US Navy, June 22, 2012 - By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) William Jamieson, USS Jason Dunham Public Affairs - USS JASON DUNHAM, At Sea (NNS) - Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Detachment 7 "Proud Warriors," begin its last deployment while embarked aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), June 22.
During the spring of 2013, the HSL 42 Proud Warriors will transition from the SH-60B helicopter to the new MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and in the process become Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72.
"The SH-60B has been a workhorse for many years and this will be a bittersweet time for us in many ways," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Chester, officer in charge of HSL 42 Det. 7. "However, we are ready for our mission. We intend to accomplish that mission and establish the warrior legacy as we sundown the SH-60B with honor and pride."
Dunham and the Proud Warriors, deployed as part of Carrier Strike Group 8, will operate in support of 5th and 6th fleet maritime security objectives.
The MH-60R combines the best features of the SH-60B and SH-60F into one multi-mission platform. The improvements include an updated cockpit, digital monitors for flight instrumentation and the addition of mission avionics.
While this transition will facilitate many advantages for the pilots and crews, Chester said that it will be hard to say good-bye.
Even with the upgrades ahead for the squadron, HSL 42 Det. 7 pilots said their current SH-60Bs still have a lot of fight left in them.
"Our maintenance team does an outstanding job of keeping our aircraft fully mission capable and ready to participate in all operations," said HSL 42 pilot Lt. j.g. Joal Fischer
As for their part, many members of the Proud Warrior crew said they feel a tremendous pride in being the last crew to maintain the SH-60Bs for their squadron.
"I think it's cool to know we are playing a role in a little bit of history," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Torre Reese. "After this deployment we won't be named HSL 42 anymore, so we want to send it out on a high note."
Jason Dunham and HSL 42 Det. 7 are deployed along with other CSG 8 ships and aircraft to include USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66), guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), the seven squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 7, and Destroyer Squadron 28.