Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron THREE [HELASRON HS-3]
The mission of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron THREE ( HS-3) Tridents is to detect, localize, track, and in the event of war, destroy enemy submarines. Using the HH-60H variant, the squadron also performs special operations and combat search and rescue, the extraction of friendly forces from behind enemy lines. HS-3 is one of five east coast operational squadrons tasked with antisubmarine warfare, search and rescue (SAR), combat search and rescue, and logistics services. HS-3, established 18 June 1952, at Naval Air Facility, Elizabeth City, N.C., was first commissioned to fly the Piaseki UH-25B helicopter. The squadron later transitioned to the H-19 and the SH-34 helicopters. In more recent decades, the Tridents operated the SH-3 Sea King.
HS-3 flies Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk helicopters, all-weather aircraft designed for shore-based and shipboard operations. The SH-60-F is capable of detecting, localizing, tracking, and destroying enemy submarines. The HH-60H is configured for overland combat search and rescue. The helicopter's crew consists of two pilots and two sensor operators, one of whom is a fully qualified SAR swimmer.
HS-3's active role in the U.S. Space program began on 24 August 1962 when the squadron's commanding officer, Commander J. M. Wondergrem, picked up Lieutenant Commander M. Scott Carpenter from his Aurora 7 spacecraft and delivered him to the USS Intrepid (CVS 11). Astronauts Carpenter, Grissom, Young, Collins, Gordon, Conrad, McDevitt, Scott and Schweikart all ended their space journeys in Trident helicopters.
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