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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight
HSC-8 Emblem
Active1 November 1969 – present
Country United States of America
BranchUnited States Navy Seal United States Navy
TypeNavy Helicopter Squadron
RoleAnti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)
Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR)
Search & Rescue (SAR)
Special Operations (SpecOps)
Vertical replenishment (VERTREP)
Part ofCVW-11
Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific
Garrison/HQNAS North Island
Motto(s)'Ready & Lethal: Victory Follows the Eightball!'
ColorsGreen and Black
EngagementsVietnam War
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Global War on Terror
CDR Jeremy "Shed" Clark

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 11[1] (CVW-11) and deploys aboard USS Nimitz. HSC-8 was redesignated from HS-8 on 28 September 2007.


Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight (HSC-8), "America's Premier Combat Helicopter Squadron", 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-11) in support of the USS Nimitz(CVN-68) and Carrier Strike Group 11 (CSG-11) operations.


HSC-8 traces its lineage to the second of two squadrons which bore the designation Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron EIGHT (HS-8). That Squadron which has become HSC-8 was established on 1 November 1969.

HS-8 squadron insignia

The first squadron designated HS-8 was established at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Ream Field, Imperial Beach, California on 1 June 1956. The first helicopters employed by the command were the HSS-1N Seabat. In September 1962 in compliance with the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system the HSS-1N was redesignated the SH-34J Seabat. At the end of 1962 the squadron transitioned to the SH-3A Sea King. The squadron performed eight Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployments between 1957 and 1968 including combat tours in Vietnam. Notable achievements included 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. The squadron was disestablished in December 1968.

An MH-60S Seahawk Helicopter conducts VERTREP Operations

A year later on 1 November 1969, a new squadron was established and designated HS-8. Although the two squadrons are separate squadrons and the lineage of the first does not transfer to the second,[2] the newly established squadron adopted the former squadron's name, insignia and traditions in its honor. With the new squadron came new helicopters, namely the SH-3D Sea King. 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 Richard Nixon during his working vacation aboard USS New Orleans and deploying in response to the Iranian hostage crisis. In 1975 the squadron transitioned to the SH-3H Sea King. In 1976 the American Bicentennial Committee honored HS-8 as a bicentennial command. The squadron's 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 2 April 1993 HS-8 completed transition from the SH-3H into the new SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk helicopters. 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 USS Carl Vinson. The 21st WESTPAC was concluded in May 1996 followed in September 1997 by an "Around the World Cruise" with USS Nimitz. Deployments after this were routine until 11 September 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 28 September 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 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 28 September 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 Seahawk 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 flying the MH-60R Seahawk aboard USS John C. Stennis. During this deployment, HSC-8 assisted in the filming of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.[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 in USS Mobile Bay. 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 2012. HSC-8 deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) aboard USS John C. Stennis 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

HS-8 disestablished on 31 December 1968

Second squadron designated HS-8 established on 1 November 1969

  • 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
  • 2013–2014 CDR Derrick Kingsley
  • 2014–2016 CDR William Shipp
  • 2016 - 2017 CDR Kelly Middleton
  • 2017–Present CDR Jeremy Clarke

Squadron aircraft[edit]

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

First squadron designated HS-8 (1 June 1956 to 31 Dec 1968)

Second squadron designated HS-8/HSC-8 (1 Nov 1969 to present)

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]


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

External links[edit]