The name of this squadron can be a bit confusing, based on the reference used. Early references called the squadron the Big Dippers, based on the fact that the primary antisubmarine sensor used on board the helicopter was a dipping sonar, back then a relatively new device. The squadron emblem and patch displayed a seven star big dipper constellation. What is certain is that for most of the its existence HS-7 was called the Shamrocks. Although the name was the Shamrocks, the radio callsign used, at least through much of the 1980s, was Dusty Dog. For example, if the individual helicopter being flown on a mission was number 610, the radio callsign would be Dusty Dog 610, often simply Dusty 610. At some point, perhaps in the late 1990s, it appears that HS-7 adopted the Dusty Dog name as its official name. Cheers, Dave Powers
In January 2008, HS-7 was scheduled to become Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron SEVEN ( HSC-7 ). The change took effect in 2011
Completed a deployment - still under the designation HS-7, and flying the Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H - aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) 21May10 to 20Dec10.
By Otto Preske, JO3, HS7 was originally the Big Dipper with a squadron patch of a winged big dipper attacking a submarine on a black shield with a lite blue background. We used HSS-1 and later HSS-1N helos. Stationed at NAS Norfolk we went to sea on the Randolph (CVS-15). I was there in 1960/62. The HSS-1N helo was replaced after I left active duty. I was there when the Randolph picked up Grissom. The Dusty Dogs, etc came much later. I read on another website that HS7 was deployed on the Valley Forge, this is incorrect, we were on the Randoo-candoo
By Bill Kapinski SO2, I agree with Otto Preske, JO3 (whom I dont remember). I toowas assigned to HS7 from 1960/61 and went to sea aboard the USS Randolph 2 weeks out, 2 weeks in for almost 2 years and was also aboard when Grissom was picked up
By Timothy Jones, I was "plankowner" and one of the original sonar operators with a newly formed ASW squadron at NAS, Norfork, HS-7, the Big Dippers, about July/August 1956. I still have my patch and a lot of photos. Our first helos were used HO4S3s, called "horses", 5 of them and one by one replaced with HS-1 Sikorsky. At first, the dipping sonar units were all installed by techs at NAS, and later the Sikorsky came equipped with them. Our sea deployments were anually aboard the USS Valley Forge, CVS 45, from 40 to 100 days and usually into the Carribean. Once or twice, we went out on the USS Leyte. We were the last fleet that had liberty in Havana, Cuba before it was closed by Fidel. I left HS7 as a SO2 in Oct. 1958 when Cmdr Nelson was the CO and we had 9 helos and about 16 sonarman and we flew almost everyday. When at NAS, we d do ASW in the Bay area. Many fond memories
By Richard (Richie) Boyer, Sonar Division, I was in HS-7 (SO3) from around 1959 to Sept 1961. My first cruise was on the Valley Forge. We went to Bermuda, NYC and Nova Scotia. Only one cruise on the Valley Forge and from then on out we were on the Randolph..PS> Bill Kapinski was there with me.
By Gabriel Bayne, I served in HS-7 From 1960-62 onboard the Randolph (CVS-15). I served with Otto Preske, Johnny Cash, Jack Brannon, Bob Wolf, Thomas Trolia, Doc Daugherty and many other swell guys I just cant remember. I picked up a German sailor off the Mercator in the Atlantic and got the Winged S.
By Andrew Amendolare ADR3, I served with HS-7 1960-1961. I was plane captain of HSS-1N #50, was there during Cuba and Grissom and Glenn. I was tranferred to VR-1 Pax River, MD early 1962
By Charlie Garner CW: I was a sonarman in HS7 from 1/1960 to 10/61. Here are some highlights that I remember. 1) In April or May 1960 we operated with the Nautilus just before she went to be prepared for public display. 2) I well remember trying to hold contact on the Scorpion (lost May 1968) – not a chance. 3) We knew about the Bay of Pigs. One late evening about a dozen or more helicopter crews were called to the VS ready room and told we would fly off the next morning and assigned to one of three waves: 1st to deliver supplies, 2nd to pick up wounded, and 3rd to gather information on the Cuban forces (Bob McGuire and I were assigned to planes in the third wave.). We then began to strip the sonar gear from the planes. About 0200 I was told it was canceled and to put the gear back. Then I flew on a recon patrol along the coast at night. I assumed we were looking for survivors but as a crewman I was never told that, 4) According to my flight log on July 11 and 12 we were sent out to search for a Russian sub. I noted in my flight log because we were to look for it on the surface. One crewman (McBride I think) came back and told us his plane found it. Strange (and funny) was that the Russian sailors were on deck and mooned him. Having seen the movie K-19 I realize now what was going on. The movie shows the mooning of a crewman in a modified HSS-1 or H-34. 5) I flew in one of the support planes patrolling the area for the Grissom flight. We landed as he left and moved to the hangar bay in our planes. I then rushed to the cat walk (you could not be on deck if you were not in whites) but it was on the port side of the plane. I could only see his legs and feet and surprised that they were dripping wet (I did not know yet what happened). 6) I learned from Dave Skinner who visited me on his way home that he was on the HS7 flight that brought up the missile sub caught leaving the missile crises in Cuba. At that time I was still in the Navy hospital and saw pictures in the news but did not know it was HS7.
By Richard Boyer, I went on one cruise on the Valley Forge. We were out for 6 weeks and went to Bermuda, NYC, Nova Scotia and Halifax. You are incorrect when you say HS-7 did not go on the Valley Forge. I spent 6 wks mess cooking before going to the Sonar Division after this cruise. After this cruise, we went on the Randolph for the rest of my enlistment, got out in 1961. Hope this clears things up a little bit
By CW Garner, Richie is right. I remember in Jan 1960 after reporting to HS-7 I was assigned to a work detail to go to the Randolph and chip paint in our berthing area. Sam Quinn was in charge. Then we loaded on the Randolph and I was on there until Sept. 1961 when I was sent to the hospital.
By Lonnie Duke, Yeoman in Flight-Operations. I served with HS-7 from Jan 1959 thru Jan 1961. Cruised on Valley Forge CVS 45 and Randolph CVS 15 just as Richard Boyer wrote. I remember Garner, Boyer, Trolia, Boyer, Mahoney, and a bunch of others. At the time when I was in I really didn't enjoy it, but as I think back on the Memories they were a great bunch Sailors to serve with. Thanks for the great memories Airmen.
By Richard (Richie) Boyer///SOA 3 ... Hope you guys don't mind a little story regards the cruise on the Valley Forge while in HS-7..I mentioned in previous comments about the cruise to NYC> This was my first cruise and I was mess cooking for 6 wks. We pulled into NYC for about 1 week. I think I was a seaman at the time and was 18 yrs. old and fresh out of sonar school. I met a girl at the USO and she met me each day and would show me the town. One day she said we were going to her uncles restaurant.. We arrived at a place called LINDY's..I have never heard of it and I had all of 4 dollars my pocket. She said don't worry so in we went. Her uncle was he manager a sat us down in the best place in the restaurant. Miss America was at the next table..no kidding..I again reminded her of my finances but she said it's taken care of. I think it was around Thanksgiving because we got a turkey dinner on the house. What a blast, me in my sailor suit with all the big wheels. I found out later from guys from ny that Lindys was a well know hot spot . Here is the best part of the story. One day, I decided to go out with the guys. We got back to the ship and the OD asked if my name was Boyer. After I said yes, he said that Admiral ------ had called for me at around 5pm. You can imagine the shock I was in. I was a kid from a small town, in the navy for less than a year and an Admiral was looking for me. I was up all night...The next day I met my friend and she asked where I was the day before. I told her and she said the she asked a sailor in her office to call the ship to find me. She called him Jim and he had an office next to her's at the port. It turned out that her buddy Jim was a 2 star admiral and she thought nothing of asking him to try and track me down. What a relief but I asked her to please not ask "Jim' to call again. We sailed away and I never saw her again but what a time. PS...Some of my buddies from HS-7 ended up in Florida. Lee McBee and Don Carrico. Both passed a couple of years ago. Saw Jim Bellmore in Montana, he is doing fine. Hope this story might bring a smile to you guys. Memories of an 18 yr old on his first cruise...
By Don Riley I went straight to HS-7 from AT"A" school in Memphis in late 1961. I worked in the AT shop w/ Jack Brannon (AT2) , Chief Sipes (ATCA) and Chief Dillenbeck (ATC). If I remember right, we had the HSS-1 or 1N then. I was aboard when we high-lined John Glenn from the USS Noa after his flight. I was also aboard when we tracked that Russian sub during the Cuban blockade and brought him to the surface. I re-enlisted in late 1962 and went back to NATTC Memphis for "B" school. The Navy in it's wisdom sent me right back to HS-7. Then we got the SH3A and were back to 2 in, 2 out or 3 in, 3 out on the Randolph. I know we had the SH3A in July 1965 because I have pictures of them from that time. Somewhere in there we also made a Med cruise (1962) and also went TAD for a couple of weeks at Gitmo. If you look on Google Earth, the EM club we used then and the barracks we stayed in, no longer exist. Long gone! By the way, when I got out of the Navy, I went to work for Honeywell. I was walking down the hall at Honeywell and met Chief Dillenbeck. He was working for Honeywell also in some northern city. It was almost like old home week. I have a lot of strong memories from my Navy and HS-7 days.
By Tony O'Malley, AX2 While I served with HS-7 from 74-77, the squadron was called the Shamrocks. We were always out of uniform because our squadron ball cap was kelly green with a white shamrock superimposed with the number 7 on the front of the cap. I had a privately owned 1953 GMC 1 ton pickup that my dad had painted kelly green while I was on leave in Wisconsin. Because the color of the truck matched the color of the caps we wore, the brass thought it was a squadron vehicle. We were able to drive that thing all over the place where usually only official vehicle could go, like onto the tarmac where the Helos and other planes were kept. We flew the Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King helicopter. It was notable for a large radar dome on the underside beneath the cargo door area and MAD gear that deployed from the port side wheel canopy. I made 3 Mediterranean cruises on board the U.S.S. Saratoga (CV-60) that deployed out of Mayville, Fl. I was with them for the 1976 Bicentennial Cruise. Interestingly, I first had contact with HS-7 a year before I joined them. I was ship's company on the U.S.S. Guam (LPH-9) working as an antisubmarine technician (AX) in the experimental small carrier Antisubmarine Classification and Analysis Center (ASCAC). HS-7 was active in that operation before I served with the squadron. When the project on the U.S.S. Guam terminated, I was transferred to HS-7. I spoke to a dispatcher later who advised that they liked the idea of an Irish themed unit so they tried to send qualified sailors with Irish names to HS-7 Shamrocks. That may account for all the Irishman in the unit during my service there.