6-Aug-2021 Source: US Navy
The “Sea Dragons” of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 12 stationed aboard Naval Station Norfolk, held a change of command ceremony, July 22, to mark a transition of command leadership.
During the change of command event, Cmdr. Andrea M. Ragusa, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, assumed all duties and responsibilities as the HM-12 commanding officer from Capt. Patrick J. Murphy, of New Baltimore, Michigan.
During his time at HM-12, Murphy worked with the H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters program office, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, Aviation Support Detachment Norfolk, Naval Mine and Surface Warfare Center, Panama City and Director of Expeditionary Warfare to improve the mission capable and full mission capable rate of MH-53Es throughout the fleet.
Murphy also worked to test, train and qualify HM-12 in the use of the Bambi Bucket to support aerial firefighting missions. His efforts aided in establishing the East Coast’s first Rotary Aerial Firefighting Capability.
“It has been an honor to work with the team at HM-12,” said Murphy. “They have come together and accomplished every goal that was set before them. I feel privileged to have been part of the Sea Dragon family.”
Ragusa began her military career as an enlisted U.S. Army soldier, transitioning between the two branches after completing Officer Candidate School in 2001 – successfully being commissioned as a Navy Ensign. She earned her wings of gold and became a naval aviator in 2003.
Ragusa has served with the “Vanguard” of HM-14 and the “Blackhawks” of HM-15 as her operational assignments logging over 1,700 hours of flight time primarily in the MH-53E Sea Dragon. Now, she is planning to uphold a strong standard of readiness during her upcoming time at HM-12.
“I am confident that the Sailors of HM-12 will continue to be the very best Fleet Replacement Squadron in the United States Navy,” said Ragusa. “I look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we provide quality pilots and air crewmen to the Fleet.”
HM-12’s mission is to safely train pilots and air crewmen to employ the Navy’s MH-53E Sea Dragon assets worldwide. They are tasked to support two primary missions, Airborne Mine Counter Measure mission and the Navy Vertical Onboard Delivery mission to support expeditionary forces.