MH-60R squadron returns home after six-month deployment with Battle “E” award in hand
After six months, 136 days at sea and more than 60,000 miles, the Sabrehawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron HSM-77 have a lot to smile about these days.
The HSM-77 squadron and its MH-60R “Romeo” multi-mission helicopters arrived home in San Diego March 19 after their deployment with the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG). And as if that weren’t enough cause to celebrate, the squadron also recently won the 2010 Squadron Battle Efficiency (Battle “E”) competition as the Navy’s top Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron.
“I could not be more proud of the sailors and officers in my squadron and the rest of the strike group,” HSM-77’s commanding officer Cmdr. Kenneth Strong said in a Navy news release, “and I am humbled to be a member of such a dedicated team.”
During its deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Abraham Lincoln CSG’s Carrier Air Wing Two, to which HSM-77 is attached, flew more than 8,300 sorties and more than 23,500 flying hours.
The Navy announced this year’s Battle “E” winners in February while the carrier group was underway. The Navy conducts the Battle “E” competition to strengthen individual command performance, overall force readiness and to recognize outstanding performance within the Naval Aviation Force.
The Navy’s MH-60R provides the latest anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities. Sikorsky Aircraft designs and manufactures the MH-60 SEAHAWK. Lockheed Martin provides the digital cockpit for all MH-60 helicopters and is the prime systems integrator for the MH-60R.
The centerpiece for the Navy’s 21st-century helicopter master plan, the MH-60R is the world’s only advanced ASW/ASuW weapon system operational today with fully certified capability.
The Navy has established five of an eventual 20 operational MH-60R squadrons. The aircraft will operate aboard all naval aviation-capable ships, including carriers, cruisers, amphibious ships, destroyers and frigates.