14-Mar-2022 Source: US Air Force
Cmdr. James “Moose” Moore relieved Cmdr. Thomas “Smokey” Butts as commanding officer of Guam-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two-Five (HSC 25), February 17.
The ceremony featured a flyby with an aerial change of command followed by an in-person ceremony attended by immediate family, HSC 25 and key personnel.
Butts commanded HSC 25 Sailors, known as the “IslandKnights”, from November 2019 to February 2022. Commodore, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet, Captain Edward Weiler, presided over the ceremony.
“It is an absolute pleasure being here for the change of command. A beautiful morning here in Guam and it is great to be back. The squadron has a special place in my heart,” said Weiler.
“To the Island Knights, HSC 25 operates in one of the most challenging environments at the highest optempo. The accolades the squadron has achieved and earned are countless.”
During Butts’ time he oversaw 334 Sailors, providing detachments for operational support including rotary wing, combat capability to the USS America (LHA 6) amphibious ready group, as well as supporting JRM and U.S. 7th Fleet logistical operations.
“The reason we’re really here is because of the Island Knights. Simply put, we build combat readiness; we conduct maintenance on 13 MH-60S aircraft to keep them operational and we provide combat ready detachments to U.S. 7th Fleet task force commanders,” said Butts.
“We are going to continue to build the squadron’s outstanding record of readiness and mission accomplishment. If that is not the golden standard of the Naval Aviation Enterprise, I don’t know what is. It has been the absolute honor of my professional career to serve as your commanding officer.”
“I know you all left it out in the field and brought your best every single day, thank you. The Island Knights were always ready to fight!”
Along with the support the Island Knights provide to the Navy, the squadron is also an integral part of Guam’s search-and-rescue operations and works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force. Over the duration of Butts’ tenure as squadron commanding officer HSC 25 conducted 38 search and rescue missions, saving the lives of 20 people.
Butts next assignment is in Washington D.C. as the Navy’s Director of Air Warfare Requirements Officer for multi-mission helicopter operations.
Cmdr. Moore assumes command of the squadron after serving as the executive officer from January 2021 to February 2022 and says he is truly humbled to be taking over as the squadron’s commanding officer.
“Everybody knows what it’s like getting on the plane. What it’s like to leave everything you are comfortable with behind, go across the world, because you are trying to make yourself better. I think it is one of the reasons why 25 is a great squadron today,” Cmdr. Moore remarked in his address to the congregation. “In the year that comes, we will test the limits of what a helicopter squadron can provide to the fleet. My simple challenge to you is to be combat ready in every measurable way; personally, physically and fully qualified. We will take seriously our obligation to protect life in addition to supporting our local community.”
Cmdr. Moore was raised in the mountain-town of Crested Butte, Colorado and was designated a Naval Aviator in 2006 graduating on the Commodore’s List with Distinction and has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours split roughly between the SH-60F, HH-60H, and MH-60S.
HSC 25 provides a multi-mission rotary wing capability for units in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations, to include the territory of Guam and the Northern Marina islands. These Guam-based air crew members of the “Island Knights” also support U.S. Coast Guard and Joint Region Marianas by maintaining a 24-hour search and rescue and medical evacuation capability. HSC 25 is the Navy’s first and only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron.