8-Sep-2011 Source: US Navy
Naval aviators and Sailors assigned to the Proud Warriors of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42, visited the Mauritius Police Force (MPF) Helicopter Squadron in Mauritius, Sept. 6. This was the first known visit ever made by a U.S. aviation unit.
The Proud Warriors met with Mauritius pilots and personnel in their hangar bay near the Mauritius International Airport and inspected various helicopters used by the MPF helicopter squadron.
HSL-42, deployed with the guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), made the visit as part of their involvement with Africa Partnership Station (APS) East’s Mauritius hub.
“It’s a real pleasure welcoming HSL-42 here today because this feels like a real kind of exchange and partnership,” said Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Police Sachin Santuk, also a Mauritian helicopter pilot. “We feel proud of what our roles are and what we do here. I’m glad to be part of the force and quite lucky and privileged to fly for my country.”
Santuk explained that his squadron is part of the national Mauritian Police Force and falls under their direction. The squadron is responsible for all domestic affairs covering their entire country’s terrain and waters, not just military operations over specified regions.
“Everything they’re doing is in such a different environment than what we work in,” said Lt. Cmdr. Teague Suarez, officer-in-charge of HSL-42, Detachment 1. “We’re trying to learn from them about their operations while explaining how we handle our long-term planning strategies since we go out for up to six months at a time.”
But despite their operational differences, Suarez said he enjoyed the camaraderie between the American and Mauritian squadrons.
“There’s a lot of passion that we both share and it’s obvious with the way they talk about their aircraft,” said Suarez. “And honestly, it’s nice to be around other guys who love what they do and like the same kind of things that we do.”
Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class (AW) Christopher Lloyd said he was impressed with the host nation squadron.
“They’re very organized and they have a lot of technical knowledge on their different aircraft,” said Lloyd. “They have tool programs and inspections like we do. Their helicopters are clean and have similar systems, and it looked like they’re doing very well for themselves.”
HSL-42 is homeported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.