Welcome to the homepage for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet

 

Archives:

2012

January

February

March

April

May

 

2011

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

2010

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

2009

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

2008

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

2007

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

Contact us for news released prior to 2007.

 

HS-14 'Chargers' Celebrate Silver Anniversary
By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Olivia R. Giger

Posted: July 13, 2009

WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN—At any moment of any day, a helicopter crew assigned to the Chargers, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14, is circling USS George Washington (CVN 73), with responsibilities ranging from anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to search and rescue (SAR).

Founded 25 years ago today in San Diego, HS-14 has been protecting the Navy’s only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier from its base in Atsugi, Japan for the past 15 years as a part of Carrier Airwing Five.

“HS-14’s primary mission is submarine defense of the inner aircraft carrier zone,” said HS-14’s Assistant Operations Officer Lt. Chris Stevens. “We’re the last line of defense against submarines.”

Stevens said other missions include Search and Rescue special operations with Navy/Sea/Air and Land (SEAL) teams, explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) missions for mine disposal, and vertical replenishments. “If there’s anything involving a helo, we do it,” he said.

HS-14’s Executive Officer Cmdr. Ray Hesser explained that since a helicopter’s capabilities are so versatile, nearly every single mission that the George Washington Carrier Strike Group performs directly involves HS-14.

“Whether it’s a fly day or no-fly day, underway or in port, we have something to do,” said Hesser. “Even when we have a day off, we’re on alert for SAR.”

Such is the life of many helicopter squadrons in the Navy. But what makes HS-14 different, Stevens said, is their size and range.

“Not only do we have a primary carrier-based squadron, we have two autonomous single-helicopter detachments, each with two pilots, two air crewmen and about 11 maintainers,” he said.

These two extra crews provide additional ASW capabilities for the carrier strike group on USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Mustin (DDG 89).

“With the [squadron on GW] together with these two ‘satellites,’ we have 24-hour ASW coverage if we need it. They double our helicopter ability for anything that might come up,” said Stevens. “That’s the biggest difference.”

“While a standard HS squadron might have seven or eight helicopters assigned to it, HS-14 has been afforded 12 to fulfill this extra-duty requirement,” Stevens said.

HS-14 also has additional crew members to maintain the extra four helicopters and eight more pilots to fly them.

“Every HS squadron has to have the capability to field a detachment at a moment’s notice,” said Hesser. “But none of them do it continuously, with two detachments, and sustain like we do.”

Hesser explained that in the Navy there are two general kinds of helicopter squadrons. Expeditionary squadrons deploy small groups from shore-based commands, while most HS squadrons deploy their entire squadron to a large-deck ship. Only HS-14 does both—in order to provide more ASW coverage.

Because GW operates as part of the Forward-Deployed Naval Forces, in a high-traffic area for submarines, Stevens said HS-14 makes ASW a primary concern.

“We have to maintain ASW presence pretty much around the clock,” he said. “So we come away with more day-to-day, real-world experience and about 100 hours of extra flight time,” he said.

Hesser said going on a detachment is a good opportunity for pilots, aircrew members and maintenance personnel alike because they get the chance to work independently.

“The detachment’s officer-in-charge is independently responsible for all 18 people and one helicopter. They don’t get that experience on the carrier.”

The independent nature and inherent responsibility that comes with being part of an HS-14 detachment applies to all personnel within the detachment—from the parachute riggers to the aviation electronics technician’s in-charge of tactical gear. Crewmembers chosen to work off the carrier are carefully selected for their assignments.

“They have to be very reliable,” he said. “I think they grow professionally and when they come back they appreciate the camaraderie of the squadron having been away for some time.”

In Hesser’s opinion, the most rewarding thing about being a “Charger” is knowing that he’s making a difference for his country.

“Our part of the mission is so important,” he said. “I feel the satisfaction of being able to contribute to such an important job.”

Commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, GW is the flagship for the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan and comprised of Carrier Airwing Five (CVW-5); Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15) and the guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

This is an official U.S. Navy web site and the official web site for the U.S. 7th Fleet. Contact the Webmaster via e-mail or Unit 25104; FPO AP 96601-6003.

Freedom of Information Act | Please read our Privacy Policy notice | External Links Disclaimer | Visit our Parent Command