IWAKUNI, Japan —
The “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25’s forward-deployed detachment wrapped up two weeks of tactics exchanges and multi-mission training flights at MCAS Iwakuni, Jan. 29.
The Island Knights’ Detachment 6, which is based out of Naval Air Facility Atsugi, met with pilots and aircrew of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), who pilot the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, to share expertise on close-air-support procedures and overall interoperability of flight operations to support the Expeditionary Strike Group.
The Island Knights and VMFA-121 are slated to embark together aboard the USS Wasp (LHD 1) for a regularly scheduled patrol, which will be the first time F-35Bs deploy aboard a U.S. Navy ship in the region.
“The HSC Community strives to be the best in the world at ASUW, maritime Personnel Recovery, and Special Operations support” said CDR Will “Easy” Eastham, Commanding Officer of HSC 25. “The F-35Bs will bring a wealth of game-changing capability to the Amphibious Force SEVENTH Fleet and we look forward to continuously exploring ways to best fly and fight together within our Blue-Green team in order to provide optimal mission capacity.”
While in Iwakuni, the detachment also conducted flights to enhance surface warfare proficiency with the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 51 who operate the MH-60R.
The two squadrons conducted several combined sorties to exercise their skills in Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR), Offensive Maritime Strike, and Defense of Amphibious Task Force (DATF).
The flights refined tactics and techniques both squadrons employ to project power or defend the amphibious force as needed.
“As an armed helicopter asset, we produce air-based lethality to provide the Expeditionary Strike Group commander another option in a dynamic, multi-threat maritime environment,” said Eastham.
HSC-25 is the Navy's only forward-deployed HSC expeditionary squadron and is also tasked to maintain a 24-hour search and rescue and medical evacuation alert posture to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Their year-round deployed Detachment Six serves as the standing U.S. Navy multi-mission capable helicopter assigned to the Wasp ESG.