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On November 1, 1943, CAPT Frank A. Erickson, USCG and CDR Stewart Ross Graham, USCG ferried a Coast Guard helicopter, a Sikorsky YR-4B (Serial No. 46445) from Bridgeport, Connecticut to CGAS Brooklyn, New York. On December 17, 2016, the First Flight Society marked the Centennial of Coast Guard Aviation by honoring helicopter pilots #1 and #2 as the 2016 inductees in Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina. Rotor Review and Naval Helicopter Association would also like to pay tribute to these two airmen for paving the way for naval helicopter aviation.

Naval Helicopter Association Winter 2017 ISSUE 135

On the Cover



About the cover : AWS1 Joshua Vest’s “Rappelling Training" First Prize Winner in NHA's 2016 Photo Contest 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 keeps 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 the Naval Helicopter Association adjusts to the expanding and evolving Rotary Wing Community. 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 NHA or corporate membership fee. A current corporation annual report, prepared in accordance with Section 8321 of the California Corporation Code, is available on the NHA website at www. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Naval Helicopter Association, P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA 92178-0578.






RR135 SPEC OPS Read the stories of special operations conducted by some of the finest naval helicopter squadrons.

Focus on Special Operations CDR Brian Wilderman, USN Dedicated SOF Support Mr. Richard R. Burgess, Seapower Magazine Managing Editor

39 42

HSC-5 CSAR in the Middle East HSC-5 Public Affairs Office


Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) LT Aric M. McGee, USN


The Navy's Airborne Use of Force Mission HSM-60 Public Affairs Office




22 ©2017 Naval Helicopter Association, Inc., all rights reserved

Rotor Review #135 Winter '16



Rear Admiral Bill Lescher, USN Awarded the 2015 Golden Helix Rotor Review Editorial Staff U.S. Navy Sea Hawks Join Evacuation Efforts in New Zealand Ms. Sarah Fuller, Rotor & Wing International Assistant Editor



Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief LT Mallory Decker, USN Design Editor George Hopson


Pre-Deployment Finances Mr. J.J. Montanaro, USAA Financial Planner


Call Sign Courage LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret)


The Beginning of Coast Guard Aviation Rotor Review Editorial Staff

NHA Photographer Raymond Rivard


Alert 30 Launch on Super Bowl Sunday LT Justin Medlin, USN

Copy Editors CDR John Ball, USN (Ret.) Jill Votaw

56 HSC Weapons School Pacific Hosts First PHOENIX FIRE Exercise LT Rebekah Saxon, USN

Logistics Editor Allyson Darroch

LT Adam Schmidt, USN LT Caleb Levée USN HSC Editors LT Gene Pontes, USN (HSC West) LT Kristin Hope, USN (HSC East) LT Greg Westin, USN (HSC East) HSM Editors LT Sean Castle, USN (HSM West) LT Michelle Sousa, USN (HSM East)


Chairman’s Brief


In Review


Letters to the Editors


From the Organization

10 In Our Community Industry and Technology

66 High Drink, Part 3

LCDR Tom Phillips, USN

68 Navy Helicopter SAR History — 48 Years Ago JO3 R.E. Jay, USN ;CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret)

71 Changes of Command 73 Book Review 75 Command Updates

13 King Stallion Passes Initial Operational 85 Engaging Rotors Testing Lockheed Martin Press Release 15 Self-Flying Helicopter Will Buddy-up on

88 Signal Charlie

Search and Rescue Mr. Mike Brown, reporter

16 Moving Map Systems for the MH-60 LT Patrick Brice, USN

20 Marine Corps Arms for 2033 to Begin

Replacement of H-1 Helicopter Mr. Richard R. Burgess, Seapower Magazine Managing Editor

52 Radio Check Helo History 59 Preacher — The Bird of Prey Ms. Diana Lindsay

In Appreciation of this Issue's Advertisers PAGE Robertson C2 Rockwell Collins 12 MASSIF 19 Leonardo Helicopters  21 Airbus Group 24 USAA 30 Bell Helicopter 40 Navy Mutual 60 Hover Girl Properties 70 CTI 74 Miller-Coors 78 SkyWest Airlines 87 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation C4



USMC Editor Capt Jeff Snell, USMC USCG Editors LT James Cepa, USCG LT Doug Eberly, USCG Aircrew Editor AWS1 Dan Mitchell, USN Technical Advisor LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret.) Historian CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret.)

Editors Emeriti

Wayne Jensen - John Ball - John Driver Sean Laughlin - Andy Quiett - Mike Curtis Susan Fink - Bill Chase - Tracey Keefe Maureen Palmerino - Bryan Buljat - Gabe Soltero Todd Vorenkamp - Steve Bury - Clay Shane Kristin Ohleger - Scott Lippincott - Allison Fletcher Ash Preston - Emily Lapp

Historians Emeriti

CAPT Vincent Secades,USN (Ret.) CDR Lloyd Parthemer,USN(Ret.)

Naval Helicopter Association, Inc.

Corporate Members

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

Our thanks to our corporate members for their strong support of Rotary Wing Aviation through their membership in the Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. AECOM Airbus Group BAE Systems Electronics Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Boeing Breeze-Eastern CAE, Inc. CTI Crew Training International Elbit Systems of America Flir Systems, Inc. GE Aviation Kongsberg Defense Systems L-3 Communications/Crestview Aerospace L-3 Communications/Link Simulation & Training L-3 Communications/Vertex Logistics Solutions Leonardo Helicopter Lockheed Martin Systems Integration LSI, Inc. MD Helicopters, Inc. Navy Mutual Aid Association Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Raytheon Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC. Rockwell Collins Simulation & Training Solutions Rolls Royce Corporation Rosemont Aerospace, Inc. SES Science Engineering Services Sikorsky Aircraft/A Lockheed Martin Company Telephonics Corporation USAA Vector Aerospace, Inc.

President.........................................................CDR Chris Herr, USN Executive Director...........................CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.) Rotor Review Design Editor.....................Mr. George Hopson Membership/Registration ............................Ms. Leanne Anderson Marketing...............................................................Mrs. Linda Vydra Logistics Editor...................................Ms. Allyson Darroch VP Corporate Membership........CAPT Don Williamson, USN, (Ret.) VP Awards ..............................................CDR David Collins, USN VP Membership ................................CDR Ryan Hayes, USN VP Symposium 2017..........................CAPT (Sel) Shawn Bailey, USN Secretary......................................................LT Ben Storozum, USN Treasurer ................................................LT Mary Hesler, USN NHA Stuff..............................................LT Adrian Andrade, USN Senior NAC Advisor..................................AWCM Justin Tate, USN

Directors at Large

Chairman......................RADM William E. Shannon III, USN (Ret.) CAPT Gene Ager, USN (Ret.) CAPT Chuck Deitchman, USN (Ret.) CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret.) CAPT Tony Dzielski, USN (Ret.) CAPT Greg Hoffman, USN (Ret.) CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.) CAPT Derek Fry, USN (Ret.)

Regional Officers

Region 1 - San Diego Directors...….......….............................CAPT Ben Reynolds, USN CAPT Sil Perrella, USN CAPT Mike Mineo, USNR President..….............................................CDR Roy Zaletski, USN Region 2 - Washington D.C. Directors ....……...……........................CAPT Kevin Kropp, USN Col. Paul Croisetiere, USMC (Ret.) Presidents .........................................CDR Wayne Andrews, USN CDR Pat Jeck, USN (Ret.)

NHA Scholarship Fund

President............................................CAPT Derek Fry, USN (Ret.) Executive Vice President............CAPT Kevin “Bud” Couch, USN (Ret.) VP Operations.................................CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret.) VP Fundraising ..........................CAPT Michael Fuqua, USN (Ret.) VP Scholarships.......................................................Vacant VP CFC Merit Scholarship...................................LT Ian Gill, USN Treasurer.................................................LCDR Bob Royal, USN (Ret.) Corresponding Secretary..................................LT Todd Barriger, USN Finance/Investment.........................CDR Kron Littleton, USN, (Ret.)

Region 3 - Jacksonville Director ......................................................CAPT Bill Walsh, USN President......................................................CDR David Loo, USN Region 4 - Norfolk Director .............................................CAPT Mark Leavitt, USN President ......................................................CDR Ryan Keys, USN Region 5 - Pensacola Directors...............................................CAPT Mark Murray, USN CAPT Thomas MacDonald, USCG President ...................................................CDR Steve Audelo, USN 2017 Fleet Fly-In..........................................LT Andrew Hass, USN Region 6 - Far East Director....................................................CAPT John Bushey, USN President...............................................CDR Carey Castelein, USN

NHA Historical Society

President..........................................CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.) Secretary .............................CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret.) USN Treasurer.................................................Mr. Joe Peluso San DiegoAir & Space Museum............CAPT Jim Gillcrist, USN (Ret.) USS Midway Museum.....................CWO4 Mike  Manley, USN  (Ret.) Webmaster.......................................CDR Mike McCallum, USN (Ret.) NHAHS Board of Directors..........CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret.) CAPT Mike Reber, USN (Ret.) CDR John Ball, USN (Ret.) AWC  Adrian Santini, USN (Ret.)

Rotor Review #135 Winter '16

NHA Junior Officer Council President..................................................LT Jeremy Cappalo, USN Region 1..........................................................LT Dave Thomas, USN LT Laura Woessner, USN Region 2...............................................................LT Aaron Lee, USN Region 3...........................................................LT Tim Barnikel, USN Region 4....................................................LT Andrew Countiss, USN Region 5..........LT Cameron Bouton, USN & LT Ross Conley, USN Region 6.....................................................LT Chris Campbell, USN


Chairman’s Brief


reetings! Just a short note on this year’s Fleet Fly-In / NHA JoinUp: Congrats and thank you to the folks at Training Wing FIVE and the NHA staff who put together another great event. I had a chance to attend and had a blast! Nothing is more inspiring than talking with the future of our community. There is also nothing that makes me more jealous!! A few personal highlights: The Senior Officer Panel was held at the Naval ➢ Aviation Museum…what a fantastic venue. I showed up at about 8:00 a.m. for the event, and it was great to see the tourists lined up outside the museum waiting to get in. If you haven’t been for awhile you owe it to yourself to check it out again! We had a great crowd for the panel which included the current CNATRA, RDML Bull, and the NAVAIR Commander, VADM Paul Grosklags.

added a new event focused on these future aircrewmen. They got a briefing on each community and a chance to tour static displays of the actual aircraft. They were pumped!!

➢ Finally: thanks to the NHA staff and our industry

sponsors for the great social events at Pensacola Beach and the Fish House.

If any of you have been to our website lately, you’ll notice that we are continuing to make improvements. Last year, the NHA board decided that we needed to add some additional focus on career transition for those members who may be leaving active duty. While we are certainly not trying to encourage folks to leave the service, we recognize that the continued low promotion rates means that a significant number of our membership may be transitioning and could use some assistance. To that end, we have added an area to our online forum which will begin listing job opportunities from our sponsors. Right now, it’s still in the early stages but we’ve already had some success. Two of the members of the “Captains of Industry Panel” at the Fly-In were recent Navy Helo retirees and they both reported that they found their jobs on the NHA board! So if you are a member of industry and want to have access to some outstanding talent, contact our staff and they will make sure your positions are posted. One final pitch for the 2017 NHA Symposium: this year we are adding a new venue in the San Diego area. It will be held at the Bahia Resort in the Mission Bay area from May 15-19. We’ve managed to negotiate per diem rates for rooms so you should have no issues setting up your TAD travel. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

➢ I had a chance to roam around the museum after the

event and managed to find a squadron plaque with “LTJG Bill Shannon” inscribed on it in the Cubi Bar and another plaque elsewhere in the museum which listed the “Golden Helix” awardees for the senior Naval Helicopter Pilot on active duty. Among those awardees I found “RADM Bill Shannon”…talk about circle of life!

➢ I had lunch with VADM Grosklags, and we had a chance to discuss his first year as the NAVAIR Commander. He is really focused on trying to get products to the fleet faster. He realizes that our acquisition process takes too long to get products out the door, and he has put a number of initiatives in place to speed things up.

➢ I also had a chance to stop in and say hello to our aircrew candidates at the Schools Command. Thanks to the senior aircrew leadership in our community, we

RADM Bill Shannon, USN (Ret.)

The Senior Officer Panel fields questions at the 2016 Fleet Fly-In.


In Review By LT Mallory "Mad Dog" Decker, USN


t approximately 3:00 in the morning on Apr. 30, 2015, a full seventeen hours into House Armed Services Committee mark-up of the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) offered an amendment to save Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85 from disestablishment. His weary peers, perhaps trusting in his insight as a former Navy SEAL, perhaps tired from the long day and late night, passed his amendment in a voice vote without much debate. And so the HSC-85 "Firehawks" lived to fly another day. While it was too late to save their East coast counterpart, HSC-84, the HSC-85 "Firehawks" have been reconstituted with aircraft, pilots, and maintainers. Their very existence has been the subject of intense debate - if not so much during the aforementioned NDAA mark-up, then certainly among former members, the HSC community, and the Special Operations members they support. In this issue of Rotor Review, we hope to add to the debate not over whether there should be an HSC-85, but to what role HSC-85 and other Naval Rotary Wing squadrons should play in Special Operations. We posed that question on the NHA Facebook page, and the answers we received are published in these pages under our "Radio Check with Readers" section. Readers responded at length and with a passion seldom found in discussions about software updates or functional checkflights... Which is as it should be. Special Operations support is one of the most dangerous mission sets in all of Naval Aviation, and very often, SOF missions are a matter of national security, or life and death, or both. In the introduction to our Focus on Special Operations, CDR Wilderman, HSC-85's Commanding Officer, writes that every squadron should be able to fly SOF missions because you never know when your squadron will be the closest available to support. This past March, HSC-5 was the squadron on call when an aircraft went down in "not-so-friendly" territory. The story of their combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission with the Air Force's Pararescuemen, the first CSAR executed by the Navy in over four decades, is printed in the Focus as well. Finally, as our nation's enemies advance and change, the nature of Special Operations will change with them, begging the question of what exactly constitutes an SOF mission. Currently, our military's combat operations are focused on defeating terrorism throughout the globe, but squadrons like HSM-60 are also conducting airborne use of force (AUF) missions with the Coast Guard in the war on drugs. Replace the suspected drug runner with a convoy escort, and the USCG marksman with a SEAL sniper, and the low to the ground, high-stakes flying is just the same. We hope this issue provides fodder for ready room discussion and debate, and as always, we welcome any comments or feedback. Happy flying!

WITH OUR READERS Check it out on pages 52 through 55!

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Letters to the Editors

It is always great to hear from the members of NHA to learn what impression Rotor Review is making. The magazine’s staff strives to provide a product that meets demand. We urge you to remember that we maintain many open channels to contact the magazine staff for feedback, suggestions, praise, or publishing corrections. Your anonymity is respected. If you would like to write a letter, please forward any correspondance to  or mail to the following address: Letters to the Editor | c/o Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. P.O. Box 180578 | Coronado, CA 92178-0578

How has being a NHA Member helped you after your career as Naval Officer and Helicopter Pilot? Dear Editor, I'm very sorry for my delayed reply — my 'after-weddingcatch-up-quarter' started shortly after your email and just now recently ended. Thank you very much for the well wishes and thinking of me for writing the paragraph. "I joined NHA shortly after I earned my wings and I found it a great way to not only stay abreast of the future directions and any challenges facing my HS and the larger helicopter community, but also a fun way to keep in touch with friends. Since medically retiring, I have continued to read Rotor Review and any emails from NHA as a way to keep in touch and stay connected. Once I started to pursue my PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, I started to look into the scholarship opportunities NHA provides. My work is a bit unique in that I focus on improving the technology that goes into medical diagnostic tools, so finding funding to support my interdisciplinary work is very important and I am so grateful for the scholarships NHA has awarded me."

Naval Helicopter Association 2016-2017 Submission Deadlines and Publishing Dates Spring/Symposium 2017 (Issue 136).....February 27, 2017 / April 2017 Summer 2017 (1ssue 137) ...............................May 31, 2017 / July 2017 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.

Rotor Review Submission Guidelines 1.

Articles: Word documents as attachements are the preferred format. Do not embed your images; send as a separate attachment. 2. Photos and Vector Images: Should be as high a resolution as possible and sent as a separate file from the article. Please include a suggested caption that has the following information: date, names, ranks or titles, location and credit the photographer or source of your image. 3. Videos: Must be in a mp4, mov, or avi format. • With your submission, please include the title and caption of all media, photographer’s name, command and the length of the video. • Verify the media does not display any classified information. • Ensure all maneuvers comply with NATOPS procedures. • All submissions shall be tasteful and in keeping with good order and discipline. • All submissions should portray the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and individual units in a positive light.

All submissions can be forwarded to your community editor via email or by mail to Rotor Review c/o Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA 92178-0578

Happy New Year, Sandra Kjono-Manosalvas Dear Sandra, Thank you for sharing your experiences with NHA! We're glad that the NHA Scholarship has been able to help you as you pursue a PhD. Your response is a great example for members who are starting to think about the transition to civilian life. Best of luck in the future and stay in touch!


In Rotor Review Issue 134, on page 55, the second MAX Beep squadron was misidentified. It should read "HSC Weapons School Atlantic." Apologies!


From the Organization President’s Message by CDR Chris "SHOOTER" Herr, USN


reeting’s and Happy 2017 from NHA Headquarters in sunny San Diego! First and foremost, I am truly honored and humbled to assume the duties as NHA President. I look forward to working with our national and regional leaders to better serve our members and the association as we continue to build NHA as a world class professional association. Special thanks to Shawn “Opie” Bailey, our outgoing NHA President, who has worked relentlessly alongside our Executive Director, CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.), to expand and improve NHA into the organization it is today. I have had the good fortune to deploy with Opie as a fellow Officer-In-Charge, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with him again during our turnover. From all of us at NHA, thank you for your extraordinary stewardship, vision and ingenuity in leading our NHA organization throughout your tenure as President. We wish you fair winds and following seas as you head to major command. We are better because of your leadership and you will be missed. I would like to extend a warm welcome to CDR Roy “RZ” Zaletski, HSC-21 “Blackjacks” Skipper, as our new Region One President. He takes over for CDR Robert "Barr" Kimnach, HSM-49 “Scorpions” Commanding Officer. Barr’s leadership of Region One was highlighted by the recent and highly successful Hawk Ball, this past summer’s “Beach Bash” and some fantastic professional speaking events. Additionally, I would like to thank HT8’s Skipper McBride, Executive Officer Audelo and their team in Milton, FL for organizing October’s NHA FleetUp in support of Training Wing FIVE’s 2016 Gulf Coast Fleet Fly-In. It was a great opportunity to interact, learn, share sea stories and welcome new membership.

As we move into 2017, our goals and priorities remain ambitious. We will continue to leverage the momentum we have built over the past few years in building membership and increasing the quality and relevance of our professional events. The strength of our members is what gives NHA its rising relevance in Naval Aviation and its standing as a world class professional organization. Improvements in our Office Management System have greatly improved our customer service, planning, registration and logistics. Give our upgraded website a try, view back issues of Rotor Review and contribute! Our community is executing exciting new missions, sharpening its edge and developing new tactics every day. I ask you to share your experiences, ideas and develop your professional writing skills. Planning for the 2017 Symposium is underway, and I greatly look forward to the agenda and new venue at the Bahia Resort on Mission Bay. Due to the hard work of the NHA staff and junior officer member volunteers, our package is already on its way to SECNAV for approval. I look forward to getting the schedule and details out and posted soon to our website. Join us here in San Diego for what I believe will be our best symposium yet! Make no mistake; we at NHA need your assistance if we are to build upon the solid foundation laid by our previous NHA leaders. Your regional and national officers are committed to doing whatever we can to foster a palpable sense of pride, camaraderie and ownership throughout the NHA family – we hope you will help us in establishing our proud organization as the premier non-profit, aviation-specific association nationwide. I look forward to meeting you and working with you over the months ahead. Hope you had a safe and happy holiday season and I look forward to seeing you at Symposium ’17!

Executive Director’s Notes by CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.)


ell, it doesn’t seem possible that 2016 is over and we made it through yet another year! I guess we left off talking about the 2016 Fleet Fly-In and NHA Join-Up this year at Whiting Field and that was certainly a success. CDR John “JD” McBride and CDR Steve “Pancho” Audelo’s Team at HT-8, Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


supported by HT-18 and HT-28, put on a great show this year. The Opening Ceremonies and Senior Officer’s Panel at the Naval Aviation Museum were definitely upgrades to our existing program, and the presentations and static display aircraft at Sherman Field for the Aircrew and SAR Swimmers at the Schools Command not only provided an increased level of exposure to NHA but also a new event and increased professionalism for our enlisted personnel.

too early to make your plans. I want to publically say a big thank you to CDR Shawn “Opie” Bailey, Commanding Officer of HSC-3, for his leadership and support as our NHA National President as he moves on to major command. I would also like welcome CDR Chris “Shooter” Herr, Commanding Officer of HSM41, as he just took over as our new NHA President. He has hit the deck running, getting involved with the 2016 Hawk Ball, Carrier Ceremony and Golf Tournament, and routing the SECNAV Package for the 2017 Symposium. Welcome aboard. We have also changed-up the leadership of the Region One President from CDR Robert “Barr” Kimnach, CO of HSM-49, to CDR Roy “RZ” Zaletski, CO of HSC-21. Barr, thank you for all your hard work leading the Region through a banner year, organizing and coordinating more quality events than has ever been previously attempted. Your concept of developing an NHA annual planning calendar with professional lectures, sporting activities and social events, and then executing that plan, has set the standard for all other regions to follow and has also improved membership in Region One. Well done, good on you and thank you for all your support. Roy, welcome aboard and I look forward to working with you and the rest of the professionals here at NAS North Island in Region One. Life is good at here at NHA headquarters, and we hope that you had a great holiday season with friends and family. We plan to take a short break in the office and by the time you get this edition of the Rotor Review, we will be back at it charging forward into the new year. Keep your turns up!

We hope that we will be able to build on our improvements to the program again at next year’s event. After the Fleet Fly-In, we returned to San Diego to attend the first ever U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Month Recognition Ceremony on board the USS Midway Museum. It was followed by a nice lunch and afternoon on the links at Admiral Baker Golf Course raising money for the Naval Helicopter Association (NHA), Association of Naval Aviation (ANA), and Tailhook Associations (THA) Scholarship Funds. That event was followed by a great night out at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel at the NHA Region One Hawk Ball. Everyone had an outstanding time as the event was well planned with good food, drinks, entertainment and dancing. The end of the year is always a busy time with activities closely scheduled together. However, we continue to remain engaged with making preparations for the 2017 NHA Symposium. I think everyone is going to enjoy the Bahia Resort, a new San Diego venue for the Symposium, while taking advantage of all that Mission Bay has to offer. This year, we will have a Welcome Reception and our Members Reunion, along with a Casino Night at the Hotel and a baseball game at Petco Park. Golf will be at Sea and Air Golf Course on North Island and we will request NALO flights from both Norfolk and Jacksonville. While the TAD funding support should be good for those who travel this year, there should be plenty of room for Space Available on the flights as well, so please make your plans, buddy-up with a friend and make your arrangements now to travel to San Diego for this year’s Symposium. Don’t forget to get your DTS Clerk to list the Bahia in the comments section of your cost travel orders so you can take advantage of the transportation that will be provided and you can stay at the Bahia Resort with everyone else. It’s not

Aircrewman’s Corner

by AWCM Justin Tate, USN


ellow Aircrewmen, Good day to all of you! In today’s services, the Rotary communities are being asked to conduct more operations with the Special Warfare community. Whether the operation is over water or over land, all of you have been trained and are ready to execute whenever required. The great working relationship that has been built between the Rotary and Special Warfare communities brings an amazing capability to the fight. The fact that each and everyone of you continue to strive for excellence and to be the best at your jobs is the reason why we are able to execute to the level we do. The annual Fleet Fly-In just happened in Pensacola. What a great event this was! A huge “thank you” to Chief Jason Pulk and everyone that made all the aircrew events successful. They worked really hard to change the format of the Fly-In to take some of the aircraft to NAS Pensacola for all of the aircrew students to see their prospective aircraft. It was amazing to see the excitement of all the new students

and have the wonderful conversations with them as well. This change would not have happened without support from the NHA National Staff and Region Five. The assistance is greatly appreciated! No matter what service you serve in, your selfless sacrifice and dedication to support and defend this great country does not go unnoticed. I personally thank each and every one of you for what you do and challenge you to continue to make your communities the best. No matter what service you serve in, your selfless sacrifice and dedication to support and defend this great country does not go unnoticed. Fly Safe!


In the Community NHA Scholarship Fund by CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret.)


opefully, most of you know that I have stepped down as the President of the NHA Scholarship Fund and have moved into the position of Vice President for Operations. As such, this will be the last Scholarship update/column I write for the Rotor Review. CDR Derek Fry, USN (Ret.) has taken the helm of the Fund and I am excited by his enthusiasm and determination in seeing the Fund reach out to more applicants and contributors alike. First and foremost, I want to thank all those who supported the important work of the Fund with their financial support, advice and service over the past eight years. As with anyone who careers in the military, success only comes when you surround yourself with good people, and I have been fortunate to have the best to work with throughout my tenure as the president of the Fund. Particularly impressive have been the active duty folks who freely gave of their time and talent on our Headquarters team to keep the Fund on a steady course of success. With their help, we have steadily increased the assets in the Fund while awarding more than $300,000 in scholarships to active duty, former

service members and dependents of the Naval Rotary Wing community! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the work of our investment manager, Kron Littleton, who has done a superb job in growing the Fund for more than 20 years. Finally, to our corporate partners Sikorsky, Raytheon, FLIR Systems, Don Patterson Associates/L-3, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, CAE and Kaman, whose endowments and yearly contributions allowed us to increase both award levels and numbers of scholarships, my heartfelt thanks for your tireless support throughout the life of the Fund. We have much to be proud of, but the real work and success of the Fund is still ahead. I am pleased to announce that CAPT Marc Leibman, USN (Ret.) has agreed to join the Scholarship team as our Vice President for Fundraising. We’ve met with Marc and he is already working on a number of great ideas to improve the “bottom line.” We are still looking for a retiree in the San Diego area to round out our headquarter’s team as Vice President for Scholarships. If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, this is a great way to do it. Once again, my thanks to all those who have contributed to the important work we do for the Rotary Wing community. Hold fast.

Naval Helicopter Association Historical Society by CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret.)


museum. The museum crew of the Iowa need the assistance and expertise of those people that have flown and operated helicopters and unmanned aircraft from battleships to gather information to refurbish their spaces and start telling the aviation story of the ship. RADM Shatynski is a Surface Warfare Officer who served on the USS Iowa and many surface combatants with Navy helicopter aviators and aircrewmen. He has an incredible respect for what helicopter crews have done flying from these ships and wants our stories to be told. As the new Director on the Board for the Battleship Iowa Museum, he is excited to be part of a new effort to do just that. RADM Shatynski recent shot-gunned email to our NHA membership with a request for support received an overwhelming response. All those with battleship experience responded with a huge amount of information and leads that will help support much of the data the museum was hoping to capture. The Historical Society has also become a donor to help restore a Korean War-era HUP helicopter that will eventually be displayed on the Iowa. This aircraft will be restored by a team of volunteers in the coming year and will be added to the museum collection. If you are interested in getting involved in this project or have other Battleship Helicopter/

appy Holidays and New Year from the NHA Historical Society (NHAHS)! We are looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in 2017 and hope that you and your family enjoyed some well-deserved time off at the end of 2016. The Historical Society has decided to dedicate most of our efforts this year to remodeling our website and improving our image on the worldwide web to help tell our story and improve involvement in the organization. While the website is coming along fine, and we are very excited about all the new material in it, we can always use more help. If you are interested in preserving our Naval Rotary Wing history and have some time you might dedicate to supporting those efforts, give me a call at the NHA Office and I can share some projects that we could use your assistance with. One project we recently got involved with is the aviation contingent on the Battle Ship USS Iowa Museum (BB-61) now resting in San Pedro, Calif. RADM Mike Shatynski, USNR, recently requested anyone with aviation experience cruising on battle ships to contact him with their experiences, stories, and memorabilia to help provide support to the

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


UAV Operations experience and have not already contacted RADM Shatynski, please email him with your information at as he would like to hear from you. That’s about it from the Historical Society for this edition of Rotor Review. Keep our history alive by getting involved to help preserve it. The USS Iowa is permanently moored in San Pedro in LA Harbor. We are restoring our new Korean War-era HUP nearby. We need volunteer help with the restoration and preservation. We also need help with our GoFundMe campaign to reach our goal to fund the restoration. The Naval Helicopter Association has already donated $1000 to this effort, but we could use your individual participation, too.

Lastly, we want to gather a small group of advisors who could help us in designing an exhibit for not just the HUP but an overall exhibit for aviation on surface ships. Now that we have the HUP, we hope to obtain an H-2 Sea Sprite from the Cold War to bookend our story of helicopter aviation on surface warships in the battleship era. See the link below for recent special coverage by a local news station, KTLA.

Best Regards!

A View From The Labs: Supporting The Fleet by CAPT George Galdorisi, USN (Ret.)

We All Can Help Solve This


nce in awhile, an opinion piece in a major newspaper hits a chord. Due to the timing of this article, you might guess it was about the recent election. It wasn’t. In this case, it was an op-ed in the New York Times. Frank Bruni wrote the article entitled, “Where Are Veterans at Our Elite Colleges?” Bruni presented data from Professor Wick Sloane, who teaches at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. I’ll quote part of his op-ed below: “Eight years ago, after discovering veterans among his students, he reached out to officials at his own alma maters, Williams College and Yale University, for any guidance they might have about working with this particular group. He began collecting data, and for several years now, on Veterans Day, he has published an accounting of how many veterans, among a population of more than two million eligible for federal higher-education benefits, wind up at America’s most elite colleges. It appears on the website Inside Higher Ed, and this is from the first paragraph of his November 2015 tally: “Yale, four; Harvard, unknown; Princeton, one; Williams, one.” Harvard didn’t grant his request for information, he said. The tally noted just two veterans among undergraduates at Duke, one at M.I.T., one at Pomona and zero at Carleton. “These schools all wring their hands and say, ‘We’d love to have more, but they just don’t apply,’ ” Sloane said. “That’s what offends me. These schools have incredibly sophisticated recruitment teams. They recruit quarterbacks. They fill the physics lab. They visit high schools. How many visits did they make for veterans?” The schools in question educate only a small percentage of this country’s college students, and their behavior isn’t the most pressing concern for college-minded veterans, who have graduation rates slightly below other students’

and who don’t get adequate guidance about how best to use their government benefits, too much of which go to for-profit institutions with poor records. But it’s symbolic. It sends a message: about how much we prize veterans; about the potential we see in them.” All right, you may or may not be fired up, but I hope you are. For commanding officers and executive officers, but also for division officers and department heads, I know you help prepare your sailors who are honorably completing their military service for the next steps in their lives. And I suspect many of them say, “Oh, I’m going to go to college.” Juxtapose this against the scandals you read about for-profit colleges and I think you get the point. While you might not be able to steer your sailors transitioning to CIVLANT or CIVPAC toward an elite university, it would be a great thing if you expressed enough interest in what colleges they are applying to, and why, and heck, even help them with their applications a bit. If you did nothing else than steer them away from the worst for-profit colleges with awful track records of graduating students, you’d be doing a tremendous service for these sailors. And who knows, you might even give some of them a hand up enough that they do matriculate at an elite school. You can read the full Bruni op-ed here: elites-neglect-veterans.html?_r=1 11

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King Stallion Passes Initial Operational Testing

Industry and Technology

Press release and photos courtesy of Lockheed Martin

U.S. Marine Corps pilots maneuver the CH-53K King Stallion as it delivers a 12,000 lb. (5422 kg) external load after a 110 NM mission.


est Palm Beach, Fla., Oct. 21, 2016. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) announced the CH-53K King Stallion successfully completed initial operational testing by the U.S. Marine Corps to verify the key capabilities of the heavy lift helicopter. The week-long operational assessment by Marine Corps pilots, aircrew and maintainers marked an important step in support of a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Milestone C decision early next year. “This successful operational assessment by the Marine Corps is a clear sign of the maturity and the robust capability of the King Stallion,” said Dr. Michael Torok, Sikorsky Vice President CH-53K Programs. “This was a key requirement in support of the upcoming Milestone C decision, and its success is another important step in our transition from development into production.” The U.S. Marine Corps’ initial operational testing included external lift scenarios of 27,000 lbs. (12,200 kgs) in hover and a 12,000 lb. (5,422 kg) 110 nautical mile radius mission. Ground events included embarkation/debarkation of combat equipped troops, internal and external cargo rigging, tactical bulk fuel delivery system (TBFDS) operation and medevac litter configuration. Overall, post evaluation interviews of aircrew, ground crew and flight surgeons revealed a high regard for the operational capability demonstrated by the King Stallion. This customer assessment is a pre-requisite to Milestone

C and is intended to minimize risk to successfully pass the U.S. Marine Corps operational evaluation (OPEVAL) phase for a future full rate production decision. “OT-B1( Operational Test) is a critical milestone for the program because this is the first time an operational test has been done utilizing an ’All Marine’ crew,“ said Col. Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for Naval Air Systems Command’s Heavy Lift Helicopters Program. “All test objectives were met, and the aircraft performed very well. This further increases our confidence in the design, and is another key step to successfully fielding the CH-53K." The operational testing was based out of the Sikorsky Development Flight Center (DFC) in West Palm Beach, Florida, where CH-53K development flight test is continuing to make excellent progress now with all four Engineering Development Model (EDM) aircraft in flight status. The King Stallion will carry three times the external payload of the predecessor CH-53E equating to a 27,000 pound external load over 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions. The CH-53K helicopter provides unmatched heavy lift capability with reduced logistics footprint and reduced support costs over its entire life cycle. CH-53K pilots can execute heavy lift missions more effectively and safely in day/night and all weather with the King Stallion’s modern glass cockpit. Fly-by-wire flight controls facilitate reduced pilot workload for all heavy lift 13


U.S. Marine Corps aircrew load the King Stallion’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle cargo.

missions including external loads, maritime operations, and operation in degraded visual environments. With more than triple the payload capability of the predecessor CH-53E, the King Stallion’s increased capability can take the form of a variety of relevant payloads ranging from an internally loaded High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled

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Vehicle (HMMWV) to up to three independent external loads at once which provides outstanding mission flexibility and system efficiency. A locking, U.S. Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system reduces both effort and time to load and unload palletized cargo. The U.S. Department of Defense's Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft. The first four of the 200 Program of Record aircraft are scheduled for delivery next year to the U.S. Marine Corps, with another two aircraft to follow. Two additional aircraft are under long lead procurement for parts and materials, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2020. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.



Self-Flying Helicopters Will Buddy Up on Search and Rescue Mission Press release by Mike Brown,

that Lockheed Martin is pioneering in autonomous and unmanned technologies will lead to improved safety and efficiency for humanitarian aid, first response and other civil, commercial and military operations in the air, on land and undersea.” There are two machines at work here. The Desert Hawk 3.1 is an unmanned aircraft system that works with a Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) on search-and-rescue missions. The Desert Hawk scouts ahead, locates the target, and relays that information to the SARA, which can find a safe place to land and bring the person on board. No word on what it’ll be like getting rescued by a helicopter flying itself, but presumably it’ll be great fun. Lockheed also showed how a Kaman K-MAX helicopter can work with an Indago quadrotor, with the smaller aircraft identifying fires and the Kaman filling up a bucket of water and pouring it over the identified target. The two systems are made possible by Sikorsky MATRIX, a communication technology that keeps the two aircraft tethered, and a new unmanned aircraft traffic management system, vital for airports to keep track of which machines are flying where. It may be a while before these machines hit.


eams of robot auto-flying helicopters are set to go on daring rescue missions, buddying up to give each other vital data to locate missing people and transport them to safety. Lockheed Martin, the same company that wants to put weaponized laser systems on battlefields and fire a laboratory into the orbit of Mars, has demonstrated how an unmanned aerial system can scout ahead and relay information, ready for an optionally-piloted larger helicopter to swoop in and save the day. You can be forgiven for thinking it all sounds a bit science fiction. But as the company explains, it’s not just about making things that look cool. These advancements have the potential to save lives. “When lives are at risk, advanced human-machine teams can complete dangerous missions without putting others in harm’s way,” Dan Spoor, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of unmanned systems, said in a statement. “The advances

(Top) Lockheed Martin designs self-flying helicopters for Search and Rescue Missions. (Middle) Lockheed Martin performs a causalty evacuation (CASEVAC) with a K-MAX. (Bottom) Lockheed Martin tests the Indago quadrotor unmanned aerial system (UAS), which is capable of giving an eye-in-the sky view in just minutes. Photos courtesy of Lockheed Martin



Moving Map Systems for the MH-60 Article by LT Patrick Brice, USN

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) maneuvers during a vertical replenishment at sea over the Pacific Ocean. Helicopters from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) carried supplies from the USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE-10) to ships of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.


Photo taken by Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal, USMC

n October 2014, as a representative of HSC-4, I attended a fleet fly-in to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. A panel of engineers wanted our input on the next generation of modifications to the MH-60R/S. I brought up the fact that our aircraft does not have moving map and will not have the capability for the foreseeable future. It is so common in aviation now that the engineers and technicians at China Lake couldn’t believe we did not have the capability. Civilians have been flying with moving map for years; the military has had it even longer for their strike and long-range platforms. Even the T-6, the Navy’s newest primary training aircraft, has a robust navigation suite and moving map. One common argument against the Naval helicopter community getting moving map is that “we fly almost Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

exclusively over water” and therefore it is a waste of money as the system will not be utilized. Directly from the MH60S NATOPS flight manual: “The MH-60S missions include Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Vertical Onboard Delivery (VOD), amphibious Search and Rescue (SAR), Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), Special Warfare Support, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Anti-surface Warfare (SUW), CV Plane Guard/SAR, Air Ambulance, and Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM).” The mission list speaks for itself. Not one of those missions is guaranteed 100% over water. Furthermore, more than half of these missions exclusively require overland operations. The MH-60R and the HSM community has support missions over land as well, 16

but the HSC community is specifically required to maintain overland currency. Visual navigation off of a map in the aircraft, dead reckoning, and waypoint navigation are valid, tried-and-true methods of aerial navigation. They are also extremely hard skills to maintain and are quickly perishable. For missions such as NSW or CSAR, we should not rely on antiquated technology - not when something better exists. The advent of moving map allows for increased situational awareness for the entire crew, better poor-weather navigation, and is leaps and bounds ahead of paper-map technology. It allows for user-input waypoints, real-time updated navigational hazards, faster publication updates and a much smaller

somewhere on the windscreen, obstructing the pilots’ field of view and creating another obstacle to overcome on egress. Not a bad idea, in theory, but the unit is hard to program, doesn’t hold a charge well, requires constant updating, can’t plug in to any NIPR or SIPR computers and doesn’t have independent WiFi or internet updating, so it takes some finessing to keep it current. While a good idea for an interim solution, it was executed poorly and is vastly outdated, well outside its “interim” timeline. Recognizing the Navy’s test and evaluation timeline and supply system limitations, pilots started taking matters into their own hands. In May of 2011, an apple-based program called “Foreflight” was introduced and changed aviation

"Visual navigation off of a map in the aircraft, dead reckoning, and waypoint navigation are valid, tried-and-true methods of aerial navigation. They are also extremely hard skills to maintain and are quickly perishable. " physical footprint, as paper publications requirements will be cut down drastically. While not a replacement for map study, practice and skill, when the mission requires precision and there is no room for error, we should use every advantage we have: moving map is a must-have in the HSC community. The upgrade to the block 3A/B MH-60S led to the installation of a Mission Computer (MC) in place of one of the Flight Management Computers (FMC2). While relatively modern when originally installed, the computer itself and the data transfer system in the aircraft are slow, underpowered and lack system memory compared to current standards. Utilizing an antiquated card system and windows based software, the system does not have the capability to process or utilize elevation data nor the memory to hold all the required images and maps for a moving map system. The Navy’s answer to the helicopter community’s request for moving map was twofold. First, they came up with a brick of a computer called a Digital Map Kneeboard (DMK) that could plug into the aircraft, and with several hours of redundant mission planning (the DMK was not designed to work with JMPS), years of training, and an ample amount of luck, it gives you some ability to see your aircraft position displayed in real time on Falconview. Unfortunately, the system tends to overheat or crash at the most critical times. Furthermore, it is extremely preflight heavy and almost doubles the workload of the pilots and aircrew on a mission planning computer, taking away from time to do mission walk-throughs or sand tables. One of the key and most successful features of the DMK, however, is its ability to display MTS footage, giving the aircrew the ability to help the pilots with targeting solutions. That is really all the fleet is currently using it for. After the DMK, the Navy authorized another stop-gap in the form of a civilian aviation GPS unit, and bought a handful for every squadron on the seawall. The unit is cumbersome, and it requires its own GPS antenna (luckily included) and a suction cup mount to put the receiver

forever. While new and not very powerful (yet) this application uses your iPad and built-in or external WiFi/GPS receiver and gives pilots the ability to download aviation maps and approach plates directly to their device. While a full civilian GPS navigation suite is several thousand dollars, you can buy an iPad for about $500 and for another $200 a year have updated publications and moving map in the aircraft. Fast forward five years to present day, and you will be hard pressed to find a military or civilian aviator who has not heard of “Foreflight” or some other phone or tablet moving map application. Once Foreflight opened the door, several other manufacturers joined them with their own map applications, some free and some paid, but all with some varying degree of moving map and weather overlay. The more expensive, high-end, paid versions even let you wirelessly (with compatible tablet or phone) file and open flight plans, receive weather briefs, and even overlay synthetic terrain and live weather feed on your route of flight. For a platform and community whose most taxing and dangerous mission is low level flight through terrain and landing in a zone with full brown-out and loss of visual references, having a synthetic terrain overlay and moving map is worth its weight in gold. Aside from the MTS, not another system in the aircraft would be more useful in this environment. Finally, SOF started requesting and using higher mobile technology. The good people at Patuxent River, China Lake, Yuma, and other nondescript buildings around the globe heard the call, saw the possibilities and started playing around. From their genius came programs like “ATAK,” “Kilswitch,” “PSS-SOF,” and a number of other extremely capable, purpose-built applications. Some are very ground specific, some aviation specific and some are very capable in both arenas. When the technology first came out, it was very expensive, buggy and glitchy, not very powerful, and most important of all, it did not have NAVAIR approval. Only the very nerdy went out and bought their own tablets and 17

INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY beyond what most old-timers could imagine. Additionally, with no tactical display in the back of the aircraft for the Aircrew to use, giving the Crew Chief the ability to know where we are in space, what our gunners can hit, time to get where we need to go, and the ability to back up the pilots with navigation and timing. The entire crew benefits from the use of one tablet. If you have two to three in the crew, situational awareness grows exponentially. Combine this with a DMK for MTS footage (when it works), and your Crew Chief is now almost as effective at directing fires and directing the aircraft for proper geometry as the pilots are. This is an absolute game changer. As good as technology has become, it still has its drawbacks. We have little to no charging capability in the aircraft. The GPS signal is good, and matches close to our EGIs, but it does not have the capability to pick up or track nearly as many satellites, has no anti-spoofing capabilities, and the tablet itself is susceptible to electromagnetic radiation and interference. Furthermore, as a personal tablet, we are only authorized to use unclassified maps and imagery. In-country, some units may get their personal tablet classified and just accept the loss at the end of the campaign. Finally, like any user-updated system, all of these are garbage-in, garbage-out systems. If not updated and relied upon too heavily, they can be a detriment. If you expect something to be there and the tablet crashes, you have to have a backup plan. If you put wrong data or imagery into the system, you will be using what you gave it. Every pub and image has an update interval and it becomes the user’s responsibility to keep the tablet up to date (most have an auto-update capability but require WiFi to update). There are still kinks to be worked out, but we are well on our way into the 21st century. From a DMK that only rarely

started playing. Results were undisputed though, and the technology caught on. Tablets had an added benefit of a digital publications library, and when user-updated properly, a one-pound tablet replaced an entire library of publications and allowed users to take ANY pub they wanted with them in the aircraft. As technology improved, the price came way down even though speed, battery life, and capability all increased. Currently, several pilots in my squadron, myself included, were able to buy a brand new Android-based tablet, external memory card, hard protective case, and a kneeboard strap all for under $200. Then it is just a matter of a few choice downloads and a lot of messing around. Most civilian applications (specifically Wing X Pro), will heavily discount or waive the subscription fee if you email them from a “.mil” address. With a little bit of exploration and a lot account applications, you can navigate to a NIPR AppStore that has DOD moving map applications, satellite imagery downloads, power calculation applications, and several other very useful applications. One of the best tactical apps out there is a program called Kilswitch. Designed originally for ground applications but adapted heavily to air use, with practice the application allows you to route plan, determine what a friendly or enemy ground unit can see from their location, measure distance, place a bullseye, test fit aircraft in a landing zone, draw out final attack heading and LASER basket for a CAS 9-Line or 5-Line, determine target ranges and crew served weapon fields of fire from the aircraft, swap views from different aviation maps to tactical maps to satellite imagery, and then fly the route you planned with moving map. This application blows away the tactical display of the MH-60S and enhances the situational awareness

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to HSM 41 is parked in the hangar at Naval Air Station North Island. The primary mission of MH-60R helicopters is to provide surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare support for ships in the Fleet. Photo taken by MC3 Bradley J. Gee, USN.

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LTJG John Kipper, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, flies in the starboard delta pattern during flight quarters around the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Photo taken by MC3 Joe Bishop, USN

works to a civilian GPS receiver that was outdated by the time it hit the fleet, to a personalized digital kneeboard and pubs bag with tactical and basic aviation applications, we have come a long way. As a costly and timeconsuming upgrade to the MH60S platform, I would not expect to see true moving map in the near future. As a true, longer-term interim solution, a personally procured and maintained digital kneeboard with modern applications will help bridge the gap until the Navy has funding to put the system in our aircraft.



Marine Corps Aims for 2033 to Begin Replacement of H-1 Helicopters Article By Richard R. Burgess, Managing Editor of Seapower Magazine

Reprinted with permission from Seapower Magazine, the official publication of the Navy League.


ASHINGTON Dec. 9, 2016 3:56 p.m. — The Marine Corps is planning on leveraging the Armyled Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program to field the rotarywing aircraft expected to replace its UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter and AH-1Z Viper helicopter gunship in the early 2030s, a Marine Corps requirements official said. Speaking Dec. 9 during a panel discussion on FVL at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, Marine Col. John Barranco, head of Rotorcraft Requirements for Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, said the service expects to start replacing the oldest UH-1Ys in 2033 and the oldest AH-1Zs in 2035. Barranco said the service plans on building in more capability in the replacement, noting that with the replacement of the CH-46 helicopter by the MV-22B Osprey, the AH-1Z is not able to keep up and provide assault support. Under the FVL, the Capability Set 3 — the mediumlift category that the UH-60 currently represents to the Army — would be used to develop the replacement for the Marine Corps’ H-1 fleet. “The greatest joint need is a Capability Set 3 system,” said Army Col. Erskine Bentley, director, FVL capability manager for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, who also spoke on the panel. He listed speed, range, payload, sustainment and survivability as the major attributes, along with open-architecture systems, as well as the use of manned-unmanned teaming and the possibility of being optionally crewed. “With the exception of the Osprey, we haven’t really seen any large technological advances since the second or third generation [of rotary-wing aviation] — not since Vietnam,” Barranco said. Barranco said there also is a threat-reduction aspect to the characteristics desired for the next rotorcraft, noting that increased range and speed would reduce the number of forward air refueling points needed to support rotarywing aircraft in a battle zone, and therefore reduce the vulnerability of those points and the helicopters themselves. He said that an all-networked aircraft can easily share data and situational awareness with a data system such as Link 16. “The ability to share information and situational awareness is a form of threat reduction,” Barranco said. “The ability to have this open architecture and have all of our aircraft linked, sharing threats, sharing friendly locations, enemy locations, mission data, etc., real-time, simultaneously on the battlefield — that is one of the greatest survivability pieces we could possibly do.

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And that’s not to say we’re not going to continue to invest in directed-energy systems or counter-IR [infrared] missiles, counter-radar systems. We are. But I can think of no better way to reduce the threat in the modern environment than have everyone be linked and be a network node sharing networked information. “That kind of digital interoperability is probably our greatest overmatch right now against our potential opponents,” he said. “Some of our potential competitors make good hardware — [tactical] jets and rotary-wing aircraft. But can they network them and share information real time on the battlefield that we have the potential to do? I’d argue, now, they can’t. That’s where we have our greatest advantage and we need to exploit that. “From the [Capability Set 3] to the whole family of systems, some of it back-fitted to legacy systems, that’s going to benefit all aircraft across the joint force,” he said. Barranco also noted that the Corps would want a new rotorcraft to be teamed with a Group 5 unmanned aerial vehicle being developed for the service.

FVL Artist Conceptions: V-280 and SB-1.


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Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Multi-Mission Superiority

2017 NHA Symposium - Bahia Resort Hotel

The theme for for the 2017 NHA Symposium is “Multi-Mission Superiority." Our Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are deployed around the world every day, maintaining freedom on the high seas, bolstering our allies and building partner nation capacity. We do this across a wide range of mission sets within Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, Special Purpose MAGTFs, JSOACs and the National Strike Force. We are also intricately joined across our services, routinely operating together in Amphibious Ready Groups, on LEDETS and with MSSTs, to name a few. You can look in any Area of Responsibility around the world and you will find elements of our services operating to render aid and assistance, keep the peace, or take down the enemy. As threats and platforms evolve, the Naval Rotary Wing will be pivotal to the future of our great nation, just as we always have been in the past. Rotary Wing warriors and the unique mission sets we excel in are at the heart of our maritime strategy. We are the “flexible, agile and ready force.” At this very moment, our Sea Services are operating around the world in every ocean. As threats and technologies evolve, now is the time to discuss how we operate, in our unique service or platform specific roles, and in the overlapping mission sets we share. How do we improve integration, better prepare for combat or disaster relief operations, and what future mission sets must we prepare for? We hope that you enjoy the program that we have planned for this year’s Symposium and encourage you to get involved with NHA and provide your inputs. Your thoughts are important as we continue to move the Rotary Wing community forward.

Monday, 15 May 2017 Exhibitor Booth Setup Bayside Pavilion Welcome Reception The Pennant, S. Mission Beach Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Opening Ceremony Mission Bay Ballroom NHA President's Remarks Mission Bay Ballroom Chairman's Remarks Mission Bay Ballroom Keynote Address Mission Bay Ballroom Safety Brief Mission Bay Ballroom Current / Future Helicopter Programs Udate Mission Bay Ballroom Aircrew Panel Mission Bay Ballroom Awards Ceremony Mission Bay Ballroom PERS - 43 Brief Mission Bay Ballroom Beach Party Members Reunion West Bay Beach/Marina Area Wednesday, 17 May 2017 Trustees / Directors Meeting (By Invitation Only) 5K Fun Run Aircrew Competition PERS - 43 Breakout Groups PMA- 266 MQ8-B / C Update MH60 Weapons Update Brief LCS Panel Helicopter Officer Spouses Club (HOSC) Lunch Amphib Aviation Update Brief Phoenix Fire Exercise Debrief N98 OAMCM (MH-53 / MH-60 S RO's) Brief DESI EX ASW Exercise Debrief Junior Officer Panel Commodores Time/ESC (By Invitation Only) Night Out at PETCO Park

Marina Area West Bay Beach Breakers Beach, NASNI La Jolla / Pacific Rooms Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Del Mar Room Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom PETCO Park

Thursday, 18 May 2017 2017 La Jolla Room SOE Fleet Fly-In Join-Up Meeting La Jolla/Pacific Rooms PERS-43 Breakout Groups Mission Bay Ballroom The Waterfront Perspective Commodore/GAG Round Table Mission Bay Ballroom Quarterly Helo Flag Meeting (By Invitation Only) Marina Room Mission Bay Ballroom OPNAV N98 CMV-22 Update Mission Bay Ballroom Captains of Industry Panel VIP Luncheon (By Invitation Only) William D. Evans Sternwheeler Sikorsky Salute to Aviation Luncheon West Bay Beach Symposium Administration Update Mission Bay Ballroom Mission Bay Ballroom Flag Panel Bayside Pavilion Naval Hawk Reception Casino Night William D. Evans Sternwheeler Friday, 19 May 2017 Golf Tournament Sports BBQ/Awards Ceremony


Sea ' n Air, NASNI Location TBD

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Rear Admiral Bill Lescher, USN Awarded the 2015 Golden Helix

RADM Bill Shannon, USN (Ret.) presents the Golden Helix to RADM Bill Lescher, USN.


HA's 2015 Golden Helix was awarded to RADM WIlliam Lescher, who currnetly serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary Of The Navy For Budget (FMB) Director, Fiscal Management Division, OPNAV (N82), at a ceremony on May 17, 2016. The Golden Helix, sponsored by Sikorsky, is given to the officer who has had wings longer than any other active duty helicopter aviator. RADM Lescher received his aviator wings April 3, 1981. His initial operational tours were with the "Lamplighters" and "Swampfoxes" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light squadrons (HSL) 36 and 44, deploying primarily to the Middle East/Central Command region aboard USS O’Bannon (DD 987), USS Clark (FFG 11), USS Capodanno (FF 1068) and USS Elrod (FFG 55). He also commanded the HSL-48 Vipers, the HSL-40 "Airwolves" and the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing.

Photo by CAPT Brad "Weeman" Garber, USN

Golden Helix Presentation Ceremony: (Left to Right) CAPT Bret Barrow, USN (Ret.), VADM Paul Grosklags, USN, CAPT Chuck Deitchman, USN (Ret.), RADM William Lescher, USN, RADM William Shannon, USN (Ret.), and CAPT Wayne Tunick, USN (Ret.). Photo by CAPT Brad "Weeman" Garber, USN


US Navy Seahawks Join Evacuation Efforts in New Zealand


Article by Sarah (S.L.) Fuller, Assistant Editor of Rotor & Wing International Reprinted with permission


he evacuation effort in New Zealand is ongoing after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ripped through Kaikoura on November 15 in the early morning hours. The Ministry of Defense deployed two NHIndustries NH90s and a Navy ship to start evacuating tourists in the area shortly after. But news outlets reported the number of people trapped topped 1,000 — NH90s can only transport 18 at once, and the ship, like the helicopters, can only operate if the bleak weather forecasts allow. With tremors still shaking the ground and the need for assistance mounting, other countries have extended offers to help. The USS Sampson was on its way to New CDR Timothy LaBenz (right), commanding officer of USS Sampson Zealand to celebrate the 75th anniversary of (DDG 102), and Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray (left) survey the its Navy, news outlets reported. It has since damage to local infrastructure in a MH-60R Seahawk from the changed course to join the evacuation effort. Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) squadron 73 "Battle Cats." Onboard the ship were two Sikorsky SH-60 Photo taken by PO2 Bryan Jackson, USN Seahawks, which will work with the NH90s. In addition, the U.S. offered a Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion to assist New Zealand’s Orion fleet with surveillance. Japan has reportedly offered assistance as well, although it is not clear what aid the country would be providing. A twin-engine rotorcraft, the Seahawk can be used for antisubmarine and anti-ship warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, cargo lift and special operations. It can carry three to four crew members, can reach a maximum of 180 knots in airspeed and has a general range of approximately HSM-73 arrived in Kaikoura for diaster relief efforts of New Zealand's damaged areas. 380 nautical miles. Photo by PO2 Bryan Jackson, USN From the U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs' Perspective. USS Sampson and the two embarked helicopters from HSM-73 Wolfpack directly supported the Government of New Zealand onsite at Kaikoura from Nov. 17-19. Over the two days, the helicopters completed 14 flights lifting 11,000 lbs. of equipment and supplies from HMNZS Canberra to the shore and also took the mayor of Kaikoura on a visual inspection tour of the surrounding area. The crew of the Sampson supported transporting New Zealand citizens from Kaikoura to HMNZS Canterbury via the Sampson's rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) and 26 Sailors went ashore and assisted in establishing a food distribution center, assisting in the cleanup efforts, and engaging with the local residents to assess their needs. "Words cannot express the enthusiasm that the crew and I have about being here helping those affected by the earthquake, while representing the United States. Operating in close concert with our counterparts in the Royal New Zealand Navy signifies the deepening bilateral partnership we have with them and with the Government of New Zealand," said CDR Tim LaBenz, Sampson's commanding

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


officer. "It's a privilege to assist where needed, and I must say we are glad to being doing our part in some small way to alleviate any kind of suffering happening ashore." As operations supported by Sampson began to wind down on Nov. 19, the ship was visited by New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee as he reviewed the relief efforts and all of the supporting international ships supporting. "[As] the first ship in 30 years or more to from the U.S. to visit New Zealand and then respond as you have to a reasonably big natural disaster here on the South Island is just unbelievably appreciated by New Zealanders," Brownlee said. "You cannot underestimate how much each of you has become an ambassador for the friendly relationship between New Zealand and the United States." As part of the earthquake response naval task group, Sampson continued into Wellington Harbor for VIP visits the following morning along with the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, tanker HMNZS Endeavour, Australian ship HMAS Darwin and Canadian ship HMCS Vancouver. After the brief stop in Wellington, the task group continued on to Auckland, New Zealand.


Pre-Deployment Finances Article by J.J. Montanaro, CFP® USAA Financial Planner

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD-4) departs Naval Base San Diego.

Dfashions. It could be a phone call, a voice mail, or an

eployment notification comes in many forms and

announcement during a muster or formation. For me, it was an unexpected invitation to grab a drink from my unit’s executive officer. No matter how it begins, a set of orders ultimately arrives -- orders that will dominate your very existence in the coming months. Your life is about to change, period. And now you’ve got to get yourself prepared physically, mentally, and equally importantly – financially. Good preparation can be the difference between a deployment being a financial footnote or a financial catastrophe. SECTION 1: Assessing the Situation One of your first steps should be to determine the financial reality of your deployment and build a “deployment budget.” A key component of your budget is income, and yours is likely to change upon mobilization. Two big questions you’ll need to answer are: How much will your income change? And, in what direction? If you’re in the Reserves, your civilian employer can tell you how your regular income will be impacted while you’re away. On the military front, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) website can help you understand your active duty pay and allowances. When determining your income, it’s important to add in an array of allowances or new allowances to which you may be entitled including Basic Allowance for Housing (grade and zip code based), Family Separation Allowance ($250/ month), Hostile Fire Pay ($225/month), and Hardship Duty

Pay ($50-$150/month). It’s also important to remember that the allowances noted above along with your base pay (not to exceed the highest rate for enlisted pay) are tax-free while down range in a designated combat zone. Along with a change in income, deployment will probably also change your expenses. How does your deployment income stack up against your deployment expenses? Often times, it could mean that deployment becomes an opportunity to pay down debt, build your emergency fund, and save for retirement or other goals. On the other hand, if your service is going to leave you with a shortfall, it’s time to look for opportunities to reduce what you’ll be spending. I already mentioned tax savings, but you might also be able to save in other areas like putting your car in storage to reduce auto insurance costs, reducing interest rates on existing debt or terminating leases (more on that later). Talk to everyone you regularly pay money to and see what type of adjustments can be made while you are away. SECTION 2: Understanding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act There’s no doubt that mobilization, deployment, and military service in general can throw your finances for a loop. All the way back to the Civil War our government recognized this reality and passed legislation to protect those like you who serve. The modern version -- the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) -- affords you a number of important protections. Here I’ll cover several widely applicable components of the law: 27

Interest rate cap: The SCRA limits the interest on preservice obligations to six percent. This means debt you acquired BEFORE you were mobilized, including car loans, mortgages, and even credit cards. To take advantage of this protection, you simply need to inform your creditor in writing and provide a copy of your military orders. Residential lease termination: A servicemember may terminate a residential lease anytime after entry into active military service. This includes leases signed with a dependent and is applicable for deployments in excess of 90 days. This can be an important provision for single servicemembers or those who have housing outlays that aren’t feasible given the realities of their soon-to-arrive active duty paycheck. Auto lease termination: Similar to the ability to terminate residential leases, the law allows the servicemember to terminate an automobile lease if the deployment is to last at least 180 days. Why pay hundreds of dollars per month for an idle auto? And you’ll save even more since you won’t need your auto insurance after the lease is terminated. The SCRA’s wide-ranging protections are important to understand and utilize. This law can afford you the opportunity to turn your deployment budget from red to black, avoid headaches, forestall court proceedings, and ultimately protect you and the ones you love.

A power-of-attorney can be very specific (a limited power of attorney, for example could allow someone only to sell your car) or very broad (general power of attorney) allowing your agent to act on your behalf in transacting most financial business. If it’s not already apparent, you only want to name someone you truly trust as your agent and when in doubt, go with a limited power of attorney. Typically, setting up powers of attorney will be part of the mobilization process, but it doesn’t hurt to get a jump start as soon as you’re notified of your mobilization. A final component of continuity is ensuring your spouse or trusted agent has a complete understanding of what you have, where it’s at, and what needs to be done. Consider putting together a comprehensive list of banking, investment, insurance accounts, websites, passwords, and points of contact and instructions. SECTION 4: Caring for the Ones we Love One tenet of financial planning is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. With a pending deployment this has some very specific implications. First, those with a family of financial obligations should evaluate their life insurance coverage. While the military provides up to $400,000 in coverage through the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program, depending on your situation, this may not be enough. There are numerous online life insurance calculators including a helpful tool at The idea behind these calculators is to tailor your insurance coverage to your specific situation. If the unthinkable should happen, do you want to pay-off your mortgage and other debts, fund the kid’s college and provide your spouse with supplemental income? The calculators allow you to build a scenario according to your wishes. If you find your requirements outweigh your coverage, it’s time to acquire additional life insurance. Because it takes time to get this coverage in place, start sooner rather than later. Typically, term -- or temporary insurance -- provides a cost effective way to cover most shortfalls. Although these exclusions are not as common as they used to be, make sure any coverage you do acquire doesn’t exclude coverage for acts of war or aviation incidents. Staying on this grim but necessary line of thought, you should also ensure your estate planning documents are upto-date. As with the power-of-attorney, this should be part of your mobilization or deployment process, but in more complex situations you may have to enlist the assistance of a civilian attorney. These documents ensure your wishes are carried out and decisions made in accordance with those wishes, whether you’re gone or just unable to make those decisions. Key documents include wills, trusts, powers of attorney (healthcare & aforementioned financial), and a letter of instruction that is not a legal document, but details your various accounts, contacts and wishes.

SECTION 3: Keeping the Financial Wheels Turning One of the most obvious aspects of deployment is your physical absence. From a financial perspective this presents some obvious challenges. In the end, these challenges can all be summed up in one important word: continuity. Let’s look at some situations and solutions you can put into place to help keep that continuity despite being thousands of miles from home. Although paying the bills may move down your list of priorities during deployment, receiving payment will still be top-of-mind for your service providers, creditors and others to whom you have obligations. Thankfully, online bill pay is commonplace today and can be a great help for deployed servicemembers to pay their bills. If you’re not on board yet, sign-up now with your financial institution. Additionally, consider setting up automatic payments for your regularly scheduled bills. This will ensure they get paid even if you can’t get to a computer to make the payment. Online billpay and automatic payments will go a long way towards ensuring a financially smooth deployment. However, “Murphy” will inevitably rear his head and something unexpected will likely pop-up. That’s why it’s important to set-up your accounts and make preparations for that possibility. It could be as simple as ensuring your checking and other financial accounts are set-up jointly with your spouse. For single servicemembers, an alternative would be to name someone as your agent using a power-of-attorney. If you’re married, this is also something to consider for your spouse. Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


SECTION 5: Turning Lemons into Lemonade While deployment clearly presents an opportunity to serve our country, it can also be leveraged to get ahead financially. Once you’ve been in a combat zone for 30 days you can sign up for the Department of Defense savings account called the Savings Deposit Program (SDP). The account pays a very attractive 10 percent interest rate and is compounded quarterly. You can put up to a total of $10,000 in the SDP, but you’ve got to sign up with the finance office when you hit the ground. Your contributions are limited to your net available pay—so it could take you a few months to get to $10K. This is a great way to build your emergency fund or set aside some money for other short-term goals. If you’re focused on saving for retirement, deployment presents a number of opportunities. First, there’s the military’s version of a 401(k), the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Normally, contributions to this type of plan are limited to $18,000 for those under age 50. However, in a tax-free combat zone you could put up to $53,000 into the TSP (Although contributions to the Roth TSP are still capped at $18,000). Finally, it’s important to remember that even though you may not pay tax on that combat zone income, it does qualify as income for purposes of funding an IRA or Roth IRA. One last note, since your taxable income may

decrease substantially during a deployment it can be an ideal time to consider converting traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. With some careful planning and preparation, you can help ensure that from a financial perspective, you not only survive, but thrive during your next deployment. USAA or its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The information contained is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional advice before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article in no way attempts to provide financial advice that relates to all personal circumstances. Views and opinions expressed by members are for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as an endorsement by USAA. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

LCDR Tom Murray, assigned to the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, is greeted by his son during a homecoming celebration at Naval Air Station North Island. HSC-4 returned to San Diego following a four month deployment with Carrier Air Wing TWO. Photo by MC2 La'Cordrick Wilson, USN


Rotor Review #135 Winter '17



Call Sign Courage

Article by LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret.)


ecember 7th is commemorated in the United States in remembrance of the attack on the Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, which led to U.S. involvement in World War II. As such, it is remembered with special events every December 7th on the USS Midway Museum. It will also be long remembered by a group of local area school students. Students from High Tech High (HTH) Middle School developed a special project in conjunction with the Students interview Marine Corps aviator Maj. Gen. Midway Museum called “Call Sign Courage.” Bob Butcher, USMC (Ret.) for "Call Sign Courage" The project began in the spring of 2015. The HTH Middle School program director had previously been in High students consisted of 55 eighth graders divided into touch with the Midway to coordinate a mutual project. The two-student interview teams. The teams used high tech Midway Museum called back with an idea for a project that recording equipment along with the Garage Band program the students could engage in. The Museum planned to do on MacBook to capture the interviews. After each interview a centennial celebration of the wings of gold insignia that session, the aviators were taken to a photo booth set up by is awarded to aviators in the Navy and Marine Corps after the students. There, they used 35 mm digital cameras to successful completion of their flight training. take pictures of the aviators and any equipment that they The school wanted to do a project where the eighth grade had brought along. Each team used their audio interviews students could capture stories. They chose the framework to write their aviator’s story and make individual posters of career callings, call signs, and courage for the themes of with quotes from the aviator. They also created interactive the stories they would be gathering. Students were asked to audio-video programs for display using a program called consider the following essential questions: Scratch that could be played on laptops. • How can we capture stories that can continue to All of the student’s work was displayed on the Midway this December 7th. The displays were organized on the inspire others? • How can we celebrate 100 years of the “Wings of Midway’s hangar deck with poster easels and interactive Gold”? laptop tables. Each easel and laptop was manned by the interview teams to greet attendees and tell their aviator’s • What can we learn from the collective human story. A stage was set up with seating as well as tables experience of career callings and courage? with refreshments. The affair was attended by about 400 • How can we apply Newton’s Laws of motion to military members, civilians and students. Individuals engineering challenges? and families browsed the displays and then listened while • How does light work and how do we capture it to project coordinator Ms. Kelly Jacob and her students make sense of the universe? With help from the Midway, the school put a call out told their stories on stage to an appreciative crowd. The to San Diego military bases and the Naval Helicopter event was a night to remember for students, attendees and aviators alike. The students of High Tech High should be Association to solicit former and current naval aviators. They were able to get about 50 respondents pretty quickly, proud of an informative and truly professional program. A with the aviators setting up time slots to come to the program they will long remember. school for interview and photo sessions. The High Tech

Ethan Silveira and Tomas Leighton interviewed LCDR Tom Phillips, USN (Ret.)

LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret.) was interviewed by Aaden and Brittany.


2016 Gulf Coast Fleet Fly-In & NHA Join-Up After Action Report


Article by LT Caleb Levée, USN; Photos by Ms. Allyson Darroch, NHA Logistics Editor Monday: Welcome Aboard Fly-In BBQ hether you chose a window seat on your favorite commercial airline or you got a good deal formation flight in, everyone at Training Air Wing FIVE eagerly awaited the Fleet’s arrival. The welcome aboard mixer, sponsored by Milton’s finest eatery, Grover T’s BBQ, was a gathering of old friends picking up where they left off, reminiscing about the past, and excitedly sharing plans for the future. While enjoying postmeal delicious apple cobbler on the “back porch” of HT-8 and HT-18, NHA members checked in and registered for the week’s activities.


Tuesday: Opening Ceremonies Senior Officer Panel Opening ceremonies and the Senior Officer Panel were held early Tuesday morning at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The event, coffee bar included, was sponsored by AIRBUS. Rear Admiral Dell Bull, Chief of Naval Air Training, welcomed everyone and quickly began discussing his number one priority: the future for CNATRA training aircraft and simulators. The panel, made up of eight senior ranking aviators from the Navy and Coast Guard, fielded challenging questions from a motivated audience. The panel addressed concerns of diminishing flight hours and exciting opportunities arising from new aircraft platforms such as the MQ-8 Fire Scout and the CMV-22B Osprey. One of the more memorable questions, posed by one overeager ensign was, “How do you advance your education and continue to excel in your flying career?” The answer: “Get your masters in flying first! Leave the rest up to timing and hard work.”

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


To conclude, the panelists left the audience with five tenets for a successful career: •

Master The Basics

Live in the moment and love every minute of it. Let the future worry about itself.

Volunteer. Say "YES" to challenges. Learn, experience, and go where the hard work is.

Take your profession seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously.

Don’t go to nickel beer night so often.

FEATURES: 2016 GULF FLEET FLY-IN HIGHLIGHTS Tuesday Night: Welcome Mixer The Welcome Mixer was sponsored by Leonardo and CAE. The mixer took place Tuesday evening on Pensacola Beach with a breathtaking backdrop of the Gulf Coast sunset. Casino Beach Bar and Grill supplied a tasty spread and a relaxed environment for NHA members to gather and gossip. Members migrated to the Gulfside Pavilion to enjoy the final Bands on the Beach concert of the season featuring The Groovinators. The evening nightcap was an infamous Diesel Fuel at Flounder’s Chowder House.

Wednesday: Community Briefs HSC briefers: LT Mary Hesler and LT Andrew Gerry HSM briefers: LT Andrew Hoffman, LT Arlen Conolley, LT Michelle Sousa, and LT Neil Banta HM briefer: LT Joshua Dufore

Wednesday: Skills Competition The Mighty TH-57B Sea Ranger, thought to be a Vietnam era relic, is still the staple platform in which all Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard helicopter pilots are trained. The HT Skills competition proved the orange and white trainer can still bob and weave with the best of them! Audience members were awed by “autos as smooth as lactose free butter,” as one spectator put it. Self-proclaimed Masters of Ceremonies, dressed in garb reminiscent of 1980’s Wrestlemania, hyped the crowd as representatives of each squadron performed precision autorotations, external loads, and landings. Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN was ultimately crowned competition champion.


The Winging Clerks: unsung heros.

Beach Towels at the Fish House; courtesy of Leonardo Helicopters.

Whiting Volunteers; who make it all happen.

Friday: Golf Tournament The week’s events culminated in a four-person team scramble golf tournament held at Stonebrook Golf Course in Pace, Fla. The tournament and prizes were sponsored by Bell Helicopter/L-3 VERTEX. Participants enjoyed lunch and trying their shot at impossibly challenging charity contests prior to a shotgun start. Intermittent prizes were awarded for longest drive and closest to the pin. Team prizes were awarded to the top three finishers with the lowest scores.

Thank you, Whiting...see you next year!

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


FEATURES The Coast Guard Aviation Association commemorates 100 years of saving lives, securing our coastlines and pioneering fixed and rotary wing aviation. Coast Guard Aviation owes its beginnings to three visionaries: 2nd LT Norman B. Hall, 3rd LT Elmer F. Stone and their commanding officer, CAPT B.M. Chiswell.


Coast Guard Helicopters in San Diego Photography by Raymond Rivard, used with permission.

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Alert 30 Launch on Super Bowl Sunday Article by LT Justin Medlin, USN


n Super Bowl Sunday 2016, while the rest of the country was watching the Broncos beat the Panthers, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) launched the Alert 30 to aid a vessel in distress. We were southeast of Miami and about to sit down and start watching the big game when the ship received a distress call from a 40 foot sailboat named SELKET. The SELKET’s mast stays and shroud lines were broken, and sailboat’s motor had begun smoking and lost power. The SELKET was down to battery power only, dead in the water in 8-12 foot seas, and calling for help on Maritime Channel 16. A rescued mariner is flown aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower The day had started off slowly, (CVN 69) after her vessel became disabled off the coast of Florida. with only Alert crews and no other U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. E. Veal flight ops on the schedule. Maintenance was operating on a minimal crew so as to give every- aircraft was down and that we needed to switch to the backone the day off to watch the big game and enjoy the festivi- up. I helped my copilot shut down the bird and we ran to the ties in the hangar bay. We had just sat down to brief for our backup and got it spotted, spread, and started with no issues. Even with 0% illumination and an overcast sky, the culnight Alert 30 when the ship’s executive officer walked in and told our squadron duty officer (SDO) about the vessel tural lighting was significant that night due to our proximity to the shore, and the horizon was quite visible on night in distress and said that we would be launching the alert. Maintenance sprang into action as soon as we were in- vision. We launched with no issue and, by that time, the formed about the situation and in about 30 seconds, the sailboat was only one mile off the port side of the carrier. I plane captains, troubleshooters, and flight deck coordina- elected to do a manual approach to a 70 foot hover due to tors were running to the flight deck to get the helo spot- the fact that we had so much cultural light and a distinct ted and start pulling out the backup aircraft. My crew and horizon. Once in a hover next to the sailboat, we noticed that the I immediately shifted into the mindset that we were going flying and started to discuss the plan. I sent my copilot up to sailboat was being pushed perpendicular to us with our nose the aircraft along with my crew chief and told my swimmer in the wind, so we’d have to hover with a 35 knot crosswind to get dressed out while I got more information from the in order to be able to effectively lower the swimmer. We SDO. The SDO informed me that the sailboat was a 40 foot, dropped a MK58 smoke about 100 yards behind us on final. white, and off the starboard side of the carrier. They had the The captain of the sailboat and others later told us that they mast up but were dead in the water with five souls on board. saw the smoke as soon as it lit off, and that it was gone in a When I got to the flight deck, my copilot was running matter of about 30 seconds because of the strong winds and start-up checks and, as I was getting strapped in, she told current. The sailboat was pitching +/-30 degrees with the me that the RADALT was failing the self-test. I immedi- boom swinging wildly through 180 degrees of motion about ately thought to myself, “Of course it fails the one time I’m the deck. I passed the controls to my co-pilot, and as soon launching on an actual SAR,” and even laughed a little to as hover checks were complete, my crew chief was prepped myself about how this was such a typical Helicopter Air- and ready to send the swimmer down the wire to initiate the craft Commander (HAC) scenario that just about every pi- first of five pickups. Due to the rough sea state, low-illumination night, strong lot who has ever sat on a HAC board has had to deal with and probably thought would never happen to them. After winds, and strong current, my crew chief chose to utilize a multiple attempts by the Avionics troubleshooters and my- direct deployment. After the first insertion, we had to pull self to reconfigure and re-test the system, I decided that the the swimmer back up because the three knot current was


who runs about a five-minute mile. I looked over my gauges and told my crew chief, “We have 2800 pounds of fuel and plenty of time. Give him a few minutes, let him drink some water, and we’ll let him make the call.” After drinking some water and about two minutes of rest, Proffitt was ready to go back down. Proffitt was lowered back down for the third survivor, and the rescue went without issue. Things were getting faster and, after a couple of iterations, the crew was working as a cohesive unit. The third rescue only took eight to 10 minutes, and Proffitt again took a couple of minutes to rest before going back down for the fourth survivor. The fourth survivor was in the aircraft in about five minutes and, with an adrenaline rush giving him a second wind, Proffitt was immediately headed back down the wire for the captain. In about five minutes, the captain was in the helo, and we cleaned up the aircraft from the rescue as we departed the coupled hover for the carrier. We were quickly cleared to land on Spot Six and medical staff were standing by for an assessment. As we turned the aircraft over to another standby crew, our squadron got word that we would transport the survivors to the Coast Guard station in Opalocka, Fla. No matter how often you practice, nothing is ever textbook. One must always be willing and able to adapt and overcome to meet the mission. You can’t always hover perfectly into the wind or expect the swim through the water to be a simple one or even expect the survivor to speak the same language as your swimmer. As Petty Officer Proffitt said, “it was pretty much trial by error.” No amount of mental preparation can prepare you for what it feels like as you watch a 60 foot mast swinging right underneath your helo or the amount of physical exertion it takes to swim through 12 foot seas, climb onto a pitching sailboat, and coax someone that you’ve never seen before to jump into the ocean with you. “Getting a rescue” is an incredibly satisfying experience and knowing that all of those SAR flights in your training actually came to fruition in bringing home five souls whose ship may have been capsized and who may have spent the rest of that night in the water is rewarding. As a HAC, I think that the most important lesson from this experience is that we need to always be ready to go fly and be ready to think outside of the box to get the mission accomplished safely. Knowing NATOPS, OPNAV, the SAR Manual, and how to apply them in all of those crazy HAC scenarios is something that may seem futile until the day that the ship’s executive officer walks into your ready room and tells you that there are five souls off the port side and that you’re going to get them. That’s a mindset that I believe applies to all of our mission sets and one that I’ll take with me into every brief that I walk into in the future.

flowing away from the boat and the 35 knot winds were pushing the sailboat away from us faster than our rescue swimmer, Petty Officer Proffitt, or any swimmer for that matter, could swim. The crew chief, Petty Officer Guerrero, pulled the swimmer back up and swung him towards the back of the sailboat as we maneuvered the helo a few yards closer. I quickly realized that the normal 70 feet hover height wouldn’t be enough due to the fact that mast on the sailboat was closer to 60 feet tall and swinging wildly in the rough seas, so I bumped our hover altitude up to 85 feet. Petty Officer Proffitt opted to board the sailboat for the first pickup so he could assess the condition of all five members of the crew. Once on board, he noticed the survivors were all in good health but their eyes were dilated and they were shaking with fear. He also realized that only the captain spoke English, and he told Proffitt to take the women first. The other members of the crew would later turn out to be Czech citizens. Proffitt said, “The hardest part was coaxing someone who doesn’t speak English into the ocean with only hand signals. I had to break them of their fear while simultaneously gaining their trust.” The first pickup was complete in about 20 minutes, and we had one of the survivors in the cabin. Proffitt was ready to go back down but the rough conditions combined with trying to climb on a pitching boat were taking their toll on him. As soon as he hit the water for the second time, Proffitt was fighting the waves and current to catch up with the drifting sailboat. The captain, noticing how difficult it was for the swimmer to fight through the waves, tossed a rope in the water to Proffitt which ended up being a tremendous help in getting through the waves. The second woman was coaxed into the ocean, hooked up via the quick strop, and Guerrero began hoisting. At some point during the hoist, the swinging motion of the hoist cable combined with my copilot maneuvering the helo, caused the hoist cable to pin Guerrero’s hand in between the cable and the aft, inboard part of the external weapons system (EWS) wing. The cable was quickly released but not before cutting through the thin metal of EWS wing. Despite this minor hangup, the hoist cable was undamaged and Guerrero opted to continue hoisting (it was noted during the debrief that the hoist glove probably saved him from losing his hand). The second pickup was completed in about 15 minutes, and I told tower that we were, “Plus two and sending the swimmer back down for the third.” After the second survivor and Proffitt were back in the cabin, Guerrero came over the radio and said, “Sir, he doesn’t look too good.” The wind, current, and tremendous physical exertion were taking their toll on Proffitt, which is significant considering the fact that he’s a physically fit guy

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Focus on Special Operations


reetings, fellow rotor heads. I am honored to write a quick introduction and update on the squadron for this edition of Rotor Review on Special Operations support. The request could not be timelier. Once again, I am sandwiched in the cargo hold of a C-17 Globemaster, perched under two stuffed HH-60s as I type this. It has given me pause and opportunity to think about the last 20 years of doing this business, the importance of the Naval Rotary Wing as a whole, and what HSC-85, a small part of the Naval Helo Enterprise, has been doing since the decision was made to keep them as the Navy’s dedicated SOF support squadron. Without a doubt, every helicopter unit in the Navy is now more tactically focused and equipped then when I reported to HS-5, my first fleet squadron, back in 1999. SOF support is a demanding mission set that is often dynamic and always satisfying - particularly when you land to the X in someone’s backyard and the assault force runs out to shoot America’s enemies. In my opinion, every helicopter crew should possess the ability to support SOF; dedicated SOF air assets cannot be everywhere, every time. We have been in an environment of reduced budgets, limited flight time and doing more with less for a number of years now. Yet the enemy doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Due to the irregular nature of the current enemy warfare techniques, Special Operations is a growing enterprise, more frequently employed by combatant commanders. There is a high probability that a call will come in on a time sensitive target (TST) within range of a helicopter detachment aboard a Navy ship. You could be asked to answer that call and need to be ready. Because the enemy gets a vote, we are all in the business of Special Operations support, and indicators are that we are staying in the business. So back to my point of sitting in a C-17. Why are HSC85 helicopters being lifted across the country? Well, that is a long story. HSC-85 is a unique squadron in a unique situation. After staring over the precipice of disestablishment, the decision was reversed just in time, which began the exhaustingly hard work of a running rebuild. We are on this plane to complete a training milestone: pack up four HH-60s, move to a location and execute a mission 24 hours after unloading. Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated personnel in the squadron - particularly maintenance - as well as the support staffs of the HSC Wing Pacific and the Maritime Support Wing, along with support from our fellow seawall squadrons who lent assistance when we were sucking wind, we are again able to meet the mission call.

As of Oct.16, we are on alert to execute a prepare to deploy order (PTDO) and will deploy in the spring of 2017 to support an enduring request for forces (RFF) for Special Operations Command Pacific. During the rebuild, our manning was reconfigured. Although predominantly manned by reservists, we are still a composite squadron with both a reserve and an active component. A sizable amount of our force is active, including five second-tour lieutenants selected through the quarterly nomination process, and three department heads. We are a fine example of how all facets of our service can work together to support the mission, whether you are active, full time support (FTS) or have a real job in the real world. Selected Reservists (SELRES) in the command are a force multiplier bringing continuity, as some members have been in the squadron for over ten years actively doing the mission and have really “been there” and “done that.” As an FTS, I know it is a difficult decision to quit the active component. My fleet replacement squadron skipper, RADM Boomer Smith, once told me, “Not everyone is going to be the CNO.” Although at the time I thought that was an obvious statement about me, I now realize that what he meant was that there are off ramps, and whether you want to go back to school, start a new profession or do something different, reserve commands allow you to continue serving your country while exploring a new direction. Fortunately, HSC-85 is still around, allowing you to improve your already distinguishable skills in the SOF mission, whether you choose to use it as an off ramp or not. Well, I see the tiedown chains tightening up and hear the landing gear coming down, so I am going to wrap this up. Wherever you are, if you are a helicopter pilot, be ready to support SOF! Enjoy the articles and keep doing the good work over the horizon.



By CDR Brian Wilderman, USN

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17



Dedicated SOF Support A unique Navy helicopter squadron provides transport and fire support to special operators By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

Dedicated SOF Support

A Unique Navy Helicopter Squadron Provides Transport And Fire Support To Special Operators Story by Rick Burgess, Managing Editor, Seapower Magazine Reprinted with permission from Seapower Magazine, the official publication of the Navy League

Command] Raiders at Camp Pendleton [Calif.] Also, we engage regionally with 10th Special Forces The Navy’s only special operations forces support helicopter Group (Airborne) and 19th Special squadron must be prepared to deploy anywhere in the world. Forces Group (Airborne). To mainn HSC-85 is a highly sought-after assignment for experienced tain tactics, techniques and procecrews. dures [TTPs] alignment, we prioritize interaction and coordination n Tactical Support Units will sustain expertise with the loss of the with the 160th Special Operations HSC-84. Aviation Regiment (Airborne).” n The heavily armed HH-60H helicopter is slated for service at The HH-60Hs, contemporaries of least through 2019. the now-retired SH-60B and SH-60F anti-submarine helicopters, are heavily armed for their primary missions: infiltration and exfiltration. he Navy’s helicopter force dedicated to sup“We fly with crew-served weapons including the porting special operations forces (SOF) now is M240D [7.62 mm machine gun] and GAU-17, which down 50 percent, but the remaining helicopter is a 7.62mm minigun,” Wilderman said. “The GAUsea combat (HSC) squadron, kept in service by con17’s high rate of fire is necessary to support ground gressional mandate, remains very active in its mission. forces and is used by our experienced gunners. This is HCS-85 is a Navy Reserve squadron based at Naval another unique aspect of our squadron. We also have Air Station North Island, Calif., and is equipped with the ability to carry AGM-114 Hellfire [missiles] and we HH-60H Seahawk helicopters. train heavily to the close air support mission.” “Our primary mission is SOF support,” said Cmdr. HSC-85 returned to the United States from its last Brian Wilderman, commanding officer of HSC-85 deployment in October after it was notified that it would since June 2015. “That means providing the joint SOF be deactivated, a decision reversed by congressional operator with a mobility platform and the support legislation to retain one of the two SOF HSC squadrons. they require in whatever environment they need. We Sister squadron HSC-84, based at Naval Station Norfolk, train in both the maritime and overland environments Va., was deactivated as a cost-cutting measure. to include direct action; helicopter visit, board, search Regarding the shutdown of HSC-84, Wilderman and seizure; close air support; and personnel rescue. said, “Our mission remains the same, although now our “We have a habitual working relationship with area or responsibility spans the globe. We are focused Naval Special Warfare and other SOCOM [U.S. Special and on track to be ready when our nation calls, wherOperations Command] components,” Wilderman said. ever that may be.” “Although General Purpose Forces, we have a special The 2015 deployment of HSC-85 “concluded two memorandum of agreement with SOCOM that acknowlyears of continuous deployment within the Pacific edges our capabilities in return for providing SOCOM Command AOR [area of responsibility], supporting with a required capability. We regularly interact localSpecial Operations Command Pacific in multiple ly with the SEAL teams in Coronado [Calif.] as well countries including providing support to joint and as with MARSOC [Marine Corps Special Operations combined SOF in our partner nations,” Wilderman Global Responsibility




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Rotor Review #135 Winter '17




“Our aviators’ tactical training syllabus requirements are then matched to joint SOF training requirements. This specialized syllabus mandates focused training in live joint SOF support and everyone must complete it regardless of prior qualification. Upon tactical training syllabus completion, we believe our aviators’ exposure-based training helps them better identify and mitigate risk inherent in the joint SOF mission set,” he said. HSC-85’s deployment model differs from traditional fleet squadrons because it is based on geographic combatant commanders’ rotary-wing SOF support requirements, Wilderman said, being “equipped to support that requirement with a four-helicopter expeAn HH-60H assigned to Helicopter Sea Control Squadron 85 approaches for ditionary detachment away from a landing. An AAS-44 electro-optical/infrared sensor turret is mounted on the support units. nose. The door gunner is armed with a GAU-17 minigun. The aircraft commander’s door has been removed for operations. “Our mission is to provide helicopters to joint SOF — which we said. “We are training to meet the CNO’s [chief of do well,” he said. “We are trained properly to support naval operations’] objective of being deployment whatever dynamic crisis action the operational comready in the first quarter of [fiscal] ’17. We will be mander encounters, but an ancillary benefit that pays prepared for whichever AOR we are assigned.” huge diplomatic and strategic dividends is the ability In May, HSC-85’s personnel included five officers to commit a four-helicopter detachment to a partner and 85 enlisted Sailors from the Active Component and nation and work with their indigenous forces.” 17 officers and 108 enlisted Sailors from the Reserve Manning and manpower “are the key to long-term Component Full-Time Support community. The numsustainment of a continuously forward deployed detachbers will grow as the squadron rebuilds its manning. ment,” said Capt. Marc Orgain, commodore, Maritime “HSC-85 is unique in several ways,” Wilderman Support Wing. “The greatest near-term challenge has said. “We are a Reserve squadron augmented with been in rebuilding the squadron’s manning after the disActive Component personnel that is manned, trained establishment order was rescinded. The Navy is working and equipped differently than other squadrons. We are as a team to man, train and equip the squadron to meet not manned with first-tour pilots, therefore the average the initial operating capability and full operational capaexperience of our aviators exceeds 2,500 flight hours. bility timelines.” Although most aviator accessions come from the Navy, Wilderman said that duty in HSC-85 is a sought-after some began their flying careers in the other three serassignment. vices, which diversify the breadth of squadron knowl“I’ve been in this community for over 12 years and edge. We also employ Selected Reservist aviators, who it has been a great experience,” he said. “Many of our remain in the squadron for three to 10 years, providing personnel have similar feelings toward this communicontinuity, depth of experience and long-term relationty; frankly, it’s given us all a unique perspective. Many ships with SOF. of us have deployed to combat, engaged our nation’s “Second, our aviators join us with a solid foundaenemies, and successfully supported operations that tion of joint TTPs and primarily sea-based operational keep our nation safe and strong. This is why most of experience,” he said. “We focus on improving their my shipmates joined Naval Aviation, and nearly every foundational knowledge via our unique tactical trainpilot, aircrewman and maintainer wants to remain in ing syllabus, which stresses joint SOF mission planthe squadron or find a way to return. ning and operational risk management through the “I now have the privilege of leading a squadron of lens of our community’s operational experience. tremendously talented and motivated individuals. They WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG

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A member of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon 621 is hoisted by an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter during an April 2015 mine disposal exercise in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility. The Navy currently has only 14 HH-60Hs in its inventory.

want to be here and would stay forever if they could, which makes most aspects of my job easy,” he said. With the Navy retaining HSC-85 as a dedicated SOF support squadron, it also plans to sustain SOF support capability by standing up two Tactical Support Units (TSUs), embedded in the HSC Weapons Schools in Norfolk and San Diego. “This plan allows the Navy to maintain the capability and incrementally improve overall HSC force SOF support capability throughout the fleet,” said Capt. Ben Reynolds, commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific. “TSU aircrews will fly fleet aircraft when training fleet pilots and Fleet Replacement Squadron [FRS] aircraft when flying with FRS students. “TSUs will leverage the experience of former HSC84 and 85 personnel to provide an improved level of SOF support training to all HSC squadrons,” Reynolds said. “The TSUs will improve training and certification to meet SOF mission requirements by informing the training syllabus, readiness matrix and certification process. This will help sustain the strong relationship between the HSC squadrons and the Navy SEALs. Combat-ready personnel in the Reserve force will be retained to train and augment deploying active-duty squadrons if needed. During emergent contingencies, the TSUs will be capable of providing surge capacity to HSC squadrons supporting SOF if needed.” The Navy currently has only 14 HH-60Hs in its inventory, said Capt. Craig Grubb, H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopter program manager. The Navy plans on keeping the HH-60H in service at least through fiscal 2019, 62 SReview E A P O W E#135 R / JU LY / A U G'17 UST Rotor Winter



he said. Of the 14, 10 are assigned to HSC-85 and the others are used for sustaining the inventory. The HH-60H “remains extremely capable and reliable,” Wilderman said. “They do require attention, but our excellent maintenance department has no problem giving them the care they need. Over more than eight years in Iraq flying hundreds of combat missions, the HH-60H never failed me. It is a tough, combat-proven aircraft. If you look at the percentage of life left on the airframe, it has about as many flight hours left as other Navy helicopters.” Still, although some commonality exists between the HH-60H and MH-60S/R, the 60H has some unique parts. Grubb said the Navy has long-term readiness concerns related to the avionics architecture of the HH-60H and currently is evaluating the requirements for future upgrades to the HH-60H. The Helicopter Master Plan originally had the MH-60S replacing the HH-60H, but the Navy plans to keep the HH-60H until at least fiscal 2019. “The MH-60S is an adequate replacement for the HH-60H,” said an official in the Air Warfare directorate of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. “Based on the recent decision to retain HSC-85, keeping the HH-60H in the inventory for a few more years will allow a smooth transition to the MH-60S and reduce the operational impact to the fleet.” The MH-60S “is a very capable aircraft,” Wilderman said. “We are scheduled to transition to the 60S in a few years and are excited about getting the new airn frame.” WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG

HSC-5 CSAR in the Middle East


Article by LT Jason McCabe, USN

Courage 46 executes a sideflare for survivor pickup with a Pararescueman on the hook during a training exercise.


arriving via multiple STRATLIFTS to LSA Roberts, a small support area just to the east of the International Airport in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. We had approximately two weeks to prepare before our alert was required to be stood up. Our stellar group of maintenance personnel went to work immediately, providing a combat ready machine aircraft that we were all proud to take flying. It met the bell – every time. We began flying about a week in, upgrading our junior pilots in overland mission areas and gaining proficiency in the TERF/unprepared landing environment. The PJ’s arrived a week behind us; our integration was both rewarding and humbling. The Navy and Air Force do certain things differently. That being said, the joint doctrine works; we were on the same page with 95% of how the mission was to be executed, and we were confident we would be successful should the need ever arise. Flying with the same team every day

n Dec. 29, 2015, four helicopters and 74 members of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squaron (HSC) FIVE “World Famous Nightdippers” departed the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) for Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Our orders and mission were clear and simple: to hold a 24/7 PR alert with a 30 minute wheels up response time in order to recover downed aviators evading behind enemy lines. Operating under the Joint Personnel Recovery Center’s oversight, HSC-5 and a six-man team of elite Pararescuemen (PJ’s) from the Air Force’s 48th Rescue Squadron were responsible for a coverage area including Mosul, Iraq, the hotspot for the last year. This is something we as a community have trained to and stood alert for – for years. However, until March 2016, the Navy hadn't executed a combat recovery since Vietnam. The squadron spent about a month in Kuwait awaiting logistics and other administrative support elements before 45

takes out a lot of guess work and beloved “-isms” out of the equation. After a month of training, mission planning and coordination with various entities, we were designated as “Fully Operationally Capable” (FOC). We utilized a rotation of five mission leads (SWTI HACs), eight copilots and 12 aircrew; this provided watch coverage, alert days, training days and the occasional day off. We maintained the Rescue Operations Center (ROC), which housed all of our intel and comms support, video feeds and planning spaces. Battle Watch Captains and our Intelligence Specialists monitored mIRC stations around the clock for any sort of indication that we may launch. Things stayed relatively quiet, with a few close calls and one mission launch. On mid-morning Mar. 12, 2016, we received word of an aircraft bustering back Aircrewmen from HSC-5 and Pararescuemen from the 48th RQS depart the helicopter to execute full mission profile training in the mountains of towards friendly territory from some very northern Iraq. not-so-friendly territory with an engine failure. Notifications began flooding in from various channels and we notified the JPRC of our intentions. Fortunately, the aircraft appeared to have landed in a permissive environment a few miles from the forward line of troops (FLOT). Our commanding officer declared launch authority for the recovery in accordance with our Operational Order (OPORD). The aircraft were airborne in less than 30 minutes and arrived on station shortly thereafter. We received overhead support and ISR coverage almost immediately, with other assets en route to assist both in the air and on the ground. The recovery itself took less than 10 minutes, and our two aircraft headed back to our designated medical facility. Fortunately, the event was – uneventful. The bottom line is everyone got home safe. We maintained our alert status for several months as Carrier Strike Group EIGHT operated at record breaking levels in the northern Arabian Gulf. Running a carrier air wing HSC squadron at half capacity on the carrier while covering an

Courage 46 and 47 execute section landing training in northern Iraq.

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


overland requirement was just as stressful and taxing as it was rewarding. The split squadron concept gave a lot of experience to all involved. The long term “det” operations our expeditionary brethren are used to provided us a lot of professional development that may not happen in your regular carrier air wing deployment cycle.

HSC-5 did a lot with a little, for an entire deployment. The knowledge that we gained as aviators, aircrew, and maintainers was invaluable. The pride of our squadron is unmatched, and every single one of us believes that operating forward to achieve mission success is critical to the future of both Rotary Wing and HSC aviation. For more information on the Detachment, search “HSC-5 PR Det” on Intellipedia.

Courage 46 and 47 in the landing zone of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) during small arms qualifications in northern Iraq.

The HSC-5 Det One "Dirtdippers" and members of the 48th RQS pose for a deployment photo.



Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) Article by LT Aric M. McGee, USN


he “Devilfish” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, Detachment 2, embarked on board the Arleigh Burkeclass guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) participated in an Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) with the U. S. Coast Guard’s 14th District in the Western Pacific Ocean, April 27 to June 6, 2016. OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program which leverages Department of Defense assets that transit the Asia-Pacific region to increase the U. S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) maritime domain awareness (MDA), which ultimately supports maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania. The U.S. Coast

The “Devilfish” of HSM) 49, Detachment 2, embarked on board the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) Photo by MC2(SW) Will Gaskill, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31

Guard is responsible for patrolling waters around numerous work with both the ship and air department to ensure the islands associated with the United Sates throughout the re- mission objective was met successfully. The fact that we were gion. Territorial waters extend 12 miles from the base line able to safely support 20 boardings, the most any other OMSI of each island. Beyond that, stretching out to 200 nautical patrol asset has been able to complete, was very rewarding.” miles is an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an area defined Boarding teams inspected documentation and fish holds for by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights illegal activity and compliance with conservation and manto the exploration and use of marine resources. Oceania agement measures. The air detachment supported LEDET’s contains 43 percent, or approximately 1.3 million square efforts by providing an airborne over watch, search-and-resmiles, of the United States’ EEZs. cue (SAR) support during the boarding, and the capability to LT Scott Carr, Coast Guard District 14 public affairs identify potential violators over the horizon based on specific officer said, “The Coast Guard maintains nine bilateral guidance from the LEDET team. agreements with Pacific Island Nations (PIN) who share The law enforcement effort to deter illegal, unreported a common interest with the United States to protect the and unregulated fishing in remote U.S. EEZ’s and in the adocean and living marine resources. These agreements allow jacent Pacific Island Country EEZ’s benefits the sustainability enforcement authorities from these nations to enforce their of highly migratory fish stocks, which provide economic fishery laws inside their EEZ and on the high seas from a U.S. security in Oceania. asset. The Western and Central Pacific Ocean’s marine ecosystem is fragile, and The Navy-Coast Guard team’s utilization of HSM-49’s effective fisheries enforcement is vital to MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and the visit board ensure continued economic prosperity and search and seizure (VBSS) team on board Spruance a thriving ocean for future generations.” were instrumental in supporting the maritime law The Navy-Coast Guard team’s utilienforcement actions of the Coast Guard’s 14th District zation of HSM-49’s MH-60R Seahawk response division. helicopters and the visit board search and seizure (VBSS) team on board Spruance were instrumental in supporting the mar“I was unaware of the fishing practices on the high seas itime law enforcement actions of the Coast Guard’s 14th and the regulations that dictate their use,” said LCDR James District response division. That team successfully carried R. Cordonnier, Devilfish detachment officer-in-charge. “I was out 48 sightings and set a record of 20 lawful boardings that also reminded of how difficult the living conditions on some resulted in five issued violations. of the fishing vessels can be. It refreshed the respect I have LT Christine N. Mayfield, a Devilfish Det-2 pilot stated, for those who work in those conditions to bring food to our “the best part about the mission was the enthusiasm of the tables from around the world.” Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) to

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


A U.S. Coastguardsman assigned to Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team Detachment 108, a Palauan law enforcement official and a Sailor assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) inspect a foreign fishing vessel as part of the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative.

Cordonnier added, “my favorite moment during OMSI was the surprise the Coast Guard personnel had regarding our capabilities and our willingness to fly daily in support of the mission. Anytime we can showcase our capabilities to our fellow services and demonstrate the hard work our maintainers do to supply those capabilities is a good day in my book.” Spruance and the “Devilfish” of HSM-49, Detachment 2, are deployed to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility as part of Destroyer Squadron 31 Surface Action Group supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

USCG teams and Pacific Island nations' ship riders routinely execute the bilateral agreements to conduct joint boardings within the host country’s EEZ. The goal of these bilateral agreements is to help our partners who share a common interest with the United States to protect the ocean and the living marine resources within. “USS Spruance, Devilfish and USCG LEDET approached everyday committed to executing the assigned mission with extreme focus and preparation,” said Cordonnier. “With three different communities coming together to meet a mission, a lot can be lost in translation. Having an environment that allows open communication can be time consuming in the beginning, but ultimately delivers the positive results we saw.

U.S. Coast Guard members from Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team, Law Enforcement Detachment 108 and Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance debark a rigid-hull inflatable boat. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Will Gaskill



The Navy’s Airborne Use of Force Mission Article by HSM-60 PAO, USNR


he Airborne Use of Force (AUF) mission is relatively unknown within Naval Aviation. Typically a United States Coast Guard (USCG) specialty, it is a critical part of the Navy’s effort to disrupt drug trafficking into North America from the south. Once a popular SH-60B deployment destination, the AUF mission in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean has now expanded to the MH-60R, though in much smaller numbers. Several squadrons contribute to this mission, but Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60 has been a regular participant in the war on drugs. The combination of the MH-60R’s advanced mission systems, partnership with USCG counterparts, and years of AUF experience, all but guarantees a disruption in the flow of drugs into North America. During an AUF mission, the helicopter is an airborne platform for exactly that: a use of force, employed in this case to disable a go-fast vessel suspected of trafficking illicit cargo. Working in close coordination with two pilots and a single Naval aircrewman, one USCG Controller, and one USCG Precision Marksmen-Airborne (PM-A) make up the rest of the crew. Armed with either a .50 caliber M107 or a 7.62 mm M110 precision rifle for disabling fire and warning shots, the USCG marksmen must follow strict procedural guidelines that dictate the flow of the mission to allow for future prosecution of the personnel aboard the go-fast vessel. After the first notification of a suspected drug trafficking vessel, the USCG Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) back on the ship coordinates with the applicable Coast Guard District to request a Statement of Non-Objection (SNO). This serves as permission to compel the vessel to stop by means of warning shots and disabling fire if they don’t respond to the helicopter’s requests and allow for a lawful boarding by the LEDET. Once the helicopter’s AUF crew obtains the SNO, the helicopter hails the vessel on the radio, requesting that they stop making way and allow a lawful boarding by the LEDET. Should the vessel ignore these requests, the AUF crew will signal the vessel by firing warning shots using the helicopter’s crew-served M240 machine gun. At this point, if the suspect vessel does not stop, the LEDET PM-A utilizes one of the precision rifles to disable the vessel’s engines. With the go-fast vessel now dead in the water, the helicopter can stand off and await the boarding, rejoining the action in an overwatch position to monitor the activity and contribute to the safety of the boarding team. In order for this mission to be accomplished with minimal risk to the vessel’s occupants, the helicopter is required to essentially fly in formation with the go-fast vessel. Oftentimes, the helicopter will be well below 100’ AGL and only a few rotor diameters from the vessel. Crew coordination is paramount. Maneuvering too aggressively can put the Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

An MH-60R assigned to HSM-60 takes off during flight operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

aircraft in a situation where power required exceeds power available, which could lead to water impact in mere seconds from such a low altitude. Factors like aircraft gross weight, density altitude, temperature, and relative wind can greatly affect aircraft performance, but a thorough scan of the aircraft’s flight instruments can allow the pilots to avoid dangerous situations - such as engine over-torque and tail rotor loss of effectiveness - that could jeopardize the crew’s safety. A constant dialog between crew members keeps the aircraft flying safely and the suspect vessel in sight, with at least one weapon trained on it at all times. AUF can also be performed at night if the USCG training and equipment requirements are met. HSM-60 is the only Navy HSM squadron to have performed the AUF mission at night, using heads-up displays (HUD) fitted to night vision goggles. These displays give the flying pilot a customizable view of the radar altimeter, attitude indicator, ground speed, and other flight-related parameters to allow for a simultaneous scan of the instruments and monitor of the suspect vessel on the starboard side of the aircraft. The AUF mission plays a crucial part in the Counter-Narcoterrorism (CNT) mission. The “Jaguars” of HSM-60 have been supporting CNT in the SOUTHCOM area of operations since the squadron’s inception in 2001. As an expeditionary squadron, HSM-60 is not attached to a single carrier strike group and typically deploys on independently steaming U.S. Navy air-capable ships. The squadron itself is composed of Full Time Support (FTS) pilots and aircraft maintainers, with Active Duty enlisted aircrewmen (there are no FTS aircrewmen), as well as Selected Reservist (SELRES) personnel from all three groups. A typical two-helicopter detachment includes FTS and SELRES pilots, three aircrewmen, and 18-20 maintenance personnel. Due to the small size and exclusive nature of the squadron, it is not uncommon for SELRES pilots or aircrew to be assigned to the Jaguars for five or ten years, during which time the mission and aircraft employment 50

can be finely tuned. The Jaguars come from a wide variety of military aviation backgrounds. Many of the pilots and aircrew excelled at their fleet assignments, and almost all subsequently went on to instructor assignments at Fleet Replacement Squadrons or Training Commands. Pilot assignment to HSM-60 is the result of a highly competitive screening process to redesignate into FTS or get selected by the SELRES pilot selection board. Many SELRES pilots and aircrew also had similar aviation careers to their FTS and Active Duty counterparts prior to leaving active duty. Backgrounds range across the spectrum, with experience stemming from a combination of US Navy helicopter communities (HSL, HSM, HS, and HSC), US Army, US Air Force CSAR, and foreign exchange. Many fly for emergency medical companies or government organizations for their civilian employment, and about half reside outside Jacksonville, Fla., the area that HSM60 calls home. The squadron is a true melting pot of aviation knowledge and experience, and they are constantly seeking ways to take on new missions as Naval Aviation evolves, as well as raise the bar for existing missions like Airborne Use of Force that have been the squadron’s specialty for 15 years.

The aftermath of a successful AUF interdiction: the go-fast vessel is used for target practice.

Suspected narcotics are jettisoned from the go-fast vessel.


What role do you think Naval Rotary Wing Aviation should play in U.S. Special Operations? From Chris Green: “The same role HCS-4/5 and then HSC-84/85 contributed. Can't argue the amount of support two Reserve squadrons provided by being tasked with that that mission area.” From AWSC William J. Frost, USN (Ret.), a former member of HS-4/HSC-4/HCS-5/HSC-84/HSC-85: (His full opinion can be found on NHA’s Facebook page.) ➢ “One: Fleet Rotary Wing assets should only focus on supporting blue/shallow water naval assets and not Joint Special Operations units conducting overland direct action operational missions or High Value Target missions...Fleet Rotary Wing assets cannot provide enough over land proficiency training hours to safely conduct these types of low level overland NVG flying operations. Nor can the fleet provide enough ammo allocation and overland range time to proficiently train its aircrews to properly employ their weapon systems in support of Joint Special Operation Forces in an overland environment. ➢ Two: The model is currently in place with HSC-85...and HSC-84 needs to be stood back up as soon as possible with the mindset of trying to reclaim as many of the aircrews that are left in uniform to have any hope of retaining combat lessons learned and experience not found in the fleet. ➢ Three: HH60H is dead! Outdated and too expensive! Both squadrons need to be sourced with the MH60S ASAP. The following modifications need to be approved as soon as this transition happens: •The M-240 needs to be abandoned as a primary crew served self-defense weapon system. •The M-134 Mini-Gun crew served weapons system needs to be approved for the MH-60S. •The GAU-18 50 cal. crew served weapons system needs to be approved for the MH-60S. •HSC-85 has no need for the GAU-21 as it requires too much cabin space which needs to be used by external SOF units. •MH-60S needs to be approved for the same fast rope release system [as the] MH-60L/M...and the MH-60G. •In-flight refueling probe. The MH-60S needs to be approved for this system which is currently being used by the MH60L/M...and MH-60G. ➢ Four: Manning: Keep the squadrons as reserve units. All pilots and aircrews shall be screened by the two units after completing at least one fleet tour for compatibility to the mission skill sets. Again, leave the Fleet to conduct logistics, ASW, VBSS, SAR, small boat defense and the rest of the blue/shallow water operations in which they are the best in the world at. Special Operations is not a part time job... My answer to CSAR is this. Not all personnel will choose to stay in these Special Operation Units, so use this pool of fleet returnees who have rolled out of the unit or personnel in the fleet who have shown the aptitude for this mission set to adequately train for the CSAR mission.” From Trevor Arvidson: “To answer the question simply based off my knowledge of the fleet right now: we should have no role at all. You cannot support Special Operations with the conventional units available in today's Fleet. Many great points made before me. Totally agree. Special Ops needs to be supported by Special Ops. Or a specialized squadron like the one that was just shut down.” From an instructor at HSC Weapons School Pacific: “There is no denying the combat experience gained by HSC-84 crews in Iraq but those experiences are getting further in the rearview mirror with little to replace them amongst contemporary crews. The lessons of combat experienced crews needs to be going out to the whole community, not hoarded in two squadrons in order to help preserve their “specialness.” From Brian Bauer, a former aircrewman with HSC-84 and HCS-4: “This is an argument about business models. You can't possibly mitigate the risks of SOF support without being 100% Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


dedicated to this mission. You can't juggle this into your mission sets. It is too dynamic of a mission. You can't rely on procedures alone to mitigate risks as you WILL encounter uncertain conditions with incomplete information that will require time-critical ORM skills and judgement. And when you fail, it'll be catastrophic for the crew and SOF. From a political standpoint, failure will be nationally embarrassing...Remember when the riverines were captured by Iran? Hope you aren't in the chain of command.” From a former HSC-84 pilot: “First, Naval Rotary Wing support to Special Operations Forces (SOF) is not a discussion about one's aviation skill or acumen. This discussion begins with HSC structure, priorities, and resources. ➢ Structure. SOF are successful due to their flexibility and adaptability. The HSC community shares this same trait with our SOF comrades. The main difference and friction point is that SOF are continuously trained to achieve a high level of proficiency in Special Operational missions. The flexibility and adaptability is a behavior trait that is ingrained into SOF forces through their training and assessment of its personnel. On the other hand, HSC is required to maintain flexibility to achieve any mission across the continuum of military operations. This operational flexibility contradicts the level of preparedness needed to execute a successful Special Operations mission. HSC has, in the past, executed SOF missions successfully but were done so as a one off or with circumstances, i.e. time and resources, that allowed for HSC squadrons to have a single mission focus on Special Operational mission support. Priorities. HSC has always had to support the fleet first before other commitments, including any commitments ➢ to SOF support. Our deployed HSC units need special OPCON/TACON relationships for SOF support. It has and will be difficult to achieve those C2 relationships due to the diverse elements of support HSC has provided to the fleet. Even at the strategic level, CNO has stated that our priority is to get back to deep blue navy operations. These priorities at the operational and strategic level are the main barriers to HSC being a direct SOF support asset on a continuous basis. Those priories get translated into resources. ➢ Resources. 2500 hours is the average experience of someone assessing to join Task Force 160th. Six months and one million dollars is the time and money spent in the TF-160ths 'Green Platoon' BEFORE any operational missions are flown by any member of the SOAR. The SOAR itself is a unit that is laser focused on SOF aviation support. They aren't going on CQ or TCQ detachments. They aren't doing SAR or VERTREP. This is an illustration of what a dedicated SOF support asset needs in order to execute a joint, multi-asset, mid-to-high threat environment, with little to no notification mission. HSC is not getting the same resources as our AFSOC or USAASOC brethren to support SOF. This places a much higher risk to force and risk to mission on the ground force commander's mission planning. In conclusion, until the Navy or the Naval Aviation Enterprise decides to change priorities, structure, or resources, the HSC fleet will be relegated to a SOF training support role with an occasional ability to support a SOF mission in a low threat environment.” From LT Ben “Butters” Foster, HSC Weapons School Pacific: “The most direct answer to the question is that our community, particularly the HSC community, is not adequately prepared to support dedicated Special Operations activities. Instead, we are best suited to support our national Special Operations by developing and maintaining expertise in a reasonable number of mission sets and making those services available when necessary to the SOF community. The question concerning the role Navy Rotary Wing Aviation should play in U.S. Special Operations that the Rotor Review staff has floated out to the community has become something of a Rorschach Test, and people can form different opinions based on how they interpret the question itself. The first interpretation might be: “What role does Navy Rotary Wing Aviation want to play in U.S. Special Operations?” The second: “What role does the Naval Aviation Enterprise, higher Navy command, or the U.S. Special Operations Command want Navy Rotary Wing Aviation to play in U.S. Special Operations?” And the last: “What role is Navy Rotary Wing Aviation actually prepared to play in U.S. Special Operations?” The first interpretation is the least important to find an answer to because it is wildly subjective and bares little consequence in the bigger picture. The second interpretation would be a very nice answer for the community to get definitively, but it certainly can’t be crowd sourced from the Rotor Review readership. The last question is the interpretation that means the most not only for how the community sees itself, but also in terms of how we shape our message to those outside the community and how we shape our training and our mindset. 53

A good measure for how the current Naval Rotary Wing community is prepared to support U.S. Special Operations is to look at what the Special Operations community values. Right after their mission statement, U.S. Special Operations Command is quick to display what they call the “SOF Truths” which serve as guiding principles: Truth 1: Humans are more important than hardware. People – not equipment – make the critical difference. The right people, highly trained and working as a team, will accomplish the mission with the equipment available. On the other hand, the best equipment in the world cannot compensate for a lack of the right people. This truth has caused many a sideways glance from those outside the SOF community when they see just how much hardware the SOF community enjoys. It is especially hard when it seems that the budgetary and acquisitions hurdles faced by the rest of the military aren’t faced by the SOF community. All this doesn’t take away from the ultimate truth in the statement; it doesn’t matter how great a piece of equipment is if it isn’t operated by the right person. Our community seems to run afoul of this concept on a regular basis by focusing on our equipment shortfalls (which are very real) while giving little thought to our training shortfalls (which are even more real). We are trying to spend too few flight hours and ammunition over too many missions and crew members. Our system is not designed to produce experts and even the best equipment won’t make up for that. Truth 2: Quality is better than quantity. A small number of people, carefully selected, well trained, and well led, are preferable to larger numbers of troops, some of whom may not be up to the task. When looking good is valued more than being good, we are walking in very dangerous territory. We must place the highest value on the quality of training and the quality of our aviators. If we allow ourselves to prioritize “getting the X” over preparing a new pilot or gunner to be the best operator under varied and challenging conditions, then we are creating a paper fleet that gives the impression of a fighting force, but blows over at the first challenge. Incorporating HVBSS into the core curriculum of the new HSC syllabus was a bold move that presents the opportunity for our community to go down two very different paths. As qualifying in Helicopter Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (HVBSS) at a Level III standard is now a prerequisite for making aircraft commander, we can choose to hold the line on HVBSS as a challenging and high risk evolution that requires continual practice and the highest level of output from the individuals getting qualified, but we need to be prepared to attrite those pilots not able to perform at that level. We cannot continue our community’s established pattern of making exceptions and excuses for certain individuals because “we just need them to be a utility HAC” or “they’re never going to do it in a real situation." If you need to be a member of a given squadron to know whether or not someone who is qualified on paper is actually capable, then we have no business conducting SOF operations. We should not be offering our services in support of operational SOF missions unless we are holding ourselves to the required training standards and communicating when we are not receiving adequate resources to meet that standard. Truth 3: Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced. It takes years to train operational units to the level of proficiency needed to accomplish difficult and specialized SOF missions. Intense training – both in SOF schools and units – is required to integrate competent individuals into fully capable units. This process cannot be hastened without degrading ultimate capability. Special Operations requires the leveraging of experts in every field to accomplish high-risk and complex missions. There is no realistic path to becoming an expert in every field that our community attempts to serve. In order to supply flight crews to support Special Operations missions, we must groom those pilots and gunners with the best available training and allow them to focus on becoming experts in their fields. When our training departments are frequently forced to prioritize giving a little bit of “exposure” to a mission area to each new pilot over allowing certain pilots to be immersed, we produce pilots who know just enough to get into trouble. If instead we find innovative ways to create experts in our different missions, and make those services available to whomever needs them, SOF or not, we can provide valuable capability to any operational commander. Truth 4: Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur. Creation of competent, fully mission capable units takes time. Employment of fully capable special operations capability on short notice requires highly trained and constantly available SOF units in peacetime. The complex disciplines and mission sets that come with supporting Special Operations are particularly difficult and high-risk for rotary wing assets. This requires consistent, focused, and integrated training to be conducted continuously in

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preparation for any operational commitments. If our community isn’t prepared to put forth a full time training effort towards those missions we should step away from them. It has been clearly shown that a squadron that has not been routinely preparing to provide dedicated SOF support is not able to suddenly reach that capability when requested on short notice. Truth 5: Most special operations require non-SOF assistance. The operational effectiveness of our deployed forces cannot be, and never has been, achieved without being enabled by our joint service partners. Here we land on the most important of the “SOF Truths.” Our Special Operations forces require support that extends well beyond the direct execution of Special Operations missions. Our fleet provides daily support at home and forward deployed that is critical to day-to-day success of our Special Operations missions without ever directly participating in the missions. Taking a group of SOF operators and flying them through uncontested airspace to land unopposed in a field that is a preplanned LZ to drop off the operators for their mission and then flying home without incident isn’t a SOF mission, it’s a quasi-tactical log run, and we’re great at those. The most direct answer to the original question is that our community, particularly the HSC community, is not adequately prepared to support dedicated Special Operations activities. Instead, we are best suited to support our national Special Operations by developing and maintaining expertise in a reasonable number of mission sets and making those services available when necessary to the SOF community. Our community must be prepared to embrace our own truths. We should never accept looking good over being good. Our actual capabilities must match our advertised ones, or there needs to be an adjustment. Nobody should ever hold a qualification you wouldn’t trust them to use in combat the day you give it to them. Operational tasking has a way of sneaking up on naval forces afloat, and we must be prepared to answer that call with trained and proficient crews. We can have depth and breadth as a community, but not as individuals. If we don’t find a way forward to embrace specialization of our pilots and aircrewmen, then we will never be experts in any of our mission areas. There are several good proposals circulating the community on how to best achieve that, but we must embrace one and move forward. The U.S. Special Operations community benefits tremendously by having reliable, well trained rotary wing assets constantly deployed around the world on our naval assets. In order to realize those benefits we must have an accurate common understanding about what capabilities we can provide them, and we must be our best selves when it comes to training, preparation and honesty in qualifications. If we narrow our scope amongst the fleet operators to the lines of cast and recovery support, HVBSS, and low threat offset infil/exfil and focus our training efforts on actually being able to deliver on that model, then we have a rightful place at the table of SOF support assets around the military. If we continue to pretend that we are able to service the full spectrum of SOF missions, the best we can hope for is to be ignored. If the Navy and DOD as a whole want to have Naval Rotary Wing assets available to support the full spectrum of Special Operations missions then the decision must be made to man, train, and equip some part of the fleet to that end. More and more students with “jet grades” are choosing to fly Rotary Wing aircraft in the Navy, and it comes as no surprise to the fleet. We have an immensely talented and motivated pool of pilots in our community, but they must be allowed to train and prepare in a way that gives them meaningful expertise in supporting the kinds of missions that SOF operators carry out. When we have that capability, there won’t be anyone asking, “What role should Naval Rotary Wing Aviation play in U.S. Special Operations?”

Next Issue: What technological upgrades to the aircraft do you believe would be most useful? Submit answers to:


HSC Weapons School Pacific Hosts First PHOENIX FIRE Exercise By LT Rebekah “Snooki” Saxon, USN

Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific (HSCWSP) kicked off fiscal year 2017 by hosting the first ever PHOENIX FIRE combined arms, live-fire joint exercise utilizing the Navy’s Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) on San Clemente Island, California. The exercise grew out of HSC Wing Pacific's (HSCWP) desire to increase the fidelity of anti-surface warfare (ASuW) training for its MH-60S helicopter squadrons, with a focus on close air support (CAS). Aircrew assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85 prepare PHOENIX FIRE provided the opporto take off in a HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter from Naval Air Station North tunity for participants to conduct joint, Island, California. combined combat training missions in a realistically contested littoral environment; in direct supPHOENIX FIRE successfully integrated multiple assets port of US Navy training and readiness interests related to from all over the world. Participants included JTACs from current and future 7th Fleet operations. the 116th ASOS, 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company CDR Frank Ingargiola, Commanding Officer of (ANGLICO), Canadian Special Operations Forces (CANHSCWSP, made clear to all exercise participants that this SOF), Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) Austrakind of high fidelity joint training is an absolute necessity lia, and the U.S. Army's Special Forces Group (SFG). HSC as we prepare for today’s fight. "This exercise was designed Wing Pacific MH-60S squadrons provided the bulk of the to break down intra- and inter-service stove pipes in order air support, but were frequently accompanied by MH-60R to take advantage of one another's capabilities and miti- Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadrons (HSMs), F/A-18 Sugate HSC gaps through training,” Ingargiola said. “This per Hornet Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFAs), Marine Fightexercise has accomplished that and so much more for our er Attack Squadrons (VMFAs), Air Test and Evaluation helicopter crews." Squadrons (VXs), KC-130 Hercules Marine Aerial RefuelThe lead planners from HSCWSP were Air Force Maj er Transport Squadrons (VMGRs), and Royal Netherlands Christopher "Habu" Walker, Navy LTs David "Rage" Rich- air force with F-35A Lightning II. The Arleigh Burkeardson and Drew "Peacock" Kollmann. Also supporting class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) the planning and execution of the exercise as the lead Joint provided Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) along with Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), was Air Force Master combatant support with Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 Sgt. Tavis "TD" Delaney of the 116th Aviation Support Op- utilizing their MK VI patrol craft. These forces prosecuted erations Squadron (ASOS). land-based targets on the island, one expendable high-speed "The exercise began as a one-week focus on CAS at San maneuverable surface target (HSMST), and multiple towed Clemente Island," said Richardson. "Once we brought 'TD' targets. on board, we were able to turn it into a two-week, incrediTraining included live and simulated combined fires from bly dynamic exercise including more assets than seen even rotary wing, fixed wing, and surface assets, all in coordiat Air Wing Fallon." nated support of ground force maneuver and mission objectives.

Exercise Participants

As the number of exercise participants grew, PHOENIX FIRE increased in breadth and scope to include the training and evaluation of forces from three nations, six ground units, more than eight aviation platforms, two surface combatants, and the Tactical Development and Evaluation (TD&E) of the MH-60S Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) against a threat representative, high speed, maneuvering small surface craft. Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Mission-Planning Challenges

Being the first ever HSCWSP-led exercise, the level of coordination and the planning challenges that would ensue as the development of PHOENIX FIRE progressed could not have been recognized at its inception. Although HSCWP was pushing for outstanding training that would reduce the capability gap scene in CAS across the west coast squadrons, end support for mission execution remained limited. Range

deconfliction proved to be difficult due to higher priority exercises (COMPTUEX and TSTA) being underway simultaneously. Weapons School (WS) planners struggled with SCORE Range Operations and were unable to secure PHOENIX FIRE dates until three weeks prior to commencement. As a result, participating coalition forces were placed in a challenging position as they were forced to book travel and lodging without confirmation of the final exercise details. Another challenge for HSCWSP was the lack of any exercise-specific funding, which greatly minimized the command’s ability to tap external supporting entities that required at least some U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85 funding support in order to particiload an AGM-114 Hellfire missile onto an HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter at pate. Lastly, constraints with NCEA Naval Air Station North Island, California, on Oct. 19, 2016, during PHOENIX were significant due to the exercise FIRE Exercise 2016. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Charles E. White straddling the end of one fiscal year and the beginning of the other. Recognizing and learning from the challenges of executing a complex joint exercise like PHOENIX FIRE will allow next year's HSCWSP planning leads to apply a more robust Joint Exercise Life Cycle (JELC) and improve the planning process from the initial planning conference to mission execution.

Exercise Outcomes

I imagine many of you reading this are asking yourself the same question I did when I first heard about PHOENIX FIRE. Out of all the training we could focus on, why are we focusing on CAS? The answer to that question became clear at different stages of the exercise for each participating entity. Although I would venture to guess that the majority of the helicopter squadrons did not fully realize the benefit of this event until their mission debriefs, it eventually became clear to all players that the answer was not simply that ‘HSC needs to be better at executing 9-lines,’ but because we need to actively work to prevent the single-service mindset that can so frequently become ingrained within our training. Wars are not fought and won by individual entities or services. In order to improve the true combat readiness of our aircrews we must increase battlespace situational awareness, and our crews’ abilities to fight in close coordination with joint, combined assets in complex and unfamiliar environments to achieve mission objectives. So while the HSC community may not currently be participating in real world CAS missions, understanding inter service operations and practicing the ability to communicate while putting accurate and timely rounds on target is a skillset that cannot be overemphasized. As the lead JTAC coordinator, TD sums up the reason PHOENIX FIRE was executed and why it was successful. “As we shrink our footprint in the Global War on Terrorism, military branches are again regressing to the misbelief that

they alone can win the next war. Heavily compartmentalized, single-service centric training is becoming the norm. It is also extremely unlikely that the U.S. military will ever again act unilaterally. The importance of coalition forces training together in a littoral environment, while simultaneously combining surface, air, and ground elements cannot be stressed enough. PHOENIX FIRE and events like it will ensure that the hard-won lessons of the past are not lost." In the end, did PHOENIX FIRE turn every participating HSC aircrew into a CAS expert? No. But it is without any doubt that the entire HSC community now has more collective experience in working in a joint coalition air and ground fight to achieve combat mission objectives. The only way we can all increase our situational awareness and community combat readiness is to ensure the lessons learned from each flight event of PHOENIX FIRE get spread throughout the seawall. It is incumbent on the participating crews to share their debrief points with the Weapons School as well as the other members of their Ready Room. If you participated in this exercise and did not pass your experience on, then go do it tomorrow. Don’t make the mistake of allowing room for excuses as to why HSC “can’t” do a specific combat mission area well, and help to develop, foster and sustain cooperative relationships and training experiences that are critical to ensuring safe and effective combat mission execution.


Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Helo History

Preacher, A Bird of Prey

Mascot of the HS-2 "Golden Falcons" Article by Diana Lindsay


ascots, whether animals or inanimate objects, have been a seafaring tradition as long as there have been sailors. While dogs and cats have been the most popular, birds, goats, and even bears on U.S. ships (during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidential term) have been mascots. They have always provided a morale boost, especially in hard times. A F-4U Corsair fighter pilot from VF-11 snuck his dog aboard the USS Hornet (CVS-12) during the Korean War. After being discovered in the officer’s quarters, the dog was allowed to remain on board during the detachment. Another mascot, however, was not so welcomed. According to the Los Angeles Times of May 2, 2015, a pygmy goat named Master Chief Charlie was removed from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) along with the ship’s captain. The story of Preacher, the Bird of Prey who went to war, is unique in Navy annals. This Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TWO (HS-2) “Golden Falcon” had formal permission to board the USS Hornet (CVS-12) on March 27, 1967, and was awarded a medal for meritorious service when the detachment returned to NAF Ream Field on October 28, 1967. Preacher was one of the bright spots during a difficult and deadly cruise in which HS-2 lost a total of 13 men, including four missing in action and two who were killed in the USS Preacher in 1967. Forrestal (CVA-59) fire. The “World Famous Golden Falcons” have a long list of firsts and achievements since the squadron was established in March 1952. It was the first HS squadron on the west coast; it was the first to deploy with the Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King; it was the first squadron to employ Helicopter In-flight Refueling (HIFR) at night; it was the first to pioneer techniques of ASW detection; and it became the first Navy helicopter squadron to execute night Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions in North Vietnam in 1965. Admiral Roy L. Johnson, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet, stated in 1967 that “the mission of HS-2 has become one of the most important missions in support of our forces on Yankee Station.” That mission included Search and Rescue (SAR), Utility, and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). In their SAR role, the famed “Big Mothers” plucked 15 downed jet pilots in 1967 from the hands of the enemy, saving them from capture. To this impressive list of firsts and achievements, add that HS-2 is the only squadron that ever had a winged mascot on a combat carrier. Preacher was a falconiform (order Falconiformes—swift, graceful hawk-like birds called raptors known for their flight capabilities and predatory skills, including hawks, eagles, and falcons. All raptors have hooked beaks, strong feet with sharp talons, keen eyesight, and a carnivorous diet). This is Preacher’s story—bear with me, as I tell my part of the story in the first person. LT Clyde “Pappy” Wilson, an officer for HS-2 and a hero on the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) when he took quick action to push a 250-pound live bomb off the burning ship by himself, purchased Preacher in Mexico as a mascot for the squadron. After the fact, a vote was taken to adopt him as a mascot, according to LT Steve Millikin. Then the question arose as to what to call him. A contest was held, judged by CDR Jim Williams, who was the squadron’s executive officer (XO) at the time. Steve was 59

selected to name the bird “Preacher, a Bird of Prey.” CDR Williams was uncomfortable with the name at first because he thought it might be irreligious. Preacher was kept in a large cage at HS-2 at Ream Field and fed raw meat. The cage was later taken on the cruise to house the mascot. Aviation Antisubmarine Technician (AX) Second Class Paul DeGennaro recalls that most of the squadron was deployed on an underway shortly after getting Preacher. He was in school, so he stayed behind at Ream Field. About a week after the squadron deployed, AX2 DeGennaro was in the HS-2 duty office when a “junior officer’s wife looking very upset stormed into the duty office with Preacher in a cage. She put the bird down and told us what we could do with the bird and stormed out.” When the squadron had boarded the USS Hornet at North Island, the Master at Arms (MA) would not let the falcon board. They gave the bird to a junior officer’s wife who was staying by the quay wall and waving goodbye. They told her to take care of it. She took it home, but after a few days of living with the mess it made, she brought it to the duty office where she left it and where crew members could care for it. It was during a second short underway that I received a letter from my husband Lowell, dated February 14, 1967, in which he wrote, “our beloved and berated mascot returned to his shore base, having been coldly and firmly spurned by the ship’s XO.” I was advised that the new commanding officer's (CO's) wife had the bird. Lowell asked me to check on Preacher to make sure he was being fed horsemeat and live mice and that he had a large tub of water for his daily bath. So off I went to Coronado to check on the bird. I found the bird in a very small bird cage looking pretty pathetic with a cooked chicken leg and hotdog on the floor of the cage. The CO’s wife just did not know what to do

Preacher and the author.

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with him and was very happy when I offered to take him with me. When I opened the cage and let him out, holding the leash attached to its leg, Preacher just stretched and stretched his wings, which he was unable to do in the small cage. I was not about to put that poor bird back in its cage, so I put him in my VW bug, set him on the top of the backrest in the passenger seat and got inside the car. I looked at the bird and started the car to see what it would do, but it was preoccupied in looking out the window. Slowly I tested driving, and Preacher just continued to view the sights holding tightly to the passenger seat. Slowly, I drove to my house in Chula Vista while Preacher enjoyed the sights along the freeway and streets. I left Preacher in the car while I went into the house, moved our two beagles out to the backyard and closed off the kitchen. I picked up what was out on countertops in the kitchen and put things away, and then brought the bird into the kitchen, as I really did not have another safe place to put him. I gave him some water and went to bed, figuring I would get it something to eat the next day. The next morning I woke to hearing things crash in my kitchen. It was still dark outside. I opened the door to the kitchen, went in quickly and closed the door behind me. I opened the lights and saw the bird throwing the knobs off my stove across the room. When the bird saw me, he jumped down from the stove and pranced over to where I “He brought his head down very slowly, put his beak on the rubber of one of the flip-flops, and then careful grabbed hold of it and pulled it off my foot, jumping up and down with it and throwing and retrieving it about the room.”

was standing next to the door. He began paying particular attention to my feet. I was wearing flip-flops. I backed up against the wall and decided to wait and see what the bird would do, totally prepared to give him a swift kick if he attempted to bite my toes. He brought his head down very slowly, put his beak on the rubber of one of the flip-flops, and then careful grabbed hold of it and pulled it off my foot, jumping up and down with it and throwing and retrieving it about the room. He also paid particular attention to me as he appeared to be very curious about his new handler. After that, I became more comfortable with him and decided he would not hurt me. Later that morning, I bought some raw hamburger for Preacher to eat and went off to the library to read about raptors, their habits, and their food requirements. I bought a mouse for him and brought it home and put it into the kitchen sink. He flew from the top of the refrigerator, which was his favorite place to look at things, over to the kitchen faucet where he landed and watched the mouse moving around the sink. Then he quickly dispatched it and ate it, leaving nothing behind. As I was attending classes at San Diego State University, I had to leave him for hours at a time. Being curious, he

would open drawers and toss the contents out on the floor. My kitchen was becoming a total mess, not to mention I could not keep the walls clean from his toilet habits, despite plastering butcher paper everywhere. When I was home, I spent all my waking time with Preacher. I filled a huge tub with water in the backyard, and daily he would take a bath, splashing water all over the place and then drying by sitting on the fence. Always, I kept a line on his tether so he could not fly away. He would pay particular attention to my dogs that were inside the house at the glass door when he was outside. He was also interested in the neighbor’s cat that would come over the fence, and often he would try to fly over to the cat, but the tether kept him back. After about a week of this routine, I became very comfortable with Preacher. I would do my school work in the kitchen at the kitchen table, and Preacher would come over to the table to watch me work, often trying to take the pencil out of my hand. The first time he jumped on my shoulder, I was not sure what to do, so I just waited. Perhaps overly naïve or dumb, I never thought about possible danger to me. Preacher always moved slowly and deliberately. On my shoulder he would turn his head to face me and turn his head back and forth to have different angles to view me or even turn his head so that he was looking at me upside down. Sometimes he would slowly and carefully touch my ear and gently pull on it. Then he would coo. He would slowly move to my face and gently pull on my eyebrow and then go back to my ear and coo some more. I was in love! I began to play games with him. I would get aluminum foil and lay it out on the table in three large squares. Preacher would watch intently. I would put hamburger in only one square and wrap it up and make equal-sized balls with the other two squares, except they did not have any hamburger. Then I would mess them up to the point I no longer recalled which one had the hamburger. All the time Preacher stayed intently focused. Then I would back up. Carefully he hopped over and picked the correct one – he never made a mistake! He slowly unwrapped it, and ate his reward. He did the same thing when I used three small cups and put hamburger under one of them. He always kept tabs on the one that had the hamburger, slowly lifting it so that he could get and eat the meat. Two weeks had passed, and the squadron was due home. By then I was fantasizing about spending the rest of my life with my new friend, and overconfident I was. I took him for a walk on the street and was not really holding the tether. A large truck came by and frightened Preacher and he took off – way up into the sky until I could not see him anymore. I knew I was in big trouble and was wondering what I was going to say to the U.S. Navy about losing their mascot. I ran in the general direction that Preacher flew, which was toward my house. Imagine my surprise when I got to the house to find Preacher waiting on the grass for me! Well, that was my last carefree walk with Preacher! I brought him back to Ream Field (in the VW) when the squadron returned from the short cruise, and then spent the next several weeks cleaning my kitchen – it was never the same. I would not have traded the 61

CDR Jim Williams and Preacher in 1967.

experience for anything – even a clean kitchen! So off to war went Preacher, who received formal permission to embark from the Hornet’s CO, CAPT Gordon Robertson, in a memo to HS-2 CO CDR Jim Williams: "In view of your proposed mascot’s outstanding skill as a hunter and morale builder, it is regretted that “he” was not obtained sooner. I take for granted that the sex of your mascot has been determined to be in strict compliance with Navy regulations prohibiting the embarkation of females on combatant ships… I further suggest that the article on Falconry in Encyclopedia Britannica in the ship’s Library is an excellent introduction for your mascot’s on-the-job training which should commence immediately in the field of ASW (AntiSeabat Warfare). Since he is to be in the fixed wing reserve, I would strongly advise changing his designator to 1310 at the earliest opportunity. I hereby grant permission for your esteemed mascot to become an official part of the HORNET crew, having been duly screened in by competent authority." Shortly after the ship left on cruise, CDR Williams left the squadron and the XO, CDR Merle Hoffman, became the new CO of HS-2. Two months into the cruise, CDR Hoffman wrote this letter for friends and family of HS-2 personnel: "Preacher, our Mexican Red Falcon, joined the squadron just prior to our departure. With unique avian foresight, he checked in to us equipped with his self-contained, semifixed wing flying machine. In that he had completed his flight training syllabus while en route from Mexico, it wasn’t necessary to check him out in the rotary wing flying machine. Preacher took to the seafaring life with great gusto and had made his headquarters in a corner of the sonar shop. Here, as assistant morale and natural flight specialist, he

conducts routing squadron business. While regally perched on the shoulder of the squadron falconers, he periodically tours the hangar bay and flight deck. During these inspection tours he is able to maintain his flying proficiency. With the addition of Preacher to the ranks, HS-2 now claims the distinction of being the Navy’s only operational unit to possess a bird of prey as mascot." Preacher was set up in a five or six-foot wide cage with a perch within the larger caged sonar department on the hangar deck. He was let out of his smaller cage on occasion to fly in the larger sonar area. AXC Chief Roy Taylor was the area sonar shop chief and was in charge of feeding Preacher. He got food from the galley—chicken, beef, and liver. After several weeks, Chief Taylor noticed that Preacher’s feathers became dull and his tail feathers started falling out. The flight surgeon did a study on falcons and determined that Preacher needed fur in his diet to help with his digestion. In Hawaii, Chief Taylor bought two to three dozen mice with cages and water to keep for Preacher during the cruise. He was given a mouse periodically, and his condition improved. When someone caught a bird on the hangar deck, it was put it into Preacher’s cage, and he killed and ate it. The birds were called BR1Ds—enemies he dispatched. AX2 Ralph Eddins recalled a scoreboard that was set up in the sonar area marking toiletry “hits” and “near misses”

In September, Preacher had to have his beak and claws trimmed by LT Gordon McMurry, the flight surgeon.

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for the crewmen in the area. AX2 Eddins recalled one fastidious crewman who just came into the sonar area and was “hit” by preacher on the side of his head. He had to turn around and go out to get cleaned up. There was usually not a problem when he was in his cage because he faced the crew working in the sonar area so that he could watch them. The problem was when he was let out of his smaller cage into the larger sonar area. AX2 Eddins also recalled that Preacher wore “diapers” when he visited the Admiral’s quarters to make sure he would not have an accident. Chief Taylor had the crew make it in the paraloft shop. In September, Preacher had to have his beak and claws trimmed by LT Gordon McMurry, the flight surgeon, since they would not wear down naturally in captivity. Since Preacher was thought to be a Mexican red falcon, AX2 Horace “Pancho” Estrada was assigned as his interpreter during surgery. In the September newsletter to friends and relatives of HS-2 personnel, CDR Hoffman wrote: "Igor S. Preacher, our winged mascot, underwent an operation on his beak last week. As you know, he has been with us the entire cruise and, acting as Squadron Master-atArms, he has been keeping stray North Vietnamese birds off the hangar deck. His operation kept him out of action for a few days, but he has returned to the job with renewed vigor. This was demonstrated by his capture of the two North Vietnamese sparrows and one Communist Chinese seagull. Nearing the end of this sea period, we have posted Preacher on the bow to assume his most important duty of the cruise. It is his job to maintain a vigilant lookout over the seas for USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33) and HS6. It will be a happy day in HS-2 when Preacher comes flying through the hangar deck shrieking the news of their arrival." AX1 Rudy Carter, who worked in the sonar area, recalled that Preacher was peaceful around folks he liked, but he became agitated with two sailors who would slam his cage with their hats. “He would start squawking and get aggressive the minute he could see either of them, and he had to be put in the cage before either one of the guys entered the sonar area. Preacher would always know when they were coming. He possibly saw them coming from a distance.” Preacher had a long leash for flight ops while in port. His tether was 50-75 feet long so he could fly a good distance. He would fly and then come down and land on someone’s shoulder or on the flight deck. He would fly to whomever put their arm out. He was allowed to fly whenever the ship was in port, but since he did not fly that much, he would tire easily. AX1 Carter said that Preacher was the “only bright ray on that cruise. Preacher was a morale enhancer. Everyone on the ship would come in to see and talk to him.” He did look fierce and most folks were cautious of him. CDR Hoffman recalled going to the Yokosuka Navy

Exchange with his XO, CDR Charlie Butler, and buying mice for Preacher. “We drove the Japanese girls crazy because we did not buy any toys for the mice at the time of purchase. You can just imagine the chatter amongst the girls as we walked out with a paper bag of mice with no food or toys for them!” During the awards ceremony on Nov. 21, after the squadron returned to San Diego, CDR Hoffman presented Preacher “with a medal for meritorious aerial flights while serving with HS-2 in the Tonkin Gulf.” The citation for the DSK (Distinguished Sparrow Killing) medal was read by CDR Hoffman during the ceremony. “In the name of King Neptune of the mystic deep,” Preacher was commended for “the successful killing of numerous enemy sparrows, one spying seagull and one Viet Cong Radar Controlled Seabat.” The citation read: “Your achievements were accomplished with distinction under hazardous conditions and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Mascot Corps.” This was a double ceremony as Preacher was advanced in rate to “AST3 (Aviation Anti-SeaBat Technician Third Class).” After the cruise and the award ceremony, CDR Hoffman was transferred and CDR Butler became the new CO. Soon afterwards, CDR Butler made inquiries about donating Preacher to the San Diego Zoo. Preacher was transferred there on July 6, 1968. It was not until Preacher was given to the zoo that it was revealed exactly what kind of raptor the HS-2 mascot was. He was called a Mexican red falcon and a prairie falcon. Igor Sikorsky Preacher turned out to be Igorette – the first female on a combat carrier, a full 25 years before another female was allowed to embark. Igorette was a Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) – unique among all raptors because of their characteristic cooperative hunting skills that allow these wolves of the air to go after larger prey. They display keen hunter-killer instincts working in synchronicity. Gregarious and high in intelligence, Harris hawks are large social birds that are popular in falconry because they bond well with people. It may have been this close bonding with people that caused young Igorette to die only two years after she entered the zoo raptor enclosure. Cause of death is listed as “trauma.” Having been hand-raised from a couple of days old, she had never known life without close association with humans.

CDR Hoffman's Preacher Award, 1967

to the general public. Contact: Diana Lindsay, Sunbelt Publications, 1250 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020,

Diana Lindsay is married to LT Lowell Lindsay, a U.S. Navy helicopter pilot who was assigned to HS-2 from 1966 to 1969. Diana is an historian and naturalist who is the author, co-author, or editor of 10 books. Readers who have more information about Preacher or events that occurred during the 1967 deployment of the Golden Falcons are invited to share their stories or photographs with Diana Lindsay. She is considering putting the story of this cruise into book form. She is looking for suggestions for the best possible format to relay this story AX1 C. Yoscovits with Preacher.



High Drink

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series Article by LCDR Tom Phillips, USN (Ret.)

This is the third and final part of the story about the two bastard children of Necessity and Mars: IFR and HIFR. Part One recounted the development of USAF helicopter inflight refueling (IFR). Part Two recounted development of USN helicopter in-flight refueling (HIFR). This part continues with a dramatic example of combat application of Navy HIFR.


n example perhaps pertinent to today: By the end of Rolling Thunder in 1968, deck certifications of the SH-3A were in place, and the first two classes of DLGs had been reinforced with the Belknap class, designed from the keel up with a flight deck, large enough to be “comfortable” for the SH-3, and a hangar large enough for the UH-2. But the utility of HIFR was still a tactical option. Aug. 6, 1972 had been a long day for HC-7’s Big Mother 60, helicopter aircraft commander (HAC) LTHarry Zinser, his copilot LT Bill Young, a recent H-2 HAC transitioning to the H-3, AE3 Douglas “Stretch’ Ankney, an experienced first crewman with four rescues to his credit, and AMHAN Matt Szymanski, a former HA(L)-3 Seawolf gunner. They had already logged 6.5 hours in an odyssey beginning aboard USS Saratoga (CVA-60) at Yankee Station. From Sara, they transited 250 miles, to USS England (DLG-22) at North SAR, via assorted ships of TF 77, dropping off mail, and parts, then flying the airborne alert orbit just off the coast near Haiphong during an Air Force strike in the late afternoon. Having inspected and reset the helicopter ready for alert launch, the crew scattered to whatever racks England had offered for a wellearned rest. Their unusual afternoon arrival, rather than an early morning Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

An H-3 conducts HIFR at sunset.

one, was in relief of the previous North SAR Big Mother which had been exhausted in an unsuccessful effort to rescue LT Junior Grade Michael Penn of VA-56 off USS Midway (CVA-41), who had been captured after being downed northeast of Haiphong in a strongly defended area where he was quickly surrounded by soldiers and villagers in populated, open country near the coast. Big Mother 60’s odyssey would continue through a longer night. There were miles to go before they slept, for them and for others. One was LT James R. Lloyd of VA-105 off USS Saratoga (CVA-60). A scheduled short night was extended when he was forced to abandon his A-7A Corsair II after it was thrown out of control by an SA-2 SAM exploding behind him. Getting 64

only one or two swings in his chute, Lloyd came down within a few yards of his burning Corsair, and could feel the heat from the leaping flames which illuminated him for anyone to see. He immediately began to put distance between himself and the beaconing fire. His wingman, LCDR Art Bell, was relieved to hear Lloyd’s voice on the radio, but the relief was cut short by scores of North Vietnamese streaming out of the nearby village, heading toward the burning wreckage, combing the ground in a widening dragnet around the plane. Fortunately, it was pitch dark. The sky was overcast, and there are no city lights, nor many village lights to mitigate the blackness. What lights there were - tiny points casting no glow around them - were lost in the

inky blackness. This was good for Jim Lloyd, who covered his exposed skin with mud to better blend in with his stinking wallow. Bell got busy pinpointing Jim’s position, making low passes with his running lights on so Lloyd could see to guide them over his position using his PRC-63 survival radio. This necessary act revealed him to every Vietnamese farmer and soldier in the area, and they all fired at the lights with whatever they had - pistol, rifle, AK-47. The shooting was all around Lloyd, and the low passes provoked the fire of at least one 37mm gun not far away, and one 57mm gun perhaps 3000 yards away. The enemy was all around and so close that he could only talk on the radio when the noise of a jet passing overhead was loud enough to prevent his being heard. They tried flushing him with shouts, and the raucous beating of pans and drums, and with sudden random fusillades of small arms. They even called him by his first name, Jim. Clearly they picked that up on the emergency frequency on a previously captured survival radio by listening to Art talk to Jim. When Bell informed Lloyd that a rescue helicopter was on the way, he was faced with a difficult decision and reluctantly told his friends to hold the helicopter until he could get away from the enemy concentration. He stripped his equipment, collected his radios and water, and began to crawl away. When he had gone 100 yards, he realized he had lost his radios. Without them he was doomed to capture or death, so he crawled back the way he had come and miraculously found them laying on his survival vest where they had spilled. He set out once again, and had not gone 25 yards when he saw two men come right at him. He shrunk down face down as they walked past. Then they stopped, came back, one poked him with a rifle barrel, there was some chatter, and footsteps. Lloyd, expecting to see one covering him while the other ran to report their find, rolled over to see both men going away. He stood up and ran like hell, not away from the direction they were going, the natural direction, but off at a 30 degree angle to their path to confuse them. For the next two and a

half hours, he crawled, or occasionally walked, to get clear until he was finally in a less congested field. He felt the area was clear enough and the hunt had slacked enough that there was a chance. He also knew his batteries were running down, and he was certain that he had to be picked up before sunrise. There would be no place to hide once daylight arrived. Back to time 2130 aboard England.

“Oswald, this is Jehovah, launch your Big Mother, out.” Harry Zinser, making a final pass through the Combat Information Center (CIC) before turning in, had monitored Harbor Master ordering the launch of the South SAR Big Mother. After some delay, it was determined that the South SAR Big Mother was not operational, having serious electrical problems with the flight instruments (fried by misapplication of external power by their ship). Shortly thereafter: “Oswald, this is Jehovah, launch your Big Mother, out.” Jehovah was the callsign for the Commander, Task Force 77, himself. Zinser collected his crew, and the day’s odyssey renewed with a difficult night takeoff from a small deck. While possessing more power than the UH2A/B, the extra margin of safety it was supposed to represent had been used up to provide additional armor, weapons, ammunition, and other rescue equipment, so that the same dangers remained for a small deck takeoff, especially at night. The HH-3A was so much bigger than the old H-2 that its tail wheel was just barely on the deck, and its tail cone and tail rotor stuck out over the water. The term takeoff envisions an act of dash and graceful zooming acceleration. This was more like a wallowing big animal lumbering along trying to stay on its feet. Lifting off and pushing over from a deck about 15 feet above the ocean, the big Mother settled to ten feet and held there, with four eyes on the radar altimeter and neither pilot breathing. Ever so slowly the helicopter accelerated and finally climbed away 65

from its enemy, the water, and the crew settled down for a transit of more that 150 miles, wondering why a Big Mother from Saratoga had not been launched, she being only about 160 miles from South SAR. Arriving at South SAR, Big Mother 60 had to fuel. Without a drink, they had maybe ten minutes fuel to use for search given the distance to the scene from their current location. The flight deck of the South SAR DLG was clobbered by the non-operational South SAR Big Mother, so the only option was to fuel from USS Hepburn, a new Knox Class destroyer escort (DE-1055). Hepburn’s flight deck was designed for the new LAMPS SH-2F helicopter and was too small to land an H-3, so the fueling would be done by the helicopter in-flight refueling (HIFR) method. But this would be a night HIFR, not a routine procedure. To HIFR, the helicopter hovers over the tiny deck, flying formation on the moving ship. While the takeoff from England was hairy, flying an approach to a tiny ship on this blackest of nights would be very hairy. The sensation of disorientation while descending without a horizon toward a solitary source of light, the dim HIFR lights on the fantail of the otherwise blacked-out warship off the enemy coast, wraps the two pilots in sensory deprivation. The cloaking overcast, so heartily welcomed by Jim Lloyd as his friend, extended out over the Gulf and was no friend of his friends. No discernable horizon to show where ocean begins and sky ends. In fact, no discernable ocean. No stars, no moon, no sky. Just all-encompassing blackness, and the single light source, which the mind can cause to seem to move around in the curious (and potentially deadly) phenomenon of autokinesis. More than one pilot has flown his helicopter right into the ship or into the water trying to gauge the closure rate, the descent rate, the deceleration rate to such a light, on such a night. To solve all three rates of change at the same time must be done right the first time. Bill Young concentrated on those distant lights as the helicopter fell towards them, flicking his gaze to his

attitude indicator, radar altimeter, and airspeed indicator for brief instants. He dared not look away from the light in the window for more than a second at a time. He needed to keep the light on the same spot on the window, and keep aligned with the light, behind which in the blackness is 4200 tons of unyielding, invisible frigate. Young depended on the voice of his HAC, Harry Zinser, who was flying in the left seat this night, to be his “eyes” on the gauges. Harry calmly called out a mantra of airspeed, altitude…. air speed altitude…. airspeed, altitude…. now and then an encouraging cross check… good lineup, airspeed, altitude. “Ninety knots, one fifty feet…… eight-five knots, one forty feet, good lineup……eighty, one thirty…… seventy, one hundred, gear down and locked…… sixty knots, eighty feet….. forty knots, seventy feet, gauges are good, easy left for lineup… ” As the helicopter closed in, Doug Ankney knelt in the cabin door and leaned out and began to call out lineup and distance once he could see the lights on the ship. He alternated his chant with the cadence of the Zinser. Together they provided all the information Bill Young needed to make control inputs to arrive close enough that he could take over the visual reference himself. The mantra would nevertheless continue as essential backup. Airspeed, altitude, one voice; Zinser Lineup, distance; the other, Ankney. “Thirty knots, 60 feet.” “Easy forward, 100 yards.” “Twenty five knots, 50 feet.” “Drifting right, stop right, 70 yards.” “Twenty knots, 50 feet, hold altitude.” “Easy left… stop left, 50 yards.” “Twenty knots, 50 feet.” “Looking good, 30 yards.” A good approach brought the helicopter fuselage just behind, and slightly to the left, of the too-small flight deck, leveling off so close to the ship that the rotor blade tips whirled above the hangar superstructure, overlapping it. Young had to get this close for the rescue hoist to be lowered to the ship. If the helicopter had stopped far enough

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

away for the blades to not overlap, the hoist would still be out over the water, out of reach of the ship’s deck force. From this very snug position, the crew could lower the rescue hoist, hook up the fueling hose, hoist it up to the cabin door, wrestle the charged hose to the HIFR fitting in the rear of the cabin, hook it up, and take a sample of the fuel. Very little room for any error. The five main rotor blade tips whirled within inches of the hangar structure forward of the deck. More than one H-3 pilot has modified the construction of the hangar, hangar lights, deck loud-speakers, and/or radio whip antennas, and in the process, crushed the rotor blade tips, which take as good as they give when encountering anything that gets in their tip path plane. Such mishaps always necessitate a change of the damaged blades. Any of this tonight and the rescue would have been over before it began. All while the two pilots worked together to hold the helicopter steady (relatively) over the deck. It’s a simple matter of flying formation on the ship. Navy pilots fly formation on a regular basis. Flying wing on a good flight leader is all in a day’s work. Except this formation leader is not good. Were it an aircraft, flying like the ship moves, the wingman would tear him a new one when they got back on deck for being such a bad leader. Ships steaming into the wind, to give the helicopter the good wind speed off its nose to reduce the power required to hover (hovering being the most demanding flight regime of a helicopter), pitch up and down in any noticeable sea, pivoting in the middle, so the tiny flight deck on the extreme rear end of the frigate, moves up and down more than any other part if the ship. They also roll; this particular class of ship on a 15-second cycle. That is, full left to full right back to full left every 15 seconds. The greater the seas, the more the arc of roll, but always in the same cycle, 15 seconds. It’s a naval engineering shipboard dynamics thing. Pilots don’t have to understand why ships do it, just that they do, and to hold a hover when it is doing it is a first class feat of airmanship in the daytime. Pilots


are not even allowed to try to HIFR until they have accumulated plenty of time, earned the begrudging trust of their elders, and are under the closest of skeptical supervision. It is the most difficult of small deck evolutions, even more so than a night landing because of the length of time in such a hazardous proximity to the ship and the water. At night, it is as vertigo inducing as any maneuver known to naval aviation. There is no natural horizon to reference for keeping level and steady, and the ship’s obvious references, the stack, antennas, hangar structure, are rocking left and right, now coming at them, now receding away from them, dimly seen in the red “moonbeams” which suggest their presence. If they chase these cues, they will be unable to hold steady and the fueling hose will be torn from the fitting. The pilot in the right seat must look down and to his right to use the flight deck area as his reference; it is not moving as much as the extremity cues above it. This forces him to compromise his inner sense of what is level, and without visual horizon cues to override the false messages his inner ear equilibrium is trying to get him to believe, he is in spatial danger. He can’t take his eyes off the moving deck, and must coordinate with the other pilot who intently scans the radar altimeter, the hover instrument, the attitude indicator, the warning and caution indicator lights, and all the engine, transmission and hydraulics health indicators (oil temperature, oil pressure, exhaust temperature, torque, etc.) keeping him informed of their readings. Harry watched two readings in particular, first the fuel quantity gauges, and then the engine exhaust temperatures. They were very close to the water, and the rotor downwash was kicking up ocean spray and swirling it around them. The windscreens were covered with mist, which meant the engines were sucking in the spray, evaporating the water, and leaving a coating of salt on the turbine blades. If this accumulation of salt became too great, the critical smooth airflow is disturbed, the engine would begin to labor and lose power and they would have to stop the low hover

or risk losing an engine. The first indication that this is happening would be an imperceptible rise in exhaust temperature. If the fuel sample is clean enough, the crewmen signal the ship to commence pumping and the helicopter begins to fill with fuel (or be drained of fuel if the ship gets the switches mixed up - it has happened. Nothing is sailor-proof). The whole HIFR evolution is coordinated between the helicopter and the ship with hand signals, using red lens flashlights. Once the fueling begins, the pilot carefully eases the helicopter further left of the ship a few feet so it can be lowered closer to the ocean without the rotor tips finding metal. The idea is to reduce the altitude of the HIFR hose connection to the helicopter, letting the fuel flow faster since it doesn’t have to be pumped as high. It’s also easier to maintain formation on the ship since it’s easier for Bill to see the flight deck and his visual cues. When the refueling is complete, after ten to fifteen minutes, the process of hovering directly over the deck was repeated to return the fueling hose to the ship. On this blackest of nights, with absolutely no horizon to help the unfortunate pilots, Murphy’s Law raised its ugly head. As Young eased the helicopter to the left, the hose fitting broke away. Pressurized with 55 PSI fueling pressure, it sprayed fuel all over the cabin before the valve automatically shut off. They patiently moved back over the deck, reset the hose, hooked up and Is there still a need for day and night HIFR skills? moved left again. And the hose broke away again. They had 30 minutes fuel remaining, and no deck was within 30 minutes flying. A third try. Young remained over the deck, and the hose remained attached. The fueling rate was slowed because of the helicopter’s altitude, but it got done. While over the deck, Ankney realized what the problem had been. Hepburn did not have enough hose. Instead of the normal 150 feet of HIFR hose, they had half that, and the move to the left had simply exceeded the reach of the hose, the pull causing it to disconnect. The short hose was not seen from the helo and the ship’s HIFR team did not know why it was parting, being inexperienced with this evolution. The culmination of this night combat rescue will also have to wait, perhaps, for another edition of Rotor Review. Air Force IFR has grown to meet a vital need in USAF helicopter combat rescue today. The Navy’s HIFR has not. Since virtually all Navy ships now have helicopter flight decks, HIFR has faded from a vital capability to almost a quaint historical footnote. But the foul deck, the flight deck too small for landing (like those of our allies today?), ship pitch and roll out of limits for landing, may still suggest a need for day and night HIFR skills.



Navy Helicopter SAR History - 48 Years Ago

Article by JO3 R.E. Jay, USN / Historical submitted by CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret.)

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


A letter of praise to HC-7 from U.S. SEVENTH Fleet.

Note: CAPT Ron Lewis, OIC of the USS Providence (CLG6) HC-7 Det. 101, is now retired and keeping busy with noble efforts to participate in the recovery of POW remains for grieving families.


Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


HSM Weapons School Pacific

HSM-37 Easyriders

CDR Jonathan L. Baron, USN relieved CDR Matthew G. Humphrey on September 29, 2016

CDR Teague J. Suarez relieved CDR Tony Chavez on December 1, 2016

HSM-78 Blue hawks

HT-8 Eightballers

CDR Steve Audelo, USN relieved CDR John McBryde, USN on October 7, 2016

CDR Timothy C. Boehme, USN relieved CDR Matthew Barr USN on October 13, 2016

CNATT Detachment Whiting Field

LCDR Steven Bryant, USN relieved CDR Kevin Bittle, USN on November 14, 2016


CAPT Scott Mulvehill relieved CAPT Stephen Barnett on December 2, 2016

CAPT Bejamin Allbritton relieved CAPT Michael "Babe" Ruth on December 8, 2016

HSM-72 Proud Warriors

CDR Brian Binder, USN relieved CDR Jason Sherman USN on, November 17, 2016

Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Change of Command and Establishments



The Wright Brothers Book Review

Author: David McCullough Reviewed by: LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret.)


An important date arrives every December: December 17. On the 17th of December 1903, 113 years ago this year, two young men finally conquered the air by launching a heavierthan-air craft and keeping it in the air in sustained and controlled flight under its own power. But wait, we’re all about rotary wing at NHA, so what’s up with a book about fixed wing origins. More than one reason applies. One, our amazing rotary wing aircraft wouldn’t make it into the air without the wing pressure differential perfected by these men. And two, these young men had their flight curiosity initiated by a flying model “helicopter.” Their father brought home a rotary wing rubber band wind-up toy “helicopter” some 20 years earlier. The brothers were so enamored they flew it for years after, even making their own version when it eventually broke. Who knows, but for other events, the brothers might have perfected the helicopter first. Those other events are presented in vivid detail by award winning author and biographer David McCullough. In The Wright Brothers, McCullough lays out not only a tale but an adventure, the earth shaking likes of which, at the turn of the twentieth century, might be the equivalence of manned space flight a half century later. The tale starts in a somewhat not-so-average family in middle America in the late 1800s. Wilbur and Orville are two of seven children who stay at home pursuing a variety of interests, from running their own newspaper on a press of their own design and construction, to running a business building some of the best bicycles in the country. McCullough thoroughly chronicles the brothers’ in-depth research of everything aeronautical. In the age of no internet or any electronic communication, this was no small feat. Their persistence was incredible, using shoe leather and the postal system to gather and read through reams of nineteenth century notes on all things aero; their research was made especially difficult as the brothers were virtual unknown in the field aeronautics or even anything scientific. Almost as difficult was finding a location for their actual flights. Again, it was no small feat researching and then traveling for days to find just the right place to meet all of their requirements for location, wind and anonymity.

Research was only a small part of the brother’s game. Construction of tools, equipment and an apparatus previously unknown was critical and ongoing as they encountered problem after problem in their quest. Not only problems, but recognition and interaction with the aero-giants of the day like Chanute, Langley and Lilienthal both in the U.S. and abroad with Brazil, England, Germany and France. Indeed, before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the Wrights and their fantastic machine were world renown. Wilbur’s and Orville’s influence extended worldwide and well into the century to Bell, Bleriot, Curtis, Ford, Lindberg and even Neil Armstrong. David McCullough’s excellent work is worth more than the price of admission. It’s a story every aviator worth their salt should be intimately aware of.


Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Command Updates

Coast Guard Conducts MedEvac from Fishing Vessel off Oahu on Eve of Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Story by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers, U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific


he Coast Guard medevaced the master of the fishing vessel 70-foot Lady J3 about 41 miles north of Oahu Saturday morning. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point safely medevaced the 36-year-old man to Queens Medical Center in Honolulu for treatment. He was reportedly suffering from swelling to his lower extremities and was unable to stand. Coast Guard watchstanders at Joint Rescue Communications Center Honolulu received a request for the medevac from the NOAA Fisheries observer aboard the Lady J3 mid-morning Friday. The vessel was 176 miles north of Kauai at the time, heading toward Oahu and maintained a six-hour communications schedule with Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders. By the evening the master’s condition had deteriorated and he was having trouble breathing. At the recommendation of the Coast Guard flight surgeon the vessel continued to make best course and speed toward Oahu to close the distance and bring them into range of the Coast Guard Dolphin crew. The medevac was conducted at first light to bring the master to a higher level of medical care. “This case illustrates the importance of the hoist capable helicopters we regularly use to provide lifesaving assistance to mariners around the nation,” said LT

Matt Chase, a pilot with Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. “This capability was actually born out of the events of Dec. 7th and Pearl Harbor. Coast Guard LT Frank Erickson served in Hawaii that day and after. He witnessed the death of thousands of sailors who couldn’t safely be reached and rescued. He went on to work with Igor Sikorsky to build an experimental hoist capable helicopter and was the Coast Guard’s first helicopter pilot. His intuition and ingenuity completely redefined the way the Coast Guard performs search and rescue and provided for this mariner’s rescue today.”

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 Disembarks Bonhomme Richard

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs


he Flying Tigers, assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), returned to their base of operations at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan. During the three-month deployment, VMM 262 provided transportation for the embarked Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Key exercises during the deployment were the U.S.-only, unilateral exercise Valiant Shield 2016 (VS16) and the annual, U.S.-Philippine bilateral exer-

cise Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 33. "The mission of VMM 262, which includes the MV-22B Osprey and the CH-53 Sea Stallion, is that of assault support platforms," said Capt. Antonio Alvarado, a VMM 262 operations duty officer. "We carry troops, cargo, and equipment to the fight or wherever they're needed." Alvarado said the crew's performance was top-notch and they hit all their goals for the deployment. "We were extremely successful," 75

said Alvarado. "We made all of our flight hours each month, and even went over a couple times due to providing additional support. All the time spent with the ground combat element (31st MEU) taught us a lot about what we can do for future deployments and exercises." 1st MAW, as the aviation combat element of III Marine Expeditionary Force, provides combat-ready, task-organized forces capable of conducting aviation operations. The operations are conducted in naval and expeditionary environments, and commands and controls aviation forces through the Tactical Air Command Center (TACC), in order to contribute to the accomplishment of the nation's security objectives as required by standing operational plans in the Pacific Command (PACOM) area of responsibility, engagement operations in support of Marine Forces Pacific, overseas contingency operations, and other operations as directed. Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG). The Bonhom-

me Richard ESG consists of Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42).

"The Flying Tigers" of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262, disembarked amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Oct. 27-28 following a threemonth deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Destroyer Spruance Pilots Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Program


ACIFIC OCEAN - Fifty Sailors aboard the USS Spruance (DDG 111) became the first to receive an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) designation on a guided missile destroyer, on November 2, 2016. During the ceremony, the Sailors symbolically stood next to one of the two MH-60R helicopters currently embarked as part of the San Diego-based Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 detachment, the “Devilfish”. In the same ceremony, nine members of the “Scorpions” detachment received their own designation as Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists (ESWS). Spruance’s selection to implement the EAWS program was a historic mark for their deployment. Never before has there been an EAWS program on the Cruiser/ Destroyer (CRUDES) classes of ships. “The real value of the EAWS pilot program goes beyond a mere qualification,” said CDR Manuel Hernandez, Spruance’s commanding officer. “This provides the surface warfare community and the aviation community the opportunity to exponentially increase their proficiency and interoperability, ultimately resulting in better war fighting capability.” Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

The program required that Sailors learn all aspects of the aviation community with amplified focus on the capabilities of the MH-60R “Seahawk”, a multi-mission helicopter used for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue missions. The Sailors of Spruance had the opportunity to learn and work alongside the Sailors that maintain and fly these highly capable air assets. The start of the EAWS program began in the months leading up to the deployment. In the past, the EAWS policy did not allow for the establishment of the program on a CRUDES ship. The discussions started at the commanding officer and command master chief level between Spruance and HSM-49. “From the beginning, the aviation community was very receptive, but understandably there were some concerns… we were attempting to change something that has been done a certain way for decades” said Spruance’s Command Master Chief, Raul Delacruz. “The implementation of the program immediately started a new dynamic between the two communities.” Delacruz said this program has far-reaching potential if offered to other CRUDES ships in the fleet.


CDR Manuel Hernandez, commanding officer of guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111), addresses Sailors assigned to Spruance and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 “Devilfish” detachment assigned to Spruance, following the pinning ceremony for the first Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist program aboard a destroyer. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Will Gaskill

Sailors to seek opportunities to evolve in the effort to better develop their capabilities in support of the war fighting mission. "This pilot EAWS program responds to two things,” Hernandez said. “It responds to leadership’s role to ensure the continued development of our Sailors at sea, and by so doing, it responds directly to the holistic war fighting imperative of our Navy.” Spruance is currently on their way home to San Diego following their participation in the inaugural Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) deployment. They served alongside fellow Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92), home ported in Bremerton, Wash., and the USS Decatur (DDG 73) of San Diego. In addition to the “Devlifish,” HSM-49 also deployed the air detachment, the “Warbirds.” During the deployment, the PAC SAG was under the direction of Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Under the operational control of 3rd Fleet, the PAC SAG conducted routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities with allies and partners to enhance regional security and stability throughout their deployment. Since departing in April, the PAC SAG conducted several multilateral exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea, Australia and France and also conducted joint exercises with U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps assets. Momsen and Spruance spent part of the deployment participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program utilizing Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

“With the recent addition of the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), that’s about sixty-five commissioned CRUDES that embark air detachments, and over fifteen thousand Sailors that may have this opportunity now,” Delacruz said. “Every Sailor that works towards and earns their EAWS enhances the relationship with their aviation counterparts, and increases the understanding of their own job in relation to overall mission accomplishment.” The lessons learned from this pilot program went beyond the tangible data. The program aided in changing the way the two communities can view and appreciate one other – tactical air controllers and flight deck personnel now fully understand the assets that they serve and the lives that are in their hands. The highlight of this program was the partnership formed between the members of the “Devilfish” and the Spruance. “The largest benefit for this opportunity is the teamwork and collaboration between both the air and surface departments bringing us together as one Spruance team,” said LCDR Scott French, officer-in-charge for HSM 49’s “Devilfish” detachment aboard Spruance. “In the long run, this is a great program for further development across all CRUDES platforms for our Sailors’ professional development and cross-community appreciation.” During the pinning ceremony, the newly qualified Sailors received their air pins from their HSM 49 counterparts. Many of these Sailors never thought they would have this opportunity due to limitations in the duty assignments associated with their NOS. “As an Aegis technician, we just don’t get the chance to earn our air pin because we only serve on CRUDES ships,” said Petty Officer First Class Ronald Reyes. “This is a historic occasion and the entire CRUDES side of the fleet will be patiently awaiting the results to see if they can offer the same opportunity to their Sailors.” The pilot program is another example of the desire for


Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


Blue Knights Elevate Hurricane Relief Effort in Haiti Article by Capt. Jeff Snell, USMC


s Hurricane Matthew, a category IV storm, tracked across the Atlantic toward Haiti and the US Eastern Seaboard, VMM-365 (REIN) of MCAS New River, North Carolina readied to provide disaster relief. Days later, with landfall imminent, the relief mission began with the order issued on Oct. 3, 2016. Following the initial order, VMM365 (REIN) flew five MV-22B Ospreys onto USS George Washington (CVN 73) for support of Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) and potential Foreign Disaster Relief (FDR) in the Bahamas as the path of Off-loading a VMM-365 (REIN) CH-53E. Matthew remained unpredictable. On Oct. 9, USS George Washington and embarked assets MV-22B aircrew flew daily to the logistics hub at Toussaint were no longer needed for DSCA. 12 hours later, four MV- Louverture International Airport (MTPP) in Port Au Prince. 22Bs from USS George Washington transferred to the USS The aircraft then delivered supplies to various distribution Iwo Jima (LHD 7) in order to transit to the Republic of Haiti points throughout the southern peninsula. Throughout the dynamic tasking between MTPP and the distribution points, for FDR in support of JointTask Force (JTF) Matthew. As the Ospreys prepared for DSCA on USS George Wash- the aircrew executed the relief mission managing HIGE/ ington, Oct. 5 saw three VMM-365 (REIN) CH-53E Super HOGE power margins, made hasty weight calculations when Stallions fly aboard the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and pro- loading varying types of humanitarian supplies, and found ceed to Haiti in support of the JTF. On Oct. 9, the CH-53E suitable landing zones while staying cautious not to cause any damage with rotor wash. detachment supported the first FDR missions. Daily relief missions utilized USS Iwo Jima as the primary Ready for the hot and heavy environment, the CH-53E and MV-22B aircrew supported the US Office of Foreign Disaster fuel source with cold fuel available at MTPP as a secondary Assistance Mission Tasking Matrix with daytime operations option. Each aircraft flew with an additional four to six throughout the low-lying coastal areas of Haiti. With all Sailors and Marines to assist with loading and offloading of aircraft operating off of USS Iwo Jima, the CH-53E and the supplies. Due to line-of-sight challenges, satellite communications served as the primary means of communication between the ship, Forward Combat Element, and aircraft. While not utilized by the Navy and Marines, the JTF FCE, OFDA, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) communicated using the “WhatsApp� online application. Utilizing long-range capability, the Blue Knights MV-22B aircrew supported the FDR operations by completing multiple logistics flights between Haiti and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. By mission completion on Oct 19, the VMM-365 (REIN) CH-53E Detachment and MV-22B aircrew delivered 142,000 pounds of supplies in support of the FDR mission. The four Ospreys again demonstrated their long-range capability by re-deploying from the vicinity of the Bahamas while the CH-53Es departed USS Iwo Jima for MCAS New River on Oct 23. Marines bringing relief supplies to Port au Prince.


Saberhawks Hold Change of Command Article by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sara B. Sexton, Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs


he “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 held a Change of Command Ceremony at sea, Oct. 4. During the ceremony, CDR Rob Wickman relieved CDR Kenneth P. Ward as commanding officer of HSM-77. Ward, a native of Helena, Montana, assumed command of HSM-77 July 4, 2015. Prior to assuming command at he served with the ‘Vipers’ of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 in support of counter narcotics operations embarked on USS McInerney (FFG 8), participated in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom embarked on USS San Jacinto (CG 56), forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan on USS Juneau (LPD 10) as the Air Officer and forward deployed as the maintenance officer to the ‘Warlords’ of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 in Atsugi, Japan as well as HSL 51 Detachment Four Officer-in-Charge embarked on USS Shiloh (CG 67). He has more than 2,700 flight hours and approximately 1,700 shipboard landings. Since arriving at HSM 77, he has led the squadron during a number of exercises to include, Multi-Sail 2015, Talisman Sabre 2015, the hull swap to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Ronald Reagan’s arrival in Yokosuka, Japan, Annual Ex 2015, Dual Carrier Operations with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, Valiant Shield 2016, a number of Anti-Submarine Warfare evolutions, operations in the South China Sea, and many more. "I am truly humbled and grateful to have served as the Commanding Officer of the “Saberhawks,” said Ward. “HSM-77 is my highly lethal and combat effective second family, and it has been the absolute highest honor to have served with each and every one of these warriors.” During his time at HSM-77, the squadron was awarded 2014 Battle Efficiency Award, and the 2014, 2015 Golden Anchor. Prior to the ceremony, Wickman said, “CDR Ward has done an incredible job as Commanding Officer in his time with the Saberhawks. I am privileged to take command and continue leading the men and women who give their heart to this squadron.” Wickman, a native of Westlake, Ohio, assumed command of HSM-77 after serving as the Executive Officer for the squadron. After his commissioning, and upon graduation from flight school, he was placed on the Commodore’s list for sustained superior performance throughout the flight training program. In his career he has served with HSL-40, the “Swamp Foxes” of HSL-44, USS Klakring (FFG 42), Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

in support of Counter Drug Operations and a UNITAS exercise, and in USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), flying in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. CDR Wickman reported back to HSL-40 as a flight instructor in August of 2004. While at HSL-40, he was the NAPP Production Officer and Assistant Training Officer. He reported to USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) in July of 2007 as the Assistant Navigator. While onboard, he earned his Officer of the Deck and Command Duty Officer (Underway) letters. In November of 2009, Commander Wickman reported to the “Warlords” of HSL-51. While at HSL-51, he deployed on USS Mustin (DDG 89) as the Detachment Officer-in-Charge and served as squadron Training and Maintenance Officers. During his time at HSL-51, he flew missions in support Operation Tomodachi to support the Japanese community. Following his operational Department Head tour he reported to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, Programming Division, in December 2011. He served as a programming analyst for aviation matters in the “Bullpen.” “I am prepared to use the knowledge I have gained over the years to help build and grow the capabilities of the Saberhawks,” said Wickman. “Together we can continue the tradition of hard work, discipline, and dedication to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.” Founded in September 1987, the Saberhawks began as Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47, employing the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter at the forefront of helicopter operations in the Pacific Fleet. In 2009, HSL-47 transitioned to HSM-77. The Saberhawks were attached to the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and deployed with the MH-60R until August of 2012, when their outstanding reputation led to their selection to fight from the tip of the spear with Battle Force 7th Fleet. Previously embarked on board USS George Washington (CVN 73) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Five, the “Saberhawks” are now regularly embarked on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). HSM-77’s missions are to conduct Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Surface Warfare (SUW,) as well as Search and Rescue (SAR), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS), and Communications Relay (COMREL) in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.


So There I Was Article by LTJG Nick Lindsay, USN


o there I was… and as anyone who’s visited the 33rd Rescue Squadron (RQS) at Kadena Air Base in Japan knows, there’s a strongly-worded reply to starting a story with those infamous words. Well, to that end, now so do the folks in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 (HSC-12) after being the esteemed guests of the RQS for one of their hail-and-bails (or otherwise known as, “because-it’s-Friday-in-Okinawa”). And short of divulging sensitive Air Force Rescue secrets, we certainly learned some inter-service appreciation that night. While HSC-12 didn’t actually fly with the 33rd RQS, we did borrow their squadron spaces for quite some time while operating out of Kadena on detachment. They gave us the latest DAFIF and CHUM for the island, a local area brief and otherwise provided sound judgement and guidance for a fellow helicopter squadron on base. Pilots and aircrewmen were welcome to climb around the 33rd’s H-60 Pavehawks, a unique opportunity for us as Navy aircrew to compare the way we operate with our Air Force cousins. And while it was fun to drink beer while swapping knowledge and stories, that was possibly the least exciting joint operation HSC-12 took part in during its time in Okinawa this spring. In five, jam-packed, graduate-level event filled weeks, HSC-12 trained to every offensive mission capability the MH-60S has to offer, expending live ordnance in amounts that would make any well-meaning tactician jealous: five valid Hellfire II missiles; 4,176 rounds of 20mm; 172 Unguided Rockets (UGR); and 6,716 crew served weapons’ rounds. All five weeks were supported with the close integration of Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific (HSCWSP) pilots and aircrewmen while HSC-12 underwent its Unit Training Evaluation (UTE). Additionally, while in Kadena, HSC-12 worked with the U.S. Army 1st Battalion 1st Special Forces Group for Direct Action (DA) support, RSC-2 for Fixed Forward Firing Weapon System (FFFWS) and Hellfire targets, U.S. Air Force 320th Special Tactics Squadron for DA Support and Close Air Support (CAS), and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 (HSM-77) for multi-ship Anti-Surface Warfare (ASU) attack profiles and buddy-lasing.

HSC-12 conducts VERTREP aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

What’s more, every single ordnance-carrying training evolution involved joint assets. Our operations team did an outstanding job coordinating with the many external assets present while in Kadena, despite the challenges of filling five full training-weeks and covering over a thousand miles’ distance before arriving. All told, the detachment to Okinawa was a great success working with assets normally unavailable to the squadron it its homeport of Atsugi, Japan. The success of the detachment is a testament to what foresight and inventive thinking can create; the only work we (as a squadron) needed to complete in Kadena was to employ ordnance on range and develop unit-level tactics. However, realizing the acute availability of local resources in Okinawa, with so many different services being represented, HSC-12 was able to get an incredible amount of training for both its pilots and aircrewmen in the joint environment. A part of Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF), HSC12 actively keeps one foot forward in the development of tactics, changing them where experience has deemed it prudent or necessary. The "Golden Falcons" enjoy a productive relationship with the rest of HSCWSP (and its pilots and aircrewmen), testing and revising tactics and procedures to stay at the forefront of HSC wide tactics.


The HSM-60 Jaguars: “Ready Then, Ready Now.” Article by CDR Nathan Rodenbarger, USN



2001, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SIX ZERO (HSM-60) has remained the only HSM squadron in the Navy Reserve. Comprised of over 200 Selected Reserve (SELRES) and Full-Time Support (FTS) Sailors, the “Jaguars” of HSM60 have remained a relevant component of Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic for the last 15 years. The Jaguars of HSM60 began their squadron history as Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light SIX ZERO (HSL-60) at Naval Station Mayport, FL. Operating the SH-60B, the Jaguars provided operational detachments on air-capable surface combatants deploying to the C4F, C5F, and C6F areas of responsibility. Throughout its history HSM-60 has supported deployments on 12 different ships and executed over 35,000 flight hours across the full spectrum of HSM/HSL missions areas. Although traditionally supporting Anti-Submarine and Anti-Surface Warfare mission areas, HSM-60 has also specialized in other lesser-known mission sets. In 2006, HSM-60 became the first Navy helicopter squadron to deploy with an Airborne Use of Force (AUF) capability. AUF is a United States Coast Guard (USCG) program authorizing qualified aircrews to employ warning shots and disabling fire against vessels suspected of trafficking illicit cargo in international waters. Since 2006, HSM-60 has successfully completed numerous deployments in support of the counter-illicit trafficking mission (CIT) in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. During these deployments, Jaguar aircrews were instrumental in the seizure of illicit contraband worth over $3 billion as well as the apprehension of over 150 suspected narco-terrorists. In 2011, HSM-60 was also the first HSM squadron to deploy with a Night AUF capability, providing operational commanders with a true force multiplier in theater. A requirement for AUF at night, the NVD HUD provides Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

pilots with enhanced situational awareness and helps mitigate the risks of low, slow, maneuvering flight over water at night. After modifying select SH-60B aircraft with a Night Vision Device Heads-Up Display (NVD HUD), the Jaguars expanded their AUF expertise into the night environment. Since their inception, the Jaguars have also participated in some of the most notable Humanitarian Air and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions in history, to include search-andrescue operations following Hurricane Katrina and Haiti earthquake relief in 2010. Embarked on USS Underwood (FFG 36) during OPERATION UNIFIED RESPONSE in Haiti, Jaguar aircrews executed over 100 medical evacuations and delivered over 100,000 pounds of food, water, and medical supplies to earthquake-torn Haiti. In July of 2015, the Jaguars successfully completed the Navy’s last operational deployment in the SH-60B while embarked on USS Kauffman (FFG 59), marking one of the most successful CIT detachments in Navy history. During this period, the squadron also successfully transitioned to the MH-60R and began preparing for its first operational commitments in the new airframe. Just a few short months after the completion of the squadron’s final SH-60B deployment, HSM-60 deployed its first two aircraft MH-60R detachment embarked on USS Lassen (DDG 82). Conducting AUF operations in the C4F area of responsibility, HSM-60 was a key contributor to another of the most successful CIT deployments in Navy history. 82

pilots come to HSM-60 from a number of different backgrounds and communities. Nearly all have completed multiple flying tours, many at the Fleet Replacement Squadron, Weapons School, Test and Evaluation, Chief of Naval Air Training, Personnel Exchange Program, and elsewhere. SELRES pilots at HSM-60 also include those with experience in other communities and services such as HSC, Air Force Combat Search and Rescue and Army Medical Evacuation. Several of HSM-60’s SELRES aviators also fly rotary wing in their civilian jobs, providing a beneficial overlap between their two careers. Selection Boards for SELRES are typically held at least once per year, sometimes more depending on manning levels. Once affiliated with HSM-60, it is not uncommon for SELRES aviators to remain with the unit for several years, providing valuable continuity and experience. Heading in to 2017, the future is bright and full of opportunity for HSM-60. As the squadron continues building operational experience in the MH-60R, the Jaguars will remain a relevant component of Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic both at sea and at home.

During the inaugural MH-60R deployment, the Jaguars were directly responsible for an astounding 17 interdictions at sea. These successful interdictions led to the disruption and seizure of nearly 12,000 kilograms of illicit contraband worth an estimated street value of 458 million dollars, and included the apprehension of over 50 suspected narco-terrorists. In addition to maintaining their expertise in AUF operations and skill sets, the Jaguars have also quickly developed proficiency in MH-60R primary mission areas. Since their transition to the MH-60R, HSM-60 has participated in two Submarine Commander Courses at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in Andros, Bahamas and supported multiple Fleet exercises and underway periods in the Jacksonville OPAREA. In February of 2016, HSM-60 closed its doors at NS Mayport after 15 years and successfully relocated to NAS Jacksonville, marking a new era in the squadron’s history. HSM-60’s ready room is perhaps one of the most diverse in the entire rotary-wing community. Comprised of approximately 20 SELRES and 13 FTS pilots, squadron

Hurricane HADR with HSC-28 LTJG Michael Short


f you’ve never been underway on an LHD that’s steaming through a hurricane, I can tell you quite confidently that, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, it’ll be an experience you won’t easily forget. I remember waking up in a pitch-black four-man stateroom to a myriad of sounds that were unpleasant to say the least. Drawers that hadn’t been fully secured repeatedly crashed open and shut, creating a deafening metal-on-metal clang. Chairs slid across the room and slammed into the walls, ensuring that the pilots in the neighboring stateroom were also awake to take in all of the sounds. A human-sounding noise, undoubtedly coming from the male head, effectively informed everyone bunking in the immediate vicinity that the storm was inducing seasickness in some of the ship’s guests. A distant but thunderous boom resounded from the bowels of the ship and up through our passageways in the level just below the flight deck. The origin of this last and loudest sound was initially more difficult to identify than those of the other noises; but after some discussion, the four of us (all awake by now) decided that what we were hearing was the hull of the USS Iwo Jima smacking against the enormous waves created by Hurricane Matthew. Luckily for the members of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28’s Detachment Five, the first night aboard LHD-7 was the roughest. After a week of prepa-

PO2 Neal Sellers assists a local in offloading critical food supplies from Bay Raider 30. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter S. Harwell

ration for a variety of potential Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) detachments, the Dragon Whales of HSC-28 got the green light to send four MH-60S helicopters and seven crews to the USS Iwo Jima to provide aid to the people of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. As one of the newest pilots in the squadron, I had absolutely no idea what kind of experiences this HADR detachment would bring. The preliminary night aboard the USS Iwo Jima was just the first unforgettable experience 83

of many. And, while it was comical to watch furniture slide across a room while we traveled through some incredibly rough seas, our night in the storm brought to light a sobering reality: the hurricane was real, it was powerful, and its impact on Haiti and its people was sure to be devastating. On the news, we’d seen evidence of the desolation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Images of coastal villages with countless homes in shambles seemed to run on a continuous loop on every major station. Reports coming from the ship’s intelligence department informed us of the Haitian peoples’ lack of food and clean water, and the diseases caused by these post-hurricane conditions. We didn’t know the exact nature of the assistance we’d be providing upon arrival, but it was clear to us that the people of Haiti needed our help. Once we arrived off the coast of Haiti, we sent the detachment’s senior pilots, including our squadron’s commanding officer and executive officer, on a series of sorties ashore. These initial flights allowed our pilots and aircrewmen to get a feel for the geography of the island, the locations and suitability of the landing zones to which we would be traveling, and the role our helicopters would be playing within the task force (Joint Task Force Matthew) that was composed of US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps units operating in Haiti. It soon became clear to us that our primary mission would be the transportation of disaster relief supplies to people in the villages that were hit hardest by the hurricane. The area known as the “Southern Claw” of Haiti consists of a series of villages and towns oriented on or very close to the water—this region sustained the majority of the damage dealt by Hurricane Matthew, and thus required the most attention from the disaster relief entities. All of the supplies intended to go out to these villages were located centrally at the international airport in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The roads running from the capital out to the remote villages had been flooded and rendered useless by the storm, making the presence of our helicopters extremely valuable. Each night, our detachment would receive tasking for the next day in the form of a Mission Tasking Matrix (MITAM). The MITAM would tell us when to arrive in Port-auPrince, what we would be picking up, and where we would be taking it. Our tasking additionally specified the name of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) member who would be accepting the goods and distributing them to the people of that specific village. At sunrise each morning, we would launch a flight of two aircraft from USS Iwo Jima and fly the 80 miles to Port-au-Prince International Airport. There, the Air Force troops on the ground would help load our aircraft with our cargo for the day. The supplies we moved ranged from bags of rice and beans to water purification devices to tarps for temporary reconstruction of homes. From the airport, we would proceed out to the villages to deliver the goods. When it came time for me to be a part of one of these flights, I was excited, to say the least. After years of flight school and grade cards, I was finally going to get a chance Rotor Review #135 Winter '17

to do something that directly helped people. For most of us, this is the reason why we signed up to serve in the first place. Like all of the preceding missions, two of our crews flew out to Port-au-Prince to pick up the supplies and then launched to make the delivery. In order to reach the village, we had to cross a mountain range that ran the entire the length of the Southern Claw. The transit provided some of the most breathtaking scenery that I could have imagined. But my sense of wonder quickly wore off when we cleared the last mountain and saw the village for the first time. Situated on the south end of the Southern Claw, the village stared directly into the Caribbean Sea. Recalling the Doppler imagery of the hurricane that every news station on television was broadcasting, I realized that this was most likely where Hurricane Matthew had made landfall. And the condition of this village as I saw it was evidence of devastation caused by the Category Five storm. Roofs of most of the houses were completely torn off. Large palm trees were nearly uprooted. Streets were flooded. People who already had so little were left with even less after the passing of the hurricane. We orbited the village for several minutes in order to identify and evaluate the landing zone to which we’d been assigned. While we flew overhead, the area around the zone began to fill up with hundreds of people who were anxious, I’m sure, to accept some much-needed aid. The small field with a soccer goal post and livestock tied up around the perimeter would not be wide enough for both helicopters to fit into simultaneously. We sent one aircraft into the zone, while the other continued to circle overhead. Once my aircraft landed in the field, I got a much closer look at the people of the village who surrounded the landing zone, waiting. They smiled and waved at us as our aircrewmen unloaded several thousand pounds of food and handed them to an assembly line of Hatian people which had been formed to quickly get the bags into the village. After completing the unloading process, we were ready to take off again and return to the ship. As we lifted up and climbed out of the zone, the people of the village continued to watch us, smiling and waving as we disappeared over the mountains. As a detachment, we completed 37 missions like the one I’ve described. By the time Iwo turned north to head home, the Dragon Whales of HSC-28 had delivered over 30 tons of supplies to ten different Haitian villages. As explained by Rear Admiral Kitchner, Commander, Joint Task Force Matthew, our work in Haiti was done. We had effectively turned over the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations to the NGO’s that had reached the area, ready to start rebuilding, and the people of Haiti were in good hands. A detachment that began with a night of steaming through a hurricane ended, for me, as the most unforgettable experience of my young career. The same sentiment is shared by all of the pilots, aircrewmen, and maintenance personnel of HSC-28’s Detachment Five—we are extremely grateful to have been able to provide help to people who needed it most.


September 16, 2016 Top Row: Lt.Col. Cory DeKraai, USMC, CO of HT-28; LTJG Mulawin Jones, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Nickolas Richardson, USMC, HT8; LTJG Sean Readdy, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Joseph Nichols, HT-8, USMC; LTJG David Arnold Jr., USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Vincent Curley, USMC, HT-8; LTJG Michael Hickey, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Patrick Austin,USMC Middle Row: CDR Brian Sanderson, USN, CO of HT-18; LTJG James Peterson, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Robert Wisely, USMC, HT-28; LTJG Alexander Francher, USN; 1st Lt. Austin Muffly, USMC, HT-28; LTJG James Kuzmick, USN, HT-28; 1st Lt. Clayton Cottrell, USMC, HT-8; LTJG William Voellmecke, USN, HT-8; CDR Brannon Bickel USN Bottom Row: CDR Stephen Audelo, USN, CO of HT-8; 1st Lt. Hayes Cozza, USMC, HT-28; ENS Celine Doerr, USN, HT-28; 1st Lt. Robert Fender, USMC, HT-18; LTJG Timothy Mangold, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Jason Bums, USMC, HT-28; LTJG Thomas Routt, USN, HT-28; LTJG Robert Platt, USN, HT-8; CAPT Mark Murray, USN,Commodore of Training Wing 5. U.S. Navy Photo by LTJG Dat Nghiem

October 24, 2016 Top Row: CDR Robert A. Dulin, USN, XO of HT- 28; LTJG Thomas W. Reed, USN, HT-8; LTJG David J. Liebe, USN, HT-8; LT Michael A. Reid, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Nicholas W. Auferheide, USMC, HT- 18; CAPT Richard A. Catone, USN (Ret.) Middle Row: CDR Brian Sanderson, USN, CO HT-18; 1st Lt. Alexander A. Chatman III, USMC, HT-18; LTJG Sean K. Carrigan, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Kord M. Pauley, USMC,HT-8; LTJG Andrew I. G. McKellips, USN, HT-18; 1st Lt. John A. Delekto, USMC, HT-28; CAPT Mark Murray, USN, Commodore of Training Airwing 5 Bottom Row: CDR Stephen Audelo, USN, CO of HT-8; ENS Ashley M. Ambuehl, USN, HT-8; ENS Thomas E. Olmstead, USN, HT-28; ENS Timothy J. Krott, USN, HT- 28; ENS Edwin C. Stephens III, USN, HT-8; LTJG Aaron J Kovalchick, USN, HT-28


November 4, 2016 Top Row: Lt.Col. Cory DeKraai, USMC, CO of HT-28; ENS Ethan Hahn, USN, HT-28; 1st Lt. Philip Williams, USMC, HT-8; LTJG Christian Farus,USN, HT-8; LTJG Joel Vircks, USN, HT-28; ENS Evan Zonnefeld, USN, HT-28; LTJG Luke Vaughn, USN, HT-8; 1st Lt. Dwayne Saunders, Jr., USMC, HT-18; LTJG Audrey Petersen, USN, HT-18; 1st Lt. Marisa Roberts, USMC, HT-28; VADM Charles Ray, USCG, Deputy Commandant for Operations Middle Row: CDR Brian Sanderson, USN, CO of HT-18; 1st Lt. Callan Roybal, USMC, HT-18; ENS Christian Merkel, USN, HT-8; ENS Jack Nilson, USN, HT-18; LTJG Anthony Davis, Jr., USN, HT-28; LTJG Thomas Cogley, USCG, HT-18; 1st Lt. Kevin Flaherty, USMC, HT-28; ENS Scott McNabb, USN, HT-8; ENS Matthew Crochet, USN, HT-8; CAPT Mark Murray, USN, Commodore of Training Wing 5 Bottom Row: CDR Steve Audelo, USN, CO of HT-8; ENS Richly Babauta, USN, HT-8; LTJG Zachary Visser, USN, HT-8; ENS Kendall Benjamin, USN, HT-18; 1st Lt. Timothy Winkler, USMC, HT-18; LTJG Feras Alqurashi, RSNF, HT-18; 1st Lt. Derek Deeb, USMC

November 18, 2016 Top Row: Lt.Col. Cory DeKraai, USMC, CO of HT-28; LTJG Kyrie T. Slade, USN, HT-28; 1st Lt. Samuel C. Taylor, USMC, HT-8; LTJG Ian W. Weston, USN, HT-28; LTJG Brendan S. McGinnis, USN, HT-18; LTJG Brian R. Schmidt, USN, HT-18; Col. Joseph P. Richards, USMC (Ret.), TH-57 Senior Program Manager, L-3 Vertex Aerospace Middle Row: CDR Brian D. Sanderson, USN, CO of HT-18; ENS Amanda K. Lamb, USN, HT-18; LTJG Zachary L. Morris, USN, HT-28; LTJG Joshua A. Romens, USN, HT-18; ENS Heidi C. Ericson, USN, HT-18; CAPT Mark Murray, USN, Commodore of Training Air Wing 5 Bottom Row: CDR Stephen A. Audelo, USN, CO of HT-8; ENS Michael J. Humphreys, Jr., USN, HT-18; LTJG Benjamin L. Putbrese, USN, HT28; ENS Nicholas P. Mimikos, USN, HT-8; ENS Andrew C. Moss, USN, HT-28; ENS Olivia S. Leona, USN, HT-8

Rotor Review #135 Winter '16


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CAPT Alfred E. “Al” Monahan, USN March 10, 1923 – October 26, 2016

APT Alfred Monahan, USN (Ret.) passed away on Oct. 26, 2016. Al had a 30 year Navy career, an extensive business career and was an active member in his community. Al was born in Manitoba, Canada. He arrived in the United States with his school teacher mother in 1928. He wanted to become a Naval Aviator as a young boy. He attended civilian flight training through the Navy in 1942. His first deployment was with VC-84 flying the Grumman F4F-4 and FM-1 Wildcats in the Pacific Theater of Operations in World War II. He was later assigned to Ford Island, Hawaii flying the Grumman F8F Bearcat. Al’s tours included assignment as a flight instructor in Pensacola. He volunteered for helicopter training following WW II. He was assigned to HU-2 flying the Sikorsky HO3S in Lakehurst, New Jersey with a deployment to the Korean War zone. After HU-2, he was assigned to VF-123. Al then reported to Whidbey Island to fly helicopters. This tour was followed by training in HS-10 before his XO/ CO tour in HS-4. While in HS-4, Al’s squadron deployed aboard the USS Yorktown (CVS-10) to provide support for nuclear testing of the ASROC and Polaris missiles. His other tours included Operations Officer on the USS Bennington (CVS-20), Commander Fleet Air San Diego staff, ASW Group 3 and Board of Inspection and Survey Pacific. CAPT Monahan retired in January 1971. He was one of the founders of NHA. He served the helicopter community, the Navy and his country with honor and great pride. His humor was known to all, and he was a really nice guy. Rest in peace Al, it was a pleasure for all of us to know you.


APT Thomas Lee Freeland, USN (Ret.) passed away on Oct. 12, 2016, at age 68. He was born on July 26, 1948 in Canton, Ohio to Col. Samuel Freeland, U.S. Air Force, (Ret.), now deceased, and Ann Freeland, age 93. Captain Freeland earned both BS and MA degrees in Mathematics and Statistics. His distinguished 26-year Naval Career included tours as Officer-in-Charge of an unprecedented nine detachments, earning the 1st individual Navy "E" for ASW Excellence, and being selected as Pilot of the Year. He capped his flying career as a Squadron Commanding Officer, then as Air Boss on the USS Okinawa during Operation Desert Shield. Ashore, CAPT Freeland served with distinction in tours at West Point and on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Air Training and of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. He retired as the Aviation Program Director at Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando, Fla. Staying active with the Navy community, he retained key consulting positions while teaching math at University High School. Tom was an avid golfer and reader, a loving husband, son, father, and doting grandfather. CAPT Freeland is survived by his wife Jan, his children Keri (Trevor), Brian (Janina), grandchildren Reid, Thomas, Ava, Kendall, mother Ann, and brother Larry. He was predeceased by his daughter Gwen and brother Robert. A memorial service was held at University CAPT Thomas Lee Freeland, USN Carillon United Methodist Church, 1395 Campus View Court, Oviedo, Fla., 32765 July 26, 1948 - Ocotber 12, 2016 ( on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Burial was at Arlington National Cemetery. The family requested donations be made "in Honor of Captain Thomas Freeland" to University Carillon United Methodist Church. Rotor Review #135 Winter '17


RR135 digital  

In this issue, read the stories of special operations conducted by some of the finest naval helicopter squadrons.

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