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  • usa Helicopter Combat Support Squadron FOUR

    US Navy

    HC-4 : Black Stallions

    1960 to 2007    


    Helicopter Combat Support Squadron FOUR
    Tail Codes
    HC 1983/07
    1960 - Helicopter Utility Squadron Four (HU-4)
    1965 - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4)
    1973 - HSL-30

    1983 - Reactivated as HC-4 Black Stallions, tail code HC
    2007 - disestablished
    HC-4 provided a detachment of CH-53E for logistics support for the 5th Fleet, in Bahrain from Apr 1992. It handed over the mission to HM-14 on 10 Aug 1999.

    I was stationed in NAS Lakehurst and served with the squadron till June 1968. My service included a time with detachment 36 in Vietnam. We lost scooter 54 on april 8, 1968 6 miles off the coast of Vung Tau. I was the combat aircrewman, assigned with pilot Lt Carl Park and Ltjg Grahm co-pilot. Thanks to the two great aviators we and three passengers made it home. I was known as Dee Deacosta then. Anyone knowing of anyone from this still alive and well please contact
    1963-1966 I was station at Lakehurst, NJ. I was at the cermony when we change the squadron from HU-4 to HC-4 in 1965. I was a plane-captain on UH-2A/UH-2B, UH-1, CH-19 i had a great time flying in those great helicopters. I also was sent on many ships. USS Wright (CC-2) and USS Northampton (CLC-1), plus flew aboard many other ships. Please send any info about the squadron after 1966
    1964-1966, I was HU4-HC4. Served on the USS Springfield in the Med. USS Wright-USS Northampton out of Norfolk AE 3 - AirCrewman - Plane Captain Great days. Great enjoyment!!
    1966-1967, I was in HC-4 at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. Flew in the H-46, SH-3, and H-34's. Went aboard the USS Camden (AOE-2) the first fast attack supply ship to train them in flight operations. AT2 Mark Linn
    Apr66 till discharge Nov67 I was Officer Records Yeoman/YN3 CDR Sharpe and CDR Cook we CO/XO during this time. Anyone remembering me and would like to talk my name and email follow. Tim Spiese YN3
    1966-1968, I came to hc4 I was a pr my po in charge was pr1 Meehan I worked in the paraloft we packed chutes at mad paraloft in hanger 1. I still stay in close contact with tom Chesery he was a yeoman does anyone remember leading chief Scotty my name is Ricky montez.
    1966-1969 Hi, Jack here, I was stationed with HC-4 at Lakehurst hanger4?, was AE4. Would like to here from HC-4 guys back then. jackomurph at aol com
    1967-1969, I was stationed at NAS Lakehurst in HC-4. I was an aviation structural mechanic(ams)2nd, H-2 plane captain and SAR aircrewman. Made 1968 Med cruise aboard USS Little Rock (CLG4) Det47, with LTJG Stevenson and LT Rader. Always loved to fly in those helos. Many great memories, great people and great times. The Little Rock is now a museum ship moored at Buffalo New York. My name is Gary Andrews.
    1967-1969, I was with HC-4 Aviation Electricians mate 3rd class. Spent time in Gaeta Italy on USA Little Rock. 10 days on USS Independence in summer of ‘69 for carrier quals. Mike Huebner
    Jun67-Jun69 I was in HC-4 at Lakehurst Naval Air station. I was an Aircraft Electronics Tech. I was on detachments on the USS Little Rock (CLG-4), USCG Edisto (WAGB-284), and the USS Springfield (CLG-7). I have been trying to find some our squadron member. You can find me on FB. Mark Clatterbaugh
    1967-1970 I was stationed at NAS Lakehurst and attached to squadron HC-4. I was an aviation electrician and combat aircrewman on the UH-2B. Seen detachments to the North Pole aboard the coast guard icebreaker, USS Westwind, and also Westpac, operating off the USS Mt. McKinley. Great time of life and would recommend to any young person searching for opportunities. Name - Steve "Doc" Doctor, Go Navy!!
    1967-1970 I was in HC-4. ADJ2 aircrewman, plane captian, detatchment crewleader. Still had 6 H-19s when first there. The UH-2C was just coming on line when I got out. Also aboard the Mt. McKinley (AGC-7/LCC-7) Det.36 departing from the Clevland in Dec 1969. Best I recall you were there with me Doc Ltjg Graham was also with us for a while on that deployment. Ive got pictures in a box somewhere. Others I recall on that cruise were Randy Whitten, M A Watts, Eric Erickson, Steve Doctor, Jeff a kiddie cruiser from Wis and Joe an AE from Fla. The Gray Ghost saw service from DaNang to Vye, Cam Rahn Bay and Saigon. My name is Pat Morris.
    Pat Morris I seen your response on this website. Yes, I do remember those good old days our group when we were over in the Philippines during our Westpac days. Really great to hear from you. If time email skdocto at gmail. God bless, Doc
    1967-1970, at NAS Lake Hurst. ADJ2, Plane Captain, Aircrew. Always loved flying. Med Cruise on the Little Rock. Med Cruise on the Galveston. Bob Hutton and I were the crewmen when we were rescuing people from the "Angel Gabriel". Bob was on the ship deck putting people in the horse collar, I was on the hoist. The wind was so strong the first two trips to the ship we pickup 7 people for a three passenger plane, Second trip did the same thing. Third trip we were hit by a wave. RPM dropped and came back up. Took on 6 more passengers. When circling around to land on the beach at approximately 500 feet had a compressor stall, T-5 jumped to 700 degrees and down we went. We hit a brick building and tore off both landing gear. Lt Whalen and LTJG Petrucka were outstanding. Next day flew the plane back to the ship without landing gear, landing on a stack of mattresses. That was the end of our flying in the Med. When we came home we did so via the north Atlantic. In October I believe. What a wild ride. Other crew members were "Jinngles" Clatterbaugh, "Jake" Rick, and a few other great guys. After that I did a 30 day cruise on the USS Pocono to the Caribbean, Only other crewmember I remember was Eric Szarka. I am on FB, John E. Meeker -
    1968-1970. Det.36
    Apr69-Dec70 I was in HC-4 stationed at Lakehurst when I got out of the Navy. I was an aviation electrician mate and spent short periods of time on the USS Independence, the Lexington, and the USS Raleigh, while attached to HC-4.
    late 1969, I arrived at HC-4 and until I left the service Jan72. I was a plane captain, and air crew. Sailed on USS Newport News (CA-148) and USS Pocono (AGC-16). Veterans Day makes you remember those fond memories. While looking for photos of HC-4 squadron, I found this site. Elmer Bott
    1969-1970, looking for the guys that went cruising with me on the USS Lexington (CV-16). AMS-3 Moyer
    Aug83-Sep85, I was the commissioning Corpsman (HM). I joined the Squadron about a week after it arrived onboard US NAS Sigonella. It was the 1st of 2 Squadrons I had the honor of being a part of. Wouldn't trade my time for anything. I transferred to PATROL SQUADRON FIVE (VP-5) in Sep 1985. HM1 Willie Deadwyler, USN (Ret)
    June86-Apr89. Following my wanderlust to live in Europe I managed to get assigned to HC-4. Loved living with my family in Nicolosi, the quaint town on the south slope of Mt. Etna with its outrageous food, friendly people and 4 full seasons (5 if including volcanic ash season!). Of course I went there for the flying and was never disappointed with the places and missions that HC-4 presented. From Air-to-Air refueling nonstop to Rota or Tel Aviv, the first-ever H-53E HIFR which was surreptitiously planned & executed one early morning on a cargo mission to a DD-963 class destroyer without specific command approval (from my father's Navy flying days wisdom - including HU-4 in the 60's; "its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission"!). Reading comments here, I never really heard any specific fear of the 53 spoken about but looking back, I should have been more realistic. Let's face it; it had a very spotty record (I even have a book i bought in the 90's entitled "The Worst 100 Aircraft in the Aviation History" which cites the 53E in the very beginning section). My HC-4 squadron mate "Chris _________" had to make an emergency landing at the island just west of Trapani which was the first known "Bull Gear" failure which grounded the fleet and led finally to a new design and retrofitted DCB. I had to make a night landing next (partially in!) a vineyard on Stromboli Island due to a MGB chip. But somehow I always had faith in all products of Igor, my training - and especially the amazing maintenance department. Looking back now after a career in civil aviation for 25 years, I have no idea how these young Petty Officers and Airmen somehow kept that beast in the air without accident at HC-4 (and elsewhere). Obviously their training and particularly the leadership in HC-4 (PO1, CPO's, SCPOs & MCPO) somehow kept it safe for us. Great memories - and very happy to see the new 53K take to the skies now finally after all those flight hours on Echos...Fly safe current & future Super Stallions, Sea Dragons & King Stallions ! (Steve Lakeway) -
    Jun88-Jun92, I was stationed the first time with HC-4. Was an AO2 Aircrewman. Worked in the line shack and then OPS. Deployed all around the MED in support of the CBG and the MARG. Used to do 700 mile round trips out of Sigonella to the carriers. Deployed to Liberia (Ndr Operation Sharp Edge=evac US citizens from civil war) aboard the USS Ponce (LPD-15) and then moved to Freetown, Sierra Leona in support of the MARG. Started with one helicopter on the ride down with the MARG. Added a second helicopter after about a month. Changed out and left to go to Jeddiah Saudi Arabia in support of Desert Storm.
    Jun88-Jun94, There as enlisted in the 1970's as enlisted and thereafter as an officer from Liberia thru GW I, the squadron broke so many records. The claims no ship wanted the helo abroad is nonsense, as most of my officer time on the carriers, HC-4 was welcome. The CH-53E could haul more than the CODs and easily moved cargo and people from ship-to-ship unlike the fixed wing C-2. During GW I, HC-4 was the Navy's number one maintenance department, so in a war they proved their stuff in spades. Our all woman detachment kicked butt to, so there is nothing bad or shameful about HC-4, except later the outfit was led haphazardly and committed to missions without regards to the crews or their upkeep. Like all squadrons, there are cycles, and HC-4 hit its peak during the evacuation of Liberia, and Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and after during the collapse of the USSR< the longest self-lift to Northern Europe in naval aviation history. Glad to have been a part of a great team of the finest sailors and officers in my 24 year Mustang Officer career. If you think this outfit was never safe or not wanted, you were unfit for duty overseas with this classic naval aviation squadron. Joe Yuna
    1990, You need to know that for CH-53E BUNO 161539, that I was the person responsible for overseeing the repair that aircraft, after a mountain strike when the aircraft collided with the side of a mountain during operation provide comfort during operation Provide Comfort for the Kurdish region after the initial Gulf War. I was responsible to oversee the repairs, ensure quality and maintain continuity with the US Navy as a member of NERRA, Naval European Repair and Rework Activity stationed at Cappuccino, Naples and TAD to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel, from Jan, 91 through Dec 94. During that time the aircraft was evaluated and deemed repairable and transferred by truck and barge and shipped to To Haifa via Turkey barge and trucked to Tel Aviv at 0 dark 30, to to Israeli Aircraft Industries Tel Aviv. The aircraft that you mentioned as a tail section shipboard strike was EC-130Q BUNO 161531 (also from HC-4) and made the trip similar to 539 but was retrieved from a ship in Haifa after the tail strike. I escorted the aircraft to Tel Aviv at 0230 from Haifa to Ben Gurion. By the way, I do have pictures. After 161539 was accepted by the US Navy, and supposedly was to fly directly to Sig, the aircraft was diverted to Bahrain where I missed one very important issue before releasing the aircraft, the Israelis as a joke since the aircraft was to go straight to Sig had painted a very small stencil below the BUNO that read," Made in Israel with a star of David". That was the year that the grey coma -flog was required for all USN Aircraft and since the aircraft went to Bahrain instead of Sig, I took a lot of flak over that stencilwhen it was discovered by a Bahrainian maintenance worker. AMSC Frederick E. Stump, USN (Forever but RET) -
    Oct92-Jul93 I was stationed with HC-4. It was my first helicopter squadron in my then 18 year career. I was assigned to the training department and maintenance during this time. I was TAD twice, both times to Naples from Sigonella. I never found a purpose of the squadron since no ship wanted us to come on board because of the size of the helicopters. I never felt it was a safe and never really wanted to fly in it. I wasn't in the squadron long, due to some medical issues and never missed it after I came back to the states.

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    1983/07IT SigonellaLICZ
    1960/73NAS LakehurstKNEL


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    1995/07MH-53E Sea Dragon
    1983/95CH-53E Super Stallion

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