAPT Kevin “Bud” Couch, USN V/P CFC Merit Scholarship.................LT Jonathan Wendt, USN Treasurer........................................................LT Sean Purdy, USN Corresponding Secretary............................LT Alexa Bestoso, USN Finance /Investment..............................CDR Kron Littleton, USN (Ret)

Region 3 - Jacksonville

Director ..........................................................CAPT Clay Conley, USN President......................................................CDR Michael Burd, USN

Region 4 - Norfolk

Director ................................................CAPT Todd Flannery, USN President ...................................CAPT (Sel) Todd Vandegrift, USN

Region 5 - Pensacola

NHA Historical Society

Directors..................................................CAPT James Fisher, USN .........................................................Capt Thurman Maine, USCG President ....................................................CDR Rob Sinram, USN 2014 Fleet Fly-In.......................................LT Patrick Salvitti, USN

President............................................CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret) Secretary ..........................................CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret) Treasurer..............................................................................Joe Peluso San Diego Air & Space Museum ...........CAPT Jim Gillcrist, USN (Ret) USS Midway Museum .................CWO4 Mike Manley, USN (Ret) Webmaster...................................CDR Mike McCallum, USN (Ret) NHA BOD....................................CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret)

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

Region 6 - Far East

Director..............................................CAPT Murray J. Tynch, USN President..…............................................CDR Thad Johnson, USN


Departments Number 125 / Summer ‘14

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In Review


From the Organization


In Our Community


Industry and Technology


There I Was

Page 15

Page 63

A Fistful of Maintenance Schedules The Coast Guard District 8 “Heartland” Blog


Oso Landslide LT Rob Merin, USN



Rotorcraft Pioneers: H. Franklin Gregory - Part Two CAPT Vincent C. Secades, USN (Ret)


Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Ron Milam


HC-7 Crewman Receives Combat Air Wings at Reunion CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret)


Change of Command


Command Updates




Engaging Rotors


Book Review


The Hawk Legacy CAPT Mike Coumatos, USN (Ret)


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Articles and news items are welcomed from NHA’s general membership and corporate associates. Articles should be of general interest to the readership and geared toward current Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard affairs, technical advances in the helicopter industry or historical anecdotes. Submissions should be made to Rotor Review with documents formatted in Microsoft Word ® and photos formatted as high-resolution JPEG and/ or PDF by e-mail to: or by FEDEX / UPS on a MAC or PC formatted CD to Rotor Review / NHA, BLDG 654, Rogers Road, NASNI, San Diego, CA, 92135. Also, comments, suggestions, critiques and opinions are welcomed, your anonymity is respected. Send by email to:; or by mail to: Naval Helicopter Association, Inc., P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA, 92178-0578, call (619) 435-7139 or FAX: (619) 435-7354.

Perspective - The Meaning of Independence Last Marines in Afghanistan Proud to Serve 1stLt Garth Langley, USMC


Editors Emeritus

Wayne Jensen John Driver Andy Quiett Susan Fink Tracey Keef Bryan Buljat Todd Vorenkamp Clay Shane Scott Lippincott

Rotor Review is intended to support the goals of the association, provide a forum for discussion and exchange of information on topics of interest to the rotary wing community, and keep membership informed of NHA activities. As necessary, the President of NHA will provide guidance to the Rotor Review Editorial Board to ensure the Rotor Review content continues to support this statement of policy as Naval Helicopter Association adjusts to the expanding rotary wing community.


John Ball Sean Laughlin Mike Curtis Bill Chase Maureen Palmerino Gabe Soltero Steve Bury Kristin Ohleger

In R e vie w Editor’s Log b y LT Al l i s o n F l e tc h e r, U S N - Rotor Review Editor-in-Chief


am excited to share this issue with you! Our photo and video contest is one of my favorite things we do each year. All entries were impressive in their own ways and I thank all of those who participated by competing or even just by voting. This year we let you have a say, and voting was conducted on social media. Participation was excellent and your engagement made for an enthusiastic competition. Notably, we also nearly doubled our following on Facebook during this contest due to your engagement. As our magazine continues to grow and reshape along with the organization, the Editor-in-Chief position must also evolve. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Rotor Review and hope you have found the changes to the magazine to be as refreshing and valuable as we have. My successor, LT Ash Preston, will do an outstanding job and has an extraordinary editing and design team to support him. I would like to thank everyone on the NHA Staff and Rotor Review team who I have worked with in the last few years, especially George, James, Erin, Jim, Becky, and the rest of our volunteer editor team. Finally, thank you to everyone who helped our new ideas grow and who continues to put in the work to make this organization better. As always, enjoy... Photo taken by CDR Herman Cruz, USN

C o n t i n u e d l o g b y LT A s h P r eston, USN - Incoming Rotor Review Editor-in-Chief


s Rotor Review’s incoming Editor-in-Chief, I am both excited for the future and truly honored to be joining the Rotor Review team. Over the last few years, Allison has done a wonderful job as Editor-in-Chief, and her shoes will be difficult to fill. I am looking forward to continuing her efforts to improve the organization by providing a polished, cutting-edge magazine. As members, I urge you to continue submitting articles and providing feedback to ensure Rotor Review is the magazine for you. I would like to express my gratitude to the NHA leadership for this opportunity to serve NHA.

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14



From t h e O rga n i z a ti o n Chairman’s Brief

by R A DM B ill S ha n n o n , U S N (R e t)


reetings! Hope you all have been enjoying the summer. Just want to give you a few of my personal highlights from this year’s wonderful NHA Symposium, which was held in Norfolk at the Waterside Marriott. Before I do that though, I’d like to welcome aboard our new Executive Director, CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret). Many of you know Bill from his time as a great leader in the Navy and Helo Community. He’s had squadron and ship command and, before his selection as the new ED, Bill had been serving in a voluntary capacity as President of the Naval Helicopter Historical Society. I know Bill will bring tremendous energy and dedication to the ED position. Now for some symposium highlights: • First a special note of thanks to VADM Paul “G8” Grosklags. Thanks to his personal assistance, we became one of the first organizations during sequestration to get SECNAV approval for TAD funding to support the symposium. It made a big difference. • We tried something new this year. We live streamed the entire event to an online audience and I think it turned out to be a great success. We also captured all of the streams so you can go back and view any of the events by

going to the NHA website at • We said, “fair winds and following seas” to our outgoing Executive Director, Col Howie Whitfield, USMC (Ret). Howie received the NHA Lifetime Service Award and a standing ovation from the crowd on hand. Well done, Howie! • We were honored to kick off the symposium with a personal video from SECNAV. As a former Surface Warfare Officer, he felt he needed to make the following confession to the helo bubba’s assembled: “I’d like to start by taking a moment and get something off my chest. A few decades ago I was a junior officer aboard USS Little Rock and we had a Detachment of H-2’s on board during our deployments in the MED. Now, I doubt any of them are here today, but I have a confession to make to those pilots. I was the one who played the song “Brown Shoes Just Don’t Make It” by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention as loud as I could as the theme song on Little Rock’s television channel. I know how important watching movies are to you, so I know you heard it. I don’t regret it, just thought you ought to know it was me.” • Special thanks to CAPT Chuck

Deitchman and Sikorsky for sponsoring something new this year: a night at the ballpark. We had over 450 folks for a picnic at the Norfolk Tides Ballpark. • Without a doubt, the highlight of the event was the Flag Panel. I think it was the best panel we’ve ever had. We had VADM’s Grosklags and Dunaway; RADM’s Lescher, Shoemaker and Manazir and RDML’s Lewis, Snyder and Fillion. That’s got to be the best cross section of leadership we’ve ever had. • A favorite part of the symposium came after the Flag Panel when everyone moved to the exhibit floor for the Seahawk Reception. It was great to see all the Flag Officers stay for that event and spend the time talking with the community. I hear VADM Grosklags closed the place down! One last note before I sign off: Our next big event will be the Fleet Fly-In in October. It’s a great opportunity to visit our “roots” and meet our future. I hope you can all make it. All for now and see you at the Fleet Fly-In!

President’s Message

by C D R B r a d l e y “ We e m a n ” G a r b e r, U S N


ooking back, we will count the 2014 NHA Symposium as a success story. Many thanks to all who made the symposium a true success to include VP for Symposium CAPT(Sel) Todd Vandegrift, LT Chris Robinson and his team. Well done! ‘Tis a season of change for the NHA National Staff. In our symposium issue of Rotor Review, we had a chance to say goodbye to Col(Ret) Howard Whitfield after 14 years of serving as our Executive

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

Director. His relief as Executive Director is CAPT(Ret) Bill Personius. Bill has been a longtime advocate of NHA and leader of the Naval Helicopter Historical Society. Also, Mrs. Kerri Dowling turned over her duties as Membership Coordinator to Mrs. Jen Cappalo. Kerri, thank you for your service to NHA! Later this summer, we will change over several other key active duty positions at NHA National and in the regions. There is never a better time to be involved in your organization.


In this issue, you will have the chance to see some of the highlights of the symposium and to see the winners of our annual photo contest. As we look forward to the fall, we are beginning to make plans for both the fall membership drive and the NHA Fleet Fly-In at Whiting Field from 28-31 OCT. Mark your calendars now. Enjoy your summer and as always, Fly Safe!

RADM Bill Shannon, USN ( Ret) NHA Chair m an

CAPT ( S e l ) B r a d l e y “ Weem an ” Gar ber, U SN NHA Pr es i dent

CAPT Bill Personius, U SN ( R et) N H A Ex ec uti v e D i r ec tor

C A P T M i c h a e l S t e ff a n , U SN N av al R es er v e D i r ec tor

AW C M D a v i d C r o s s a n , USN Seni o r N A C A d v i s o r

Executive Director Notes by CAP T B i l l P e r s o ni u s , U S N ( R e t )


ello from the Executive Director’s O f f i c e ! It’s been an exciting couple of months since the NHA Symposium in Norfolk, and let me once again give many thanks and accolades to all those that took part in the preparations and participated in this year’s events. First, I want to say a big Thank You to CDR Todd “TV” Vandergrift and his team of professionals on this year’s symposium committee for putting together an absolutely outstanding, professional and fun event. The venue, exhibitor display floor, Captains of Industry and Flag Panels, sporting events (Golf, Skeet, Fun-Run, and Aircrew Challenge), members reunion, awards lunch, and Tides baseball game were all outstanding events. I know everyone really enjoyed their time, as evidenced by the fact people are still talking about the events. I would also like to recognize something that was new and innovative to the symposium, which was the live-streaming of the symposium’s major events like the awards luncheon program, and Flag and Captains of Industry Panels. Videos from our website are available from the events for public viewing throughout the coming year. We hope this was money well spent for those people that were unable to attend the symposium and will be a great historical reference for future NHA members to remember the events of the 2014 NHA Symposium. The sweep-up from the symposium is still being finalized, however, the national office

is already starting the preparations and looking forward to the Fleet Fly-In Oct 28-31, 2014 at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. Howie Whitfield deserves my many thanks for his quality turnover and I wish him continued success in his retired years after what has been a long and successful career in the Marine Corps, at Sikorsky Aircraft, and for the last fourteen years as the NHA Executive Director. Howie - thank you for your service to the helicopter community. Smooth sailing in your retirement years! You earned it and deserve all the best. Next, I would like to officially recognize all the much-needed hard work and support NHA has received from our membership and symposium coordinator, Kerri Dowling. Kerri is leaving NHA to move to Japan with her husband, Mike, and their family, where Mike will be the Commander of the Mine Counter Measures Squadron in Sasebo, Japan. Kerri’s hard work has been instrumental in our execution of two NHA symposiums and we wish her a safe move and a successful tour of duty overseas. Kerri is being replaced by Jennifer Cappalo, who is married to LT Jeremy Cappalo, an FRS instructor at


HSC-3. Jennifer hails from San Diego and has worked as a substitute teacher at Coronado Middle School. She has also worked as a Booz Allen Hamilton consultant and for Northrop Grumman. We’d like to warmly welcome Jennifer to the NHA team and we look forward to the fresh ideas that she will bring to the organization. Next I’d also like to say thank you and farewell to CAPT (Sel) Brad Garber and his family as he moves on to his next assignment. Brad has done a great job as NHA National President and he is going to be missed. We wish you the best of luck in the future. Brad has just turned over on 2 July to CDR Brent “Hollywood” Gaut. Brent comes to us from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he completed the Senior Course and earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, graduating with distinction. Welcome aboard, Brent. We all look forward to working with you! Thanks again to the professionals on the east coast for a great Symposium! Onward and upward…keep your turns up. F r o m T h e O r g a n i z a t i o n co l u m n s w i l l c o n t i n u e o n p a ge 1 0 .

I n Our C o m m u n i ty NHA Scholarship Fund by C A P T P aul S t ev e n s , U SN (R e t)


reetings from the Scholarship Fund. As you may know, we completed another selection cycle and announced winners at the Norfolk NHA Awards Luncheon. If you missed NHA Awards, here is a little of what you missed as we announced these fine young military and civilian winners. We awarded 20 applicants scholarships totalling $36,000. Sixteen of those awardees were sourced from Navy Active Duty or their family members, two from the Marine Corps, and two from the Coast Guard. All had exceptional records of academic achievement, community service, and participation in extra curricular activities. For future applicants, all of our scholarships are meritbased and our Regional and

Headquarters’ Selection Committees place heavy emphasis on transcript GPAs, personal statement, letter(s) of recommendation and involvement in community service and / or extracurricular activities. The next cycle begins on 01 September and runs until 31 January. I’d like to again give special thanks to our corporate sponsors, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, DP Associates, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman for their yearly contributions which make many of our scholarships available. For all of those who donate through CFC, regional fundraisers, the Ream Memorial, the NHA Historical Society, and the Charles Kaman Charitable Trust, your donations round out funding for the 20 scholarships we gave out this year. Many thanks! Are you wondering how you can take part in this important work? For those in the San Diego area, you can join my scholarship executive committee to help us grow the fund and reach out to more eligible applicants. Volunteers are also needed in our NHA Regions to help in the scholarship selection process and in regional fundraising. If you are interested in serving,

email me at I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how important your donations are to the Fund. We are trying to put together a new memorial scholarship that recognizes those who lost their lives while flying on Active Duty. A perpetual scholarship of this type would nominally require about $40K to begin distributions. We are in our second year of getting donations for this effort, but much more is needed to make this scholarship a reality. As always, your contributions to this effort or to the general Scholarship Fund are tax deductible and much appreciated. Thank you to all those who are supporting “NHA’s most worthwhile endeavor.” Hold fast...

Naval Helicopter Association Historical Society


TO DONATE TO S C H OLA R S H IP FUND nhas c hol ar s hi pfund.or g/do n a t i o n s . h t ml

by C A P T B ill P er s on i u s , U S N (R e t)


t’s been a busy couple of months. We just returned from what was a very successful, professional, and fun NHA Symposium at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Norfolk, VA. The NHA Historical Society manned a booth again this year, and we actually shared the space with the Scholarship Fund as exhibit space was at a premium on the display floor. It was a great venue and we received a lot of exposure. Thank you to all of you who stopped by to see what we have to offer and share some time with us. We completed our helicopter pilot designation numbers database this year, and we are anxious to share this on the internet with you. However, we are still working on the final details to do that. We now have all of the rotary wing designation numbers for helicopter pilots back to the

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

first helicopter pilot. If you are interested in knowing your helicopter designation number, please email us and we will tell you your pilot designation number and refresh your memory concerning the names of those people who were wung with you. We also presented the Mark Starr Award to Captain Charlie Oakes and a Special Recognition Award to the Kenny Golden Family. Allin-all the symposium was well done, and it was a very worthwhile experience for everyone involved. We are looking forward to the next Fleet Fly-In in October. We also just received the last of the plaques from the Rufadora Helicopter Bar in the Philippines. We’re hoping to finish cataloging these items to be displayed electronically on the internet along with displaying them proudly in the passageways of building 654. stop over and


see us and check out the plaques! We have several other projects in work and will continue to press on with them. I am still the President of the NHA Historical Society and I have also taken on the responsibilities as the new Executive Director of NHA. If anyone out there is interested in being the President of the Historical Society, please let me know. I will continue to stay on the Board of Directors and be involved with the organization, however I feel that it would be best for someone else to take over the President’s responsibilities. Please continue to send us your sea stories, historical articles, biographies, to drop off your helicopter memorabilia, and to stay in touch. Keep your turns up.

C APT Paul Stev ens , U SN ( R et) Pr es i dent, N H A Sc hol ar s hi p F und

CAPT Bill Personius, U SN ( R et) Pr es i dent, N H A H i s tor i c al Soc i ety

CAPT George Galdorisi, U S N (R e t ) Author and R R C o l u mn i s t

A View From The Labs: Supporting The Fleet b y C A PT G eorge Gal dori si , U S N (R et)

Finding Out Where We Fit In


o what do we contribute as a Naval Rotary Wing Community? Where do we fit in? Why are we necessary? Fair questions all, and not likely ones that worry most of you wearing flight suits or supporting those who do. We know we are in high demand. As a community we’re building and fielding impressive numbers of new and highly-capable platforms and beginning to team them with great unmanned aerial systems. So why worry? There is no need to “worry” per se. And this is not designed to be an “alarmist” article. But from my perspective, the Naval Rotary Wing Community is so good at so many things we run the risk of spreading ourselves too thin and perhaps taking our eye off the ball. So every once in a while its worth stepping back and asking: What is it the nation must do to ensure its security and prosperity, and what must the U.S. military and U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to do support this? Asked another way, what is the most important mission we contribute to and what is the most “wicked hard” challenge facing the U.S. military in 2014 - what challenge are we most likely to face it in the near- and distant-future? From where I sit - especially from the perspective of dealing with new technologies at the Navy’s C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) Center of Excellence in Point Loma, the most demanding challenge the U.S. military faces today is the substantial - and growing - antiaccess/area denial (A2/AD) challenge posed by a number of nations in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. Understanding and articulating how the Naval Rotary Wing Community

supports that singular challenge is, for me, the most important pillar to our continuing viability. Fortunately, we don’t have to “noddle” too long to understand United States strategy to deal with this significant anti-access/area denial challenge. The Secretary of Defense has released the longawaited document, Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges. Issued by the OSD Air-Sea Battle Office which was created and staffed up with substantial fanfare, this document is the first unclassified, official document detailing how the United States will deal with extant – and emerging – antiaccess and area denial (A2/AD) challenges. There has been some criticism in the defense media that OSD has taken this long to issue Air-Sea Battle. However, given the classified nature of most military plans and operations, creating an unclassified paper that fairly summarizes the intent of classified documents is not a trivial undertaking. The cover of Air-Sea Battle conveys this clearly: “This document is an unclassified summary of the classified Air-Sea Battle Concept, version 9.0, dated May 12 and the Air-Sea Battle Master Implementation Plan (FY13), dated Sep 12.” The cover of this short (13page) paper reveals more. While the most prominent image on the cover is a futuristic looking logo of OSD’s Air-Sea Battle Office, above this logo, the seals of the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, and United States Air Force are prominently displayed – in that order. This is important and instructive as there has been intense discussion and dialogue in


the defense – and open – media that Air-Sea Battle was “all about the Navy and the Air Force,” or worse, merely “a strategy by the Navy and Air Force to garner a bigger slice of the defense budget.” That said, it is important to put aside this rhetoric for a moment and consider what Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges actually says. As one defense commentator put it: “Like the Holy Trinity or the designated hitter rule, the concept known as Air-Sea Battle has been much discussed but little understood.” Said another way, there has been vastly more heat than light regarding the Air-Sea Battle Concept, even though the notion was first surfaced over two decades ago by then-Commander James Stavridis (most recently the United States European Commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe and now the dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy). In his May 1992 National Defense University thesis, A New Air Sea Battle Concept: Integrated Strike Forces, he wrote: We need an air sea battle concept centered on an immediately deployable, highly capable, and fully integrated force – an Integrated Strike Force. As much as one document can, AirSea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges does, indeed, light a candle in the darkness and helps explain the details of this important concept. Importantly, this manuscript also In Our Community columns will continue on page 11.

From the Organization

From the Reserves

by CA P T M i c h a e l J . S t e ff e n , U S N


ooking through the Annual Photo Contest edition is both nostalgic and motivating. Our squadrons continue to operate in many of the same places as those before them, but with newer platforms and more advanced training. It also reminds me of how our reserve squadrons are integrated throughout the fleet in unique but complementary ways. From HSL-60’s role in pioneering nighttime airborne use of force in the counter-drug mission, to HSC-84 & 85’s enduring support to special operations, they work beside the active fleet on a daily basis to bring combat capability around the globe. Additionally, our squadron augment units at HSM-41 and HSC-3 assist in the delivery of this combat capability by helping to train the next generation of aviators, while also playing a critical role in firefighting and range support. But whether it’s an active or reserve squadron, looking through these pictures makes a person realize that rotary wing aviation is the most versatile community in all of Naval Aviation. Nowhere else can you sink a target, rescue the occupants, and still deliver mail and dinner….all from a single platform….maybe even in a single sortie!

Aircrewman’s Corner by AW C M D a v i d C r o s s a n , U S N


ellow Aircrew, This issue of Rotor Review includes many examples of what each of you contributes everyday to our communities. The Photo and Video Contest, in addition to the 2014 Symposium highlights, are small samples of your hard work, attention to detail, and successes. The Aircrew Competition was yet again another significant event at the symposium, along with the Senior Enlisted Panel, and a new forum established for our Rotary Wing Maintenance Professional Enlisted counterparts. It took a long list of dedicated, behind-the-scenes efforts to put it together. AWCM Mike Belt and his team of go-getters made it happen flawlessly. Our thanks to them – and the challenge will continue to meet or exceed that same level of successful achievement next year! Many behind-the-scenes efforts are what we benefit from within NHA. And so it’s worth mentioning (to say the least) - behind-the-scenes of NHA, some key personnel have changed. Col(Ret) Howard “Howie” Whitfield completed over 14 years of service to our organization, handing the reigns over to CAPT (Ret) Bill Personius as the Executive Director. Kerry Dowling has transitioned Membership and NHA Headquarters Office duties over to Jennifer Cappalo, as well as our Rotor Review Editor-in-Chief, LT Allison Fletcher, who is departing for new adventures. CDR Brad Garber will be departing as the NHA National President soon after his Change of Command, en route to his next duty assignment. All of these leaders have contributed greatly to NHA and will continue to do so through their NHA Membership. We hope to see them again and wish them the best in the future! So too comes a Lead Change to the National Senior Enlisted Aircrew Advisor seat as I’ve transitioned to working for the Region 3 President, CDR Michael Burd. AWCM Justin Tate is my successor, and we couldn’t be more fortunate in my personal opinion. Master Chief Tate is currently assigned to HSM-41 in San Diego, CA. He and I greatly enjoyed the 2014 NHA Symposium. As we participated in the many events, I could literally see his wheels turning toward the future and what is on the horizon. It’s been my distinct pleasure to serve at the National level of NHA, and I sincerely wish to say “thank you” for giving me the opportunity to do so. A few short years ago, an idea hatched by CAPT Bouvé, supported by the entire Board of Directors, Regional Leaders, and countless others was the establishment of the Senior Enlisted Aircrew Advisor group which has tremendously charged Enlisted Aircrew successes across the spectrum. Most importantly, our Enlisted Aircrew NHA Members have been instrumental in getting us where we are today. Your voice has mattered, and it will continue to do so. Keep the ideas and thoughts coming in! Master Chief Tate is ready for the challenge! As always - Fly Safe!

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C o n t i n u e d on pa ge 11

In Our Community Contin u ed f ro m p a g e 9

shows where Air-Sea Battle fits in the panoply of high-level United States strategic documents. A diagram of page 7 of the paper shows how this Air-Sea Battle Concept “flows” down from higher-level documents. Not surprisingly, this diagram depicts the 2012 Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense (otherwise known as the Defense Strategic Guidance) at the top. Flowing down from this are the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations and Joint Vision 2020. Next, is the Joint Operations Access Concept – the JOAC – and flowing down from the JOAC are Air-Sea Battle and Joint Concept for Entry Operations. Perhaps the most important linkage here is between the JOAC and ASB. As Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges clearly states: “At the next level, ASB supports JOAC by identifying more specific means and requirements by which the joint force may defeat those adversary threats in order to maintain freedom of action in the global commons.” With that as preamble, we can deep dive into Air-Sea Battle and begin to understand why the Department of Defense felt the need to issue yet another document given the sea of high-level strategic documents. The Foreword of Air-Sea Battle is perhaps the most instructive paragraph and explains the why behind it: From its inception, the U.S. military has continuously adapted itself to meet evolving threats. At its core, the Air- Sea Battle (ASB) Concept is about reducing risk and maintaining U.S. freedom of action and reflects the Services’ most recent efforts to improve U.S. capabilities. Similar to previous efforts, the Concept seeks to better integrate the Services in new and creative ways. It is a natural and deliberate evolution of U.S. power projection and a key support component of U.S. national security strategy for the 21st century. Given the subtitle of Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges, let alone the intense discourse about the terms Anti-Access & Area Denial (A2/

AD), this publication defines these terms for the first time in a widely-distributed official OSD document. It notes: • ANTI-ACCESS (A2) [is] Action intended to slow deployment of friendly forces into a theater or cause forces to operate from distances farther from the locus of conflict than they would otherwise prefer. A2 affects movement to a theater. • AREA-DENIAL (AD) [is] Action intended to impede friendly operations within areas where an adversary cannot or will not prevent access. AD affects maneuver within a theater. The Air-Sea Battle Concept, modeled after the Army-Air Force Air Land Battle Doctrine of a previous generation, has been heralded by some as the answer to compelling strategic and operational challenges facing the U.S. military today. Air-Land Battle was developed in the 1970s and 1980s to counter a Soviet backed combined arms attack in Europe. A key component of Air-Land Battle was the degradation of rear echelon forces before they could engage allied forces. This mission was largely assigned to the Air Force and led to unprecedented coordination between the Army and Air Force. The ASB Concept is similarly designed to attack-in-depth, but instead of focusing on the land domain from the air, the Concept describes integrated operations across all five domains (air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace) to create advantage. The ASB Concept further differentiates itself from its predecessor in that the ASB Concept also strives to protect our rear echelon across the same domains. This defensive aspect of ASB helps the Joint Force reduce risk in the face of increasingly longer range and more precise weapons which could affect U.S. space-based platforms, land forces, airbases, capital ships, and network infrastructure. The ASB Concept is a limited but critical, component in a spectrum of initiatives aimed at shaping the security environment. Similar to other concepts, ASB makes important contributions in both peace and war. The improved combat capabilities advocated by the concept may help shape the


decision calculus of potential aggressors. But to more-fully grasp the AirSea Battle Concept we need to understand why it took so long to evolve after thenCommander Jim Stavridis first teed up the concept over 20 years ago and why – and how – at the end of the last decade, the AirSea Battle Concept finally gained traction and took off on the rapid trajectory to the point where it is so important in the middle of 2014. The Air-Sea Battle Concept had antecedents in the Air-Land Battle Doctrine. Given that the 20th Century was essentially a European-focused period and the Cold War was a largely land-focused arena with the penultimate battleground the Fulda Gap, it is easy to see why the Air-Land Battle Doctrine was a natural response to the overwhelming Soviet forces in Central Europe. And today, with this century being widely-described as the “Asia-Pacific Century” and with the Pacific being a maritime theater, it is also readily seen how and why the AirSea Battle Concept was a natural – and necessary – concept. Reading high-level U.S. DoD documents that discuss the anti-access and area-denial challenges, from the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), to the Defense Strategic Guidance, to the Joint Operations Access Concept (JOAC), to Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges, as well as others, one can come away asking who these nations or threats are that generated the need for a concept like ASBC. Independent analysts have been less reticent in naming specific regional adversaries. Notably, two studies by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) highlight the efforts of China and Iran as catalysts behind the Air-Sea Battle Concept. As the first of these studies Why AirSea Battle, published in 2010, lays out, both nations are investing in capabilities to “raise precipitously over time – and perhaps prohibitively – the cost to the United States of projecting power into two areas of vital interest: the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf.” By adopting anti-access/area-denial capabilities, these potential adversaries seek to deny U.S forces the sanctuary of

forward bases, hold aircraft carriers and their air wings at risk, and cripple U.S. battle networks. In other words, strike at the weak point of U.S. power projection capability. To be effective, ASBC must change that through a combination of capabilities and operational warfighting. If it doesn’t, adversaries will still be able to deny access to US forces. In its second study, AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept, published later in 2010, CSBA analyzes possible options to counter the A2/AD threat posed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). First and foremost, CSBA argues, the AirSea Battle Concept should help “set the conditions” to retain a favorable military balance in the Western Pacific. By creating credible capabilities to defeat A2/AD threats, the U.S. can enhance stability in the Western Pacific and lower the possibility of escalation by deterring inclinations to challenge the U.S. or coerce regional allies. Air Sea Battle: A Point of Departure Operational Concept sums it up by noting, “The most important question proponents of the AirSea Battle Concept must answer is whether the concept would help to restore

and sustain a stable military balance in the Western Pacific.” That said, it is important to recognize that the ASBC is as much about developing credible combat power and the military doctrine to support it as it is about long term competition. Thus any concept must analyze the impact and strategic costs across the entire spectrum of the DOTMLPF in order to sustain and win the long-term competition with any peer or near-peer state. How this all plays out, and how it all fits together, how U.S. military forces are employed and coordinated, and ultimately, how much they cost will be the essential definition of the Air Sea Battle Concept of the 21st Century. Which brings us back to our community. Based on any likely combination of world events - even Black Swan events people may not anticipate - the A2/AD challenge the United States must contend with and the ASBC describing how the U.S. military will deal with this challenge are not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Framing our doctrine, technology, tactics, techniques and procedures and especially new platforms, systems, sensors and weapons in the

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


context of how they do - and will continue to - support the ASBC is one of the most important things we as a community can do. Let’s get the intellectual wheels turning! For those who want to Read More from the Air-Sea Battle: Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges document itself...


TO GO TO TH E P U B LICATI O N http://w w w.defens e.go v / p u b s / A S B C onc epti m pl em entati on- Su mma ry -Ma y -2 0 1 3 . pdf

Industry and Technology

Navy Weapons Program Delivers New Capability for H-60s Press Released by


Photo source and copyright: NAVAIR.

modernized rocket launcher will soon enable MH-60 Seahawk helicopters to carry and deploy a variety of weapons for the first time. As part of an Early Operational Capability (EOC), the Navy delivered the new system, called the Digital Rocket Launcher, to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 in March for pre-deployment training. DRL is the answer to an urgent operational needs statement (UONS) from the Navy, and its quick fleet deployment is the result of the hard work and cooperation of a number of program offices here at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), said CDR Alex Dutko, the Airborne Rockets and Pyrotechnics team lead for the Direct Time and Sensitive Strike Weapons program (PMA-242). Dutko’s team worked closely with the H-60 Multi-

Missions Helicopter Program (PMA-299) to deliver DRL to the fleet in less than 24 months. This new, “smart” launcher will first be integrated onto the MH-60S as part of a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC), and later, onto the MH-60R and potentially other platforms. “The fleet is very excited because this launcher will make an armed helo even more lethal than it already is,” said John Male, PMA-299’s Common Weapons lead. “The H-60 Sierra is already a significant threat, but the new launcher, and all that it brings, will allow the aircraft to engage a larger set of threats.” Though the helicopter can be equipped with a variety of other weapons systems, the DRL will permit employment of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS), Dutko said. A semi-active laser guidance section added to legacy rocket components, APKWS offers greater precision than the unguided rockets currently employed from helicopters.

Press Buttton to View the Video online

Fire Scout Operates Across the U.S., Overseas Press Released by


ith Fire Scout’s first deployment aboard a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) on the horizon, the Navy is now focused on increasing the capability of the unmanned helicopter for future operational missions. From conducting the first-ever cooperative operations with a manned helicopter aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1) in the Pacific Ocean to flying with a new, maritime search radar over the Chesapeake Bay, Fire Scout operations are underway in multiple locations across the U.S. and overseas. Since 2009, the MQ-8 Fire Scout has flown more than 11,000 operational hours, primarily in the Mediterranean, Afghanistan and Horn of Africa regions, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to operational forces.

Press Buttom to Read More online





30-41-54.8633N / 087-00-51.8640W

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Three MH-60R Flight Trainers In Service With U.S. Navy Press Released by Shepard News Team (


hree MH-60R tactical operational flight trainers (TOFT) built by CAE USA are now in service with the US Navy, having been declared ready-for-training. CAE announced the news on 18 June. The trainers are located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville; Naval Station (NS) Mayport; and Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), formerly Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay. All three MH-60R TOFTs are fixed-based simulators that are used to train pilots, co-pilots and sensor operators in the complete range of missions flown by the MH-60R helicopter.


Ray Duquette

President & General Manager CAE USA

e are pleased to continue our relationship with the US Navy on the MH-60 Seahawk program. The navy is increasingly leveraging synthetic training to costeffectively train and prepare aircrews for mission success, and CAE is honored to play a role in delivering the high-fidelity simulators required to meet their training requirements.

NAS Jacksonville’s Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT)

CAE also announced that it has recently delivered an MH-60R/S TOFT to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. The simulator is reconfigurable between the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopter platforms. According to the company, the simulator is currently undergoing installation and integration testing and will be readyfor-training later this summer. Read More CAE technical updates: press button on the right or go to

USS Coronado Completes Final Contract Trials Press Released by ASDNews (

Note: An update on USS Coronado’s progress with the final contract trials..


SS Coronado (LCS 4) successfully completed final contract trials (FCT) June 6. The trial, administered by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, is part of a series of post-delivery test and trial events through which the ship and its major systems are exercised. The four-day FCT began with pre-underway and material condition checks, followed by at-sea demonstrations. Trial highlights included combat systems air and surface detect-toengage scenarios, 57mm gun firing exercises, main propulsion full power and maneuvering testing, and launch and recovery of the 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat. Read More about USS Coronado by press button on the right.


NGC, U.S. Navy Conduct Successful Simultaneous Manned, Unmanned Helicopter Flight Tests Aboard LCS

Press Released by ASDNews (


orthrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Navy successfully flew the unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout simultaneously with the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter for the first time. The capability demonstrates how a mix of aircraft can increase a ship commander’s intelligence-gathering capabilities aboard the Littoral Combat Ship. The flight tests took place May 12, aboard the USS Freedom (LCS 1) off the coast of San Diego. Fire Scout complements the Seahawk because it can fly longer to maintain constant surveillance on a target or area of interest. “Utilizing the Fire Scout in operational maritime scenarios with manned aircraft will prove to be a unique asset to our fleet,” said CAPT Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager. “The sensors of the Fire Scout are providing complementary situational awareness and precision targeting support for the MH-60R Seahawk and Littoral Combat Ships.”

Note: Use link to see the video of the MQ-8B doing prep/launch/recovery on the back of the LCS

MQ-8B Fire Scout landing onboard USS Freedom.

Photo source and copyright: NAVAIR.

Scan Code to View the Video online

Sikorsky Challenges Kids to Create the Helicopter of the Future in Scholarship Competition Press Released by Sikorsky Aircraft (


or the fourth consecutive year, Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), is giving kids, ages 9 - 16, a chance to compete for a $1,000 scholarship through the Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Program and

Challenge. The national program, which challenges kids to design a Helicopter of the Future, kicked off June 1 and will run through September 30, 2014. Contestants will design a helicopter that addresses the potential challenges of 2050 and plan for how their Helicopters of the Future would overcome those challenges. The competition is part of Sikorsky’s commitment to encouraging hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for students throughout the country and gives the corporation an opportunity to develop long-term relationships with tomorrow’s engineers. “I’m thrilled to see the growing popularity of the program with children and adults alike,” said Judy Bankowski, vice president and chief information officer at Sikorsky. “Every year, we see more teachers using the Challenge for their after-school clubs, as part of their STEM programs, for class assignments and more. The kids love it and, clearly, parents and teachers are seeing the same value of the program on children’s education that we do.”

Scan Code to Read More online Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Anatomy of a SAR Case Article by LT David Birky, USCG


Coast Guard Helicopter 6023 landing on USS Ross (DDG 71) Photo courtesy of USS Ross Public Affairs


o there we were… feet up in Air Station Elizabeth City’s wardroom when the SAR line came to life shortly after 1900 on 13 January 2014. As is common practice, we listened in to the phone call between the Coast Guard Fifth District Command Center and our Operations Duty Officer. Normally we joke that the case will be “the big one,” but we didn’t know at the time that this case would actually turn into quite an effort. We caught enough details to ascertain that a disabled catamaran was approximately 300 NM east of Cape Charles, VA, and in need of some assistance. The four persons onboard wanted to be taken off their vessel but did not need to come off immediately. However, weather conditions were deteriorating and a rescue was imminent. The District Command Center was primarily concerned about a strong storm front moving in from the west. While the command center passed the nature of the distress, position, and other pertinent data, we put the call on mute and started our familiar routine of discussing fuel, ships in the local area, weather, offshore Warning Areas, and

other considerations for flying an MH-60T that far offshore. Working closely with U.S. Naval Fleet Forces, the Fifth District coordinated to have the USS Ross (DDG-71) meet us approximately 200 NM from shore so we could land, refuel and proceed to the position of the disabled vessel early the following morning. Without any other means of refueling, the DDG was our only shot. Our standard operating procedures for flying offshore include air cover from one of our co-located C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. After speaking with that crew, they worked their own preflight planning to ensure cover for us on the trip out and back. Approaching 2000 that night, we settled on a plan to launch early the following morning, as it would be before frontal passage at the sailboat and provide us with the best safety margin for an open water hoist. With the catamaran in good enough shape to ride out the night, we tried to get some sleep without much luck, as the mission weighed heavy on our minds. We were up shortly after 0500 and went to our Operations Center to hold a conference call with the Commanding Officer of the USS Ross.


We verified the ship’s position and ensured all fittings were the same for our fueling evolution. We would only have one chance and couldn’t afford to miss any details. Shortly thereafter, we lifted 21,000 pounds of helicopter off the deck and pointed her eastward for the transit out. The Hercules was airborne right after us and provided continuous weather and wind updates once we were over the water. We ended up at 6000 feet for the best tailwind on the trip out. The transit went smoothly. Once we hailed the Ross on the radio, their control tower informed us the deck was green and, with about 20 minutes out from landing, we prepared for the fueling evolution. Overhead of the DDG, we completed one pass to ensure everyone knew what the flight deck looked like and then completed our before landing checklist. On final approach, the flight mechanic conned us into the circle on deck for landing. After landing, the LSO sent the tie down crews out to secure us to the pitching deck, and then the fueling team rushed out to begin their operations.

We fueled the tanks to 5200 lbs, giving us With the gulf stream keeping the water many aspects of the mission. On scene with the Ross, just enough fuel to make it back to the beach a toasty 75 degrees, it made our decision much we landed and took on some more fuel. The crew of but keeping us light enough for safe single easier to have the survivors jump in. Any time we the Ross was gracious enough to let us get out and engine capability in case we lost an engine during have people jump into the water, we take on added stretch, use the head, and even gave our crew and the hoist. We intended to refuel again on the Ross risk because they are leaving a relatively stable thankful passengers hot food for the trip home. They on the return trip, but we plan for the worst case environment on a boat for one with much more risk. even presented our crew members with ship coins. and certainly did on this day since pitch and roll It was a calculated decision that worked well on this After we were complete with everything on deck, limits were questionable at best. The forty knot day. After deploying the swimmer, we positioned we lifted off and proceeded back to Elizabeth City. headwind on the return trip didn’t make us any ourselves downwind at what we thought would be We were confident that the worst was more comfortable. After the fueling was complete, the best rendezvous to meet them as they pushed behind us and we were on the home stetch. The we lifted off the deck and flew another 100 NM to through the wind and currents. Since our hoist is on only hurdle between us and home plate was the the last known position of the sailing vessel. the right side of the helicopter, we needed to create storm front, still marching eastward. Overhead, the Five hundred feet over the Atlantic and some space in-between us and the vessel to safely HC-130J was painting the worst cells on their color en route to the sailing vessel, we talked about the position ourselves. Once we saw the first survivor radar, relaying vectors to us, and we were doing the upcoming evolution. At our request, our Hercules enter the water with the rescue swimmer by his side, same. At first, we paralleled the front to avoid the cover aircraft flew ahead of us to locate the we gave it a few seconds to let both of them drift most intense bands in the storm. Every minute or so, vessel, give the sailboat a once-over, and brief the aft of the vessel. Our first recovery of the survivor we thought we saw an opening but time and again catamaran crewmembers on the rough plan for was via rescue basket. Our swimmer attempted to it closed on us. After searching for a hole for what hoisting since time was critical. As seemed like an eternity, we decided helicopter pilots, we strive to give that our only course of action was the folks being hoisted a briefing so to punch through it. We loaded one they know exactly what they need of our unit’s low-visibility routes to do as mariners and what we are that started at Oregon Inlet, NC, and going to do as the rescue helicopter. headed direct to the first waypoint. Looking for ways to conserve time, We were less than twenty-five miles the HC-130J located the vessel and from shore. We turned westward briefly talked to them about the and headed right into the storm. As evolution. As we were closer, the we approached the first band, the HC-130J entered a left hand orbit visibility started to decrease to the and placed the sailing vessel off point where we could not see the their left wingtip so we could easily radar dome in front of us. We still find them. The incessant white caps had slight visual with the water 300 Petty Officer John Knight of CG-6023 on the hook and being delivered made it difficult to spot the white feet below us, but it wasn’t much. We to the sailboat To Be Good Too. Photo courtesy of USS Ross Public Affairs. hull of the sailboat, but after a few were offshore, completely IMC with minutes, we had a visual. make his way back upwind and up swell to the boat, no clearance, and chuckled to ourselves that we were Once we spotted the vessel, we gave but with three more hoists to complete, we could on yet another average Coast Guard rescue. After the mariners another quick hoist briefing to clarify tell he was putting far too much energy into fighting ten minutes in some angry goo, we were through the evolution. A technique that pilots and crews the current. We then picked him up via the sling, the worst of the storm and visibility was improving, had been informally using was to direct one of the repositioned him upwind to repeat the first evolution, but a thick fog still obscured the surface. Regaining survivors to throw a seat cushion off the stern, so that and subsequent hoists were via Sling Augmented relatively good meteorological conditions, we we could accurately determine drift. This proved a Double Pickups (SADPUs) so we could reposition flew visually back to the airport and thankfully the valuable tool for the evolution since the current was the swimmer up swell after each hoist, saving time fog broke at the beach line at Elizabeth City. Once ninety degrees off of the forty knot winds. Once and preserving our swimmer’s strength. on deck, the Red Cross was there to assist the the checklists were complete, we came into a 50 We completed all of the hoists in quick survivors. foot hover downwind and determined that hoisting time and readied the cabin for the long trip home. Overall, this was a complex and directly to the catamaran was too risky due the Now we faced 300 NM of open ocean between us challenging case that highlighted our unique mast and rigging, so we opted to deploy our rescue and Elizabeth City with forty knot headwinds and capabilities in terms of search and rescue. In addition swimmer to the water. The plan was for him to enter unknown conditions back on Ross for the much- to cover from our Hercules aircraft, the assistance the water upwind and up swell of the vessel so he anticipated brief stop for fuel. from USS Ross proved invaluable. We simply could could easily swim to the vessel with the current and Once we were at a safe altitude and airspeed not have prosecuted this case without their support. wind in his favor. Once in the water, he made his pointed westward, we requested the HC-130J to tell The USS Ross went above and beyond in assisting way through the twelve foot seas over to the boat. the Ross that we en route to their position. Twenty the crew in saving four lives. Thank you to the USS Pulling himself aboard the pitching catamaran, the minutes later, the HC-130J relayed a green deck and Ross for the fuel and lunches (the Philly cheese swimmer briefed the survivors on what to do. One we called thirty minutes out from landing. From our steak was amazing) and the Coast Guard Fifth person would jump at a time into the water with the cramped cockpit, it was a great feeling to know that District Command Center for coordinating with the swimmer and we would hoist them from the water. the ship was waiting for us. The Hercules is usually distressed mariners and fleet forces. As always, this We figured this gave us the greatest safety margin there in case something goes wrong for us, but in was a total team effort. for the entire evolution. this case, they were instrumental in coordinating

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14



Osprey Squadron Operates Simultaneously Across Four Nations, Thousands of Miles Article by Capt Caleb Eames, USMC

far as planning for what types of n a single day in February, maintenance we a squadron of 12 Ospreys might have to do operates across nearly 2,500 while deployed from miles, in four nations in the Asia-Pacific away Okinawa,” said region, bringing tremendous capability Brown. “With and crisis response preparedness for only a certain of the United States in this region. And number specific skill sets that type of distributed operations in the squadron, is becoming fairly common for the a limited number Osprey squadrons based in Okinawa. of specialized maintainers, we have to plan “With the strategic reach of the carefully to keep all of our assets Osprey comes the need to prepare and in top shape. But our team comes plan for more than was necessary in together and makes it happen every previous years before the Marine day.” medium rotary-wing squadrons With multiple simultaneous replaced their previous helicopters operations in Okinawa, Singapore, with the Osprey,” said LtCol Larry Philippines and Thailand, Marines Brown, the commanding officer of of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron- Squadron 262 have a lot to keep up 262, known as the Flying Tigers. with, teamwork and communication “As the Ospreys have replaced are vital to success. Simply keeping the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters the daily schedule of a single unit world-wide, the Ospreys have a spread across four time zones is greatly increased range among a complex task, with schedulers other benefits, and additional pulling information from multiple considerations have arisen due to locations in order to get a clear the capabilities the newer aircraft picture of what the squadron’s daily bring,” Brown continued. assignments are. As an example, in mid“Depending on how many February, with multiple simultaneous aircraft we send to a mission, we operations in Okinawa, Singapore, have to have individual Marines Philippines and Thailand, Marines with qualifications to perform of VMM-262 have a lot to keep up certain types of maintenance,” said with. With three of the MV-22B Sgt Clark A. Justice, a collateral Ospreys at the Singapore Air Show, duty inspector, originally from 2,500 miles from their home base at Naples, FL. “You also have to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, have the right amount of Marine in Okinawa, Japan, Brown must track maintainers, and all the necessary and manage all daily requirements ground support equipment and tools and tasks of the other nine aircraft to complete the maintenance at a in three other countries from afar. distant location. Making sure that One of the most critical areas he happens when we are operating in considers daily is maintenance. “We many countries at the same time is really have to be on our toes as something the leadership constantly



evaluates and plans for our success as a squadron. It is teamwork at its best.” On any given day, the squadron might be operating in any number of nations in the Asia-Pacific region at the same time, and that means distributed operations across many thousands of miles are fairly common. Ospreys based in Okinawa have already operated as far north as the Republic of Korea, and as far south as Australia, covering combined distances of 5,000 miles or more between two continents. “Based on our schedule, distances between detachments, and other planning factors, we think that our maintenance laydown looks quite a bit like fixed wing squadrons,” said Brown. “We need to consider ourselves a squadron of high-performance, long-range aircraft, instead of thinking about ourselves with the older helicopter models that preceded us.” VMM-262 is at the Singapore Air Show, the largest defense exhibition in Asia, in order to showcase the capabilities of the MV-22 Osprey to the gathered international audience, including military and defense officials. The Singapore Air Show promotes interoperability among participating nations, and represents an opportunity to engage nations in the region with military-to-military discussions. The U.S. is the feature nation this year, and this is the first time Ospreys have appeared at the Singapore Air Show. VMM-262 is part of Marine Air Group 36, 1st Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

SO OTHERS MAY LIVE (SOML) Racing Article by AW2 Benjamin Dillion, USN


e have donated $1500 to local fundraisers and national charities through the sale of our SOML Racing merchandise. Recipients have included the Wounded Warrior Project, Blazeman Foundation for ALS, and the MS Society. SOML Racing has also sponsored deserving athletes with racing kits for competitions.


SOML Racing Group

eatured last year as one of our sponsors for the NHA SAR Competition, SOML Racing has generated positive momentum within the helicopter rescue community and has big plans for the future! SOML Racing was created by Aviation Rescue Swimmer Instructors Tom Frawley, Eric Veditz, and John Herrman while stationed in Pensacola, Florida just two

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


short years ago as a way to get fellow swimmers into endurance racing. We are currently in the final stages of approval as a Non-Profit 501(c) 3 organization that will not only allow us to support the military community, but to also provide support to the local communities where we serve. Since our inception, we have been able to donate $1500 through the sale of our SOML Racing merchandise, which was donated to local fundraisers and national charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Blazeman Foundation for ALS, and MS Society. SOML Racing has sponsored deserving athletes with racing kits for the sports they are competing in. Lastly, SOML Racing has partnered with several Pensacola area road races to include the inaugural Blue Angels Rock N Fly Half Marathon/5k and T-6 Texan Trot 5k to increase our visibility as an endurance racing club in the racing circuit. SOML Racing’s long term goals include: establish a top-notch multi-sport racing organization, host charitable sporting and social events, and start a SOML Racing foundation to benefit the Aircrew/ Rescue Swimmer community.

A Fistful of Maintenance Schedules

There I Was

Reprinted from the Coast Guard District Eight “Heartland” Blog

Coast Guard aviation maintenance technicians and avionics electricians perform routine maintenance on an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Air Station New Orleans


staggering amount of maintenance hours goes into ensuring those flights happen. “ L a s t year, our guys put in about 4,900 scheduled labor hours to keep aircraft up to date on normal scheduled maintenance to make sure everything was operating properly,” said Williams. “In addition to that, we had around 7,500 maintenance labor hours associated with fixing things that came back from flights that were broken.” For the average person, maintenance means an oil change every 3,000 miles. Yet the average person doesn’t purposely drive their car into the most mechanically detrimental environment on a daily basis either.

hanks to an attention to detail that would rival Stanley Kubrick at his most meticulous and a borderline obsessive-compulsive adherence to maintenance schedules, the crewmembers of Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans keep their helicopters mission-ready through a constant cycle of up-keep. In the life-saving business, you are only as good as the machines that carry you. LT Richard Williams, assistant engineering officer at Air Station New Orleans, said one of the main priorities of the air station is keeping two helicopters ready to fly, 24/7, 365 days a year. In 2013, the air station flew approximately 850 search-and-rescue hours. Even to the mechanically uninitiated, that seems like a staggering amount of flight hours, and an equally


Salt is the bane of maintenance aircrews Coast Guard wide. “Corrosion is a big enemy to aviation in general,” said Williams. “Our aircraft are designed to prevent it through several ways: we use corrosion resistant paint, we make sure we wash our aircraft after every flight, and we maintain certain requirements to make sure that the washes are as effective as possible. We stay proactive in regards to corrosion; that way our helicopters will stay an asset to the Coast Guard for a longer period of time.” Hearing the rotors roaring to sonic life, seeing the helicopter rising up from the landing strip and taking off into the sky, it really gets the old blood pumping. Goosebumps start prickling your skin. “The Ride of the Valkyries” starts playing on your mental playlist, and you stand in awe of these beautiful machines that are no respecters of gravity and are made for one purpose: saving human life.

“Maintenance is one of those things that isn’t an option; it keeps our aircraft flying,” said Williams. “Properly run maintenance programs are what keep aircraft available to do the mission. Without that, you wouldn’t have an asset to go out there and perform the great work that our pilots and crewman do with search and rescue.” So if you ever find the water up to your neck, and you see an orange speck in the distance slowly take the shape of a Coast Guard helicopter, remember that every single day of the year, someone is doing something monotonous and routine and repetitive to ensure that helicopter is out there. It’s a job that has to be done. It’s a job that saves lives.

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


There I Was

Oso Landslide

Article by LT Rob Merin, USN Photos courtesy of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Firefighter Kevin Paggao


arch 22nd, 2014 started out like any other weekend duty day. It quickly changed with a high-pitched tone from my pager. I had just returned home from the weekend Alert 60 Search and Rescue (SAR) brief and preflight. I was making myself lunch when my pager went off at 1115. I hadn’t been launched on a mission yet during my time at NAS Whidbey Island, so the only page I had received prior to this was the daily pager check at 1800. It was a “222” page, indicating an overland rescue. I called LCDR David “Ponch” Waner, who was serving as SAR Mission Commander (SMC) for our crew and he informed me that we were being launched in response to a report of people trapped in a mudslide and avalanche in the area of Darrington, WA. I threw on my flight suit and headed back to base. I arrived at the hangar and found our Crew Chief AWS2 Dave Scott, Helicopter Inland Rescue Crewman (HIRA) AWSC Rich Andraschko, and SAR Medical Technician (SMT) HM2 Brent McIntyre preparing the aircraft. They had already started loading extra gear into the aircraft and prepared to move our duty MH-60S, Firewood 75, out of the hangar. Once LCDR Waner arrived, we moved the aircraft and I began running through start checks while LCDR Waner worked on clarifying the mission details. At 1215, we were airborne expediting to Darrington with the call sign Rescue 75. Darrington is approximately 42 miles from NAS Whidbey, tucked into a valley at the beginning of the Cascade Mountain Range. Based on the initial report of a mudslide and avalanche, we were expecting a higher elevation for the mission due to the fact that the lowest areas of snow were located above 4000 feet. As we headed down the valley over State Route 530, we noticed emergency vehicles and our crewman spotted several helicopters, all well west of Darrington. We continued to fly east toward Darrington when we cleared a ridgeline and finally saw what we were actually facing. The entire half of a ridge had dropped down into the valley, stopping the Stillaguamish River and wiping out everything in its way. At the time we didn’t have an appreciation for the devastation that it had brought, we never could have guessed that several neighborhoods had once existed in the field of mud and trees we were seeing.


The scene was somewhat chaotic and we decided to land and form a plan with the emergency crews on the ground. We conducted SWEEP checks and set up to land on the eastern side of the slide area. As we set up for the approach, our crewmen spotted a man signaling for help, from a rooftop at the southern end of the debris field. LCDR Waner waved off and we flew over the house, the man on top was using pieces of home insulation to signal for help. I positioned the aircraft close to the house and the man signaled that multiple people were trapped in the house. The decision was made to insert our SMT to evaluate the survivors and I slid the aircraft over the house as AWS2 Scott hoisted HM2 McIntyre onto the rooftop. Once he had conducted an initial evaluation, HM2 saw the need for immediate assistance to free two trapped survivors. This was relayed to us and we landed in the southeast LZ to request assistance from local civilian fire fighters. Scott returned to the aircraft with three firefighters and gear in tow shortly after. After picking up help, we returned to HM2’s location. The area was full of debris and offered no level areas to land. As a crew, we decided that a onewheel landing was our best option. It ended up being the first of many one-wheel landings conducted that

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There I Was day. After inserting AWSC, the firefighters, and the rescue litter, we resumed our search of the landslide area. While HM2, AWSC, and the three firefighters worked on the ground, we began a low aerial search of the debris field. Almost immediately, AWS2 Scott spotted a group of survivors in the debris. We flew over them and he reported that he saw three individuals and thought one might be deceased. Our crewmen’s decision to take the rescue basket turned out to be very prescient; Scott set it up in the cabin as I prepared to make an approach to the survivors. They were located in an area of the slide that was surrounded on three sides by trees. Our crew chief carefully talked me into the zone and positioned the helicopter clear of obstacles. As we came into the hover, large clouds of white insulation filled the air and started to circulate inside the aircraft, making things even more difficult. AWS2 directed one of the survivors into the basket and raised him into the aircraft. Once he had the survivor on board, he learned that the other two men on the ground were injured but alive. He then lowered the man back down to aid in loading the most severely injured man into the basket. After getting the most severely injured man onboard, AWS2 informed us that he was critical and needed immediate medical attention. AWS2 Scott directed me out of the zone and LCDR Waner took controls and flew us to the field we had initially landed in. After landing, AWS2 transferred the critical survivor to the care of a waiting Airlift NW helicopter for transport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Once AWS2 was back onboard we returned to the two survivors we had left behind, recovering both via the rescue basket. With the two survivors onboard, we returned to our previous landing zone and transferred them for further medical care. We then continued our search of the slide area until we were called off by AWSC; he informed us that they had one patient ready for pickup. We came into a high hover over the survivor and hoisted his litter onboard. I could hear him screaming in pain, as AWS2 positioned him in the cabin and began to care for him. No Airlift NW aircraft were available for transport, so we departed the area and took the survivor to Skagit Regional Hospital. After transferring the survivor to the hospital, we departed and returned to NAS Whidbey Island to refuel. While fueling, AWS2 coordinated with NAS Whidbey’s Federal Fire Department and arranged for three firefighters to accompany us back to Oso. We returned to Oso and conducted a one-wheel landing to insert the firefighters and their equipment. We learned that while we were away, our ground crew had extricated, packaged, and hoisted a patient to a Snohomish County rescue helicopter. The firefighters brought extraction equipment with them and were critical in aiding Chief Andraschko and HM2 McIntyre


on the ground as they worked to free two more survivors from a different debris pile. After the first survivor was extracted with the help of the Federal Firefighters, AWSC called us in to hoist out the litter. Utilizing a high hover to provide rotor clearance, AWS2 directed the aircraft into position. Once recovered, we transported the survivor to the hospital and returned in time to hoist out the second survivor that was in that debris pile. We dropped the second survivor off for transport by a waiting MEDEVAC helicopter and returned to pick up our crewmembers and firefighters. At this point no further tasking existed for us. We returned home, extremely exhausted but high on adrenaline. After reflecting on the events of the day, it became clear to me that our training and professionalism as a unit had allowed us to be successful. The Firewood 75 crew had rescued seven people from the landslide. Unfortunately, no other survivors were found after that day. Our entire crew is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to use our skills to save the lives that we did, but we will always wish that we could have done more. We will never forget Oso: the lives saved, the 41 lives that were lost, and the two that are still missing from that day.

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


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Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14



Sophia Jablonski 2014 Sikorsky Recipient

Florida State Univerisity Business

Hannah Bruening

Caroline Filan

2014 Lockheed Martin Recipient

2014 L3 Comms / D.P. Assoiates Recipient

Univerisity of Notre Dame Business

Kristjana McCarthy

Fordham Univerisity Biology

2014 Raytheon Recipient

Darthmouth College Biomedical Engineering

Annelisse Miller

2014 Northrop Grumman Recipient

Univerisity of Central Florida Health Service Administration


Robert Weissenfels NHA Region ONE Recipient

Matthew Pierce

NHA Region TWO Recipient

Norwich Univerisity Claremont McKenna College Studies in War and Peace Neuroscience

Molly Undersander

NHA Region THREE Recipient

Roland Dewgard

NHA Region FOUR Recipient

Univerisity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Mechanical Engineering

Univerisity of NebraskaLincoln Geology / Music

Leslie Nelson

NHA Region FIVE Recipient

North Carolina State Univerisity Religious Studies


Joanne Ducot

Christina Labows

University of California - Irvine Film and Media Studies

Swarthmore College Biology

Ream Family Memorial Recipient

Charles Kaman Memorial Recipient

AWRC Quentin Myrick

Connor Rogers

Mort McCarthy Memorial Recipient

University of Florida Industrial & Systems Engineering

Mark Starr Recipient

Ashford University Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Atlee Ahern

Graduate Recipient

Florida State University Dual Major in Political Science and International Affairs

Pettty Officer Edwin Latrell Active Duty Undergraduate Recipient (not pictured)

Samantha James

President’s Graduate Recipient

Colorado State University Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine

LCDR Ben Walton

Active Duty Graduate Recipient

Marylhurst University Business Administration

LT Allyson Scholl Walther

Active Duty Graduate Recipient


YN1(AW) Konstantine Rudenko

Active Duty Undergraduate Recipient Navy Academy Preparatory School


Rotorcraft Pioneers, H. Franklin Gregory: Part Two Article by CAPT Vincent C. Secades, USN (Ret)

On 7 July 1942, General Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces, visited Wright Field to witness a demonstration of the XR-4. Gregory put the helicopter through its paces for Arnold’s benefit. The General was greatly impressed. Soon thereafter he gave the go ahead to the Matériel Command to procure the new and larger helicopter, the R-5, “right from the drawings, if necessary.” Undoubtly, Gregory’s flight demonstration had cemented Arnold’s faith in the future of the helicopter. On 24 July 1942, the XR-4 logged its 100th flight hour. The Commanding General of the Matériel Center, Brigadier General Arthur W. Vanaman, sent the following wire to Igor Sikorsky:

Colonel Frank Gregory at the controls of the XR-4.


art one of this article left us at the point when Lieutenant Colonel Frank Gregory, most impressed by the highly successful demonstration of the capabilities of the XR-4 at the Sikorsky plant on 20 April 1942, recommended to the Army that helicopter development be continued on a much larger scale. By the spring of 1942 the development of the XR-4 at Bridgeport had reached the stage at which Sikorsky was ready to turn the new helicopter over to the Army for test and evaluation. The XR-4 was ferried from Stratford, Connecticut to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in May 1942. Les Morris was the pilot. The flight departed on the 13th and arrived on the 17th. It covered 761 miles, requiring fifteen refueling stops along the way. The Army officially accepted the XR-4 on 30 May 1942. At Wright Field, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Gregory would put the new helicopter through a stringent test program. He was not only the Test Director, but also the test pilot. The planned test program included: service ceiling test, endurance flights, speed calibrations, power calibration, maneuverability trials, controllability tests, and mission capabilities trials. Early in the program, Gregory began to test the helicopter’s capabilities as a bomber. The craft was fitted with a rack for five 25 lbs bombs and a rudimentary bombsight. With the aid of a “bombardier,” Gregory practiced dropping 25 lbs dummy bombs on the silhouette of a submarine painted on a corner of the field. The series of tests showed that a bombing run at about 40 mph produced the most accurate submarine targeting. It is ironic that at a time when the Navy was still showing very little interest in developing the helicopter to perform naval missions, the Army was already testing its first helicopter prototype in the anti-submarine warfare role.

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Today the xr-4 passed the one hundred hour mark and completed the primary training of five air force officers two of whom soloed this morning. Few experimental aircraft have accomplished such a record in the short space of two months. I extend my sincere congratulations to you and the members of your organization who took part in making this possible. The xr-4 is indeed proving its mettle. A few days later Major General James H. Doolittle, fresh back from the Tokyo raid, went to Wright Field to learn about the XR-4. Gregory took him on a flight. At one point, Doolittle took the controls and was able to fly to aircraft very well. When he landed, he asked Gregory when the Army would get more helicopters. He wanted some. They would be “useful to evacuate wounded, to transport key personnel, and to supply isolated units,” he told Gregory. In August, the XR-4 was equipped with pontoons, and Gregory tested it in a lake behind the Huffman Dam near Dayton, and later on Lake Erie. The pontoons tests were very satisfactory. On 5 January 1943, the XR-4 had completed its tests. Based on the results, the Army urged Sikorsky to expedite the production of the YR-4, of which 29 had been ordered. At last, Frank Gregory was seeing his efforts crowned with rotund success; the U.S. Army was going into the helicopter business on a large scale. Since the beginning of World War II, the stream of tankers, cargo, and other ships crossing the North Atlantic had become the biggest and more important supply line to support the Allied war effort in Europe. Thus, Germany was

Historical giving top priority to its interdiction. German submarines were wrecking havoc, taking a savage toll on U.S. and Allied ships making the crossing. Finally, after much hesitation, on 4 May 1943, the Combined Board for the Evaluation of the Ship-Based Helicopter in Antisubmarine Warfare was created with representatives of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, the U.S. Army Air Forces, the Maritime Commission, the War Shipping Administration, the Bureau of Aeronautics, the U.S. Coast Guard, the British Admiralty, the Royal Air Force, and NACA. On 6 and 7 May, the first American tests of a helicopter aboard a ship at sea took place in the Long Island Sound. Lieutenant Colonel Gregory was tasked with the mission to demonstrate the capabilities of the XR-4 to operate from the improvised flight deck installed aboard the War Shipping Administration’s tanker SS Bunker Hill. The XR-4 had been returned to the Sikorsky plant to be refitted with a new set of slightly longer rotor blades and a more powerful engine. She was also fitted with rubberized floats. These floats provided for safe water landings, but they induced undesirable bouncing when landing on a deck. The ship’s flight deck was 78 feet long by 60 feet wide, with a fifty-foot square painted on it. An eight-foot white bull’s-eye marked the center of the square. The XR-4, with its thirty-eight-foot main rotor disc and another twelve feet to the aft edge of the tail rotor disc, fitted exactly on the square. The deck was amidships, with a tall mast behind and the pilothouse in front. Thus, all approaches and departures had to be side-on. On the 6 of May, the wind was calm and the sea flat. Gregory took-off from the Sikorsky plant in Bridgeport and landed on the ship at anchor in the sound nearby. The ship got underway as soon as the helo was shut down and secured. With Bunker Hill moving at five knots, Gregory launched again. That day he completed about twelve take-offs and

landings, with the ship moving at five, seven-and-one-half, ten, and fifteen knots. On the second day, 7 May, Gregory launched in the morning from the Sikorsky plant and flew to the ship underway in the sound. With a large crowd of government officials observing from the pilothouse gallery, Gregory orbited the ship and landed in the water a few hundred feet away. He then took-off again and landed aboard. That day Gregory made take-offs and landings from every direction, with the ship going downwind, upwind, and crosswind at various speeds. At the end of the demonstration, Gregory shuttled several officials, one at a time, back to shore before quitting for the day. A few days later, Rear Admiral Howard L. Vickery, Vice-Chairman of the Maritime Commission and Deputy War Shipping Administrator, issued the following statement: “Under the circumstances existing at the time of the demonstration of helicopters’ ability to take-off and land on the deck of tankers, the United States Maritime Commission and the War Shipping Administration believe that the feasibility of the operation has been sufficiently proved. These agencies are now preparing plans for a small deck to be installed on Liberty Ships without interfering with cargo arrangement which will permit to be used at sea, thus giving the ships added protection against submarines.” The Bunker Hill demonstration had served its purpose. However, Gregory was convinced that the location of the helicopter deck should be on the stern of the ship. He would soon have the opportunity to test his theory. Early in May 1943, Colonel Gregory, accompanied by Major Leslie B. Cooper, traveled to the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut to accept the XR-4, which had completed its refitting, and the first YR-4 out of the assembly line, ready to be delivered to the Army. Their mission was to fly the two birds to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, to undergo a few days of


service testing with the Army Signal Corps. Afterwards, they would fly the helos to Washington, D.C., to take part in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the airmail service in the U.S., scheduled for 16 May. After completing the tests at Fort Monmouth, they departed on 15 May and headed for the nation’s capital. Their course took them over the Platt-LePage Aircraft plant at Eddystone, Pennsylvania. As they over flew the plant, they observed that the XR-1 was airborne near the ground. Gregory could not resist the temptation. The two Sikorsky helicopters descended and landed at Eddystone. Lou Leavitt was testing the XR-1 in a hover over the field. Everybody in the plant, including Havilland Platt and Laurence LePage, came out to see the Sikorsky helicopters. In his conversation with Gregory, LePage explained that Leavitt was still reluctant to test the XR-1 in forward flight. Leavitt feared that the craft would go out of control as it gained forward speed. LePage was sure that what Leavitt was experiencing was a normal flight characteristic of the side-byside twin-rotor configuration, which in forward flight behaved much like a high aspect ratio fixed wing. A few weeks later, on 9 June 1943, Gregory returned to Eddystone. He was determined to end the impasse in the progress of the XR-1 flighttesting. He told LePage that, as project manager, he was authorized to test the XR-1 himself. LePage was in complete agreement. Gregory took the XR-1 up and proceeded to fly around the field at speeds nearing 100 mph. He proved LePage right in this assessment. Leavitt resigned as Platt-LePage test pilot and left the company. Unfortunately, on 4 July 1943 the XR-1 suffered a serious accident that set its test and development back significantly. In June of 1943, Colonel Gregory met with Brigadier General John W. Franklin, Army Transportation Corps. Their task was to plan the next step in the

testing of the helicopter as an ASW asset embarked aboard ships at sea. The ship selected was the luxury liner James Parker, which had been refitted as a troops transport when the U.S. entered the war. The ship was at the New York shipyard being fitted with a small square deck, 40 feet by 40 feet, over the stern, the location that Gregory had recommended as the most appropriate for a helicopter flight deck. When Gregory went to the yard to inspect the work, he discovered that two large king posts butting the forward edge of the deck made it unusable. Since the king posts could not be removed, the solution was to extend the platform another twenty feet aft over the stern. Besides Colonel Gregory, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Cooper, Lieutenant Harold H. Hermes, and Lieutenant Frank W. Peterson would fly the helos during the shipboard tests. Only Gregory had any prior experience in at-sea flight operations. In fact, Hermes and Peterson had just finished their helicopter training at the Sikorsky plant. On 5 July 1943, the day after the XR-1 crash at Eddystone, two Sikorsky helicopters, the XR-4 flown by Cooper and the YR-4 flown by Peterson, flew over New York Harbor and landed aboard the James Parker, still dockside. The next day, 6 July, the ship got underway. Since Cooper, Hermes, and Peterson had no shipboard experience, the ship dropped anchor in the harbor to allow them to practice take-offs and landings under calm sea conditions. That evening a large number of government officials came aboard, including CDR James S. Russell representing BuAer (Bureau of Aeronautics), to observe the trials. Next morning the ship got underway at 06:00. Flight operations began immediately to give the pilots the opportunity to practice take-offs and landings underway while still in calm waters. As the ship sailed into the open ocean, the pilots had to learn to cope with its roll and pitch excursions, and with more turbulent winds across the deck. Flight operations continued for two days, 7 and 8 July. The pilots

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completed 162 take-offs and landings in about twenty hours of flight time, in weather varying from unlimited ceiling and visibility to 200 feet ceiling and half a mile visibility. The ship generated winds over the deck from all directions with velocities from calm to forty mph. The rolls varied from zero to ten degrees. In the afternoon of 8 July, Cooper, Hermes, and Peterson flew the two helicopters back to the Sikorsky plant. The James Parker strenuous tests had made helicopter aeronautical history. As soon as the XR-4, early in its flight-testing, began to show promise of becoming a successful helicopter, the Army Air Forces began to formulate plans for a new helicopter that would meet its requirements for a better air reconnaissance aircraft. As early as February 1942, Gregory and the staff of the Matériel Command Helicopter Project Office began planning the acquisition of a larger helicopter with the performance capabilities needed as an observation aircraft. They designated it the XR-5. On 8 May 1942, Gregory sent a letter to Brigadier General Oliver P. Echols, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces Matériel Command, requesting authority for the procurement of two prototypes of the VS-327, the new helicopter design that was then on the drawing board at Vought-Sikorsky. On 14 August 1942, Gregory and a group of officers representing the Matériel Command, the Navy, and the British Air Commission visited the Sikorsky plant to examine a full-scale mock-up of the XR-5. As its design advanced, the XR-5 evolved from an observation vehicle to an all-purpose helicopter. Eight months later, in July 1943, the first XR-5 prototype rolled out of the shop. With Les Morris at the controls, the craft was first tested on 18 August 1943. As it was the case with every new helicopter development, numerous controls problems had to be worked out. On 11 October 1943, Colonel Gregory flew the XR-5 for the first time. The next day, 12 October, Igor Sikorsky’s nephew Jim Viner was flight-testing the XR-5 when it suffered a tail rotor


failure. The craft was damaged in the ensuing hard landing and roll over. Flight-testing continued on 25 November using the second XR-5 prototype produced. Soon the various control issues were resolved. The Army accepted the XR-5 on 22 February 1944. The YR-5 entered production soon thereafter. In parallel with the development of the XR-5, Gregory’s office was formulating plans for another helicopter that would be a follow-up to the R-4 design. The initial concept was to take a YR-4, fit it with a more powerful engine, and implement various airframe changes to improve its performance. Soon those plans were abandoned, but the idea of obtaining a more capable small helicopter remained alive. On 16 September 1942, Gregory sent to his superiors the recommendation to procure four XR-6 helicopters. The new craft would be a two-place sideby-side small helicopter powered by a Lycoming 225 hp engine. Gregory had to go on a tour of Army air bases, hosting a British mission visiting the U.S. In his absence, the Matériel Command rejected his proposal. Upon returning, Gregory found an ally in the Navy. He met with CDR Morton K. Fleming, from BuAer. The Navy had requested four YR-4s to be used in the anti-submarine role as ship-based scouts. Gregory convinced Fleming that the XR-6 would be a better craft to perform the naval mission. The Navy agreed to share with the Army the cost of five XR-6 prototypes. Three would go to the Navy and two to the Army. The Matériel Command issued Sikorsky a fixed-fee-plus-cost contract. The XR-6 mock-up was ready in December 1942. The first prototype rolled out in September 1943. It was powered by a Franklin six-cylinder opposed 245 hp engine. It could fly at speeds of over 100 mph and had an endurance of five hours. The XR-6 made its first test flight on 15 October 1943. Initially, it encountered serious control problems. Gregory flew it first on 27 November 1943. By January 1944, the XR-6 was flying much better. On 2 March

Historical 1944, Colonel Gregory flew a XR-6 non-stop from Washington National Airport to Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio, a distance of 387 miles. His passenger was Ralph Alex, the lead engineer in the XR-6 project. The flight took four hours and fifty-five minutes, bucking head winds of up to 30 mph. With this flight, Gregory established three helicopter world records: the longest non-stop flight; the longest time airborne; and the fastest speed. While Gregory’s helicopter acquisition programs at the Sikorsky factory were progressing satisfactorily, Platt-LePage was still making very slow progress. Their first prototype, the XR-1 had crashed on 4 July 1943. Their second craft, the XR-1A was ready three months later. Its first flight test took place on 27 October 1943. It flew much better than the XR-1. In the spring of 1944, Colonel Gregory went to Eddystone and flew the XR-1A along the Delaware River at more than 100 mph. He gave PlattLePage the authorization to fly the XR-1A to Wright Field. After a twoday trip, Buck Miller, Platt-LePage’s new test pilot, delivered the XR-1A to Wright Field on 20 June 1944. On 26 October, the XR-1A suffered a crash due to a structural failure. It was shipped back to Eddystone for repairs. The Army had given PlattLePage a contract for seven XR-1As earlier that month. The success of the Sikorsky helicopters, coupled with the imminent allied victory in Europe, moved the Army to cancel all contracts with Platt-LePage on 7 April 1945. After nine years of duty in the Army’s rotary-wing programs, the last seven dedicated to the development of the first practical helicopters in the U.S., Colonel Gregory was ready to move up to new assignments. Early in 1945, the war in Europe was rapidly heading toward an Allied victory. The Army was refocusing on the daunting challenge presented by the impending invasion of Japan. In January 1945, Colonel Gregory received orders to report to the Seventh Air Force in Saipan as Assistant Chief of Staff for

Intelligence. He moved to Okinawa in June after the allied invasion of the island. In January 1946, the war ended, he relocated to Hickham Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, to continue serving with the Seventh Air Force, this time as Assistant Chief of Staff for Matériel. In June of that year, he became Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. In January 1947, he reported to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. After graduating in June, he went to Washington, D.C., to become Chief of the Reconnaissance and Photographic Branch, Directorate of Colonel H. Franklin Gregory Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for of embassy duty, in February 1956 Operations, U.S. Army. The Army Brigadier General Gregory reported Air Forces became the U.S. Air Force to the Air Force Air Research and on 18 September 1947. In February Development Command, Baltimore, 1948, Colonel Gregory became a MD, as Commander, Air Force Office member of the USAF Committee of Scientific Research. After 30 years in the Aeronautical Research and of service, he retired from active duty Development Board. In August 1949, in 1958. Through his career, Frank he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair. After Gregory received numerous military graduating in June 1950, his next and civilian awards. These included assignment was as Senior Military the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Member in the Office of the Chief Air Medal, and French Legion of Scientific Adviser, a group of scientists Honor. In 1944, Igor Sikorsky had led by Dr. Theodore von Karman, the the pleasure to present to Colonel eminent aeronautical scientist. This Gregory the Institute of Aeronautical group was charted with formulating a Sciences’ first Thomas H. Bane award long-range research and development “for his contribution to the military program for the future U.S. Air and commercial development and use Force. A result of this group’s work of the helicopter.” That same year, was the establishment of the Arnold he and Igor Sikorsky became the first Engineering Development Center two honorary fellows of the American at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., in Helicopter Society. After retirement, Frank 1951. In September 1951, Gregory attended the Strategic Intelligence Gregory moved to Tulsa, OK, where School. After graduating the he remained active serving in the following December, he was enrolled boards of several major corporations. in a course to learn French until June In the years that followed, he not 1952. In July 1952, he reported to the only became a very successful American Embassy in Paris, France, businessman, but also remained active as the Air Attaché. After four years in various helicopter and other aviation


organizations and was well informed on the continuing helicopter technological advances. In 1944 he had written a book titled Anything a Horse Can Do: The Story of the Helicopter, where he told the story of the development of the first Army helicopters from 1918 through 1944. In 1976, he published his second book, The Helicopter, where he expanded the story of the helicopter during those pioneering years and continued it into the post-Vietnam era. Brigadier General Hollingsworth Franklin Gregory

passed away on 22 November 1978. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. During the 72 years of his journey on this Earth, aeronautics and astronautics advanced from the Wright Brothers contraptions that could hop a few miles at a time to the spacecraft that put a man on the Moon. However, for the first thirty years of his life, advance in the vertical flight arena was minuscule. Yet, Frank Gregory had the foresight to envision the wonders that the helicopter would bring to the flying experience. And he had the

courage to pursue his vision in spite of the daunting obstacles he encountered along the way. He overcame those obstacles and paved the path to the advent of the practical helicopter. Before he died, he saw his dream fulfilled as the helicopter thoroughly proved its military value, versatility, and war-fighting capabilities during the Vietnam War.


1. Anything A Horse Can Do: The Story Of The Helicopter, by H. Franklin Gregory. The Cornwall Press, Cornwall, N.Y. 1944 2. US Army & Air Force Rotorcraft Pioneers, Brad McNally 3. S-47/R-4 Helicopter – Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives 4. U.S. Air Force, About Us. Brigadier General Hollingswoth F. Gregory

Helicopter Mine Countermeasures ( Do WHAT with a Helo? ) Compiled by Ron Milam, HC-7 Historian


elicopter Combat Support Squadron SEVEN (HC-7), established September 1, 1967 (Seadevils) the result of the division of the former HC-1, which formed a new HC-1, HC-3, HC-5 and HC-7. The latter was home based in Atsugi, Japan (19671971) and became a very diversified helicopter squadron, providing permanent Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations off the coast of North Vietnam, Vertical Replenishment, Fleet Flag Helicopter, Logistics, Forward Observation in the Republic of Korea and Mine Countermeasures for the Seventh Fleet. Yes, mine sweeping with a helicopters.

Historical Information: Minesweeping history: during the Korean War, with the fleet waiting to move forward, several mine sweep ships were lost to mines. A spotting helicopter

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could not prevent the destruction of these ships. A proposal was made to let a helicopter tow the minesweeping gear and become the lead sweep, providing protection to the mine sweep vessels. Testing began in 1952, (N A M D D U [NAM-DEE-DOO] US NAVAL AIR MINE DEFENSE DEVELOPMENT UNIT), at Panama City, FL, evaluating several helicopters and mine countermeasure equipment. During 1958, the HSS-1 Sikorsky (Navy H-34) was being tested.1 In 1965, several Sikorsky HSS-2 (SH3A) were converted to RH-3As for mine countermeasures development work.2 Experiments were conducted with two MCM support ships, the USS Catskill (MCS 1) and the USS Ozark (MCS 2), carrying 20 minesweeping launches (MSLs (10)) and 3 airborne MCM helicopters (note: two on each ship - third as a spare).10 These ships


and launches became unstable when attempting certain maneuvers and with adverse wave directions. Initially, HC-6 was based at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, deployed on USS Ozark in the Atlantic and HC-7 was based at NAS Atsugi, Japan deployed on USS Catskill in the Pacific (after HC-1 and HC-5 training).9 The Catskill, commissioned in 1944 as AP-106 and laid up in 1946, had gone through two additional designations (LSV 1, CM 6) before becoming a Mine Warfare Command/Support Ship. The vessel was 455 feet long, had a 60 foot beam, displaced 9,040 tons fully loaded, and was fitted with a stern gate.6 As of 1964, the Catskill was assigned to Naval Defense Reserve Fleet in a “stricken and awaiting disposal” status. Instead, the ship was pulled out of mothballs at Norfolk, given a flight deck, two elevators capable of lowering

helicopters into the well deck, upgraded communications and fueling systems, and facilities for twenty (20) - 36 foot minesweeping launches (MSLs)3. Reportedly, several million dollars went into the overhaul and conversion of the ship, which was re-commissioned in 1967.

Early Training: Late in 1966, while still attached to HC-1, no one was trained except the Sikorsky crew. This included Test Pilot Cliff Brown and Crewman Bob Starkey. Also aboard HC-1 and assigned to this mission were co-pilot John Bone and crewmen Bob Lavin and G. Lester. An early incident was described by Bone. “After deploying the gear, the co-pilot attempted to rotate the helo into the wind to begin the tow. In this instance, when applying more rudder, the crew heard a “bang” and the helo began a very rapid rotation to the right. This was a sure sign of tail rotor failure. The pilot took the controls as the co-pilot secured the power levers and, after perhaps three rotations, the RH-3 plopped into the water. With emergency flotation bags inflated, and after four hours, a sea going tug came along. Sikorsky crewman Starkey swam a tow line to the tug and the tug towed the helo to the North Island Sea Plane ramp. This component of HC-1 (via HC-5) was later to become HC-7 Det 113, “McHale’s Navy” aboard the USS Catskill (MCS 1).5 Detachment 113 continued training pilots, aircrewmen and maintenance personnel with the newly created HC-5 squadron. For six days in October 1969, a portion of the crew flying two RH-3As deployed aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 26), off the coast of California for mine sweep exercises. The end of October found the crew aboard the Catskill, on a shake-down cruise and conducting mine operations, again along the coast of California.10 Occasionally, when helicopter recovery was in the progress on

Catskill, the elevators or doors would malfunction. It would be necessary to land one helicopter, fold the blades and spot sideways, far forward to position the second helo far aft. After the ship’s crew repaired broken or malfunctioning items, the helicopters would be re10 shuffled. The detachment operated with a total manning of seven officers and eighteen enlisted men. The assigned personnel were drawn from HC-5 at Ream Field, and possessed a wealth of H-3 experience with much practice time off Southern California in the new RH-3As. What no one had was a lot operational experience with the mine sweep gear. The only airtowed equipment available at the time were wire cutter devices for moored mines. The detachment later received equipment for sweeping acoustic mines. But at that time, the magnetic mine sled, now common place, was still in development at Naval Air Mine Defense Development Unit, Panama City, FL. None of the magnetic mine sleds ever deployed with HC-7.6 After four years of preparations and training, the ship and helicopter detachment departed the Continental U.S. on January 8, 1969. HC-7 Detachment 113, deployed aboard USS Catskill (MCS 1), started transiting the Pacific to join the Seventh Fleet. Accompanied by farewells from Rear Admiral Bird, a Navy band, and the detachment crew families, the ship and four MSOs, departed Long Beach.3 At that time, the helo sweep team was the only such detachment assigned to the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific. Underway at a slower speed because of the MSO’s limited speed, Hawaii would not be seen until January 20. Approaching the Hawaiian Islands, Det 113 flew both helos and crew to Barbers Point NAS, to conduct maintenance, change side numbers, and enjoy a little Rest and Recreation. The movie “Tora-Tora-Tora” was being filmed in and around Pearl Harbor, “simulated” Zeros, and flack abounded. Five days passed too fast and again aboard Catskill, they headed west. After another 18 days, they were finally


in view of Japan on February 12th. HC-7 Atsugi, Japan, provided H-46s to transport Det 113 to the land base. After its arrival in Japan, the Catskill tied up at Yokosuka Naval Base but was to be ported in Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, on the western island of Kyushu.10 The third and last RH-3 was shipped to the detachment at a later date.6

The Mine Countermeasures Mission

CDR Donald Gregory was HC7’s XO when the squadron picked up the airborne mine-countermeasures mission. He felt the main reason they picked up the commitment was in preparation for possible mining of the North Vietnamese harbors and waterways. The Navy was discussing seeding mines all the way to the Mekong Delta. Some sort of sweeping capability would have to be available in the area and HC-7 was the logical recipient of this assignment. The squadron was already operating in the region and had extensive experience with its multiple detachments on Yankee Station.6 A big problem facing Det 113 was the total lack of suitable areas near Atsugi for training and practice. According to former Officer in Charge, CDR Jim Waring, the unit was fully trained and capable when they left NAS Imperial Beach. This was a good thing because “we had to go through hell to train over there [in Japan]...what with 1500 feet of trailing wire in and among all those fishing boats.” Without adequate ranges for practicing mine countermeasures, the detachment saw a lot of use in exercises and demonstrations for allies.6 Exercises entailed flying two RH-3s aboard the Catskill, (moored at Sasebo NS), loading up the maintenance personnel and sweeping equipment, and floating out to distant exotic lands. Four of these exercises took place in 1969.10 The first came April 14th, barely two months after their arrival in Atsugi, and involved minesweeping operations off Sattahip, Thailand. En route, the Catskill anchored at South Vietnamese harbors for sweep discussions (Cua Viet, Da C ontinued on page 52

2nd Annual


Lights! Camera! Action! Congratulations to our Annual Rotor Review Photo and Video Contest winners! We received a great number of entries into these contests, and all of them were true reflections of what our NHA members are doing in the fleet each day. These photos and videos invite us to live in the moment with the artists as if we were there that day. From paradrops to SAR training to fire support, these pieces are a great example of the hard work our members put into serving our country and representing our organization with pride and honor. We shared contest voting with our members and Facebook fans online to select our winners this year, and we had an overwhelming amount of participation. Our social media outreach and online page rank also grew in response to the contest: great news for NHA! Thank you for participating in this year’s contest and making it a remarkable success. Now, join us to celebrate our winners as we showcase their work on the following pages.


First Place Photo: Out-and-In

Photographer: AWRC Kevin Freenor, USN (HSM-35) MH-60R on deck in Palm Springs during an “Out-and-In” Training Flight Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14



TOP PHOTOS Second Place Photo: On Top of the World

Photographer: LCDR Scott Moak, USN (HSC-28) Paradrops with members of EOD Mobile Unit Eight and HSC-28 Det 1 Ghostriders

Third Place Photo: Two Swimmers and a Helicopter

Photographer: AWR1 Nick Barringer, USN (HSM-41) SAR Jumps

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Focus: 2014 Photo Contest winners

Honorable Mention Photos

Mountain Landing

Lucky 7 at Sunset

Under the Sun


Magnum over AG

It’s a Wonderful Life

Wolfpack Flare

Camp Pendleton Airfield

Falcon 1 and Fuji

LCDR Scott Moak, USN Ghostriders conduct training in Frosinone.

LT Jeremy Cappalo, USN Dual ship landing practice prior to HRST.

LT Kristina Mullins, USN LSE watches LT Chris “Snap” Schnappinger make an approach to USS Nimitz upon his final flight with the HSM-75 Wolfpack

CDR Raymond Marsh, USN A cell phone photo of the sunset on the flight deck of USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7)

AWRC Josh Avery, Sr., USN

HSC-3 Photographer, USN Two HSC-3 aircraft preparing to take off to assist California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in aerial firefighting, while another is already engaged in fighting the fire


LCDR Scott Moak, USN Fastrope exercise with EOD MU8 and HSC-28 Det 1 Ghostriders

AWRC Kevin Freenor, USN A Crewman’s Perspective

LCDR Timothy Atherton, USN TERF Landings at Fuji Range

Photo Courtesy Department of Defense

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Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

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Focus: 2014 Video Contest winners

TOP VIDEOS First Place Video: Deployment 2014 I, II, III by LCDR Scott Moak, USN Second Place Video: Reverse by AWR2 Rafi Steinger, USN


Third Place Video: HSC-3 Form Water Drop by HSC-3 Photographer, USN



NHA put the famous logo up to a vote against several new entries (some featured below). Our existing logo won outright and will continue to serve as a symbol of pride within our communities.

Still the Top Choice with our Membership

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Focus: 2014 NHA Symposium

2014 NHA SYMPOSIUM: First To Fight, Operating Forward, Always Ready


HA’s Annual Symposium in Norfolk, Virginia, was another huge success. The week kicked off with a few of the camaraderie-building athletic events and ended with the always thought-provoking Flag Panel and Seahawk Reception. Those events and everything in between served as excellent opportunities to come together to celebrate our Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard helicopter communities’ mutually shared dedication to excellence. Members gathered from around the country to learn from each other, leadership, and industry. From an organizational perspective, the symposium is a place to further the NHA mission promoting the development and use of naval vertical lift aircraft, providing a forum where our naval organizations can interact with each other and our advocates, and recognizing those individuals who have made significant contributions. Judging from the positive feedback, it did just that. 43

MEMBERS REUNION by LTJG MATTHEW MURPHY , USN The annual Naval Helicopter Association Symposium marked the return to Norfolk for hundreds of helicopter pilots – both past and present. A busy few days packed with briefs, demonstrations, and fun times shared by friends were highlighted by the NHA Members Reunion, coordinated by LT Chris Robinson, USN. Held at Nauticus’ Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, the Members Reunion yielded an outstanding turnout. Over 200 attendees shared in the company of friends and colleagues with the beautiful backdrop of the illuminated USS Wisconsin and Norfolk’s downtown skyline. With an assortment of food and a bevy of drinks provided by Omar’s Carriage House, everyone enjoyed the evening. Included in the Members’ Reunion festivities was a highly competitive corn hole tournament. The event was surprisingly popular as teams emerged out of the crowd to quickly fill the tournament bracket. After hours of fun, the team from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWENTY SIX (HSC-26) was crowned champion and was awarded the tournament’s corn hole boards as their prize. With a packed house at closing and the fun continuing out into the city, it’s safe to say the NHA Members Reunion was a resounding success.

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Focus: 2014 NHA Symposium

NHA 5K Run by LTJG Sean Johnson, USN This year’s NHA 5K took place on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, and fortunately, the weather did not progress as forecasted. The day promised to be sweltering, hot and sunny, but fog and low ceilings kept our runners cool. Thirty-four pilots and aircrew ran the course which was mostly pavement, but included about a quarter mile of deep sand. All participants put forth a fantastic effort and the top three finishers for the men and the women were recognized with trophies. The fastest overall time and winner of the men’s division was LT Sean Trombly with a time of 18 minutes and 25 seconds. Second place and the silver trophy went to LT William Lennon, and LT Chris McDonald placed third. Finishing first for the women was LT Mona Lisa Della Volpe with a time of 28 minutes and 48 seconds. Second place for the women was Mayfield. After the race all participants and volunteers feasted on a delicious pig roast cooked by HSC-2 aircrew. A special thanks to our sponsor L3, JEB Little Creek, and the volunteers from HM-14 that made the race possible.


A few new events took place at this year’s sympsoium including a social event at the Norfolk Tides baseball game with great tickets available for interested symposium guests. The game was a hit and certainly added a fresh element to the agenda. Also, the new and very competitive skeet tournament created a buzz. The aircrew competition this year had many teams step up to the challenge once again. Each aircrew event was created to build team work and camaraderie while pushing individuals past their comfort zones. With teams competing against each other to complete the many rigorous stages of the competition, each member had to look inward for motivation while still relying on his team members during every task. The traditional golf tournament was still a favorite. One could certainly observe that the many events showcased the camaraderie, ambition, and sportsmanship of NHA’s members.



The awards luncheon honored many deserving individuals with awards sponsored by many gracious organizations, including some of our corporate sponsors. One major highlight of the luncheon was the Lifelong Service Award given to Colonel Howard Whitfield, USMC (Ret), for all that he has done for NHA including his 14 years as Executive Director. Visit NHA’s website (info below) to watch the video to see all of the award presentations.


From a member’s perspective, the symposium offered many opportunities to relish in what NHA brings to its members, such as access to the Navy’s flag-level and industry leaders, sporting and athletic events, social outreach, and professional networking. Additional events included the welcome and keynote addresses, the exhibit walk-arounds, the senior enlisted panel, salute to naval aviation lunch, spouses luncheon, the captains of industry panel, and briefs covering numerous topics (CVW integration, PMA-299, special operations integration, enlisted maintenance community, spouses luncheon, UAV, higher education, spouse education opportunity , resource-contrained environment, detailers, community tactics). If you would like to watch some of these highlights again or if you were not able to attend, please enjoy the online videos available to you at:

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Flag Panel Highlights by LT Daniel Moran

The 2014 NHA Symposium culminated with the most seminal event of the conference, the Flag Panel. The panel included Flag Officers with disparate and diverse backgrounds and experiences, providing insightful perspectives to the many questions provided by the Officers and Enlisted members in attendance. The Panel included VADM David A. Dunaway, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command; VADM Paul A. Grosklags, Principal Military Deputy for ASN RDA (Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisitions); RADM William K. Lescher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget and Director, Fiscal Management Division; RADM Michael Manazir, Director, Air Warfare; RADM Troy M. Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic; RDML Mark L. Leavitt, Commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve; RDML Andrew L. Lewis, Commander, Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center; and RDML Richard P. Snyder, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two. RDML Fillion, Director of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, US Southern Command, served as the event moderator and began the event with a joke befitting of his gregarious personality. The Panel answered a variety of questions posed by guests at the conference as well as a set of questions forwarded by deployed fleet squadrons. Additionally, the panel fielded questions from guests participating via livestream and chat, two features brand new to the 2014 symposium. The questions were insightful and future-focused, which bodes well for the continued success of Naval Rotary Wing Aviation. To view the Flag Panel video online, visit the following link:


Crewman Receives Combat Air Wings at HC-7 Reunion Article by CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN

HC-7’s First Commanding Officer, Lloyd L. Parthemer presents USMC Combat Aircrew Wings to (ADJ-2) Michael Frazier


n the morning, the helo was prepositioned overhead the USS Denver (LPD 9) for air strikes over North Vietnam. At 0940, there were mayday calls. We heard “two chutes” and a lat-long position. It took four minutes to get permission to go in with rescap overhead. Guns were then armed and ready. Swimmer was dropped at 10 feet and 10 knots about 20 feet from first survivor and the helo proceeded to the second survivor. The second survivor was out of the water, but he slipped out of the horse collar. The helo proceeded back to the first survivor where Michael Frazier was having a difficult time with the horse collar because the flotation gear interfered. He then hooked the survivors “D” ring to the hoist. Then after more difficulty getting himself hooked up, he gave a thumbs up and both were hoisted aboard. The second survivor was then picked up; all were well and taken to the USS Denver. This goes to show you that even with all of that training, things can go haywire rapidly. Thank you, Michael Frazier, and crew for saving the Air Force pilots.


The insignia for aircrew members was first established during WWII. In 1958, it was re-designated as the Combat Aircrew Insignia. It remains in use by the U.S. Marine Corps but was discontinued by the Navy. Combat Aircrew Wings are worn by Marine Corps enlisted personnel who qualified during the Vietnam conflict or Lebanon. Due to the successful efforts of CDR Lloyd Parthemer and late CAPT Jeff Wiant, the Commandant of the Marine Corps has approved a request for U.S. Navy Vietnam Era enlisted combat search and rescue air crews to wear the wings, subject to meeting certain criteria.

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Change of Command And Establishment




New Orleans





Port Angles


CAPT David W. Cooper, USCG, relieved CAPT Michael J. Branhuber, USCG, on June 26, 2014

CAPT Daniel J. Travers, USCG, relieved CAPT Bruce C. Jones, USCG, on June 27, 2014

CAPT Todd W. Lutes, USCG, relieved CAPT Joe B. Kimball, USCG, on July 2, 2014

CAPT Andrew W. Eriks, USCG, relieved CAPT Keith P. McTigue, USCG, on July 2, 2014

CAPT Michael C. MacMillan, USCG, relieved CDR Joseph E. Deer, USCG, on July 3, 2014



Humboldt Bay

North Bend

Blue Knights Golden Eagles



CAPT Michael G. Dowling, USN, relieved CAPT Mark A. Truluck, USN, on July 15, 2014

CAPT Arthur J. Snyder, USCG, relieved CAPT Salvatore G. Palmeri, USCG, on July 18, 2014

CAPT Michael T. Trimpert, USCG, relieved CAPT Mark E. Reynolds, USCG, on August 6, 2014

LtCol John W. Spaid, USMC, relieved LtCol Christian Harshberger, USMC, on April 4, 2014

LtCol Brian T. Koch, USMC, relieved LtCol Robert A. Freeland, USMC, on April 26, 2014



CDR Robert Sinram, USN, relieved CDR Matthew Bowen, USN, on May 9, 2014







LtCol Christopher Murray, LtCol Douglas C. Sanders, LtCol Michael J. Harmon, USMC, relieved LtCol Richard USMC, relieved LtCol William USMC, relieved LtCol Colin J. DePue, Jr, USMC, on Brainard, USMC, on F. Neitzey, USMC, on May 22, 2014 May 30, 2014 May 22, 2014

LtCol Jamey Federico, USMC, relieved LtCol Tres Smith, USMC, on June 6, 2014



CDR Stephen O. Johnson, USN, relieved CDR Jennifer K. Wilderman, USN, on June 5, 2014



Black Knights




White Knights



LtCol Ryan Sheehy, USMC, relieved LtCol Kurt Schiller, USMC, on June 19, 2014

CDR Brent Gaut, USN, relieved CDR Bradley Garber, USN, on July 2, 2014

LtCol Andreas Lavato, USMC, relieved LtCol Brad Harms, USMC, on July 10, 2014

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14






LtCol Edward Powers, USMC, relieved LtCol Richard Joyce, USMC, on June 13, 2014

CDR Andy Berner, USN, relieved CDR Pete Riebe, USN, on June 19, 2014



CDR Edward M. Weiler, USN, relieved CDR Robert E. Hawthrone III, USN, on July 9, 2014



CDR Chad M. Falgout, USN, relieved CDR Christopher S. Hewlitt, USN, on August 9, 2014

Naval Helicopter Association Membership Form

Member Information: Name: Active Military / Civilian / Retired / Former Active Duty (circle one) Rank / Rate / Title (civilian): Service / Company Name: Squadron/Military Unit: Warfare Specialty: Pilot/Aircrew/Other (circle one) Community: HSC/HSM/HM/Other Aircraft Flown: Mailing Address: Street Apt City




Cell Phone: Home Phone: Home Email: Work Email: Do you want your membership information published on the online directory? Yes No Do you want your spouse to be contacted about NHA events? Yes No Spouse Name: Spouse Email: Levels of Membership: NHA Membership (Annual Dues) 1 Yr: $35.00 3 Yrs: $95.00 5 Yrs: $160.00 Nugget Membership: 2 Yrs: $35.00 (Open to O-1/O-2 on first tour, one time use only) Enlisted Membership: 1 Yr: $15.00 (Open to E-9 & below) Canadian Addresses: 1 Yr: $40.00 International Addresses: 1 Yr: $50.00 Preferred method to receive Rotor Review: Paper: Electronic: Both: Payment Options: Payment Due: $ Cash: Check: (Payable to NHA) AMEX/MC/VISA AMEX/MC/VISA #: _________-__________-_________-_________ CCV: ________ Exp Date: ________

Send your completed application to: NHA, PO Box 180578, Coronado, CA 92178-0578 Commercial: (619) 435-7139, FAX: (619) 435-7354, or email: Web site: Apply online: or use QR code: Subscription to the Rotor Review magazine is included in the annual membership to NHA. Rotor Review is published in print and in a digital version quarterly. If you choose the digital version, you will receive a link to view your copy online or via a mobile device. The printed version is mailed at a periodical rate and will not be forwarded if your address is incorrect. Change of addresses, inquiries for membership, subscriptions, back issues, sale items, etc., should be directed to the NHA office.


Co n t i n u ed f ro m p a g e 3 5

Nang, Vung Tau).14 The operation at Sattahip was shortened when the arriving flotilla carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) struck the USS Evans (DD 754), returning home June 25th. This incident resulted in 74 sailors perishing.10 A second cruise commenced August 2nd taking Detachment 113 to locations off Misawa, Japan where it operated with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force mine sweepers. Returning to Atsugi, August 20th, both operations had gone well. During the second exercise, the squadron’s two RH-3s managed to clear their assigned area in only a day and a half. The third operation, Sept. 2, 1969, saw the detachment in the waters off of Taiwan and Okinawa.6 Late in the year and commencing the fourth operation, October 31st, the weather changed as the crew headed to South Korea for mine ops. This operation completed amassed recurring stress on the main transmission of helo number 32 and resulted in chip light indications, a sign of impending transmission failure. The helicopter was barged off at Yokosuka, Japan for repairs.10 1970 would find HC-7 Detachment 113 and USS Catskill returning to operate with the same SEATO countries.10

Helicopter Minesweeping Operations: Having helicopters stored below made a desirable and dry work environment. Exposure to the ocean environment made corrosion control a main priority. The flight crews and maintenance personnel were tasked with preparing the sweep gear, which included 150 components for each operation. Items with strange nomenclature: shackle, float, otter, link, pendant were prepared and stored. Each of the four winches checked and re-checked. When an operation began, the ship’s 1MC (Intercom) announced flight quarters. The ship’s company provided the fire protection, the mid-ship crane operator raised the boom and, on several occasions, the engine room snipes blew the stacks (a procedure for clearing soot

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

in the boilers), as the deck crew choked on the heavy soot drifting over the flight deck. The deck doors accordioned forward and when fully opened, the elevator raised the helo to the flight deck. The Detachment deck crew attached a hand-steered tail-wheel tractor to position the helo for lift off. The complete helicopter crew consisted of the pilot, co-pilot and three crewmen operating the helo and sweep 10,11 equipment. To stream the wire sweep, the pilot pulled into a hover, 20-30 feet above the water. As the pilot flew sideways into the wind, the crew deployed the gear, fully extended totaling 2,100 feet of cable, five floats, four otters, and cutters.5,11 With the gear and boom extended, the helo slowly turned into the wind to begin the tow. The RH-3A helos pulled with a 30 degree nose-down attitude and the operation required nearly continuous full power and full torque. The pilots observed the operation by utilizing the controllable rear view mirrors, the yaw and torque indicators, and continuous communications with the crewmen. As the fuel state became a concern the second helo was launched to continue the tow. This operation required the towing helicopter to slow as the second helo approached with its boom and hook extended. One problem, quickly discovered, was that there was no clear air behind the towing helo. As a result of the first helicopter’s downdraft, the second helicopter would sink seaward until ground effect created a cushion, preventing the aircraft from settling into the water (tightening the pucker string). Now the crew had to thread the needle and “hook the line” to their tow assembly. When captured, the second helo informed the first to jettison. As the first helicopter turned away, the second helo continued the tow. 5 And, so it went throughout the day. The helicopter crews and the MSL crews were competitive in their race to clear the mines. But, the helicopter had the advantage of seeing the mines from above the water. As a result, the Catskill’s MSL crews disliked


the helo operations. On the second pass the helo scored, before the MSL crew could get there. On one attempt, CDR Jim Waring took his crew up and attempted to sweep a channel, but had to knock off after only half an hour; the wind was too high for the helicopter to make its prescribed turn at the end of each run. To top it off, the towed gear got tangled in some sort of debris in the water. Waring said the options were few; “they could either cut the expensive mine sweep loose and lose it, or they could haul in whatever it was that was dragging.” They chose the latter course and returned to the ship with fishing nets and those quaint Japanese glass fishing floats hanging off the back end of the Sea King, out the door, etc. The captain and crew of the Catskill had a 6 good laugh over that one. Also, while sweeping at Okinawa and, again at Manila Bay the crew found something tugging on the tow line. Sunken ships were the culprit and a serious problem, the ship’s divers saved one set of gear and one was jettisoned as Neptune would not release.10 Cruising toward Thailand, the ship’s crews, including the helicopter crew were required to be inoculated with gamma globulin vaccine; everyone limped for a week. A few days later, during a monsoon downpour, as the helo crew recovered the helicopters from a sweep mission, everyone was soaked to the skivvies. OinC Waring stated “After the helos are secured, everyone report to sickbay for a shot.” What darn disease this time? Completing the task of securing the helicopters, the crew proceeded to sickbay, standing in line for the expected inoculation. A side hatch opened and Mr. Waring appeared, carrying a case of miniature whiskey bottles. The shot was, of course, for medicinal purposes only and was consumed on the spot.10 At one point during the detachments’ lifetime a proposal was floated - so to speak - to have them move to an installation in the Republic of Vietnam for sweeping duty on the country’s various rivers and waterways. The response from the OinC and crews

Historical: Helicopter Mine Countermeasures was succinct: BULLS--T! While towing the sweep equipment the RH-3A flew at a speed of, at best, ten knots. With the state of “pacification” in the south, they knew they’d only be able to get in two or so passes before they got shot down. The RH-3A carried no armament or weapons.10 As one crewman put it, “we might as well have put up a sign saying “SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME!” The negative response was resoundingly seconded by squadron commanding officer, CDR Ronald Hipp, who had completed a tour in Vietnam (HAL-3)10 and was well familiar with the situation thereabouts. Cooler heads prevailed and the proposal did not come up again.6 Detachment-113 deployed more than 50 percent of the time while attached to HC-7. Conducting minesweeping exercises with the Navies of Japan, South Korea, Nationalist China, Thailand, Australia, Philippines and Great Britain. The USS Catskill and Detachment-113 completed many vertical replenishment, mail deliveries and SAR missions for the Seventh Fleet while operating along the Vietnam coast.7 In mid 1970, HC-7 received the news that Detachment-113 was to be disestablished (August 13, 1970).4 Personnel and aircraft were to be reassigned. The aircraft were transferred

back to HC-5 along with many of the personnel. LCDR Joe Vaden received orders to the USS Guadalcanal (LPH 7) in Norfolk, Virginia. The other officers were sent to HC-5.6 Things were happening at Navy Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Much of these discussions were unknown at HC-7. Joe Vaden reported aboard the Guadalcanal only to be told he had a new set of orders to HC-6 Det 53. His shipboard tour as Assistant Air Boss lasted one day. LT Frank St. Pierre reported to HC-5 and took 30 days leave, driving cross-country to Maine. He made a visit to the Bureau of Personnel (BUPERS) and found he also had a new set of orders to HC-6 Det 53. He returned to San Diego, departed HC-5 and drove back across the country to 6 NAS Norfolk. HC-6 Det-53 was established to provide mine-countermeasures capability, which would be intended to replace surface minesweepers. Marine Corps H-53 helicopters were reassigned to HC6, outfitted with minesweeping equipment and a new era of mine-countermeasures was born. There were only a handful of pilots and aircrew with helicopter minesweeping experience. HC-7 Detachment-113 had the most experienced pilots but only LCDR Joe Vaden and LT Frank St. Pierre were assigned to Det-53.6

Note: Operation END SWEEP - 6 February 1973 to 27 July 1973.

The U.S. originally laid the mines to hamper Hanoi’s ability to import war supplies and all of its fuel supply. On May 8, 1972, nine Navy planes from the USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) in an operation that took only two minutes, laid thirty six 1000-pound Mark 52-2 mines to begin the mining of the approaches to Haiphong. In succeeding months, thousands of additional mines were laid down. The results were dramatic. The mining campaign, in conjunction with air attacks on North Vietnam’s land lines of communication, severely curtailed the supply of vital munitions to communist forces in South Vietnam and finally persuaded Hanoi to seriously negotiate an end to the long (Web) conflict. Many of the pilot and aircrew training procedures and tactics established by HC-7 Det-113 were utilized in the NATOPS procedures for the H-53. Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Twelve (HM-12) was commissioned on April 1, 1971 and went on to conduct mine countermeasures operations around the world. These operations included Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam and twice in the Suez Canal.7 Detachment–113 Mine Manglers can be proud of the accomplishments while attached to HC-7 and their contributions to further mine-countermeasures in HM-12.7

Sources 1) CDR John A. H. Torry, Jr. “ Whirlybird as a Minesweeper HELICOPTER UNDERTAKES NEW ROLE” - Naval Aviation News, August 1960. 2) Naval Aircraft - Naval Aviation News, July 1972 3) The Cat’s Paw – USS Catskill (MCS 1) – “A Light Wind that Disturbs the Calm” - newsletters 4) HC-7 Personnel Diary – 1970 – Muster Roll – Naval Archives 5) John R. Bone, USN (Capt) Retired – HC-7, RH-3A pilot 6) Mark L. Morgan, author- ORPHANS of the SEVENTH FLEET - The Story of HC-7 (excerpts) 7) Stephen Joe Vaden, USN (CDR) Retired – HC-7 Det 113 O-in-C, RH-3A pilot 8) James D.Waring, USN (CDR) Retired – HC-7 Det 113 O-in-C, RH-3A pilot 9) The Mine Clearance Task 10) Ron Milam – HC-7 Historian – HC-7 History Collection, Det 113 orders and personal experiences 11) RH-3A NATOPS – 1967 12) HC-7 Det 113 – Patch (Mine Manglers) created by James H. Saunders provided by Terry Sandusky 13) Photos from HC-7 History Collection; Ron Milam, Jack Williams, Don Gregory, John Bone 14) USS Catskill (MCS 1) Deck Logs Submitted / Compiled By: Seadevil Ron Milam – HC-7 Historian – (HC-5) HC-7 ADJ-3 Det 113 and DET 108 January 8, 1969 to June 26, 1970. Attached to Det 113 (January 8, 1969 to November 21, 1969) ; helo mechanic, plane captain, flight deck director, fuel quality control, mine countermeasure ordnanceman. Edited By: Seadevil Dick Carver (LCDR Retired). - HC-7 Pilot (H-3 & H-46) – Det 110 & 112 August 10, 1968 to Sept. 6, 1970


The Hawk Legacy

A USN Rotary Wing Slice of History Article by CAPT Mike Coumatos, USN (Ret)


ack Ludwig, former HAL-3 and HS Bubba, and all around good guy walked to my desk with his perpetual grin.

“Hey Greek, you know about UTTAS?” UTTAS – stood for Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System. “Yeah, I heard. It’s the Army’s new deal replacing the Huey, and probably some jeeps and six-bys,” I said. “Well, we’re going for the ride,” he said. And did we ever. I was a former HC guy deploying aboard Carriers Coral Sea and Oriskany during Vietnam, with a short exchange in

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

Ubon, Thailand, flying with Air Force FACs. I first met Jack at the Flight Test Division, Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, following our respective stints at Test Pilot School. In the early fall of 1975, we were testing new systems on old airplanes – and in some cases – new airplanes, and, building a dear friendship. Up the road in Crystal City, the LAMPS program office carried multiple charts and proposed funding documents for a LAMPS MK III; but the helicopter didn’t exist. Not in Navy design, let alone paint scheme, although many felt that LAMPS MK III could be born of a UTTAS derivative. Jack had just come from the Flight Test Director’s Office with the news. “Whaddya’ mean, we’re going for the ride,” I said.


“I just talked with the Skipper; we’re gonna’ fly UTTAS,” said Jack. And just like that – the dice rolls and you’re in another great game of Horses. It’s important to note this story is but a small slice of what became one of the largest military helicopter procurement programs in history. There are many incredible characters across the spectrum of government and the private sector holding large title to the contributions in developing UTTAS, and eventually the entire Hawk series – stories which deserve telling of their own. This story, however, is that slice where Navy Rotary Wing played a unique roll. It is with respect and recognition that too many names are not included herein – but their place in this history is duly recorded in many forums.


Two Navy test pilots and two Navy flight test engineers were selected to integrate with the Army’s test teams in the UTTAS competitive fly-off. Two visionaries, Colonel Bud Patnode, USA, and Commander Bill Lloyd, USN, came together in a flurry of discussions bringing the Navy onboard the testing of UTTAS the future Black Hawk. The Army’s UTTAS and Navy’s LAMPS project managers signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 1, 1975, and three weeks later Jack and I met with our Army test teams at the Boeing-Vertol and Sikorsky Aircraft plants. Jack joined the Boeing-Vertol Army team and me, the Sikorsky team, staffed with terrific Army test pilots and engineers. We would fly with them for the next fourteen months at the manufacturing

facilities, Edwards AFB (where the Army’s Flight Test was located at the time), Coyote Flats in the High Sierras, the San Joaquin Valley, and off the coast of Florida aboard USS Paul (FF 1080). Our initial checkout with the respective company test pilots, followed by the Army Preliminary Evaluation lasted several weeks at the plants. The pace of flying, writing, and briefing prepped us well for the year of testing that lay ahead. It was hats off to company test pilots for their tutelage in the near-acrobatic abilities of their UTTAS prototypes. Okay, for the record, acrobatic abilities. We wrote up the initial reports and headed back to Pax River to ready our move to the Mojave Desert and Edwards AFB. “Get this: they’re gonna’ frock us before we get to Edwards,” I said to Jack.


“Get outta’ here,” he said. “No, seriously, CDR Lloyd got it approved so we can qualify for Field Grade base housing at Edwards.” Worst rank in the Navy, Lieutenant Commander, but we sure felt good about getting our lobotomies in exchange for better housing for our families. We gathered up some new Navy insignia and headed west to Edwards on PCS orders. We went ahead of our families to check-in, get our BOLDFACE course rules exams, and under Jack’s able lead, set up the Army-Navy Mess at the O’Club: the latter a key step given the preponderance of Air Force types stalking the passageways. Admittedly, the Army-Navy Mess only consisted of a corner of the bar, but it was the corner, and the dice cup never left those few precious square feet.

It was a heady time at Edwards – prototypes filled the skies. Fly-offs were thick with the YF-16, YF-17, YF-15; the YC-14 and YC-15 (unique transports that never went to production); the YB-1; YA-10; and a bunch of X aircraft wandering about. Our YUH-60A and YUH-61A shared the competitive skies, along with two other aircraft the Army still had on active duty; P-51 Mustangs. The P-51’s were used as high-speed chase aircraft along with a T-28 (which we loved flying when we weren’t on test flights). Air Force base housing – compared to Navy – reminded us why Navy guys in that era were buying offbase housing. I think that era lasted a long time. The families seemed delighted with the digs once we received our desert Fams on checking shoes for scorpions and closets for Sidewinders. Tarantula migrations were a sight to behold. The Army had taken some hits over prior helicopter competitions and source selection, and those lessons were hammered home in the structure of the UTTAS flight test plans. The scandalplagued competition in the previous decade between Hiller and Hughes for the OH-5 and OH-6 created such a furor that a House Subcommittee had even recommended the Air Force and Navy take over all Army aviation procurement! One might recall the UTTAS program took hold and was executed even before Aviation became its own Army Branch in April of 1983, over eight years after UTTAS first flew. The Army created separate test teams to fly and evaluate the competing UTTAS aircraft, with a strong firewall between each team. Two dispersed trailers housed the teams at the Army Aviation Engineering Flight Activity (AAEFA) at Edwards. Separate data systems, reporting venues, and launch times were the mechanical elements of a more profound firewall of ‘a no communication edict’ between the teams about their respective aircraft flying qualities; it was a tough thing not to hang out and tell flying stories. The winner would be chosen based upon the flight test data, pilot findings, and other factors involving costs and air transportability. No pilot

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14

would fly both prototypes. No individual would have the opportunity to make comparisons. The fly-off was steeped in the separation of test teams. Period. Jack and I felt right at home integrating into the test teams, and we owe much to the welcome accorded us by the two lead Army test pilots, Majors Jim Jenks and Carl Mittag. Once the flying began, dawn launches dominated the flight schedule to best avoid the desert winds that grew as the sun rose. Big winds, howling winds, the kind of wind forcing fine sand to pile up on the inside of windowpanes in our base housing. And the heat! “Dry heat,” the Air Force desert rats would exclaim. Yes, the insufferable climate even created times where we longed for the sea. And now we have another generation of naval helicopter aircrew that knows the desert. I salute them. The test teams set up a temporary camp in Bishop, California for high altitude testing at Coyote Flats, but the Navy duo also set up contests at the Whiskey Creek Saloon where the locals gifted us a lifetime membership. Our flying took us to near 10,000 feet, testing the flying qualities in the thin air and on oxygen masks. Jack came back down off the mountain after one of the initial flights. His run-on landing in the Boeing bird took place on a small strip covered with snow. He was excited to show the pictures of the helicopter’s nose plowing through the champagne powder with an extraordinary pattern of swirling white atop that mountain. This was not the boat; we were definitely not at sea. But the call came – the sea, along with threats of courts-martial. The inviolate nature of the independent test teams was broken through some fancy backroom negotiations, and gosh knows how much Navy bag money. Commander Bill Lloyd managed to negotiate a stunner. The Army’s OPTEVFOR equivalent prototypes undergoing tests at Fort Rucker would be loaned to the Navy for several days of at-sea testing. Jack and I would be sent from Edwards to Mayport to fly Dynamic Interface (DI) profiles through a series


of landings and takeoffs aboard USS Paul (FF 1080). “You think we’re going to fly with the Rucker pilots,” I asked. “Guess so, already tough enough us leaving the Edwards testing for any length of time,” said Jack. “Colonel Patnode wants to see you two,” said one of the Army guys. Colonel Bud Patnode – war hero and extraordinary leader had us brought to a vacant corner of a hangar at Edwards to spell out the rules of engagement for two Navy guys about to take the UTTAS prototypes to sea. “If you so much as dare tell another living soul what you discover different about these helicopters, I’ll have you both court-martialed – the Army way,” said Colonel Patnode. He finished by reminding us of an Army style court-martial as our incentive for discretion. Something about torn buttons from our uniforms, drum rolls, and broken swords. The good Colonel held back saying anything about a firing squad. The Colonel explained that there wouldn’t be any Army pilots in the cockpit – and that we would be responsible for checking each other out in our respective helicopters. We would be the only two pilots to fly both helicopters in the midst of this highly “firewalled” Army fly-off. The Army made a huge gamble on this strategy. I still marvel how Commander Lloyd and Colonel Patnode got approval for two Navy yahoos to become the only pilots of record who could compare the flying qualities amidst this competitive fly-off. Jack and I gave each other check rides at Edwards prior to leaving for Mayport. Colonel Patnode would be the Army’s on scene commander, and safety observer at sea. He was also our chaperone. As an aside, the Skipper of Paul gave Colonel Patnode the Conn following our testing. The good Colonel nailed the man overboard drill! My first flight in the Boeing bird confirmed what Jack knew all along – the Boeing helicopter had significant vibration issues. I say confirmed, because the Sikorsky bird had the same problems before they raised the rotor mast. The

Historical: The Hawk Legacy

wake impingement of the rotor wash on the fuselage created substantial vibrations throughout the flight envelope. The low rotor positions were an original design feature for both helicopters due to one of the Army’s major requirements for C-130 air transportability. Sikorsky redesigned their mast – raising it with a ratcheting capability for flight – lowering the mast for air transportability. Boeing kept their main rotor plane low to the fuselage, and might arguably be considered a major factor in the resulting competition. There was another flying qualities differential between the two aircraft: the main rotor system. Boeing’s a bearingless main rotor, and Sikorsky’s a fully articulated main rotor, also created unique flying qualities for each helicopter. The Boeing aircraft possessed significant cross coupling in all flight axes, which was highlighted in the precision hovering requirements for small deck operations at sea. Poor gust loading and cross coupling did not fare well in the shipboard environment. Jack and I just looked at one another after each flight. The difference in flying qualities for the UTTAS helicopters were pronounced, and we were the only two guys who knew. do?”

“You’re right.” So, two fresh caught Navy LCDRs walk into a bar and spot a grizzled Army Colonel. “Colonel,” sputters one Navy guy. “Yes, now what,” the Colonel says.

“We’ve got this sea story and it ain’t no *^+#.” We told him everything about the two helicopters. Jack’s anecdote about no longer wearing a watch due to the damaging effect from vibrations drove our point home. But there were things we didn’t have to say due to the Colonel’s role as Safety Observer aboard ship. Colonel Patnode had worn his white jersey and float coat with pride and determination as he stood on the flight deck for every operation, watching rotor blades whirling perilously close to the superstructure, while trying to find the few inches of deck space remaining to land the Sikorsky bird with the Army configured tail wheel near full aft on the fuselage. Hats off to the H-3 Bubbas from HC-7 and the like during Vietnam shipboard ops! The Colonel had seen first hand the differing pilot tasks of both aircraft during our DI tests. He listened to our own accounts, nodded concurrence, and expressed his acceptance for our efforts “Jack, what are we going to and the willingness to come forward. The sensitivities of what we knew could not be “We gotta’ tell the Colonel.” overstated, especially with the ‘deckplate’


rumors of Boeing’s possible lead in the competition – particularly due to the advantage in C-130 air transportability. The Sikorsky ratcheting mast design took too much time in an operational environment. It was this and subsequent moments with Colonel Patnode, and Commander Lloyd, where our leadership learning curve steepened. Their daring atrisk strategy, deft handling of our sensitive knowledge, and extraordinary guidance in preparing us to meet an onslaught of “senior interested parties,” taught us much about navigating bureaucratic shoal waters and making bold decisions. In late 1976, we finished the testing, wrote the reports, met in unmarked motel rooms with other “interested parties” and continued on our way. It was time to return to the fleet, with a remarkable experience now behind us … or so we thought. While on our first leave in over a year, the Army announced Sikorsky Aircraft as the winner of the UTTAS competition. It was December 1976, and Sikorsky was contracted to build a fleet of helicopters dubbed the UH-60A Black Hawk. Jack went on to his Department Head tour in HS-8, and mine as an Officer in Charge of a LAMPS Det in HSL-33, with a detour through Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC). We settled in our respective follow-on tours, but within a few months, received temporary orders to

the Boeing-Vertol plant with a stop in the Washington, DC, arena before returning to our normal duties. We were told that Boeing had made changes to the rotor system, and due to our at-sea test experience with the Boeing bird, we were to be the two pilots to re-evaluate the helicopter. I can’t speak to today’s environment for being yanked out of a fleet squadron during a department head tour – but at the time, it wasn’t easy for HS-8 to lose a key member for any length of time. I’m sure it’s still the same. As for me, it was a visit to RADM Jeremiah Denton’s office in his capacity as Commandant of the Staff College. He was to decide whether I’d be granted a graduation certificate due to the amount of class time I’d miss. I explained the situation to the Admiral, and as a former test pilot, not to mention his most gracious demeanor, he expressed understanding and gave the okay for me to depart the college with the promise to do as much makeup as I could. I thanked the Admiral and as I took his leave, he had a parting word. “Don’t worry about graduating, commander; focus on the flying. You’ve been out of the cockpit for several months. As for your time at Staff College, you’re only here on a social and athletic scholarship, anyway.” Cheesh, he must’ve looked at my grades! Since Sikorsky had won the Army procurement, political pressures were mounting to award the future Navy LAMPS to Boeing-Vertol. To many, it seemed only fair to spread the wealth amongst the nation’s industrial base, especially in the mid to late 1970’s and the disastrous economic times, especially for cities like Philadelphia. We understood the pressures, but we were fleet pilots, first and foremost, and we knew the requirements for flying helicopters off surface combatants. Now we were directed to get back in the cockpit and give an updated assessment before the Navy made its decision on LAMPS MK III (not that a UTTAS derivative was a foregone conclusion in the budget wars at the time). If production awards could reflect the strength of character, goodwill, and superb knowledge – the Boeing flight test team, engineers, and managers deserved a place at the table. In our flights with the Boeing test pilots, the redesign carried many

of the same qualities we had previously identified at sea. Jack and I were back in the hot seat. Our next stop was Crystal City after a few passes through the Pentagon. We were told to prepare a briefing for members of the Navy’s Source Selection Evaluation Board for the LAMPS MK III helicopter. They wanted to know our first-hand accounts regarding the flying qualities of both helicopters. We holed up at the Crystal City Marriott, adjacent to NAVAIR headquarters, and sat in our shared room to prep some slides that would be converted to transparencies for us in the morning. Our briefing was scheduled for 8:30 AM – requiring an early start to get the TP’s made. We lasted about 15 minutes, staring at each other with similar thoughts to get out of the cloistered room and into the second floor lobby area for some refreshments while we worked. We doodled on some hotel stationary for a while and I said,

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


“How do you want to do this?” “I don’t know, Greek. Why don’t you just start with briefing your aircraft, and I’ll wrap with mine and really foot stomp the differences.” “I’m not feeling the inspiration for these slides,” I said. “Me neither. Let’s get out of here and grab some chow.” I remember looking at the time. It was almost 7:00 PM and I had this sinking feeling that our briefing preps might lag mightily for the night to come. Jack had that grin. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “I got it,” he said. “You still haven’t learned the words to “Wild Colonial Boy.” We’ll go to EJ O’Reilly’s Pub and practice.” Jack was an American patriot and a bona fide Navy hero. But make no mistake, he was proud of his Irish lineage and wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to all things Irish. My half-Irish stock meant little to him because he thought me woefully short in the passion for Eire and the songs and stories of her people. I give this background because of the significance of going

to EJ O’Reilly’s the night before the most important briefing we’d ever given in the Navy. That pub was sacred ground to Jack: the atmosphere, the people, and the music. The briefing preps had departed the pattern. There are moments so transcendent that you somehow know your life is changing, and it’s good. This was such a night. I watched Jack shine as strangers gathered to hear stories and song, to include his outrageous tales of flying in the Irish Air Force, which everyone knew to be bogus as we were in our USN tropical whites. But, no matter, Jack held court; laughter filled his side and tears rolled down many ruddy cheeks along the bar – not all from sheer laughter. Jack wrote the words to “Wild Colonial Boy” on an EJ O’Reilly’s napkin (which I still have), and with a hush across the pub, we sang what surely was his personal anthem. The crowd roared with approval as we finished the song, and it was our own tears that flowed from the raucous cheers we received. I converted to Jack’s creed and convictions for the joys of life that very evening. I loved this man. Oh, the briefing. Well, disaster befell us shortly after leaving the pub and heading for our taxi. Jack tried to hurdle a low-slung chain marking a parking lot. He tripped and scraped his face along the gravel, macadam, and concrete. The kind of skin shredding that occurs when your face gets into a fracas with such elements, and the tarry gravel becomes affixed to the wounds as a garish adornment. The kind of oozing that won’t stop, with so many pockmarks that you can’t possible plug them all. The kind where all sense of decorum is lost as the briefing looms a mere few hours from the tearing open of flesh across temple, cheek, and chin. The kind of wound that tosses those oh-so-recent transcendent moments onto an ash heap of despair, knowing our careers were ruined and our children forever humiliated. We walked into NAVAIR, Jack oozing, me carrying those gosh-awful non-absorbent government-purchased brown paper towels from the head. We were freaks – okay, Jack looked that way. I did my best to carry the head down slump of a feigned disassociation. Our arrival at the conference room created an expected stir. “No, ma’am, we don’t have any slides.”

Historical: The Hawk Legacy

“In here,” said our greeter. No one met our eyes. This was going to be bad. “Greek, I gotta’ go first,” said Jack. “Sure.” What the heck, we didn’t have a plan. The Source Selection Board members filed in without expression. There was no welcome, no small talk, and no coffee. The room was 1970’s Navy-barren gray bulkhead, stained carpet, and garish lighting. Senior officers and civilians filed into the room, shuffling chairs around an ill-fitting conference table. Horse holders did their best to squeeze into the chairs lined against the bulkheads, their knees crammed into the backs of the chairs around the table. No one looked happy to be there, blank stares turning to scowls once they got a glimpse of Jack. The introduction amounted to, “Okay, lets get started.” I cringed watching Jack move to the front of the room, dabbing his wounds with that paper towel – smearing his lesions – distracting his opening words.

But within a heartbeat, he put the towel down, his voice rose and he commanded the room. He spoke with passion and eloquence about flying; conducting harrowing missions at night, at sea, and hoping to find your ship with a steady enough deck to bring your crew back home; safe. He wove a story how each helicopter might perform in the storm tossed seas, the young pilots matching skill with their machines against a pitching, rolling and yawing deck. Waiting for the quiet amidst the heaving, swaying and surging, while gusting winds buffet the rotors and airframe. He talked about the “kids” in back, hoping the pilots had a clue as to what they were doing, and enough talent to secure the landing. And then Jack implored the room with the need for an aircraft worthy of the lives and the mission. As he walked away he said, “Greek, you’re up.” Anti-climatic best describes my presentation, but there is one scene that belongs in the annals of good sea stories. I was making a point about vibration and its effect

on fatigue and equipment and more such blather. I highlighted a striking instant of such vibration while maneuvering and said something like: “As Jack will attest.” I swung my head as I motioned for Jack’s rejoinder, as did everyone else in the room. Jack’s head was tilted back, his eyes closed, arms dangling to his sides, mouth wide open – and yes, face still oozing. “And that concludes our briefing.” There are many Hawks flying in the world today – some 3,964 Hawks as of this writing – and USN rotary wing played a part in the very beginning. It’s also true that many more great stories of the men and women in rotary wing are recorded in Seahawk chronicles over the past thirty-eight plus years since two Navy guys first climbed into a Hawk cockpit. Just thought you’d like to know a slice of that early history. Here’s to you, Jack. Slá friend.

Editors Note:

Jack Ludwig left the Navy to accept a job as test pilot with Hughes Helicopters. He was promoted to Chief test pilot but was tragically killed in November 1980 during an Apache AH-64 test flight. Mike Coumatos went on to command two LAMPS squadrons, USS New Orleans (LPH 11), and twice Commodore during DESERT SHIELD / DESERT STORM, and again during the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia. He retired from the Navy in 1995, and lives part of the year in both Colorado and Oregon with his wife Susan.


Command Updates

HSC-3 Squadron Update

Article by LT Brett Ballard, USN


he Merlins of HSC-3, already the Navy’s largest helicopter Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), have expanded once more. HSC-3 recently merged with HUQ-1, the unmanned helicopter reconnaissance squadron, and has assumed the added responsibility for training pilots and aircrew on the MQ-8 Fire Scout. HSC-3 completed its merger with the Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) Detachment in October 2013. The Merlins have become the NATOPS model manager and Fleet Replacement Squadron for all Fire Scout aviators. Training is expected to last eight weeks for Air Vehicle Operators

and six weeks for Mission Payload Operators. Once complete these aviators will support Aviation Detachments (AVDETs) aboard Littoral Combat Ships. HSC-3 expects to have its first class of Fire Scout aviators begin new fleet training in early fiscal year 2015. The SCORE Detachment primarily supports ASUW and ASW training on the SCORE range west of San Clemente Island. HSC-3 will supply two helicopters year-round to launch and recover weapons on the range. SCORE also supports aviation, surface, subsurface, and fleet training such as HARP, TSTA, and COMTUEX events. The seamless merger of this detachment from the Blackjacks of HSC-21 has many benefits. Merlin instructors get

the added benefit of performing the SCORE mission by travelling to San Clemente Island and conducting SCORE operations while pilots and aircrew assigned to the SCORE UIC will have the opportunity to qualify as instructors. HSC-3 is excited about the additions of SCORE and HUQ-1 to HSC-3, allowing the Merlins to assume a larger role in the training of future rotary-winged aviators!


HSL-49 DET FIVE Wreckers Alone and Unafraid in the New SOUTHPAC Artivle by LTJG Colin P. McCarthy, USN


rom July 2013 to February 2014, the HSL-49 DET 5 Wreckers deployed onboard USS Rentz (FFG 46) with two SH-60B helicopters to the FOURTH Fleet Area of Operations. The primary mission was Counter Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC). The Wreckers role in this mission involved the interdiction of drug traffickers transporting narcotics (mostly cocaine) along routes destined for the United States. The detachment was one of many assets assigned to Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) for OPERATION MARTILLO, which is Spanish for “hammer.” During the seven-month deployment, Rentz was the only U.S. Navy asset with embarked helicopters deployed to FOURTH Fleet. During a visit to Rentz, Rear Admiral Harris,

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Commander U.S. FOURTH Fleet, reminded the detachment, “You are FOURTH Fleet!” Although DET 5 and the Rentz made up the bulk of naval presence during this time on station, multiple assets from other countries, services, and U.S. government agencies all came together as an extraordinarily successful force at curbing the illegal narcotics trade. While many of DET 5’s sister detachments have deployed to FOURTH FLEET with other Naval assets in theater, the Wreckers lone deployment was anything but typical. The Wreckers experienced many things that a traditional “Crack-PAC” deployment might not normally include, such as the multinational exercise UNITAS; filming for a new television series; conducting Functional Check Flight (FCF) ground turns pierside in a


foreign port; and watching fellow Army helicopter brethren learn a thing or two about landing on ships. The Wreckers were highly successful at their primary mission: CTOC. Over the course of deployment, the Wreckers had four successful busts and four disruptions, interdicting over 5.4 tons of cocaine with an uncut value of $116 million. DET 5 started off as a success even before it began due to an unprecedented pre-deployment bust during the FOXHUNT exercise off the coast of Southern California. While exercising Airborne Use of Force (AUF) tactics, the Wreckers received tasking to chase an active marijuana case that ended in the seizure of 51 bales of Marijuana valued at $1.2 million. Throughout the deployment, AUF tactics were employed three times, using live gunfire from

Command Updates: HSL-49 an airborne Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) precision marksman -- once to disable engines and twice as warning shots. Although the Detachment was not night AUF certified, they stayed in the game by employing coordinated Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) techniques to surprise suspected drug vessels. On one occasion, the Wreckers even vectored partner-nation national naval assets to the scene when the target vessel had evaded Rentz. Overall, the detachment had a 100% success rate at interdicting a vessel suspected of drugs once located and targeted for law enforcement action. In addition to busting drugrunners, Rentz and HSL-49 DET 5 participated in the 54th annual UNITAS exercise, hosted by the Colombian Navy. UNITAS, brought together navies from 15 different countries in order to promote regional defense, interoperability, and readiness through a series of challenging maritime scenarios. During this exercise, all of the crews were able to gain an invaluable experience, to include, launching on a live-fire Hellfire and GUNEX event against a floating hulk and flying several hours of live diesel submarine tracking in a major international Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) event. By participating in UNITAS, the crew was also afforded unique opportunities to transit the Panama Canal twice, visit the beautiful city of Cartagena, tour the Colombian Naval History Museum, check out an actual Self-Propelled SemiSubmersible (SPSS) previously used in the drug trade, and participate in several community relations projects around the city. Following UNITAS, the Rentz embarked a film crew from Paraiso Pictures. Their upcoming mini-series, Interceptors, based on counter narcotics operations in South and Central America, is scheduled to

air on the new TV station FUSION in July 2014. They filmed the Rentz in action as well as the detachments maintenance and flight operations. The camera crew followed the detachment around, filming the crew during normal day-to-day operations to include some in-flight footage from the helicopter. The series will raise awareness in the public sphere on the negative effects of the drug trade and how the U.S. Navy is making a difference in the lives of real people by stopping the flow of illicit goods. Like all helicopter detachments, phase maintenance was a fact of life and getting the helicopters back up in a timely fashion was paramount to mission success. While in port for an extended maintenance period for Rentz, the detachment decided to request the Panamanian Port Authority approve post-phase ground turns on Red Stinger 107 while moored to the pier. After a bit of coaxing, Panamanian work permits and a gas-free test of the pier, the crew was back in business. While all Functional Check Pilots have to fight the clock with sunset, the pilots also had to battle tides. Panama has a large tidal swing that makes conducting ground turns impossible when at low tide with rotors below the pier. Challenges aside, the ground turns were completed over the course of two days, which brought the helicopter one step closer to being mission capable upon the Rentz departure from port. The Wreckers deployment to FOURTH Fleet began and ended with the Rentz supporting Deck Landing Qualification (DLQ) sessions for U.S. ARMY H-60s from U.S. Army Aviation Regiment 1-228th assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B), headquartered at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. One of two task forces under the control of USSOUTHCOM, it is comprised of several different


commands made up of Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel. The original mission of the task force at its inception in 1984 was to provide support to U.S. forces and to train military personnel of Central American militaries. Since then, its role in the region has expanded greatly to include a variety of humanitarian missions including disaster relief and medical aid. Their DLQ sessions on Rentz provided a great opportunity for the Army helicopter pilots to gain some valuable experience in the shipboard environment in order to provide SOUTHCOM added operational flexibility. It also gave Army personnel a chance to get a brief glimpse into life aboard navy vessels. The maintainers enjoyed looking over the UH-60L with its enormous auxiliary tanks suspended from bat wings, unique aircraft survival equipment, and huge seating capacity. After talking with some of the Army pilots after their NVG DLQs, it was obvious that in the end, they gained a healthy respect for the unique skills that all Naval RotaryWing Aviators possess. As evidenced by the Wreckers, deployers to the region need to be ready for anything down there; whether it’s alert launches in the middle of the night or an opportunity to fly into foreign countries to pick up parts vital to the ship so that it can continue its mission. The mission is vital and it will be interesting to see how it will develop as the drug runners change their tactics. PRESS AND LIKE HSL-49

Happy Birthday, HT-28! The Newest Naval Helicopter Training Squadron Turns 7 Years Old Article courtesy of HT-28 Public Affairs Office


he Hellions of HELTRARON Twenty-Eight are celebrating their 7th year of flight training. In 2007, a third Helicopter Pilot Training Squadron was deemed necessary to help meet the growing need to develop Naval helicopter pilots… thusly, HT-28 was established, May 25, 2007. HT-28 is located on NAS Whiting Field, northeast of Pensacola Florida, The Cradle of Naval Aviation. Starting with the first winging class in December 2007, HT-28 has repeatedly completed one safe sortie at a time. To date, they have flown over 151,000 flight hours. In all, 1071 Wings of Gold have been earned at HT-28 by 550 Navy, 389 Marine Corps, 97 Coast Guard, and 132 foreign military helicopter pilots. The Hellion staff has had the honor of

being led by six Commanding Officers, alternating between U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Over the years, more than 200 flight instructors comprised of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviators, a U.S. Navy enlisted crew of approximately 17 aircrewmen, and 33 civilians have helped to obtain mission success. HT-28 continues to work towards the great achievement of producing professional military aviators. HT-28, like its two sister squadrons, has a complete compliment of instructors teaching flight skills and exposure flights that each helicopter student pilot needs to succeed. Hellion aircrews fly regularly to a variety of towered and non-towered airfields,

including the local area outlying fields such as Spencer Field, Pace OLF, Santa Rosa OLF, Harold OLF, and Site 8 OLF. With Professionalism, Integrity and , Judgment (the Hellion Ethos), HT-28 crews fly everything from the basics of take-off, hover, landing-to-tactical, instrument, formation, Search and Rescue, and NVGs. “GET LUCKY!” says the motto of the Hellions, as they go about the business of teaching and learning flight skills. This is their “7 year itch,” (fitting, since their instrument callsign is 7E). Happy Birthday, HT-28. May this year be another success, followed by many more.

The Eightballers Set Their Sights on the Skies Article and photo by LTJG George Meszaros, USN


t is hard to believe almost a year has passed since deployment, and HSC-8 has enjoyed an extended time ashore at NAS North Island, CA. The squadron recently bid farewell to LT Mike “Sacko” Lindsey and welcomed aboard LTJG George “Jorge” Meszaros. Along with aggressively pursuing Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Program (SWTP) pilot qualification flights, Functional Checkflights, and H2P/HAC boards, the Eightballers recently had two unique opportunities to showcase the abilities of the MH-60S. February focused on HSC8’s collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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(NASA) on board the USS San Diego (LPD 22). In support of tests involving the new Orion space capsule, two specially modified MH-60S aircraft flew racetrack patterns at 6000’ and 10,000’ MSL while attempting to track a NASA Gulfstream jet flying profiles similar to that which the Orion capsule will take during its Exploration Flight Test One (EFT-1) re-entry this fall. NASA engineers were able to give HSC-8’s pilots exact azimuth and elevation values at which they expected to locate the jet, and each time the pilots were able use the Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) to successfully acquire and track their targets. Eightballer aircrews also helped NASA to validate its air and ship


communications plan for EFT-1, while at the same time providing the necessary training for the NASA photographers and sensor operators in preparation for Orion’s first flight this fall. HSC-8 will continue its support of NASA and Orion this summer as the capsule travels to Yuma, AZ, for more testing in advance of EFT-1. The Eightballers also took part in CVW-9’s “Strike of the Month” on March 4th and 5th, along with HSM-71, VFA-41, VFA-14, VFA-25, VAW-112, and VP-40. During the exercise, HSC8 aircraft were tasked to investigate contacts from an E-2C Hawkeye, providing increased situational awareness for the carrier battle group in

Command Updates: HSC-8 in a simulated straits transit while honing the pilots’ AntiSurface Warfare (ASUW) mission skills. Looking forward, HSC-8 will be taking part in numerous detachments this summer, including multiple Carrier Qualification (CQ) detachments, one unit level training detachment, and one Air Wing exercise at NAS Fallon, NV. Until next time, ROLL FAST, ROLL HARD!!! PRESS AND LIKE HSC-8 ON

HSC-8 aircraft conducts shipboard landing to USS San Diego

HSC-9 Tridents Continue to Hone Attack Skills Article by CDR Bryan “Peeps” Peeples, USN & LT Jonathan “Peepers” Andritsch, USN


fter a short respite from a demanding month-long Air Wing Fallon detachment in preparation for our upcoming deployment, the Tridents of HSC-9 returned to sea for COMPTUEX. In the previous months, the squadron had developed and honed its skills in the attack mission set with a first-of-itskind weapons detachment to Fallon, NV, followed a few months later by Air Wing Fallon (AWF). During AWF, the squadron integrated its new 20mm strafe and 2.75” rocket warfighting capabilities with the rest of Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8), scoring direct hits on multiple land targets while flying under Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) control. As a result of these two detachments to the Nevada desert and countless hours of training at home in Norfolk, VA, the Tridents arrived aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) for COMPTUEX ready to employ their “new” strafe weapons systems in the maritime environment. As a result of their hard work and that of Carrier Strike Group TWO (CSG-2), CVW-8, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), and Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic (CHSCWL), HSC-9 will become the first Navy squadron since Vietnam to

deploy with both the LAU-61 rocket pod and the M197 20mm cannon. Both HSC-6 and HSC-7 have already deployed with the M197 weapon system with outstanding results, but the Tridents will be the first to carry fixed forward firing rockets and guns in theater. Although it was procured primarily to defeat an overwater small boat threat, this new strafe capability brings versatility and lethality in attacking a wide variety of land or seaborne targets, making the MH-60S gunship an invaluable asset to any warfare commander. During COMPTUEX, the Tridents made history. At 1313 on 17 December 2013, Troubleshooters 612 and 614 launched from the USS George H.W. Bush with 600 rounds of 20mm and 19 2.75” rockets each. After a short transit to


the designated OPAREA, both Trident aircraft successfully completed a moving target unit level training (ULT) event, demonstrating the capability of the MH-60S to counter the fast attack craft (FAC) and fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) threat. Working as a section, they engaged a remote controlled high speed, rapidly maneuvering surface target with forward-firing weapons. The gunships scored multiple hits and completely disabled the target, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt the effectiveness of overwater rotary-wing strafe.

Two Trident helicopters flying in formation. Photo courtesy of HSC-9 Public Affairs Office

summer of 1966, the HC-1 Fleet Angels of NAS Imperial Beach, California procured surplus Bell UH-1B helicopters from the Army’s 197th Armed Helicopter Company in response to the increasing demand for nighttime and all weather gunship air support from naval patrol boats in the Mekong Delta. The Army had provided most of the embarked armed helicopter support in the early years of the Vietnam War; however, it was determined that Naval Aviators were better suited to fly in the challenging weather environments because of their overwater and all-weather search and rescue flying experience. HC-1 spawned several detachments of gunships that operated in South Vietnam in support of the riverine Navy and Naval Special Warfare. One of those detachments eventually became Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) THREE (HA(L)-3), commissioned on 1 April 1967. The Seawolves flew countless combat sorties in the Mekong

Delta from Patrol Boat River craft and LSDs, utilizing the tactics learned from their Army counterparts at Fort Rucker, Fort Benning, and as co-pilots and passengers on Army combat missions. Distinguishing themselves in combat during the Vietnam War, the pilots and aircrewmen of HA(L)-3 ushered in a new era of rotary-wing Naval Aviation and upheld the “Fly, Fight, Win” attitude espoused by Naval Aviators for over one hundred years. While the Navy eventually disestablished the Seawolves of HA(L)-3 in 1972, their legacy still lives on in HSC-84 and HSC-85. As the Navy returns to the rotary-wing gunship concept as part of its high value unit defense tactics, the Tridents embrace the challenge of living up to the standards of their predecessors by operating true to their mantra, “The Mission is Attack.”


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Command Updates: HSC-23

Expeditionary At Its Finest

Article by LT Logan Jaybush, USN, and LT Grace Reilly, USN


he stable is buzzing with activity! This is a very exciting time to be a Wildcard. Two very eager detachments have stood up and begun to train for what will certainly prove to be very unique and interesting experiences for those involved. The Wildcards of HSC-23 Detachment TWO have just started to fully integrate with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the USS Makin Island (LHD 8), and there have already been numerous demonstrations of the abilities of this strong blue-green aviation team. Workups started at the beginning of February with the UH-1Y and MH-60S serving as aerial sniper platforms for a course run by the Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) at Camp Pendleton. Once the aircrews have fine-tuned the basics of working with Marine snipers, the opportunity to put those skills to the test came in the form of the next two big exercises: Ground Interop and Maritime Interop. Ground Interop consisted of three large-scale joint raids at Camp Pendleton, with upwards of 70 Marines on deck and nearly a dozen Navy and Marine Corps aircraft working together to carry out realistic combat scenarios. From flying in a five-ship mixed aircraft section, to inserting personnel on rooftops

via fastrope, to landing in tight LZs to pick up casualties, HSC-23 crews were an integral part of the action. Maritime Interop took that cooperation one step further by integrating skill sets with those of the UH-1Y, the Maritime Raid Force (MRF), and Navy-crewed rigid hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs). Over the course of two weeks, the Wildcard/MEU team progressed from basic fastrope drills to full-scale takedowns of ships and gas and oil platforms (GOPLAT) at Pt. Mugu, Naval Base Ventura County, effectively bringing night Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) back to the Marine Corps as a valid mission set. Detachment TWO’s next step is heading up to Camp Roberts and Fort Hunter Liggett for Realistic Urban Training (RUT), a demanding two week exercise with a variety of mission sets, most requiring same day planning and execution. After that, there are several at-sea periods onboard Makin Island, followed by a full WESTPAC deployment. Detachment THREE has almost completely finished standing up and becoming fully qualified within two months of their deployment date with a very exciting, first-ever mission area for the HSC community. Det THREE will be conducting joint anti-smuggling


Wildcards conducting training with USMC

operations onboard USS McClusky (FFG 41), supporting U.S. law enforcement agency detachments while deployed in the SOUTHCOM Area of Operations, executing the HSC community’s firstever deployment onboard an FFG. The Navy began assisting Federal Law Enforcement in these anticipated mission sets in 2006 utilizing its fleet of venerable Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates. Due to the continually evolving nature of smuggling and illicit trafficking, Detachment THREE’s maintainers and aircrews will be constantly tested as they deter and disrupt the flow of illicit goods across the sea. No matter where members of the Wildcards are, we know that they will continue to mold and shape the definition of an expeditionary squadron with excellence, perseverance, and flexibility.

Wildcards Never Fold!


HSM-71 Raptors Squadron Update Article courtesy by HSM-71 Public Affairs Office


HSM-71 aircraft flies over San Diego Photo taken by photographer Ted Carlson

s the role of the MH-60R grows within the Carrier Strike Group environment, our training has continued to develop as well. HSM71 was recently invited to act as the mission lead for Carrier Air Wing NINE’s first simulator Large Force Exercise, and the training received during this event directly reflects the Romeo’s growing role. This event linked MH-60R, P-3 Orion, E-2 Hawkeye and two MH-60S simulators with Whiskey and Zulu cells from TACTRAGRUPAC (TTGP) to conduct an opposed strait transit and protect a simulated Carrier Strike Group. The MH-60R crew played the role of Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR), generating tasking and ordering the execution of pre-planned responses (PPRs) to unknown, potentially threatening surface contacts.

Communicating in real-time with actual operators from other assets added tremendous realism and increased value over a standalone unit level training (ULT) event, where the roles and voice communications of fellow Strike Group aircraft and warfare commanders are simulated by one instructor sitting at a control console. During this unprecedented linked exercise connecting multiple platform simulators, all players were able to conduct their own appropriate roles, practice standardized communications, utilize communityspecific tactics and create a much more realistic training environment. The ability to link Strike Group simulators provides the opportunity to augment the quality of training, improve coordination between platforms and increase the benefit of underway training periods by

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fielding crews who are already familiar with integrated operations. LCDR Jennifer “Squeeze” Huck, who in addition to being the mission lead was also evaluated for an ACTC Level IV grade sheet, expressed just how effective an event like this is for professional proficiency and advancement: “The event was well-planned and smoothly executed, from all simulator, aircrew, and warfare commander sides. The linked simulator training was an excellent way to practice the integration of Air Wing capabilities and augment our at-sea workup exercises. I am looking forward to future simulator events of this magnitude.” PRESS AND LIKE HSM-71 ON

Command Updates: HMLA-467

HMLA-467 Conducts First Combat Deployment Supporting o\ Operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan Article and Photos by Sgt Frances Johnson, USMC


he Marine Aircraft GroupAfghanistan has different air assets contributing to the last operations in Regional Command (Southwest), and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 brings the multi-role versatility needed for combat operations in southern Afghanistan. The unit, known as the Sabers, is currently deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, and is comprised of Marines with varying specialties to man and maintain the AH-1W Cobras and UH-1Y Hueys. The squadron was established five years ago and is on its first combat deployment. Although many people envision pilots and crew chiefs when they think of a squadron, the Marines back on the ground in the hangars and shops are just as important as the guys in the air. “My job entails safety of the aircraft and to make sure that everything electrically is done to our standard,” said Cpl Brandon Ferger, an avionics technician with HMLA-467. “We make sure everything is safe for flight, and the pilots can get out for their mission to support the units on the ground.” “Almost everything on the aircraft is avionics related, and if something is wrong, the helicopter is not safe to fly, which means the aircraft and crew are unable to fly to support any ground units who might need them,” explained Ferger. “I enjoy (my job) a lot,” said Ferger, a native of Mansfield, Ohio. “Best part of my job is when I work on something for a long time; I find what fixes it, and I feel good about myself because I can get that aircraft back in the fight.” Getting the Cobras and Hueys of HMLA-467 back in the fight is something every Marine in the unit takes to heart when doing their daily jobs. “We work with the air frame, hydraulics and flight controls for the Huey and the Cobra,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Perkins, an air frames mechanic with

HMLA-467. “If a bird is not capable of flying, missions can’t be completed. If we have a (troops in contact) alarm that goes off, we have to ensure every bird is up and ready to go. Back home pilots go up for training purposes, but out here it’s the real thing and moves at a lot quicker pace.” P e r k i n s SSgt. Jonathan Lee, a senior crew chief with Marine Light Attack explained the Helicopter Squadron 467, conducts a weapons check work tempo is much faster than back at MCAS Cherry native of Redondo Beach, California. “We Point, but that has not hindered him and bring both the attack and the lift portion; his fellow Marines from completing their with the utility platform of the Huey we can daily tasks. do multi-role missions. You don’t get that “I’ve always tried to move as fast from the CH53-E (Super Stallions) or the as possible, so for me the faster pace isn‘t (MV-22) Ospreys or any other platform, so something hard for me to get used to,” said we provide the versatility that the ground Perkins, a native of New Hope, Alabama. commanders need from a rotary-wing “Just like all other shops, every shop has platform.” its own job; if that job isn‘t completed then the aircraft will not be up.” One of the shops keeping the aircraft in the air is the flightline shop, ensuring all tasks are completed and maintenance is supervised as well. “Without the flightline shop we wouldn’t be able to be doing what we’re doing out here,” said Cpl Jordan Danielson, a collateral duty quality assurance representative with HMLA-467, and a native of Delta, Colorado. “We take care of everything; we are the people that make sure that these birds can fly.” The missions the Sabers conduct in support of combat operations within RC(SW) provide flexibility for the troops Cpl Joseph Bowman, (l) a UH-1Y Huey crew on the ground. chief, and Cpl Brandon Ferger, an avionics “There’s no other unit in the technician, both with HMLA-467, prepare to Marine Corps that provides what an HMLA trouble shoot a UH-1Y Huey can provide” said Staff Sgt.Jonathan Lee, a senior crew chief with HMLA-467 and a


While flight hours in a noncombat environment are more focused on training, the switch to combat operations has kept the Sabers thinking on their toes since their arrival during May 2014. “The most challenging thing since we’ve been out here has been an adjustment to the tempo because the second you’re checking into work it’s go, go, go,” said Cpl Joseph Bowman, a UH-1Y Huey crew chief “It’s definitely more of a wakeup call when you hear guys over the radio say, “Hey we need help. We’re getting shot at from this area.” Though missions are being tasked and completed on a daily basis to support Marines on the ground in the fight, the squadron is still thinking about the near future and planning for the squadron’s retrograde and redeployment. “Everything back in the rear is a little more cut and dry, stuff that has been done time and time again,” said Sgt Ross Hodish, the squadron embark chief for HMLA-467. “I’m responsible for determining what can stay, what we need to get rid of and what needs to come back

with those helicopters, in addition, getting those helicopters on an aircraft.” As retrograde planning is spinning up, Hodish explains he only has ten Marines working directly with him who are solely dedicated to ensuring all gear and personnel are accounted for and making sure timelines for shipping those items back to the states are efficiently met. “The S-4 in general, embark and logistics side, at any given point in time we will be the most hated and sought after section in the entire HMLA because we’re out there telling them, “Hey, you need to get rid of stuff,” but at the same time they need stuff from us to ensure that they can get their job done,” said Hodish, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “For the most part, we’re doing a (great) job there getting the shops everything they need, making sure our operations run as smooth as possible, and we have all the necessary gear that we need to make sure we can still fly birds and support operations.” “There’s a 30-second window that makes me more proud than anything when

we’re sitting on the taxiway just waiting to go,” said Bowman, a native of Las Vegas. “Then when they give you clearance and you just feel the nose of the aircraft just dip down and you take off and everything kind of goes silent. It’s my serenity.” Although the Sabers have only been a squadron for five years and are on their first combat deployment, the pride they hold in their jobs seems to reflect that of a squadron that has been around the Corps for many years. “I feel honored; our squadron’s first deployment overseas gets to be the last for the HMLAs (in Afghanistan)” said Capt David Faville, an AH-1W Cobra pilot with HMLA-467. “It is keeping our deployment very busy with the moves and retrogrades, helping us fight off the grind that I think most units run into midway. We are extremely lucky to be given the chance to get out here.” SCAN AND LIKE HMLA-467 ON

HMLA-267 Flies For Proficiency 1 Marine Expeditionary Force

Article by LCpl Caitlin Bevel, USMC


arines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 conducted flight training aboard Naval Air Facility El Centro, CA, July 16, 2014. This training was part of a twoweek detachment for training designed to help the Marines get ready for combat. The time spent in close proximity during training allows the crew to develop a bond and sense of understanding that can make them more effective in combat. “Every time we go out as a crew we learn how we work,” said Cpl Andrew Worley, a UH-1Y Venom crew chief with HMLA-267. “We learn the sounds of each other’s voices so if someone is stressed their voice will fluctuate and we can pick up on it.” The training involved realistic scenarios that gave each member of the

crew a greater understanding of what will be required of them and how their role fits into the mission as a whole. “It’s good to see what it’s going to feel like and how it’s going to affect us,” said Worley. “This training helps because we can get used to the sort of fatigue we’ll experience and learn how to fight it.” The day’s exercises involved multiple time-on-stations where pilots practiced firing rockets and implementing the other weapons on their aircraft. The pilots were scored on accuracy while firing on the large scale ranges at the facility. “We want to hit steel on steel and if that doesn’t occur we know where to make our adjustments,” said 1stLt Daniel Lee, an AH-1Z Viper pilot with HMLA-267. This training follows the Training and Readiness Manual, covering a wide

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range of information from weapon profiles to tactics. “You’re never just focusing on one thing,” said Lee. “You’re a master of everything.” During the training, pilots and enlisted air crew practiced every stage of the mission process including creating flight profiles, controlling the communications, and employing the various weapons aboard the aircraft. “Seeing their plan on paper and then applying it to the real world takes a lot of practice,” said Worley. Worley added that the squadron’s main focus is being able to provide effective support to help the Marines on the ground.



AND WHAT YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT. I am the Chief Pilot for Sikorsky’s commercial helicopter production facility. In Pennsylvania, we build the S-92A, S-76D and S-300 helicopters. In addition to production build, we have an engineering and completions center that designs, builds, installs and certifies custom interiors prior to customer delivery. My staff is responsible for production acceptance, return to service and engineering testing of the certification projects for customer deliveries. We also provide customer transition training and advanced model specific training following delivery at customer locations around the world.


I left active duty for broader professional opportunities and the chance to advance rotary wing technology and capabilities.

3 – D E S C R I B E Y O U R N AV Y RESERVE POSITION AND WHAT YOU LIKED MOST ABOUT IT. What I enjoyed the most about the reserves was working with dedicated professionals from extremely diverse backgrounds. It was exciting and rewarding to bring teams together to solve problems using very different perspectives from their civilian careers; the Navy nurse that was a police sergeant leading an anti-terrorism task force, or the yeoman that was a nuclear power plant operator. I learned very quickly the importance of knowing and understanding the personal skills and lives of the sailors that worked for me, even more so than on active duty. 4 – WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO “REJOIN” THE NAVY THROUGH THE RESERVES? The reserves gave me the opportunity to continue supporting our nation’s defense while taking advantage of the significant


retirements benefits I had vested through my active duty time. 5 – WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNG NAVAL OFFICERS WHO ARE CONSIDERING A TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN LIFE AND/OR THE NAVY RESERVE? While active duty provided opportunities and led to experiences that I had never considered, I have learned that civilian opportunities, when leveraged with active duty training and experience, are even greater. There are tremendous opportunities to pursue civilian careers while remaining an integral part of the Naval service. Start early with your civilian and reserve career planning and research. It is never too early to affiliate with civilian professional organizations and build professional relationships that will ease transition from active duty.

The newest naval helicopter pilots going to the fleet

WINGING CLASS 09MAY14 Third Row: CDR Matthew J. Bowen, USN, Commanding Officer HT-8; 1st Lt. Benjamin C. Bennett, USMC; ENS Jonathan D. Bain, USN; 1st Lt Manuel R. Franquez II, USMC; ENS Christopher M. Dinger, USN; 1stLt Collin M. Wood, USMC; CAPT James J. Fisher, USN, Commodore TRAWING-5. Second Row: CDR Kevin Pickard, Jr., USN, Commanding Officer HT-18; Ensign Amy N. Williams, USN; 1stLt Joshua A. Elwell, USMC; ENS Cesar J. Cepeda, USN; ENS Thomas M. Nieporte III, USN; RDML Andrew L. Lewis, USN, Commander Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.. First Row: LtCol Jeffrey M. Pavelko, USMC, Commanding Officer HT-28; ENS Tyler J. Boston, USN; ENS Jace R. Fincher, USN; 1stLt Paul A. Sarkela, USMC; LTJG Matteo Ricasoli, ITNavy; LTJG Lorenzo Duranti, ITNavy; His Excellency Claudio Bisogniero, Italian Ambassador to the U.S.

WINGING CLASS 23MAY14 Third Row: CDR Robert G. Sinram, USN, Commanding Officer HT-8; 1stLt John E. Mcarthur, USMC; ENS Andrew J. Schnur, USN; 1stLt James W. Derr, USMC; ENS Douglas S. Furman, USN; 1stLt William J. Knies, USMC; LTJG Brian M. Schuessler, USN; 1stLt Christopher Ress, USMC. Second row: LtCol Rafford M. Coleman, USMC, Executive Officer HT-18; ENS Michael Y. Baluyut, USN; 1stLt Michal L. Hourigan, USMC; LT Daniel J. Reilly, USCG; ENS Sarah R. Pritchard, USN; Ensign Shawn P. Walsh, USN; ENS Andrew P. Soberman, USN; LTJG Daniel C. Burke, USN; LtCol James M. Isaacs, USMC, Commanding Officer of HMLA-169. First70 row: LtCol Jeffrey M. Pavelko, USMC, Commanding Officer HT-28; LTJG Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14 Vittorio Assuntore, ITNavy; ENS Matthew A. Fisco, USN; LTJG Caleb M. Demarco, USN; LTJG Thomas K. Needles, USN; 1stLt Stephen C. Usery, USMC; LTJG Kaila R. Millis, USN; CAPT James J. Fisher, USN, Commodore TRAWING-5.


Third Row: CDR Robert G. Sinram, USN, Commanding Officer HT-8; LTJG Jordan N. Roach, USN; LTJG Andrew N. Breen, USCG; LTJG Anthony J. Kline, USN; 1stLt Steven M. Vining, USMC; LTJG Robert L. Williams, USN; CAPT Michael D. Fisher, USN, Executive Officer Naval Aviation Schools Command. Second Row: CDR Kevin Pickard Jr., USN, Commanding Officer, HT-18; 1stLt Ryan M. Klenke, USMC; LTJG Jeffrey M. Mistrick, USCG; 1stLt Joesph F. Deignan IV, USMC; ENS James R. Gonos, USN; 1stLt Michael M. Dobrinen, USMC; and CAPT James J. Fisher, USN, Commodore, TRAWING-5 First Row: LtCol Jeffrey M. Pavelko, USMC, Commanding Officer HT-28; LTJG Caitlin L. Schemenski, USN; LTJG Daniel E. Vogel, USN; LTJG Devin M. Dugard, USN; LTJG Laura K. Starck, USN; LTJG David T. Moore, USN.


Third Row: CDR John D. McBryde, USN, Executive Officer HT-8; LTJG Reed P. Looney, USN; ENS Daniel J. Treiber, USN; 1stLt Matthew C. Fenelon, USMC; LTJG Sean E. Stadig, USCG; LTJG Holden S. Shalov, USN; Col Gary A Kling, USMC, Deputy Commander, TRAWING-5. Second Row: CDR Kevin Pickard, Jr., USN, Commanding Officer HT-18; LTJG Aric M. McGee, USN; 1stLt Tyler A. Hoogervorst, USMC; LTJG Logan B. Donahey, USCG; LTJG Duncan M. Miller, USN; LTJG Ian D. Park, USN; LTJG Corey N. Dobbs, USN. First Row: LtCol Jeffrey M. Pavelko, 71 USMC, Commanding Officer HT-28; LTJG Abagail M. Ellis, USN; LT Andrew J. Cinque, USCG; LTJG Virginia M. Maynard, USN; LTJG Bradley J. Kirschbaum, USN; LT Crystal A. Barnett, USCG; LTJG Daniel D. Kelly, USN.


Third Row: CDR Robert G. Sinram, USN, Commanding Officer HT-8; LTJG Cameron W. Thompson, USN; LTJG Grant B. Thorne, USN; 1stLt Adam C. Satterfield, USMC; LTJG Brent J. Krawiecki, USN. Second Row: CDR Kevin Pickard, Jr., USN, Commanding Officer HT-18; LTJG Matthew E. Kolb, USCG; LTJG William J. Wofford, USN; 1stLt Brendan H. O’Donnell, USMC; LTJG Michael L. Didonato, USN. First Row: LtCol Jeffrey M. Pavelko, USMC, Commanding Officer HT-28; LTJG Nicholas M. Tessmer, USN; 1stLt Jacob Connell, USMC; LTJG Jennifer M. Groger, USN; Col Eric F. Buer, USMC, Commanding Officer MATSG-21; CAPT James J. Fisher, USN, Commodore TRAWING- 5.

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Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14





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The Tri d ent Dec ept ion

Book Review

Author: Rick Campbell

Reviewed by CAPT Vincent C. Secades, USN (Ret)


erhaps the gravest and more intractable international relations issue facing the world today is the threat of the Islamic Republic of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. An Iranian nuclear bomb poses an ominous threat to the security of the Western World, particularly to the countries in the Middle East region. Most political observers predict that a successful Iranian nuclear weapons program would trigger a nuclear armament race that could involve Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps other countries in the region. However, the threat that an Iranian nuclear bomb presents to these nations pales in comparison with the threat that it creates to the survival of the state of Israel. The Iranian leadership has repeatedly declared its goal to erase Israel from the face of the Earth. The Iranian threat to Israel is immense. The Israeli government cannot sit idle and allow Iran’s nuclear program to succeed. The Israeli conundrum is made more difficult by the perception of a faltering United States’ commitment to do whatever is necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. It is with this backdrop that Rick Campbell, in his first novel, The Trident Deception, has weaved a plot that, although a work of fiction, is current and relevant. After years of efforts to recruit the right individuals and place them at key positions in the U.S. defense establishment, Israeli intelligence has achieved the capability to send an Emergency Action Message to a ballistic missile submarine at sea. Confronted with Iran’s imminent assembly of a nuclear bomb, and lacking the capability to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons assembly facility, buried deep underground, the prime minister of Israel reluctantly gives his authorization to put in effect the plan to deceive a Trident submarine into launching a nuclear strike into Iran. A Trident submarine carries twenty-four missiles. Each missile can deliver up to eight independently targeted 475-kiloton nuclear warheads, twenty-five times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. If that power could be unleashed against Iran, it would eliminate its threat to Israel permanently. Switching the action among Washington, D.C., Israel, Hawaii, and the naval forces at sea, Campbell tells a story of intrigue, deception, devotion to duty, courage, and tragedy. A ten-day saga during which the U.S. government tries to stop USS Kentucky, the Trident submarine, from launching its nuclear missiles, while the commanding officer and crew of the submarine, being deceived by a mole in their midst, do their best to accomplish what they believe to be their assigned mission. As USS Kentucky transits to the launch area, the American Fleet tries strenuously to intersect and stop it, by sinking it if necessary. The fast-paced sequence of events is packed with climatic situations that keep the reader in suspense time and again. The plot has all the ingredients for a successful recipe. It has its villain, whose identity is never suspected, the evidence suggesting someone else. It has the human agony of a father who has to choose between the life of his only son and doing his duty. There are the personal confrontations and the combat encounters, their outcome always in doubt and frequently surprising. The narrative is engaging and mesmerizing. It puts the reader in the middle of the action, like an invisible witness that sees everything and misses nothing. A common feature of most fiction novels is “padding,” that is, pages of innocuous text. We see it when, setting up a scene, the writer fills pages describing in details things like the pictures on the walls, the color of the furniture, the kitchen counter material, or a myriad of other trivial details that add nothing to the story being told, just pages to the book. Too much padding makes for a boring book. The Trident Deception is a novel without padding. Every one of its 381 pages tells a story that is essential to the plot. It tells it in an engaging way that grabs the attention of the reader. The plot has more twists and turns than a mountain road. Each turn is packed with surprising new wrinkles and climatic events that keep the reader riveted to the action. In this, his first book, Rick Campbell demonstrates a keen talent as a storyteller. He puts his experience as a submariner to good use, giving the readers, even the neophytes to the submarine world, a comfortable understanding of the technical aspects of the events being related. This is an extremely entertaining book that augurs a brilliant future for Rick Campbell as a writer. The Tride nt Dec ept ion by Ric k Cam pbell • S t . M a r t i n ’s P r e s s , N ew York March 2014, H ardcover, 387 pages , $25.99


Perspective - The Meaning of Independence

Last Marines in Afghanistan Proud to Serve on U.S. Independence Day Article and Photos by 1stLt Garth Langley, USMC


homas Paine once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” As the nation honors Independence Day during patriotic celebrations across the nation, deployed U.S. service members with Regional Command Southwest (RC(SW)) paused briefly to honor America, July 4th, 2014.

Independence Day is a time to reflect on U.S. sovereignty and serves as an ever-present reminder that freedom is not free. In southern Afghanistan, U.S. service members are hard at work ensuring the mission in Helmand is accomplished by the end of 2014. Helmand province has been the deployed home for thousands of U.S. and coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. forces were first called to Afghanistan after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. In 2006, U.K. forces first forayed into Helmand to quell a boiling insurgency. During 2008 and 2009, U.S. Marines deployed to Helmand to assist. In 2010 RC(SW) was formally established under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and partnered with developing Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the region. Together, forces occupied


The Navy Helicopter Association, Inc was founded on 2 November 1971 by the twelve rotary wing pioneers listed below. The bylaws were later formally written and the organization was established as a nonprofit association in the State of California 11 May 1978. In 1987 the bylaws were rewritten, changing the name from Navy to Naval to reflect the close relationship of the rotary wing community in the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy, from initial training to operating many similar aircraft. NHA is a 501 ( C ) (6) nonprofit association.

NHA Founding Members CAPT A.E. Monahan CDR H.F. McLinden CAPT M.R. Starr CDR W. Staight CAPT A.F. Emig Mr. R. Walloch Mr. H. Nachlin CDR P.W. Nicholas

Rotor Review # 125

CDR D.J. Hayes CAPT C.B. Smiley CAPT J.M. Purtell CDR H.V. Pepper

Objectives of NHA Provide recognition and enhance the prestige of the United States Naval vertical flight community. Promote‘14 the use of vertical lift aircraft 74 in the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. - Summer Keep members informed of new developments and accomplishments in rotary wing aviation.

Perspective- on Meaning of Independence Perspective thethe Meaning of Independence

SSgt Jonathan Lee (l), and SSgt Kenneth Morris (r), both crew chiefs with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467, watch for any suspicious activity on the ground during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photo taken by Sgt Frances Johnson, USMC

key terrain along the fertile green area surrounding the Helmand River Valley in places such as Sangin, the birthplace of the Taliban, to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries. The battles were some of the bloodiest and costliest to coalition and Afghan treasure. Over time the mission has changed though. The transition from coalition-led combat operations to Afghan-partnered operations turned an important page in the security environment. Afghan police and army demonstrated the ability to secure the area and protect their people. During the past two years, the transfer of lead security to the Afghans has allowed coalition advisors to hone in on the institutional development of the ANSF. Now more than 100 advisors serve under the Combined Corps Advisor-Team. The advisors are partnered with headquarters staff officers of the 215th Corps, Afghan National Army, at neighboring Camp Shorabak and tied into the institutional development processes of the ANSF. Reaching a high of more than 21,000 Marines in 2011, now, there are 5,000 U.S. forces remaining in Helmand. The forces are closely focused on advising, developing and supporting the ANSF while simultaneously preparing to redeploy equipment and personnel by the end of 2014.


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Security operations are ongoing in Helmand. Since the end of the poppy harvest and the start of the fighting season, the ASNF have been tested in northern Helmand and Sangin. The ANSF have battled in skirmishes against the Taliban in key district centers once held by ISAF, and prevailed. In the dark hours on the eve of the Fourth of July, Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, headed outside the wire near Camp Leatherneck to patrol, conduct reconnaissance, and eliminate enemy threats to the coalition in the area.


Marines with HMLA-467 prepare to trouble shoot an AH-1W Cobra - Camp Bastion, Afghanistan

Photo taken by Sgt Frances Johnson, USMC Caption Here

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Across the Camp Bastion flight line, Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 (HMLA-467) spent the day on alert in their mission to provide immediate close air support to infantry units engaged in the fight. In the early afternoon, AH-1W Super Cobra pilots and crew headed into the daily operations update brief. The pilots and crew are the first to fight when ground units take contact from the enemy and require close air support. With the sound of a single alarm in a moment’s notice, the squadron’s AH-1W Super Cobra’s and UH-1Y Huey helicopters can take off into the hazy skies over Helmand and secure the area.

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14



Capt Christopher Smith, a native of Lake Worth, Florida, and pilot with HMLA-467, flew the squadron’s prized helicopter on the Fourth of July. The AH-1W Super Cobra includes a subdued paint job of the New York City skyline that includes the shadows of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and white lettering that reads “Never Forget.”


The helicopter joins other patriotic aircraft stationed at Camp Bastion, such as, “VMMAmerica,” the flagship Osprey helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261. VMM-America is painted with a subdued image of the iconic flag raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Both aircraft are subtle reminders to Marines serving 8,000 miles away from U.S. soil of the daily sacrifice they make and the ultimate sacrifice their fellow Marines have given in the defense of the nation.

Perspective - the Meaning of Independence

Capt Kyle Kapron, a pilot of HMLA-467, stands next to a UH-1Y helicopter on Independence Day

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Smith and other Marines were on standby during the Fourth of July. They recorded video messages to be sent to their loved ones over the internet wishing them a happy Independence Day. Smith said, “It is an honor and privilege to serve and carry the American flag 238 years after our Independence.” Within minutes after recording the messages, twenty-five foot sirens began blaring. Helicopter Close Air Support was needed to support infantry Marines on the ground. The Marines with HMLA-467 darted out the squadron’s doors, donned their helmets and took off into the skies to back up the infantry Marines.



Across Camp Leatherneck, other Marines paused from their daily routines to reflect on the American sacrifice here. Capt James R. Smith, a native of Torrington, Connecticut, and advisor to the Afghan National Army said, “It is an honor to serve with Marines anywhere in the world during the Fourth of July, especially in Afghanistan. Today is an opportunity to remember all of the Marines who have preceded us and to reflect on the principles that make America a nation worth serving. It will be one of the more memorable Independence Days in my life.”


As the footprint of U.S. and coalition forces in the region has decreased during the past two years, military commanders have prepared to posture their forces as well as inventory of equipment to meet a 2014 endof-mission requirement. R4OG was tasked early in 2012 with the immense challenge to receive and clean-up millions of dollars in unused military equipment and redistribute throughout the Department of Defense where it is needed.

Colonel Joseph Whitaker, a native of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and commanding officer of Redeployment and Retrograde in support of Reset and Reconstitution Operations Group (R4OG) and his staff put together a unit gathering in a dusty warehouse aboard Camp Leatherneck to recognize the Fourth of July. Whitaker and his staff organized a special lunch with, fittingly, a menu of chicken, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, hot dogs and a special birthday cake for Old Glory.



hitaker and his Marines have been hard at work during the past year moving thousands of pieces of gear out of theater ranging from uniforms, surveillance equipment, to MineResistant Ambush Protected vehicles, used during the past decade of conflict. Whitaker said they are ahead of schedule and have about 10,000 items to get out of Helmand by the end of the mission.

SSgt Jonathan Lee, a senior crew chief with HMLA-467, waits outside a UH-1Y Huey Photo taken by Sgt Frances Johnson, USMC

The Next Issue of

will focus on the Latest Technology Upgrades Hitting Our Naval Communities. All submissions need to be sent no later than September 10th, 2014 to your Rotor Review community editor or NHA Design Editor. Any further questions, please contact the NHA National Office at 619.435.7139 or

Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


Perspective - the Meaning of Independence

Capt Nicholas Eirschele, a pilot with HMLA-467, stands next to an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter before a mission on the Fourth of July

Today he wanted the Marines to take the time to honor the nation and their efforts in Afghanistan. “I couldn’t be more proud than being with Marines on the Fourth of July in Afghanistan,” said Whitaker. Regardless of their role, U.S. service members deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, during the past decade of war can be proud of their contributions. On days like the Fourth of July, we are reminded that Americans have always been called upon to defend liberty, whether it is on our own soil or in a foreign land. As we look back and reflect, we are forever reminded that freedom is not free; it often comes with a heavy price. We remember those individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice as we celebrate our independence.


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Rotor Review # 125 - Summer ‘14


(version 2014 rev 1)

Time Flies When You’re Leading a Revolution. Sikorsky’s X2 Technology™ Demonstrator has earned the company its second Collier Trophy in less than a decade. We are honored, and more inspired than ever to continue the Sikorsky legacy of game-changing breakthroughs in performance, innovation and safety.


This edition of Rotor Review announces the 2nd Annual NHA’s photo and video contest winners! We received a great number of entries into the...


This edition of Rotor Review announces the 2nd Annual NHA’s photo and video contest winners! We received a great number of entries into the...