US Navy, January 23, 2013 - NAS JACKSONVILLE by Lt. j.g. Tim Boyce - The “Proud Warriors” of HSL-42 were disestablished Jan. 15 at NAS Jacksonville Hangar 1122 and, at the same ceremony, redesignated as HSM-72.
The change reflects their transition from flying the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter to the MH-60R “Romeo” Seahawk. It also marked the squadron’s transition from a detachment-based, expeditionary squadron to its new focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) in support of a carrier air wing.
HSM-72 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Troy Anderson said, “Our first Romeo is scheduled to arrive from Sikorsky’s Owego, New York in February. When we receive our full complement of 11 Romeos, we’ll join Carrier Air Wing-7 and deploy with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) Carrier Strike Group.
Established in October 1984, HSL-42 was the first East Coast LAMPS Mk III squadron to employ the now storied SH-60B airframe. Since that time, HSL-42 maintained a high standard of excellence that established the Proud Warriors’ reputation as leaders in detached ASW and ASuWoperations.
Most recently, HSL-42 was awarded the Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic 2012 Battle Efficiency award for the third consecutive year, making it the recipient of this award six out of the last seven years. In its 28 years of existence, the squadron was awarded the Battle “E” an enviable 12 times.
The squadron was also awarded the Arleigh Burke Fleet trophy, the Capt. Arnold Jay Isbell ASW trophy, the Talon award, a Golden Wrench award, and the Blue ‘M’ for medical readiness.
This reputation for operational excellence led to HSL-42 being selected as the first operational naval aviation squadron to deploy with a vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle — the MQ-8B Fire Scout. HSL-42 deployed its third Fire Scout detachment in 2012 with great success, along with five traditional SH-60B detachments that supported three combatant commander areas of responsibility.
The squadron achieved 6,023 hours of mishap-free flight time in 2012, having achieved 198,179 consecutive mishap-free flight hours since its only Class “A” Mishap in 1986.
The Proud Warrior transition to HSM-72 signifies the introduction of the MH-60R to the Proud Warrior hangar – a change that has already required additional training and temporary duty for numerous aircrew and maintenance personnel. While the Romeo edition of the Sikorsky H-60 looks largely similar to its “Bravo” predecessor, the upgrades in avionics and mission systems gives the MH-60R one of the most advanced sensor suites the Navy has ever employed, revolutionalizing the way helicopters will be employed by both carrier air wings and surface combatants.
Though HSM-72 will take to the skies with one of the Navy’s newest aircraft, the young squadron will also have in its hangars a 28-year reputation for success that was hard earned by generations of HSL-42 pilots, aircrewmen, maintenance, and support personnel. And while HSM-72 stands with pride on the base of its historic LAMPS legacy, it eagerly awaits the challenges that lie ahead during its integration with carrier air wing and strike group operations. The heritage of the Proud Warriors, a namesake derived from Native Americans, will ensure that the initial chapters of HSM-72 history be written in ways that reflect the “Principled, Disciplined and Confident” manner in which the squadron has always operated.