Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light [HSL-44]
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light FOUR FOUR (HSL-44), homebased at Mayport Naval Station, employs the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) MK III SH-60B "SEAHAWK" to provide tactical support to surface combatants. The "SEAHAWK" performs primary missions of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Surveillance and Targeting, with secondary missions of Search and Rescue, Vertical Replenishment and Medical Evacuations.
HSL-44's mission is to embark combat-ready SH-60B Seahawk helicopters, aircrew and maintainers as helicopter detachments in Atlantic Fleet warships. HSL-44 deploys off of the fleet's most technologically advanced ships: the Ticonderoga (CG-47) class Guided Missile Cruiser, the Spruance (DD-963) class Destroyer, the Kidd (DDG-993) class Guided Missile Destroyer, and the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class Guided Missile Frigate.
HSL-44 is located in Hangar 1552 at Naval Station Mayport, FL. The Naval Station is located at the mouth of the St. John's River in the Beaches Community of Jacksonville, FL. It is the homeport for more than 19 ships, numerous tenant activities, and five helicopter squadrons. HSL-44 is the 1989, 1995, 1996, and 1998 winner of the Commander Naval Aviation Atlantic Battle Excellence award as well as the 1989 and 1996 Safety "S" recipient.
The squadron's namesake "SWAMP FOX" derives from the small and cunning force led by revolutionary war hero Colonel Francis Marion, from 1775-1783. His tiny, unconventional band of patriots harassed and continually defeated the larger, better equipped troops of the British Army. The image of the "SWAMP FOX" suits the LAMPS MK III concept, and HSL-44 in particular; a small force which inflicts significant punishment upon the enemy.
Since the squadron's establishment on August 21, 1986, HSL-44 has been at the forefront of the LAMPS MK III community. During Operation Desert Shield and Storm, HSL-44 deployed five combat ready detachments that faced wartime operations in a manner worthy of their namesake. Swamp Fox crews were involved in maritime interdiction, surveillance and gunfire support missions. They also protected their shipmates by providing mine countermeasures support for the ships of the multi-national forces.
In addition to ongoing military commitments, HSL-44 has established an outstanding reputation as a community leader, especially noted for its "Adopt-a-School" program and coordination with the Salvation Army
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