HSM-77 Saberhawks

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Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Seven (HSM-77)
HSM77 Insignia.jpg
HSM-77 Insignia
Active September 25, 1987 to present
Country  United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Navy Helicopter Squadron
Role Surface Warfare (SUW)
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Part of CVW-5
Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific
Garrison/HQ NAF Atsugi, Japan
Nickname "Saberhawks"
Engagements Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Global War on Terror
Operation New Dawn
Commanders
Current
commander
CDR Lonnie L. Appleget

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Seven (HSM-77) "Saberhawks" is a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan. HSM-77 is attached to Carrier Air Wing Five and deploys aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) and air capable ships attached to Carrier Strike Group Nine (CSG-9). The squadron was redesignated from HSL-47 on 2 Apr 2009.

Mission[edit]

The squadron's primary mission is to employ the versatility of the MH-60R helicopter to support the battle group commander's objectives, with emphasis on Surface Warfare (SUW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Secondary missions include Search and Rescue (SAR), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS), and Communications Relay (COMREL). The Saberhawks of HSM-77 fly the newest aircraft in the U.S. Navy fleet, the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, which elevates tactical maritime mission capability to a new level, far surpassing previous fleet capability. With its state-of-the-art avionics, mission systems, and cockpit, the MH-60R is the world’s most capable Naval helicopter. The aircraft features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements over the SH-60B, which give the MH-60R unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission Naval platform. The MH-60R is tasked with performing Anti-Submarine Warfare, Surface Warfare, Over-the-Horizon Targeting (OTH-T) on board aircraft carriers and Navy surface combatant ships.

History[edit]

An SH-60B of HSL-47 providing disaster relief in Sumatra

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN SEVEN “Saberhawks” began its illustrious history as Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR SEVEN (HSL-47). Established on 25 September 1987 at NAS North Island, the Saberhawks of HSL-47 employed the SH-60B helicopter. Since its inception, the Saberhawks have been at the forefront of helicopter operations in the Pacific Fleet. In 1991, HSL-47 deployed five detachments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and flew over 2,000 combat, combat support and contingency hours. The Saberhawks also played an integral role in Operation Southern Watch, providing seventeen detachments from 1992-2005. In 1992, Detachment TWO rendered the first assistance to Somali citizens during Operation Restore Hope. HSL-47 deployed the first SH-60B detachment on an aircraft carrier, the USS Constellation (CV-64), in 2001 and 2003. These detachments paved the way for HSL-47 to become the first HSL Squadron to become an integrated part of the Carrier Air Wing. The Squadron joined the Broadswords of Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2) on 1 April 2004, bringing eight SH-60B helicopters for their first deployment. Under the Navy’s Helo CONOPS “Bravo to Sea (B2C)” initiative, HSL-47 led the LAMPS Community’s transition from traditional SH-60B expeditionary operations, to carrier based MH-60R operations.

During its 2004-2005 deployment, HSL-47 became the first LAMPS helicopter squadron deployed in its entirety on board an aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, with the squadron providing LAMPS detachments to the other ships within Carrier Strike Group Nine. HSL-47 detachments operated two helicopters from the guided-missile cruiser Cape St. George as well as two from the guided-missile destroyer Shoup.[1]

HSL-47 leads an airwing flyby on board USS Abraham Lincoln

Following the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004, HSL-47 and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group sped to assist the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Arriving on December 31, the Saberhawks flew a total of 1,223 hours, distributing 404,647 lbs of food, 190,246 lbs of water and supplies, and conducting seventy medical evacuations. Prior to their 2006 deployment, HSL-47 took part in their first Air Wing Fallon in 2005, and also flew mission in response to Hurrican Katrina. In support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, HSL-47, conducted 173 rescues and delivered 76,000 pounds of food, water, and medical supplies over nineteen days.

For its 2006 Deployment, two SH-60B Seahawk aviation repairable pack-up kits, including four aviation consumable Vidmar cabinets, were transferred from Naval Air Station North Island, California, to the carrier Abraham Lincoln. This equipment was required to support the second deployment on board the Abraham Lincoln of the SH-60B-To-Carrier Pilot program that assigned the carrier to direct support of squadron HSL-47, a full squadron of SH-60B Seahawk helicopters that would be dispersed throughout the carrier strike group.[2] On 15 April 2006, HSL-47 helicopters and the guided-missile destroyer Russell provided aid to a fishing vessel in distress while operating in the South China Sea.[3] Following the completion of its 2006 deployment, the two SH-60B Seahawk aviation repairable pack-up kits, including four aviation consumable Vidmar cabinets, were returned to Naval Air Station North Island.[2]

On April 2, 2009, HSL-47 transitioned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN SEVEN. The Saberhawks were attached to CVW-2 and the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and deployed for the first time with the MH-60R.

On 14 May 2012, during its 2012 deployment, HSM-77 Detachment Five completed its temporary operational rotation on board the British replenishment oiler Fort Victoria which was serving as the flagship for Combined Task Force 151. This was the first time that a MH-60R helicopter had ever operated from a Royal Navy ship. The detachment's helicopters primarily concentrated on anti-piracy surveillance missions during this two-week period.[4]

In early 2013, the squadron executed a homeport change from NAS North Island, California to NAF Atsugi, Japan, to join the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5). Four months after settling into Japan, the squadron took part in two SEVENTH Fleet patrols on board USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) and USS ANTIETAM (CG 54). The patrols allowed the Saberhawks to prove their capabilities during numerous multinational training exercises including TALISMAN SABER 2013, Maritime Counter Special Operations Forces exercises, and ANNUALEX. Additionally, the Saberhawks participated in Operation Damayan, providing Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief in response to Super Typhoon Haiyan. During the eight-day operation, the Saberhawks safely flew six aircraft from sunrise to sunset for a total of 75 sorties and 392 mishap-free flight hours. The squadron delivered 183,920 pounds of food, 6,417 gallons of water, 2,000 pounds of medical supplies, and safely transported 59 refugees and 6 MEDEVACs.

Command history[edit]

Commander Start date End date
CDR J. D. McAfee 25 September 1987 9 September 1988
CDR D. A. Rannells 9 September 1988 1 September 1989
CDR J. C. Boyer 1 September 1989 6 September 1990
CDR T. M. Naple 6 September 1990 16 August 1991
CDR R. J. Vernon 16 August 1991 6 November 1992
CDR M. N. Wellman 6 November 1992 10 February 1994
CDR I. P. Fetterman 10 February 1994 25 May 1995
CDR J. R. Campbell 25 May 1995 5 September 1996
CDR L. J. McCoy 5 September 1996 21 November 1997
CDR T. J. Culora 21 November 1997 3 June 1999
CDR G. S. Smith 3 June 1999 5 October 2000
CDR C. S. Chesnutt 5 October 2000 7 February 2002
CDR M. J. Pringle 7 February 2002 8 May 2003
CDR M. K. Hannan 8 May 2003 24 August 2004
CDR F. J. Michael 24 August 2004 8 December 2005
CDR D. E. Boyles 8 December 2005 1 May 2007
CDR S. P. Malone 1 May 2007 2 July 2008
CDR J. P. Olive 2 July 2008 27 August 2009
CDR C. W. Michaels 27 August 2009 12 November 2010
CDR K. A. Strong 12 November 2010 4 January 2012
CDR B. C. Gaut 4 January 2012 15 February 2013
CDR Richard W. Whitfield 15 February 2013 10 April 2014
CDR Lonnie L. Appleget 10 April 2014 Present

Squadron aircraft[edit]

SH-60 Seahawk

  • SH-60B, 1987–2009
  • MH-60R, 2009–Present (redesignated HSM-77 on 2 April 2009)

Squadron awards[edit]

  • 2001 - Battle "E"
  • 2005 - Humanitarian Service Medal
  • 2007 - Battle "E"
  • 2008 - Battle "E"
  • 2010 - Battle "E"
  • 2011 - Battle "E"
  • 2011 - COMPACFLT Retention Excellence Award
  • 2011 - Blue "H" Award
  • 2011 - Blue "M" Award
  • 2011 - CNO Aviation Safety Award
  • 2011 - COMHSMWINGPAC/Sikorsky "Golden Wrench" Maintenance Excellence Award
  • 2011 - Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy
  • 2012 - Secretary of the Navy Safety Excellence Award
  • 2012 - COMHSMWINGPAC/Sikorsky "Golden "Wrench" Maintenance Excellence Award
  • 2012 - Secretary of Defense Phoenix Trophy
  • 2012 - Battle "E"
  • 2012 - COMNAVAIRFOR Admiral J.S. "Jimmy" Thach Award

Ships deployed aboard[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Curtis A. Utz and Mark L. Evans (July–August 2005). "The Year in Review 2004". Naval Aviation News. Washington, DC: U.S. Navy. Retrieved 2010-12-24. "LAMPS MK III Ship Deployments, 2004" 
  2. ^ a b "USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72): 2004 Operations". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  3. ^ Journalist 1st Class Michael Murdock, USN (April 18, 2006). "HSL-47, USS Russell Assist Vessel in Distress". NNS060418-07. USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  4. ^ a b Lt. j.g. Adam Arndt, USN (June 8, 2012). "HSM-77 Deploys First MH-60R on British Ship". NNS120608-17. Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 Public Affairs. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 

External links[edit]