Guam: Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Sailors Return Home from Deployment


Family members and friends welcomed Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 Det. 6 Sailors home from a six-month deployment during a homecoming ceremony aboard the Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, June 17.

“They deployed just before Christmas so unfortunately they missed the holidays,” said Cmdr. Kyle Strudthoff, HSC-25 executive officer, “They’ve been gone a long time but they had a very successful deployment.”

While deployed, the 36 Sailors were embarked on USS Essex (LHD 2). The detachment provided 24 hour search-and-rescue support and armed-helicopter defense for Essex and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as vertical replenishment support. The det. also transported a critically-ill Essex Sailor to receive medical attention in Bangkok, Thailand.

HSC-25 Det. 6 Sailors also supported the Essex Amphibious Ready Group during Cobra Gold 2011, a U.S.-Thai sponsored joint, multinational exercise. The militaries of the Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Malaysia worked with more than 7,200 U.S. service members at multiple locations throughout Thailand to improve interoperability. The exercise demonstrated the ability of the involved militaries to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore. HSC-25 Det. 6 Sailors provided search-and-rescue coverage during the exercise.

In addition, the det. supported relief efforts in Japan as part of Operation Tomodachi. HSC-25 flew 20 vertical replenishment and personnel movement sorties and transported more than 700,000 pounds of supplies in and out of Japan. In total, the Sailors flew over 500 hours.

“It’s wonderful to have them home,” Strudthoff said. “I just have to remember that, while I bring one [det.] home, it means that there’s another [det.] out there. It’s always a great day to bring people home and have everyone come home and see their families.”

According to Strudthoff, HSC-25 currently has four dets. deployed. He estimated that the “Island Knights” has approximately over one-third of the entire squadron deployed at all times.

As the Sailors made their way off the plane, they were greeted with cheers, hugs, and kisses from loved ones.

Abby Himes was all smiles as she welcomed her husband home.

It’s great,” she said. “I’m so proud of him. I’m just thrilled that they’re actually going to be back.”

Lt. Christoper Himes, of HSC-25 Det. 6, said he was ready to get back into the swing of life on Guam.

“It actually feels amazing,” he said. “This is my second time returning from the actual deployment, and when you’re gone for a solid six months and you come back and see all your friends again and especially my wife, seeing her again, it’s just like a big relief.”

Naval Air Crewman 1st Class (AW) James Davis, of HSC-25 Det. 6, and his wife, Ciara Davis, said it felt good to have their family whole again.

“I’m excited,” Ciara Davis said. “I think the kids were looking forward to it a lot as well.”

James Davis summed up his excitement in a few short words.

“It feels great,” he said.

Strudthoff said now that this det. has returned, the command will turn their sights on bringing the rest of its deployed Sailors back safely.

“At all times, their families are in our hearts,” he said. “While we bring these guys home, we have to remember those that are gone and keep them in our thoughts and prayers every day.”

HSC-25 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron. As part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific (HSCWINGPAC), it provides an armed-helicopter capability for 7th and 5th Fleets as well as dets. to various commands covering a diverse mission set. It is also the Navy’s only squadron that maintains a 24-hour search-and-rescue and medical evacuation alert posture, directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and Joint Region Marianas.
Source: navy, June 23, 2011;