Military


Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE [HC-3]
"Pack Rats"
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron [HSC-3]
"Merlins"

Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE is the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) for the Navy H-46 Sea Knight helicopter. As the only H-46 FRS, the squadron provides training to all pilots and aircrew entering or returning to Navy squadrons worldwide.

HC-3 began its transition to the MH-60S with the delivery of the first aircraft in April 2001. That transition was completed in April of 2006 when HC-3 was redesignated HSC-3.

HELSUPPRON THREE (HC-3) was established on 1 September 1967 at Naval Air Station, Imperial Beach, California as the only West Coast Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) squadron and was tasked with providing logistic support to operating units of the Pacific Fleet. In July 1973, HC-3 moved from Imperial Beach to its present home, Hangar 340, aboard Naval Air Station, North Island , San Diego, California. Operating from the Navy's Combat Logistic Force (CLF) ships, HC-3 detachments transferred combat stores, ammunition, personnel and other needed supplies via helicopter to underway units, providing the fleet with an exceptionally rapid and safe means of replenishment. A major portion of this critical function was conducted by VERTREP, providing the final link in the supply chain to ships in distant waters. Several ships can be serviced from one CLF unit, therefore affording maximum mobility to all units concerned.

The aircraft flown at HC-3 is the H-46 Sea Knight helicopter. The "Workhorse of the Fleet" is one of the Navy's largest helicopters with features that include a cabin capacity for twenty passengers, external lift capability of three tons, and air speeds of up to 145 knots. Additionally, the H-46 is fully instrumented for all weather operations, including Search and Rescue.

In 1982, HELSUPPRON THREE became the single-site training squadron it is today, polishing newly designated pilots and aircrew candidates into trained professionals. The training includes day/night shipboard landings, day/night shipboard vertical replenishment, instrument flight, search and rescue, tactics, and emergency procedures.

As a result of the command's concern for all aspects of flight and ground safety, HC-3 has accumulated over 148,000 accident-free flight hours since July of 1974. This record makes HC-3 the safest operational helicopter squadron in the Navy and has enabled the squadron to win eight Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards. This achievement, plus an excellent operational record, brought a fifth consecutive Battle Efficiency Award to HC-3 in 1983. This was the seventh Battle "E" Award presented by COMNAVAIRPAC to the squadron since its establishment.




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