Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron EIGHT [HELASRON HS-8]
As of 2003, HS-8 was scheduled to be redesignated Helicopter Sea Combat Wing HSC-8 in March of 2008. 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 Eight is based at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. The squadron is attached to Carrier Air Wing Nine which deploys aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). It employs the Sikorsky manufactured SH-60F and HH-60H 'Seahawk' helicopters in support of the Carrier Battlegroup.
Helicopter Anti-Submarine squadron EIGHT's primary mission is to employ the versatility of the SH-60F and HH-60H helicopter to support the battle group commander's objectives, with emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, combat search and rescue, support of special operations, and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include anti-ship missile defense, medical evacuation, and logistics support.
HS-8 was originally established at NAS Ream Field, Imperial Beach, California, on June 1, 1956, flying the HSS-1 Sea Bat. From 1958 through 1968, the squadron made eight WESTPAC deployments aboard USS PRINCETON (CVS 37) and USS HORNET (CVS 12); and from 1968 through 1974, it deployed aboard USS BENNINGTON (CVS 20). Noteworthy squadron achievements during these years include a 1200 miles over-water MEDEVAC, the longest in aviation history; transporting Bob Hope Christmas Troupe; participating in the Apollo VI space vehicle/crew recovery; and performing more than thirty combat rescues over and near North Vietnam. Upon their return from their eighth WESTPAC in November 1968, the squadron was decommissioned.
On 01 November 1969, the Eightballers were again commissioned with a compliment of eight new SH-3D helicopters. The next decade saw HS-8 deployed five times aboard the USS TICONDEROGA (CVS 14) and USS KITTY HAWK (CV63). In addition to performing their primary missions, HS-8 supported a site survey for the Atomic Energy Commission, a study of the migration pattern of blue whales, and President Nixon's working vacation aboard USS NEW ORLEANS (LPH 11). In 1976, the national bicentennial committee honored HS-8 as a bicentennial command. In 1979-80, the squadron deployed for nine months during the Iranian hostage crisis.
In 1985, HS-8 earned its first of four Meritorious Unit Commendations in conjunction with USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) WESTPAC deployment, and in 1987, earned its second Meritorious Unit Commendation also with CONSTELLATION. The squadron's 19th deployment came aboard the USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) in 1990. Services rendered in support of operation DESERT SHIELD earned it a Navy Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and a Southwest Asia Service Medal. This deployment was the last for HS-8 in the SH-3 helicopter.
HS-8 has won the Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence seven times, and the Admiral "Jimmy" Thach award for Best Carrier-based ASW Squadron on the Navy four times. HS-8 also won the Top Torpedo Award for ASW Excellence in 1982, '83, '84, '91, and '92. Sikorsky Aircraft recognized HS-8's outstanding maintenance program with its Superior Maintenance Award in 1983, '84, and '85; and the Navy recognized the squadron's care for its sailors with Golden Anchor Awards for command retention in 1991, '91' and '97. Additionally, HS-8 earned the CNO Safety Award in 1983, '85, '86, '90, and '94. And finally, HS-8 earned the Battle Efficiency Award for warfare prowess in 1980, '83, '86, and '95.
On April 2, 1993, HS-8 completed its transition from the venerable Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King helicopter to the Sikorsky SH-60F/H Seahawk helicopters. With these new helicopters, HS-8 has been able to complete assigned missions at greater ranges, faster speeds, and with more accurate navigation than ever before. In March 1999, the squadron received the first of three aircraft with the Armed Helo modifications. The HH-60H equipped with the FLIR/Hellfire missile system makes the HS platform a more capable asset in Surface Warfare.
In January 1995, HS-8 officially transfers from Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN and was assign to Carrier Air Wing NINE aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). The Eightballers concluded their 21st WESTPAC deployment in May of 1996, earning the Battle E, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy once again. In September 1997, the squadron left on their second USS NIMITZ cruise. This cruise took HS-8 and the NIMITZ around the world with a four-month float in the Persian Gulf to support Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. The deployment ended with the USS NIMITZ in Norfolk for rework.
HS-8 and Carrier Air Wing NINE are currently attached to JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74). The Eightballers completed a WESTPAC deployment in July 2000. During the time in the Arabian Gulf, HS-8 played a vital role in the Maritime Interdiction Operations resulting in a dramatic decrease in illegally smuggled oil.
HS-8 was redesignated as HSC-28 May 13, 2005.
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