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The Virginian-Pilot(Norfolk, Va.) October 07, 2004

Helicopter squadron returns home to Norfolk

By Jack Dorsey

NORFOLK -- More than 40 reservists assigned to the only Navy squadron deployed to Iraq returned to Norfolk on Wednesday following a three-month deployment.

Members of Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron 4, which provides combat search-and-rescue and special-warfare support, arrived aboard a military transport at the Norfolk Naval Station.

The Norfolk-based squadron, totaling 250 members, boasts reservists from 13 states, made up predominately of civilian police officers, firefighters, paramedics, mechanics and pilots, said Cmdr. David Tyler, the squadron commander.

"For most returning today, this is the second or third homecoming in two years," he said. "They experienced many hardships and hazards but excelled at every opportunity. They are a tribute to our country."

The 41 members who returned Wednesday are to be followed by another group on a later flight. They have been replaced by a similar number who are now in Iraq.

The rotation every three months of the detachments has worked well for the squadron, Tyler said.

"I like the cycle," he said. "It keeps my war fighters proficient and razor-sharp."

Asked how long the rotations will continue, Tyler said he didn't know.

"A lot of that is up in the air," he said. "So we just continue to be prepared to run a marathon."

Tyler declined to say exactly what type of work the detachment performed, or where it was deployed, citing operational security.

The squadron, known as the "Redwolves," was recalled for four months last year to support Operation Noble Eagle, then recalled again in February to support operations in Iraq.

The unit flies the HH-60H Seahawk . The squadron is capable of rapidly deploying two detachments anywhere in the world, according to globalsecurity.org.


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