HSM-70 Spartans home from deployment
US Navy, December 14, 2011 - By Lt. j.g. Shannon Miller, HSM-70 PAO - The HSM-70 “Spartans” returned home Dec. 8 from their inaugural deployment with the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. Nine Spartan aircraft flew from USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) and proceeded to their home hangar at NAS Jacksonville.
Also completing their first combat cruise, USS Bush and USS Truxtun, stationed in Norfolk, Va., pulled into NS Mayport to off-load the remaining squadron personnel before boarding friends and family to embark on a two-day Tiger Cruise to Norfolk. Furthermore, the squadron reunited with their independently deployed members, who were on board the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) that returned four weeks earlier.
The Spartans returned from their seven-month deployment with great success and accomplishment. During their time at sea, the Spartans flew more than 5,000 hours in 3,600 sorties supporting Carrier Strike Group Two (CSG2), which was participating in operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
HSM-70 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Amy Bauernschmidt commented, “The Spartans fulfilled our warfighting purpose. We worked hard and brought great honor to HSM-70, the Navy and our country.”
Detachment Three, on board USS Philippine Sea, departed one month prior to the rest of Carrier Strike Group Two and sailed to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the new MH-60R’s capabilities to the Norwegian Navy. They participated in multiple exercises with the Greek, Italian, Spanish and Egyptian navies. The end of their deployment was spent conducting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
In May, USS Gettysburg and USS Truxtun accompanied USS Bush in Exercise Saxon Warrior, comprised of naval forces from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Spain. After several 5th Fleet port visits, the carrier element and Detachment One continued onto the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf. While there, they flew missions to provide surface surveillance and anti-submarine warfare and further advanced the squadron’s readiness with the accomplishment of 50 pilot and 90 enlisted warfare qualifications.
Detachment Two, embarked on board USS Truxtun, flew to support anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, conducted direct support of multiple CSG2 assets and was unexpectedly called on to MEDEVAC a merchant mariner, transporting him 400NM and saving his life.
Along with HSM-70’s diligent work and significant achievements in ensuring the combat success of CSG2, personnel were able to experience a variety of new cultures during port calls. In Portsmouth, England, Spartans toured Stonehenge and HMS Victory, a flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Vatican and Pompeii were popular visits when USS Bush pulled into Naples, Italy. In all, HSM-70 personnel visited 19 ports, including Georgia, Turkey, Egypt, Seychelles, France and Spain.
Many excited family members and friends came to HSM-70’s hangar at NAS Jacksonville and to the pier at NS Mayport to welcome home these dedicated Sailors. Notably, 10 Sailors met their new babies, who were born during the deployment, for the first time.
“We are delighted to be home, and greatly appreciate the support and warm welcome of the family and friends waiting back here for our return,” remarked Bauernschmidt.
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