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Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light [HSL-43]
"Battle Cats"

As of 2003, HSL-43 was scheduled to be redesignated Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron HSM-73 in February of 2007. This change reflected the switch to the MH-60R Seahawk and the squadron's new mulit-mission capability.

Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FORTY-THREE was established as the Navy's first operatioal LAMPS MK III squadron on 12 October 1984 at NAS North Island. The primary mission of HSL-43 is to provide fully mission capable detachments aboard cruisers, destroyers, and frigates assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. These detachments are an integral part of the ship's weapon system, extending the ship's under-sea and anti-ship warfare capabilities beyond the horizon. Secondary missions of these detachments include search and rescue, medical evacuation, vertial replenishment and communications relay.

Since its establishment, HSL-43 has undergone tremendous growth in squadron personnel, aircraft, and operational tasking. What began in October 1984 as a single SH-60B Seahawk with six pilots and less than 100 maintenance personnel has expanded to over 45 pilots, 225 ground personnel, and 10 Seahawk aircraft. Squadron aircraft include 4 Block I upgrades with advanced navigation capabilities based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), integrated Penguin missile, and increased anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

HSL-43 first deployed in February 1985 with Detachment ONE aboard USS CROMMELIN (FFG-37). Since then, single and dual aircraft detachments have operated from frigates, destroyers, and cruisers in four fleets. HSL-43, a community pacesetter since its inception, typically deploys three to four detachments per year and continues to define the cutting edge of tactical innovation while maintaining unexcelled operational effectiveness and administrative compliance. HSL-43 was the first LAMPS MK III squadron in the Navy to demonstrate direct operational support of a Marine Expeditionary Unit and its parent Amphibious Readiness Group. In doing so, it greatly enhanced MEU (SOC) effectiveness and flexibility. Similarly, HSL-43 is the only LAMPS squadron in the Navy to field a Night Vision Goggle capable detachment, resulting in a quantum increase in safety, mission effectiveness and pilot situational awareness. HSL-43 is also the first San Diego based LAMPS MK III squadron to conduct a Penguin missile firing.

The squadron's operational, maintenance, tactical, administrative and safety accomplishments are testimony to the extraordinary professionalism and dedication of the men and women of HSL-43. As the first and finest of the Pacific Fleet LAMPS MK III squadrons, HSL-43 has won the following prestigious awards: the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the COMASWWINGPAC Top Torp Award three times, the CNO Aviation Safety Award twice, and is a three time winner of the Arnold J. Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence.




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