HSC-25 provides support, departs Iwakuni

HSC-25 provides support, departs Iwakuni

31-Aug-2010 Source: US Marine Corps

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan  — The Navy’s first and only forward-deployed Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, has resided in Iwakuni during the past few months to take part in training and maintenance of its aircraft as the squadron before heading out to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, Aug. 7.

“We have been training to keep our qualifications up so that we can be ready for search and rescue when we go on a boat,” said Seaman Curtis Worrell, aviation electricians-mate with HSC-25. “We just keep flying everyday, make sure pilots get their hours and keep everyone up to date.”

Since late April, HSC-25’s approximately 40 personnel, have been occupying their time with flying, qualifying with weapons, training, maintaining the aircraft, and conducting tedious inspections to keep its service members at peak readiness to carry out its mission.

“It’s definitely a big mission for us,” said Lt. Patrick Murphy, helicopter pilot with HSC-25. HSC-25’s main missions are vertical replenishment and search and rescue.

Additionally they provide vital logistical support during special operations, which include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

“We’re mainly a support role,” said Murphy. “We conducted MEDIVAC and SAR in Kuwait and southern Iraq. That freed up other squadrons to be able to push to Afghanistan.”

Participating in special operations allowed the squadron to break out and test its readiness against new situations.

“It was a great opportunity for us,” said Murphy. “It was a different environment from what we are used to operating in because it was in the desert instead of over the water.”

Tasked with supporting the Seventh Fleet units in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, North Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf, HSC-25 also provides search and rescue, medical evacuation and vertical replenishment to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

“It’s one of the unique aspects of our mission,” said Murphy. “There is no Coast Guard in the Mariana Islands, so the mission to provide SAR and MEDIVAC falls on us.”

HSC-25, established on April 21, 2005, sports an emblem meant to represent the legacy of HSC-25’s predecessor HC-5, which developed a reputation for providing service and support to the Fifth and Seventh Fleets and Northern Marianas Islands.

The Fifth and Seventh Fleet territories are represented by the globe in the logo, and the eagle carrying the trident symbolizes the logistic support HSC-25 provides to those territories.

Above the globe is a black sky, which symbolizes the squadron’s night capabilities, and within the sky are five stars.

“The five stars is homage to our last squadron, which was HC- 5,” said Murphy. “The trident is supposed to represent new missions being presented to us.”

HSC-25 flies the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, a multimission naval helicopter made to carry out two main missions: troop support and vertical replenishment.

“It can sling huge loads between boats,” said Murphy. “When you see it happen, it’s just really amazing because these aircrafts can move a lot of weight in a very short amount of time.”

The MH-60S has an armed configuration, which allows the squadron to conduct anti-surface warfare in addition to combat search and rescue.

“We’ve got a lot of really cool gear on it that our guys are excited to play around with,” said Murphy. “It’s also got a lot of extra power. As a helicopter pilot, you always want extra power.”

HSC-25 is manned by aviation structural mechanics, aviation mechist-mates, and aviation electricians-mates who regularly maintain the aircraft to keep it in peak condition.

“The guys have been ripping through inspections,” said Murphy. “If anything happens with the aircraft, they get it fixed, and we haven’t had any pauses in training.”

Seamen who regularly maintained the helicopter used a special aircraft cleaning compound Mil-C-85570, a strong chemical cleanser primarily used to clean naval aircraft.

“We are always in a salt-water environment, and maintaining the aircraft is very important,” said Murphy. “Our guys do a bang-up job and we couldn’t do anything without them.”

With their aircraft maintained and inspection ready, HSC-25 will continue their mission to provide logistics support to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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