Helicopter Combat Support Squadron TWO [HC-2]
Helicopter Sea Combat Support Squadron TWO [HSC-2]
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron TWO (HC-2), the "Fleet Angels", performs search and rescue, vertical onboard delivery, and executive transport in support of the Atlantic Fleet. Helicopter Combat Support Squadron TWO is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk,Virginia as an element of Helicopter Tactical Wing, Atlantic Fleet. The wing's six squadrons, HC-2, HC-4, HC-6, HC-8, HM-14, and VC-6, perform logistic, minesweeping and unmanned aerial surveillance missions with all air and surface units of the United States Navy. The "Fleet Angels" of HC-2 fly the UH-3H Sea King and the executive transport version of the Sea King designated the VH-3A. The squadron provides around the clock executive transportation service every day of the year supporting three unified Commanders on three continents. HC-2 also operates the Fleet Replacement Squadron for all pilots and aircrew learning to fly the H-3 Sea King.
The UH-3H utility version of the Sea King helicopter provides executive transportation in Naples, Italy for Commander Sixth Fleet; Manama Bahrain for Commander Fifth Fleet; and in Norfolk, Virginia on board USS MOUNT WHITNEY for Commander Second Fleet. These UH-3H helicopters also provide logistical support to aviation capable ships participating in fleet operations throughout the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Gulf operating areas. The VH-3A Executive transport version of the Sea King helicopter provides rapid 24 hour point-to-point transportation of senior ranking military, civilian and foreign officials.
HC-2 executes a range of missions that are among the widest of any fleet squadron. These include search and rescue, recovery of practice torpedoes and aerial drones at sea, plane guard, medical evacuation, pilot and crew training in addition to passengers, mail, cargo logistics and executive transportation. In addition, on 1 October 1996, HC-2 became the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the UH-3H helicopter, training pilots and aircrew to be experts in the venerable Sea King.
Major HC Squadron Deployments, 1998 Squadron Dates Ship HC-2 Det 1 ** LaSalle (AGF 3) HC-2 Det 2 ** Manama, Bahrain
DETACHMENT ONE - Det ONE is forward deployed in support of the Commander Sixth Fleet out of Naples, Italy. The Ghostriders of Det ONE provide executive transport services both ashore and at sea while embarked on the USS LASALLE (AGF-3).
DETACHMENT TWO - The Desert Ducks of Det TWO are deployed to Manama, Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. The Ducks provide logistic support to the Fifth Fleet. The Desert Ducks fly the older yet very reliable UH-3H helicopter. They are a detachment assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron in Norfolk, Virginia. Their mission is to provide VIP and logistical support to ships assigned to the Arabian Gulf. Duck visits are usually scheduled on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are certain things that keep sailors happy, liberty, a good meal, payday, and mail call! Of course in this day and age we have e-mail. But nothing can compare to a letter from a girlfriend or that care package chock full of goodies and pictures from home. Predictable the flight deck team usually has a little more kick on those days. It's amazing how fast the flight deck moves for the Desert Duck. The Desert Ducks are not only famous for their world class service, they have a somewhat dubious signature trademark. They are notorious for "stamping the flight deck." Upon completion of their mission aboard a vessel, the air crewman will run out of the helo at the last minute with a giant stamping device attached to a three-foot pole and stamp several large yellow duck footprints on the flight deck.
DETACHMENT THREE - Det THREE embarks on the USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC-20) in support of the Commander Second Fleet. Providing executive transport services and search and rescue support to the embarked Command, members of HC-2 make port calls across the North Atlantic.
DETACHMENT FOUR - Det FOUR is responsible for the recovery of practice drones and torpedos at sea while deployed up and down the Atlantic Coast. Det FOUR also deploys on aircraft carriers to provide search and rescue support for the carrier battle group.
The single site Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for the U.S. Navy's H-3 Sea King is operated by HC-2. All pilots and aircrew flying the H-3 in the U.S. Navy and a few foreign countries are trained here at HC-2. The FRS trains approximately 50 pilots and 50 aircrew per year. The pilot training syllabus consists of three weeks at NAS Jacksonville for 15 simulator events preceded by a short systems class. Most students complete a two week block of simulators concentrating on basic FAM maneuvers and emergency procedures, and return sometime later to finish the remaining week of simulator training which focuses on search and rescue maneuvers and procedures. After returning from simulator training, students start the flight training syllabus consisting of 15 events. All training hops can be broken down into the following categories; A-Stage, M-Stage, and E-Stage events. A-Stage events focus on FAM maneuvers and emergency procedures, M-Stage events focus on search and rescue maneuvers and procedures, and E-Stage events consist of the pre-NATOPS checkride, the NATOPS checkride, and the Instrument checkride.
The aircrew syllabus involves about 65 days of training. Training begins with classroom instruction and ground instruction. Pool training is also conducted for those aircrew students who are also rescue swimmers. After completion of the classroom and ground phases, the aircrew students then start the flight syllabus which involves 10 flights. In the flight phase the aircrew students practice performing the duties of an aircrewman in the H-3. These duties involve operation of the rescue hoist, control of the rescue swimmer, and coordination with the pilots in rescue situations. These are the primary duties aircrewman encounter during flight, though many other duties and responsibilities are inherent during missions that do not involve search and rescue. Those aircrew students also acting as rescue swimmers are required to perform day and night SAR jumps prior to completion of their training.
On 1 April 1948, the United States Navy's first operational Helicopter Squadrons were established to provide "utility" services to ships of both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. Helicopter Utility Squadron ONE (HU-1) and Helicopter Utility Squadron TWO (HU-2) both known as the "Fleet Angels", were formed from the newly decommissioned Helicopter Development Squadron THREE at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey. These were the United States Navy's first helicopter Squadrons. HU-1 and HU-2 were soon performing a wide range of missions including planeguard, personnel and mail transfers, radar calibration, aerial photography, reconnaissance and torpedo tracking while embarked on aircraft carriers and smaller air-capable ships. As the versatility of helicopters gained recognition, new squadrons with more specialized functions were split off from these two, or formed anew. Anti-submarine warfare (ASW), vertical replenishment, mine countermeasures, combat search and rescue and light attack became major helicopter missions.
Seventeen years later in July 1965, HU-2 was redesignated Helicopter Combat Support Squadron TWO (HC-2) still flying a wide variety of missions, but with increasing emphasis on planeguard and logistic support of the carrier battle groups. In October 1973, HC-2 moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Over the years, HC-2 distinguished itself with many firsts: first MEDEVAC, first blimp rescue, first all weather day/night detachment. first night doppler rescue, and first night full autorotation to a flightdeck. Their existence was justified by their superior record and astonishing 2,318 rescues. The "Fleet Angels" of HC-2 were disestablished on 30 September 1977, falling victim to budget restraints after 30 years of proud service. To date, HC-2 had transferred more food, people, and equipment than any other helicopter squadron in the United States Navy.
In their 29 years the "Fleet Angels" of HC-2 left an impressive history with hundreds of significant operations and accomplishments. In 1949, HC-2 developed the first standardized flight procedures for helicopters. Several HU-2 detachments saw action in the Korean Conflict. In January 1952, HC-2 became the first helicopter squadron authorized to fly at night. In 1955, HU-2 helicopter crews saved 500 civilians form disaster after a hurricane caused severe flooding in Pennsylvania. The squadron Recovered LTCOL John H. Glenn after the first orbital Mercury mission on 20 February 1962. In March 1962, HU-2 rescued 1800 residents of the south New Jersey shores following a crippling late winter storm. In 1962, it participated in the Cuban Missile crisis operations. The squadron received the CNO Aviation Safety Award in 1968 and 1969. In 1973, HC-2 rescued 219 people in Pottstown, Pennsylvania after Hurricane Agnes.
The "Circuit Riders" of HC-2 were established on April 1, 1987 aboard NAS Norfolk from detachments of HM-12, HC-6, and HS-1, in order to unify the combat support elements of these dissimilar Atlantic Fleet squadrons. Since its recommissioning, HC-2 has participated in numerous fleet exercises, building an impressive reputation of mission accomplishment and safety. The high visibility of many of our daily operations have brought the squadron under close observation and resulted in HC-2 receiving both the coveted "Battle Efficiency" and "Meritorious Unit Commendation" awards in its first full year of existence. Subsequent years have garnered further accolades to HC-2 including the "CNO Annual Aviation Safety Award", and several "Battle Efficiency" awards.
In order to continue the tradition and history of the oldest squadron in the United States Navy, they reconnected with their roots and reclaimed the name of "Fleet Angels". Currently, the "Fleet Angels" maintain two continuously deployed H-3 detachments overseas in addition to numerous short detachments that deploy from Norfolk aboard various units in support of Commander Second Fleet and Commander Striking Force Atlantic. Det One in the Mediterranean has played a part in virtually every Sixth Fleet exercise and operation. Det Two's extensive operations in the Persian Gulf reflect the continued presence of the United States Navy in that region. The "Desert Ducks" of Det Two find themselves challenged by rapidly changing commitments and an occasionally hostile environment in a politically unstable part of the world. As the most visible helicopter in the Atlantic Fleet, the VH-3A's have provided flawless executive transport services to the Navy, civilian, foreign, and other military dignitaries.
During Operation Desert Shield/Storm the diverse abilities of both personnel and aircraft of HC-2 were put to the test. By meeting all the challenges presented to the detachments in the Persian Gulf, HC-2 distinguished itself by successfully participating in multiple search and rescue missions, strategic movements of prisoners of war, medical evacuations, mine searches, and many other equally challenging missions.
In September 1999 HC-2 aided in the rescue of over 250 people in the Greenville region of North Carolina. The small community of Taraboro was devastated by the combined effects of Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd, which left thousands of people stranded due to the flooding. For their primary role in these rescues, HC-2 personnel were awarded over 38 various medals such as The Navy Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Air Medal, and The Navy Marine Corps Medal, which is the highest medal for peacetime heroism.
At the end of January 2006, HC-2 was redesignated HSC-2. This change reflects the squadron changing to the MH-60S Knighthawk.
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