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HSC-25 Ensures Safety for Talisman Saber

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050629-06
Release Date: 6/29/2005 1:06:00 PM

By Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class James Bartels, USS Boxer Public Affairs

ABOARD USS BOXER (NNS) -- Members of the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 provided search and rescue (SAR) support during pivotal flight operations June 12-25 for Exercise Talisman Saber 2005, a combined exercise between Australian and American forces.

Hailing from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the Island Knights have completed more than 100 incident-free landings during Talisman Saber 2005.

Directly involved in numerous events, including vertical replenishments and personnel transfers, SAR pilots and swimmers patrolled the skies, ensuring the safety of all personnel involved in the landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), landing craft, mechanized (LCM) and Australian S-70A Blackhawk helicopter operations.

“It is very important to keep our pilots and swimmers in the air during exercises like this,” said Lt. Jerome A. Gussow, from Staten Island, N.Y., a pilot from HSC-25. “With helicopters in the air, LCACs on the water and Soldiers and Sailors on the ship conducting the mission, it is important to have us ready to help if the need arises.”

The HSC-25 detachment embarked on Boxer consists of 22 enlisted Sailors, six pilots, one warrant officer and two MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters. They worked in tandem with more than 2,000 personnel in the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), led by the Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander.

Units within the Boxer ARG included USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), HMAS Manoora, HMAS Ballarat, Assault Craft Unit 5, Australian 5th Aviation Regiment and the Australian 1st Armored Brigade.

“Our basic mission was to be prepared to salvage any craft or rescue any personnel in an optimal amount of time,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Mike Smith, from Orange County, Calif. “The faster we respond to a casualty, the higher the percentage of survival for our fellow service members.”

HSC-25 and more than 17,000 Australian and American service members participated in four weeks of intensive training during Exercise Talisman Saber, a combination of what were once Exercises Crocodile, Kingfisher and Tandem Thrust. Talisman Saber is an exercise jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force Joint Operations Command, designed to train U.S. 7th Fleet and Australian Joint Operations staffs as a designated Combined Task Force (CTF) headquarters. The exercise focused on crisis action planning and execution of contingency response operations.


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