Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 held an aerial change of command ceremony while deployed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), April 26.
HSC-7, also known as the Dusty Dogs, is a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron based out of Naval Station Norfolk. They are attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and currently deployed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is conducting operations in U.S. 5th Fleet to support maritime security operations in international waters, alongside our allies and partners.
During the at-sea ceremony, Cmdr. Ted Elkins was relieved by Cmdr. Chad Upright.
The change of command ceremony directly supports the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) guidance issued to the Navy on April 8 on maintaining laser focus on the fleet and warfighting readiness. “We must be laser-focused on the Fleet – from manning to maintenance, and from training to warfighting. Operational readiness is our job… and every one of us has a role. Nobody sits the bench.”
Laser-focused on the HSC-7 mission has been the top priority for both Elkins and Upright. During Elkins’ commanding officer tour, the Dusty Dogs accomplished myriad objectives to prepare for the current deployment.
“It has been the highlight of my career to be the commanding officer of the Dusty Dogs. I have stood in awe of how hard this team has worked before and during this deployment, those efforts have paid off. We could not be where we are today without the love and support of our families at home. The Dusty Dogs stand ready to meet any challenge.”
Elkins, originally hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, graduated from Liberty University in 1999 and obtained his commissioning in the U.S. Navy as an ensign in 2000.
Elkins wished Upright the best as he turned over the reins of his squadron.
“Cmdr. Upright has been an outstanding executive officer and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to work with him. I am excited to see Chad take the Dusty Dogs to the next level; together they will do great things for our Nation.”
Originally from Tannersville, Pennsylvania, Upright entered the Navy in 2001, after graduating from the United States Naval Academy and commissioning as an ensign.
“HSC-7 is a special place to me and my family. I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve as the Dusty Dogs’ Commanding Officer,” said Upright. “Skipper Elkins led the Dusty Dogs through an arduous work-up cycle and through the start of a challenging deployment. I’m grateful to have served as his executive officer, for the absolute dedication he showed the Dusty Dogs, and for the sacrifices he and his entire family have made.”
HSC-7 is a direct report to Commander, Carrier Air Wing 3. The primary missions of HSC-7 are Maritime Attack, Combat Logistics, Personnel Recovery, Naval Special Warfare support, and Search and Rescue (SAR).
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