HSC-8

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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight
HSC-8.gif
HSC-8 Emblem
Active June 1, 1956 - present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Navy Helicopter Squadron
Role Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)
Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR)
Search & Rescue (SAR)
Special Operations (SpecOps)
Vertical replenishment (VERTREP)
Part of CVW-9
Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific
Garrison/HQ NAS North Island
Nickname "Eightballers"
Motto 'Eightballers- Roll Fast, Roll Hard!'
Colors Green and Black
Engagements Vietnam War
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Global War on Terror
Commanders
Current
commander
CDR Derrick Kingsley

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight (HSC-8) "Eightballers" is a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. HSC-8 is attached to Carrier Air Wing Nine[1] (CVW-9) and deploys aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). HSC-8 was redesignated from HS-8 on 28 September 2007.

Mission[edit]

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight (HSC-8) provides vertical lift Search and Rescue, Logistics, Anti-Surface Warfare, Special Operations Forces Support, and Combat Search and Rescue capabilities for Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) in support of the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and Carrier Strike Group Three (CSG-3) operations.

History[edit]

The original HS-8 was established at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Ream Field, Imperial Beach, California on June 1, 1956. The first helicopters employed by the command were the HSS-1 (H-34) Sea Bat. The squadron performed eight Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployments between 1957 and 1968 including combat tours in Vietnam. Notable achievements included the a 1,200 mile medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) made by helicopter, the longest in history. Other squadron achievements included participation in the Apollo VI space vehicle/crew recovery and performing more than 30 Combat Search and Rescue missions in North Vietnam.

An MH-60S Knighthawk Helicopter conducts VERTREP Operations

The squadron was decommissioned in November 1968 only to be recommissioned a year later on November 1, 1969. Although the Navy does not officially recognize lineage between the two squadrons,[2] the newly established squadron resumed the insignia and traditions of the former squadron. With the new commissioning came new helicopters, namely the SH-3D. Notable achievements during the next decade included site surveys for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, a study of blue whale migration patterns, supporting President Nixon during his working vacation aboard the USS New Orleans and deploying in response to the Iranian hostage crisis. In 1976 the American Bicentennial Committee honored HS-8 as a bicentennial command. The squadrons 19th deployment came in response to Desert Shield/Desert Storm in December 1990. This deployment was the last for HS-8 in the SH-3.

On April 2, 1993 HS-8 completed transition from the SH-3H into the new SH-60F/HH-60H Seahawk helicopter. The squadron's 20th WESTPAC deployment was from February to August 1994. HS-8 was a member of Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14) aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). The 21st WESTPAC was concluded in May 1996 followed in September 1997 by an "Around the World Cruise" with the USS Nimitz. Deployments after this were routine until September 11, 2001.

From November 2001 to May 2002 HS-8 and Carrier Air Wing Nine deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom. There they played a vital role in the campaign that ended with the removal of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

HSC-8 redesignation ceremony September 28, 2007
M240 machine gun is fired from a SH-60F Sea Hawk assigned to the "Eightballers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Eight (HS-8) during a training exercise. 2003

HS-8 made another WESTPAC deployment from January to September 2003 followed by their second "Around the World Cruise" from January to August 2005 aboard the USS Carl Vinson. The squadron earned the Carrier Air Wing Nine Golden Wrench Award for superior maintenance and mission completion percentages as well as the Battle E Device (Navy Battle Efficiency Award) for the 2005 World Cruise.

In early December 2005 an HS-8 helicopter and aircrew participated in filming a portion of the television show '24' where the helicopter was transporting the fictitious Russian president and his wife to the American presidents ranch.[3]

On September 28, 2007 at Naval Air Station North Island, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Eight was redesignated as Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight and received its first MH-60S with the armed helo kit. In January 2009, HSC-8 went on its first deployment with the MH-60S where it was joined by HSM-71 aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). During this deployment, HSC-8 assisted in the filming of Transformers 2.[4]

Starting the first of two back to back eight month deployment cycles, HSC-8 embarked on a WESTPAC deployment in July 2011. During deployment, the Eightballers accomplished the first ever MH-60S Cruiser/Destroyer (CRUDES) detachment when they embarked on USS MOBILE BAY (CG-53). HSC-8 also assisted in counter piracy operations, successfully aiding in the capture of fifteen suspected pirates.

After a short turn around, HSC-8 departed on an eight-month surge deployment to the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility in September of 2012. HSC-8 deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) aboard the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, maritime security operations, and theater security exercises. One of the highlights of the deployment was the rescue of a drowning man in the Straits of Malacca- the Eightballer’s first overwater rescue in several years. HSC-8 also participated in OPERATION BEACON FLASH, a joint security exercise with the Royal Omani Air Force.

Former Commanding Officers[edit]

  • Jun 1956 - Jul 1956 LCDR R.G. West
  • Jul 1956 - Jan 1958 CDR Louis F. Knight
  • Jan 1958 - Jan 1959 CDR Alton W. Payne
  • Jan 1959 - Feb 1960 CDR Alvin F. Emig
  • Feb 1960 - Feb 1961 CDR William C. Butler
  • Feb 1961 - Apr 1962 CDR William L. Aydelott
  • Apr 1962 - Mar 1963 CDR Carl H. Klindworth
  • Mar 1963 - Mar 1964 CDR Jack R. Evans
  • Mar 1964 - Mar 1965 CDR Bryan R. Eagan
  • Mar 1965 - Dec 1965 CDR George E. Smith
  • Dec 1965 - Oct 1966 CDR Nathan F. Mcdonald
  • Oct 1966 - Jul 1967 CDR David L. Hughes
  • Jul 1967 - Jul 1968 CDR Emiddio Massa
  • Jul 1968 - Dec 1968 CDR Robert R. Zastrow
  • Nov 1969 - Oct 1970 CDR Frank M. Suzan
  • Oct 1970 - Oct 1971 CDR Thomas D. Eyres
  • Oct 1971 - Nov 1972 CDR Orville Wright, Jr
  • Nov 1972 - Oct 1973 CDR Paul E. Caine
  • Oct 1973 - Oct 1974 CDR Charles P. Silvia
  • Oct 1974 - Nov 1975 CDR Barry W. Coats
  • Nov 1975 - Jan 1977 CDR Dale L. Larson
  • Jan 1977 - May 1978 CDR Charles E. Brooks
  • May 1978 - Jul 1979 CDR William E. Terry
  • Jul 1979 - Oct 1980 CDR Robert Parkinson
  • Oct 1980 - Dec 1981 CDR Joseph S. Walker
  • Dec 1981 - Jun 1983 CDR Mack Thomas, Jr.
  • Jun 1983 - Sep 1984 CDR Robert A. Schottle
  • Sep 1984 - 1986 CDR Randall O. Abshier
  • 1986 - 1988 CDR Douglas Yesensky
  • 1988 - 1990 CDR William Anderson Cain
  • 1990 - 1991 CDR Donald Steuer
  • 1991 - 1992 CDR Al 'Booter' Haefner
  • 1992 - 1993 CDR Lars Wallis
  • 1993 - 1994 CDR Henry Dosker
  • 1994 - 1996 CDR Terry Doyle
  • 1996 - 1998 CDR Lou Cortellini
  • 1998 - 2000 CDR Terry Jones
  • 2002 - 2003 CDR Nosenzo
  • 2003 - 2004 CDR Thom Burke
  • 2004 - 2006 CDR Marc Homan
  • 2006 - 2007 CDR Joey Tynch
  • 2007 - 2008 CDR Lawrence Vincent
  • 2008 - 2009 CDR Mike Ruth
  • 2009 - 2011 CDR Eric Soderberg
  • 2011 - 2012 CDR Monroe Howell
  • 2012 - 2013 CDR Lawrence Meehan
  • 2013 - Present CDR Derrick Kingsley

Squadron Aircraft[edit]

A rescue swimmer is lifted up to an HS-8 SH-60F.

H-34 Choctaw (redesignated SH-34 in 1962)

  • HSS-1, 1956–1960
  • SH-3A Sea King, 1962-1969 (night dipping capability)

H-3 Sea King

  • SH-3D 1969 - 1993
  • SH-3H, 1969–1993

SH-60 Seahawk

  • SH-60F, 1993–2007
  • HH-60H, 1993–2007
  • MH-60S, 2007–present (redesignated HSC-8 in 2007)
An HH-60H assigned to HS-8 prepares to taxi at NAF El Centro, CA.
An SH-3H of HS-8 dipping its sonar in 1989

Squadron Awards[edit]

  • National Bicentennial Command
    • 1976
  • Navy Unit Commendation
    • 1990
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
    • 1985
    • 1987
    • 1996
    • 2003
  • Battle E Device (Navy Battle Efficiency Award)
    • 1980
    • 1983
    • 1986
    • 1995
    • 2005
    • 2009
    • 2012
  • Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for Antisubmarine Warfare Excellence
    • Eight Awards
    • 2006
  • Admiral Jimmy Thach Award for Best Carrier Antisubmarine Warfare Squadron in the Navy
    • Five Awards
    • 2006
  • Top Torpedo Award for Antisubmarine Warfare Excellence
    • 1982
    • 1983
    • 1984
    • 1991
    • 1992
  • Sikorsky Superior Maintenance Award
    • 1983
    • 1984
    • 1985
    • 2003
    • 2012
  • Navy Golden Anchor Award
    • 1991
    • 1997
  • Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award
    • 1983
    • 1985
    • 1986
    • 1990
    • 1994
    • 2002 "for 22 years and 72,000 flight hours without a Class 'A' mishap."
    • 2012
  • Naval Air Forces Medical Readiness Award
    • 2012


Ships Deployed Aboard[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lemoore.navy.mil
  2. ^ History.navy.mil
  3. ^ News.Navy.mil (Navy News Stand)
  4. ^ Navy.mil, Navy News Stand