HS-11

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Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11
HS-11 Real Deal Dragon.JPG
HS-11 insignia
Active June 27, 1957
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Helicopter Squadron
Part of Carrier Air Wing 1
Garrison/HQ NAS Jacksonville
Nickname "Dragon Slayers"
Commanders
Current
commander
Commander T. F. Kinsella, Jr.
A HSS-1 Seabat of HS-11 dipping its sonar in 1958.
An HS-11 SH-60F passing USS Leyte Gulf in 2006.

HS-11 Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 11, also known as the "Dragon Slayers", is an United States Navy SH-60F and HH-60H helicopter squadron based at NAS Jacksonville. Currently attached to Carrier Air Wing 1, they deployed aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) before it decommissioned late 2012.[1]

History[edit]

Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron ELEVEN was established on 27 June 1957 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The squadron first flew the Sikorsky HSS-1 Seabat (later re-designated the SH-34) helicopter under the radio call sign “Snowbound.” The primary mission of the Seabat was Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) and it carried dipping sonar. Later models of the Seabat were upgraded with Doppler radar and automatic stabilization and hover capabilities for all-weather operations. The HS-11 Sub Seekers were assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 52 (CVSG-52) with tail code AS and deployed on board USS Wasp (CVS-18).

In 1962, the squadron transitioned to the Sikorsky twin engine SH-3 Sea King and would later upgrade to the SH-3D and SH-3H in 1969 and 1980, respectively. In December 1969, HS-11 would become the first ASW helicopter squadron to deploy as part of a modern carrier air wing with CVW-17 on board USS Forrestal (CVA-59). From 1970-1973, HS-11 was assigned to CVSG-56 deploying on board USS Intrepid (CVS-11) with tail code AU. On 17 October 1973, HS-11 moved to its new homeport of NAS Jacksonville and was re-assigned to Carrier Air Wing ONE (CVW-1) where it remains assigned to this day. In 1989, HS-11 changed its official call sign to Dragonslayer. HS-11 would make deployments on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS America (CV-66), USS George Washington (CVN-73), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and USS Enterprise (CVN-65).

The Dragonslayer history has many distinguished highlights. The squadron played a leading role in astronaut recovery operations during the Gemini missions, plucking from the sea such famed astronauts as White, McDivitt, Lovell, and Aldrin. In 1976, the squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for saving countless lives after ship collisions at sea while attached to USS John F. Kennedy. Over the years, HS-11 has the answered the domestic call for help numerous times in support of hurricane relief efforts, including Hurricane Andrew in 1993 and in 1999 the squadron rescued nine men whose ship was sunk during Hurricane Floyd in winds over 50 knots and seas measuring 30 feet. HS-11 was the first Navy squadron on-station just hours after Hurricane Ike swept through Galveston, TX in September 2008. Most recently, HS-11 was one of the first units to respond to the earthquake as part of Operation unified response in Haiti in January 2010.

Since 1985, HS-11 has participated in Operation ocean safari in the northern Atlantic, Operation Prairie Fire in Libya, Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Southern Watch in the Persian Gulf, Operation Provide Promise in the Adriatic Sea, Operation Provide Comfort off Mogadishu, Somalia and Operations Deny Flight and Decisive Edge in the Adriatic Sea. Most recently, HS-11 participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2001 and 2003, and again supported Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, the Dragonslayers deployed two HH-60H aircraft to Basrah, Iraq in support of Multi-National Division (South-East) and the Joint Helicopter Force.[2]

In 1994, HS-11 transitioned to the Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk, the current aircraft in use today by the Dragonslayers. The capabilities of this latest airframe allowed the squadron to greatly expand its mission areas. In addition to ASW and Search and Rescue, the Dragonslayers now added such missions as Vertical Replenishment, Naval Special Warfare Support, and Combat Search and Rescue to its capabilities. With the addition of the Hellfire missile system and GAU-16 .50 caliber machine gun in 1999, HS-11 became capable of effectively conducting Antisurface Warfare.

HS-11 will be the last deploying HS squadron and is scheduled to transition the HSC community to fly the MH-60S in 2016.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]