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HC-11 Supports Operation Unified Assistance

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050217-09
Release Date: 2/17/2005 1:42:00 PM

By Lt. Mike Woody, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 11 Public Affairs

SOUTHEAST ASIA (NNS) -- The Gunbearers of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11, based at Naval Air Station North Island, have played a major role in supporting Operation Unified Assistance to help Southeast Asia recover from the devastating tsunami that struck the region Dec. 26.

Since relief efforts began, HC-11's Dets. 2 and 4 have flown more than 400 flight hours in direct support of Operation Unified Assistance. The movement of critical supplies such as food, water and medicine has been the primary mission. The detachments have accomplished more than 230 humanitarian evacuations, 100 medical evacuations and supplied more than 390 tons of supplies to the devastated area.

These numbers were achievable only through the persistent hard work and dedication of each Sailor involved, starting from the deckplates to the officer in charge.

"The tsunami is the worst widespread disaster we've seen in recent years, and we're very proud that our Sailors can assist in the relief efforts," said HC-11 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. John Bruening. "What they achieved in such a short period of time really shows the strength of the human spirit."

Behind the lines in the relief efforts are the enlisted Sailors who perform the daily maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft.

"Since the start of Operation Unified Assistance, these maintainers have performed over 500 man-hours of maintenance on our two aircraft that included two back-to-back Phase D inspections," Det. 2's Maintenance Officer, Lt. Joe Otero, said. "The effort they've put in to keep these aircraft flying is astonishing."

In addition to their maintenance work, the enlisted Sailors of Det. 2 have committed more than 16 hours per day in the humanitarian efforts ashore, aiding in moving critical supplies from the helicopters to the people and aid workers in the area.

In direct support of Operation Unified Assistance, both detachments must carry out their normal missions of vertical replenishment, air logistics and plane guard duties.

Det. 4 has proven their skills of multi-tasking between the relief effort and normal daily business without a hitch, accomplishing a medical evacuation of a downed Navy helicopter crew and rescuing a Marine Corps jet pilot who ejected during shipboard operations.



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