HSC-12

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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadon 12 (US Navy) patch 2009.png
HSC-12 Golden Falcons insignia
Active March 7, 1952 - present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Helicopter Squadron
Size 212 Personnel
Part of CVW-5
Garrison/HQ NAF Atsugi
Nickname "Golden Falcons"
Commanders
Current
commander
Commander Jeffrey Holzer

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 (HSC-12) Golden Falcons is a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, in Japan. The Golden Falcons are attached to Carrier Air Wing Five with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73).[1]

In early 2009, HS-2 Golden Falcons transitioned to MH-60S and re-designated as HSC-12.[2]

Command History[edit]

A HSS-1 of HS-2 on USS Yorktown (CVS-10), 1959.

Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Two was established on March 7, 1952 as the first Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter squadron on the West Coast, flying the HRS-2. Initially used in small detachments, the first deployment as an entire squadron was made in 1957 when the world famous "Golden Falcons," flying the HSS-1, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CVA-47). At this time, the squadron was manned by 258 enlisted and 39 officers to fly and maintain 17 aircraft. Since that time, the squadron has deployed on nine other carriers and currently with Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) with 190 enlisted, 22 officers and seven Sikorsky H-60 helicopters.

1960s[edit]

In addition to being the first HS squadron on the West Coast, the squadron boasts a long list of first and unique achievements which attest to the professional caliber and dedication of its officers and men. HS-2 was the first ASW helicopter squadron to make a deployment with the Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King, the Navy’s first turbine powered all-weather ASW helicopter. HS-2 was also the first H-3 squadron to operationally employ Helicopter In-flight Refueling (HIFR’s) at night. In November 1965, an HS-2 SH-3A performed the longest operational flight at the time. The aircraft remained airborne for eleven hours and eighteen minutes on a search and rescue mission in the Gulf of Tonkin with the help of four HIFR’s three of which were at night.

An HS-2 SH-3A on the USS Mahan in the Gulf of Tonkin, 1967.

Other technical innovations by Golden Falcons include the pioneering of submarine detection capabilities with the introduction of the SH-3D in 1967 as a multi-sensor ASW platform. In addition to the Bendix AQS-13B sonar, Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) and Multi-Channel Jezebel Relay (MCJR) active sonobuoy systems were added to the aircraft, the latter providing the carrier with sonobuoy monitoring capability. In 1980 the squadron became the first West Coast unit to deploy with new tactical navigation (TACNAV) equipped SH-3D/H helicopters.

HS-2 performed the first night rescue in North Vietnam in 1965. In 1966 HS-2 participated in the Apollo Saturn 202 spaceshot recovery program, and was responsible for ten overland and five coastal rescues of pilots in North Vietnam during 1967. The "Golden Falcons" provided relief support to snowbound Indians in Arizona over the Christmas holidays of 1967, airlifting fifteen tons of food supplies, flying 292 "Mercy Missions" and performing 37 medical evacuations. The squadron also lost Edward Robert Dorsey and Johnnie Lee Frazier.[3]

1968-1969 WestPac Tour of Duty TASK FORCE 71 On 14 April 1969 North Korean aircraft shot down an unarmed EC-121 propeller-driven Constellation which was on a routine reconnaissance patrol over the Sea of Japan from its base at Atsugi, Japan. The entire 31-man crew was killed. U.S. response was to activate Task Force 71 to protect such flights over those international waters in the future. Initially, the Task Force consisted of the carrier's USS Enterprise, USS Ticonderoga, USS Ranger and USS Hornet with a screen of three cruisers and twenty-two destroyers, five submarines, two hundred planes, and the USS New Jersey, the worlds only operative battleship. Task Force 71 became America's strongest show of military might; since the Korean War and largest Task Force since World War II. President Nixon gave sailing orders to Task Force 71, a forty ship armada assigned the task of protecting future reconnaissance flight near North Korea.

However, the crisis abated and on April 24, 1969, Task Force 71 (TF-71) was redeployed from the Sea Of Japan to the Yellow Sea, then two days later disbanded and the ships returned to the Gulf Of Tonkin as well as other previous duty assignments.

USS Hornet CVS-12 16 Apr 1969 - First carrier to arrive in Sea of Japan following North Korean shoot down of unarmed Navy EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft. The ship was relocated from the war zone off North Viet Nam called Yankee Station. HS-2 was the lone Helicopter Squadron on board. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Two "Golden Falcons" 1968-1969 Western Pacific Deployment One aircraft sank at sea during recovery with crane. One aircraft shot up but made it back to ship. No loss of life. Awards Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal: Korea April 1969 Task Force 71 U.S. Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Viet Nam – Task Force 71 1968-69 Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal 1968-69 Vietnam Service Medal Two Bronze Campaign Stars Vietnam Counteroffensive, Phase VI from 1968-11-02 to 1969 02-22 Tet 1969 Counteroffensive from 1969-02-23 to 1969-06-08

HISTORY & FIRSTS Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TWO was established on 7 March 1952 as the first Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter squadron on the West Coast, flying the HRS-2. Initially used in small detachments, the first deployment as an entire squadron was made in 1957 when the world famous "Golden Falcons," flying the HSS-1, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CVA-47). At this time, the squadron was manned by 258 enlisted and 39 officers to fly and maintain 17 aircraft. Since that time, the squadron has deployed on eight other carriers including USS YORKTOWN (CVS-10), USS HORNET (CVA-12), USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62), USS TICONDEROGA (CVS-14), USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65), USS RANGER (CV-61), USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63), USS NIMITZ (CV-68) and USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64).

In addition to being the first HS squadron on the West Coast, the squadron boasts a long list of first and unique achievements which attest to the professional caliber and dedication of its officers and men. HS-2 was the first ASW helicopter squadron to make a deployment with the Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King, the Navy’s first turbine powered all-weather ASW helicopter. HS-2 was also the first H-3 squadron to operationally employ Helicopter In-flight Refueling (HIFR’s) at night. In November 1965, an HS-2 SH-3A performed the longest operational flight at the time. The aircraft remained airborne for eleven hours and eighteen minutes on a search and rescue mission in the Gulf of Tonkin with the help of four HIFR’s three of which were at night.

The Sikorsky S-61 amphibious transport helicopter was initially developed for the US Navy, entering service as the HSS-2 (later redesignated as the SH-3A). On 6 March 1965, a Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King helicopter, piloted by Cmdr. James R. Williford, took off from USS Hornet (CVS 12) berthed at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, and landed 15 hours and 51 minutes later on the deck of Franklin D. Roosevelt at sea off Mayport, Fla. The flight surpassed the existing distance for helicopters by more than 700 miles. The SH-3H helicopter was manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and designed to detect, identify, track and destroy enemy submarines. As an antisubmarine platform the H-3 is equipped with a dipping sonar and armed with Mark 46 torpedoes. The SH-3D Sea King was a standard antisubmarine helicopter of the US Navy. The Sea King is also capable of providing logistics support to the fleet and performing search and rescue operations. One hundred and five SH-3As were converted to utility duties by removing antisubmarine warfare equipment and adding a minigun for protection in combat search and rescue missions. The first version of this workhorse anti-submarine warfare helicopter was flown in 1960.

The H-3's versatility was emphasized during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm when 36 SH-3Hs flying from carriers logged more than 5,000 hours conducting combat SAR, special operations, maritime interdiction operations, logistics support, and mine-hunting.
SH-3A version one with armor, 7.62 mm mini gun, DECK-EDGE refueling capability, external fuel tanks. Sonar equipment removed. Version two with armor, Four Mk-46 torpedoes, two M-60 machine guns.

1970s[edit]

HS-2 SH-3Hs returning from a deployment aboard USS Nimitz, 1989.

In 1970, HS-2 was the first helicopter squadron to travel across the United States for deployment on a ship from the other coast. In that year, the squadron participated in operations with U.S. Forces responding to the Jordanian Crisis. HS-2 was directed to prepare to go into Amman, Jordan and also provide Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) for the Battle Group. It was during the same year that the American flag was painted on the helicopters. The flag was painted on the aircraft overnight so the helicopter could be distinguished from the Israeli H-3’s, which might also be operating in the combat zone. To commemorate the event, the Chief of Naval Operations authorized the American flag to become a permanent part of HS-2’s paint scheme. As a result of its superior performance during that period, the squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Following the cease-fire agreement in 1972, HS-2 became the first U.S. Naval air unit to fly into North Vietnam, providing transportation to and from Haiphong for the negotiating team. In 1974 the squadron provided relief assistance to the cyclone devastated island of Mauritius.

The 1976 deployment aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the first Western Pacific deployment for the Navy’s modern CV concept. Along with the S-3A Viking and an on board Tactical Support Center (TSC), HS-2 contributed to the refinement and success of modern day ASW tactics. In the fall of 1979, HS-2 was chosen to participate in amphibious operations with a multi-nation task force. The squadron deployed aboard USS New Orleans (LPH-11) and again proved the value of helicopter ASW. HS-2 earned the Humanitarian Service Medal in 1980 for its participation in the rescue of three groups of Vietnamese refugees. In 1984, HS-2 provided the first damage assessments following the collision of a Soviet Victor submarine with USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).

1990s[edit]

An HSC-12 MH-60S delivers cargo to USS Abraham Lincoln, December 2011.

HS-2 led the way in modern Carrier Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare by transitioning to the SH-60F "Seahawk," the newest and most capable rotary wing ASW weapon system in today’s Navy. HS-2 was also the first active duty HS squadron to fully incorporate the Combat Search and Rescue mission, having received two new HH-60H aircraft in November 1990. Additionally, HS-2 was the first HS squadron to deploy with the FLIR/Hellfire weapons system.[4]

2000s[edit]

HS-2 is currently attached to the USS Abraham Lincoln where it provides support to both the airwing and fleet ships. During 2005 the command provided relief support to the citizens of Indonesia devastated by a tsunami due to an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26th 2004. Flying the SH-60F and HH-60H, there were 231 medevacs of displaced refugees, 475,000lbs of disaster relief cargo delivered, and 1010.9hrs flown in a 31 day period. 10,000 lives were saved in the first ten days.

On the 6th of August 2009, the Golden Falcons transitioned to the MH-60S helicopter and re-designated as HSC-12.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.csfwp.navy.mil/cvw-2/cvw2squadrons.htm
  2. ^ http://gonavy.jp/CVW-NEf.html
  3. ^ It was Edward Robert Dorsey and Johnnie Lee Frazier: We lost two (2) men that day on the Forrestal (it was not Mike Dorsey) on the USS Forrestal, TAD for flight ops. This Edit is by Orville Patrick (Pat) Knox Plane Captain in HS-2 from 1965-1968
  4. ^ http://www.hs2.navy.mil/history.htm
  5. ^ http://hsc12.ahf.nmci.navy.mil/transition.html

External links[edit]

See also[edit]