Helicopter Combat Support Squadron NINE (HC-9)
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron NINE (HC-9) was commissioned August 1, 1975, at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. HC-9 was a Naval Air Reserve Force Squadron (RESFORON) assigned to Commander, Helicopter Wing Reserve as one of ten reserve helicopter squadrons. HC-9 was the only Strike Rescue squadron in the United States Navy.
On 2 October 1988, HC-9 was disestablished. HCS-5 was established on the same day to assume HC-9's combat SAR mission and HAL-5's SPECWAR support mission.
The Strike Rescue mission is the recovery of downed aircraft from hostile territory. Avoiding detection is the key to successful mission accomplishment. Night missions utilizing night vision devices and terrain-masking flight profiles maximize the probability of success in hostile environments. HC-9 trains continually in these tactics through exercises at NAS Fallon, Nevada, and MCAS Yuma, Arizona. HC-9 provided the COMSIXTHFLT Strike Rescue detachment during the Gulf of Sidra operations against Libya and most recently provided a detachment for SOLID SHIELD 87.
HC-9 established the Strike Rescue School in October 1986, to train active duty HS pilots to plan and execute a strike rescue should they be called upon to do so. Twelve classes were conducted with fifty pilots trained including four pilots trained to be Strike Rescue Instructors capable of providing training to HS squadrons. HC-9 also conducted M-60 gun training for HSL units deploying to the Persian Gulf
HC-9 flew the HH-3A Sea King helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Technologies. This helicopter is specifically configured for the Strike Rescue mission. It is armed with the GAU-2B Minigun System and M-60 machine guns and is armored to protect against small arms fire. HC-9 completed 31,000 mishap free flight hours while flying one of the most demanding missions in the Navy.
HC-9 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, four Noel Davis ''Battle E" award, two CNO Safety awards, and three COMHELWINGRES Golden Wrench awards.
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