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Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Four Eight
HSL-48 logo.jpg
HSL-48 Insignia
ActiveSeptember 7, 1989 to Present
Country United States of America
BranchUnited States Navy Seal United States Navy
TypeNavy Helicopter Squadron
RoleSurface Warfare (SUW)
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Part ofCommander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic
Garrison/HQNaval Station Mayport
EngagementsOperation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Global War on Terror
CDR Stephen E. Banta

HSL-48 Vipers[edit]

Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Four Eight (HSL-48) "Vipers" is a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Station Mayport, Mayport, Florida. HSL-48 is attached to Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic and deploys detachments aboard U.S. Atlantic Fleet cruisers, destroyers and frigates.


HSL-48's primary mission is to employ combat-ready helicopter detachments in support of battle group commander's objectives. The squadron's primary missions are 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 Vipers of HSL-48 fly the SH-60B Seahawk multi-mission helicopter from Navy surface combatants.

Squadron History[edit]

Established on 7 September 1989 at Naval Station Mayport, the Vipers of HSL-48 employ the SH-60B helicopter. Since its inception, the Vipers have been at the forefront of helicopter operations in the Atlantic Fleet. HSL-48 has deployed over 95 detachments, flown over 131, 500 flight hours, and made approximately 129,000 small deck shipboard landings. Operationally, "Viper" detachments have deployed around the world, flying from ships forward deployed in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Caribbean, and North Seas. Vipers have conducted operations and ports-of-call in 5 of the world’s continents. Impressively, on any given day, HSL-48 typically supports simultaneous commitments to 5 geographic combatant commanders (NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM, AFRICOM)

  • Vipers have participated in the major military operations of the last quarter-century, to include:
    • Mediterranean: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Joint Endeavor, Joint Guard, Joint Forge), Albania (Silver Wake), and Kosovo (Allied Force)
    • 5th Fleet/Persian Gulf:
      • Desert Shield/Desert Storm/Southern Watch/Desert Fox
      • Embargo Operations
      • Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Active Endeavor
      • Anti-Piracy Operations
    • North/South America:
      • Counter-Narcotics Operations, to include Airborne Use of Force
      • Humanitarian Assistance in Haiti (Uphold Democracy, New Tomorrow), Nicaragua (2006, after Hurricane Felix)
    • United States: Noble Eagle (post 9-11), Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief
  • KATRINA/RITA Relief. HSL-48 was among the first military helicopters to respond to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, flying more than 180 hours, rescuing 126 people, conducted 37 medevacs, and delivered thousands of pounds of food and water.
  • Operational/notable firsts:
    • First helicopter to land on the Russian Carrier Kuznetzov (1996, Det Eight Doughboys)
    • First CHSLWL Det to deploy with Core B Weapons system (Hellfire, GAU-16, and AN/AAS-44 FLIR)
    • First Det to sea with an auxiliary fuel tank
    • First night Hellfire missile shot
    • Numerous notable drug busts, including recent Detachment Two, which seized over $735 million dollars worth of narcotics
    • VENOM 500, HSL-48 showbird, was first H-60 Seahawk inducted into the National Museum of Naval Aviation
  • Vipers have set the standard for operational excellence, safety, and leadership in the community (see HSL-48 Awards history for complete listing)
    • Two-time Battle E winner
    • Four-time Golden Wrench
    • Talon Award or Isbell Award for Tactical Excellence – 10 years
    • Three time CNO-Safety Award and Two-time CNO Ship-Helicopter Safety Award
    • Nine years of annual recognition in Navy Personal Partnership Community Service and local community awards (Pathfinder/Eddy) for public affairs and community relations
    • Seven-years of Retention Excellence Awards
  • Notable former "Vipers":
    • HSL-48’s 8th skipper, William Lescher, was recently selected to Rear Admiral
    • The 3rd Viper CMC, John Hagan, was selected as MCPON
    • Current HSMWL Commodore, CAPT Carl Bush
  • Vipers who have given their lives while in service to their country: LT Nick Juron, LT Christopher Snyder, AW2 John Kaye, LCDR Eric Cranford, and LCDR Joseph Linehan.

Former CO's[edit]

Commander Dates
CDR Stephen Beal 07 SEPTEMBER 1989 - 30 NOVEMBER 1990
CDR Rusty Kollmorgen 30 NOVEMEBR 1990 - 24 JANUARY 1992
CDR Ronald Nasman 24 JANUARY 1992 - 26 MARCH 1993
CDR Keith Laser 26 MARCH 1993 - 25 JULY 1994
CDR Russ MacConnell 25 JULY 1994 - 05 SEPTEMBER 1995
CDR Craig A. Austad 05 SEPTEMBER 1995 - 12 DECEMBER 1996
CDR Brent H.Barrow 12 DECEMBER 1996 - 02 APRIL 1998
CDR William Lescher 02 APRIL 1998 - 02 JULY 1999
CDR Stephen Senteio 02 JULY 1999 - 13 JULY 2000
CDR Patrick K. Crotzer 13 JULY 2000 - 18 JANUARY 2002
CDR James F. Hunter 18 JANUARY 2002 - 17 APRIL 2003
CDR Stephen H. Blaisdell 17 APRIL 2003 - 03 JUNE 2004
CDR Donald Cuddington 03 JUNE 2004 - 14 SEPTEMBER 2005
CDR Jeffrey Hughes 14 SEPTEMBER 2005 - 15 DECEMBER 2006
CDR John Gumbleton 15 DECEMBER 2006 - 20 MARCH 2008
CDR John J. Sniegowski 20 MARCH 2008 - 11 JUNE 2009
CDR Stephen E. Banta 11 JUNE 2009 - 29 JUNE 2010
CDR Donald E. Kennedy 29 JUNE 2010 - 30 NOVEMBER 2011
CDR Tyrel T. Simpson 30 NOVEMBER 2011 - PRESENT

Squadron Aircraft[edit]

SH-60B Seahawk

Squadron Awards[edit]

  • Excellence
    • Battle E –1997, 2004
    • Admiral Arleigh Burke Trophy (most improved combat unit in the entire US Atlantic Fleet) – 1993 (1st award of a helo unit since 1962); CHSMWL nominee—2008
  • Maintenance
    • COMHSLWINGLANT Maintenance Excellence Award (1993, 1994)
    • Golden Wrench (2004, 2005)
  • Safety
    • CNO Safety Award (2000, 2006, 2008)
    • CNO Ship-Helicopter Safety Award -- 1998 (Det One, embarked USS STUMP), 2006 (Det Two, embarked USS LEYTE GULF)
  • Tactical Excellence
    • HSL/HSMWINGLANT Talon Award for USW Weapons Proficiency (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003)
    • Captain Arnold J. Isbell Award for USW Excellence (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005)
    • Deployed Acoustic Readiness Training (DARTS) – 2003, 2007
  • Public Affairs/Community Relations/Adopt-A-School
    • Pathfinder/Beacon Eddy Award (Adopt-A-School Program) – 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
    • Florida Business Partner’s Award for 10 Years relationship with Alimacani Elementary School (1999)
    • RADM Thompson Award for Excellence in Public Affairs, 1998
    • Runner Up, Navy SE Region Jacksonville Community Service Award (2000-2001)
    • Navy SE Region Community Service Personnel Partnership Award, Sea Command (2003)
    • Personnel Partnership Flagship Community Service Award, 2005
  • Retention
    • COMNAVBASE Jacksonville Silver Anchor Award (1994)
    • CINCLANTFLT Golden Anchor Award (1999, 2000)
    • Retention Excellence Award (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
  • Miscellaneous Awards
    • Medical Readiness/Blue M (2008)
    • NS Mayport Captain’s Cup - 1992

Ships Deployed Aboard[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]



Category:Military in Florida Category:United States Navy squadrons