Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron FOUR [HELASRON HS-4]
As of 2003, HS-4 was scheduled to be redesignated Helicopter Sea Combat Wing HSC-4 in February of 2007. This change reflected the switch to the MH-60S Knighthawk and the merger of Helicopter Tactical Wing, Pacific Fleet [HELTACWINGPAC] and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Wing, Pacific Fleet [HSWINGPAC] into Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, Pacific Fleet [HELSEACOMBATWINGPAC].
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Four is homeported aboard Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego and continues to deploy as a part of Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72). HS-4 has adapted to an ever-changing environment and will continue to perform its mission of supporting the carrier battle group through anti-submarine warfare, combat search and rescue, and naval special warfare support.
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Four was commissioned on June 30, 1952 at the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Imperial Beach, California. Since commissioning, the squadron has flown several different types of helicopters, including the H0-3S, HUP-2, H-19, SH-34J, and the SH-3H. The squadron currently flies two versions of the Sikorsky H-60 Seahawk. The SH-60F is specially equipped to prosecute enemy submarines while the HH-60H is designed to accomplish today's combat search and rescue mission.
HS-4 began their history when it became the first Anti-Submarine Warfare squadron to deploy onboard an aircraft carrier, the USS RENDOVA (CVE 14). In 1961, under Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, HS-4 earned their nickname the Black Knights by achieving around-the-clock and all-weather ASW capability.
The squadron was first introduced to combat operations during their 1966 Western Pacific deployment. While operating in the Gulf of Tonkin, HS-4 pilots and aircrew rescued 24 downed airmen under hostile conditions, the record for a single cruise which still stands today. Two years later, the Black Knights found themselves aboard the USS YORKTOWN (CVS 10) as a part of the task force sent to the Sea of Japan during the USS PUEBLO crisis.
From late 1968 through the spring of 1970, the Black Knights participated in and pioneered techniques for the APOLLO capsule recoveries. HS-4 was on scene for APOLLO missions 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13. The squadron and its famous Helicopter 66 gained worldwide recognition during these missions and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. Concurrent with the APOLLO recoveries, the Black Knights maintained their operational readiness and received a second Meritorious Unit Commendation for the development of new ASW tactics while operating with the USS HORNET (CVS 18).
HS-4 made their first west coast deployment aboard the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) in 1973. While onboard, the Black Knights helped prove the CV Helo concept which integrated helicopter and fixed-wing ASW aircraft with the TACAIR components. After serving with CV-63 for ten years, the Black Knights embarked on the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) for her inaugural around-the-world cruise.
In 1991, HS-4 transitioned from the SH-3H Sea King to the SH-60F Seahawk and returned to the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) as part of Carrier Air Wing FIFTEEN (CVW 15). While onboard, the Black Knights supported Operation RESTORE HOPE in Somalia, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH in the Persian Gulf, and were forward deployed with the USS HEWITT (DD 966) during the January 1993 air strikes in southern Iraq. While on Western Pacific deployment in 1994, the Black Knights supported the carrier battle group during Korean contingency operations and sent detachments to bases in both Korea and Japan.
In January 1995, the squadron joined Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW 14) and began making preparations to deploy with the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70). In the spring of 1996, the Black Knights found themselves deployed to the volatile waters of the Persian Gulf, participating in operations HAYSTACK and SOUTHERN WATCH. After returning home in November 1996, Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN and HS-4 transitioned to the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) where they are currently attached and will deploy again in the summer of 1998.
HS-4 amassed numerous awards in its 45 year history. The squadron is a six-time winner of the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award, and received the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy in 1978. The Black Knights are five time holders of the Battle Efficiency award, four time winners of the CAPT J. Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence, and have won the Sikorsky Excellence in Maintenance award four times. Most recently, HS-4 has earned the Silver Anchor for excellence in its personnel programs.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|