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HSL-43 Det. 2 'Hunters' Return from WESTPAC

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060315-01
Release Date: 3/15/2006 10:47:00 AM

By Lt. j.g. John Pontrello, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) 43 Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The “Hunters” of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 43 Detachment 2 returned Feb. 24 from a five-month Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment aboard the destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91).

During the deployment, the detachment logged 200 flight hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and ongoing anti-terrorism efforts in the region. They also made port visits to Guam, Singapore, Australia and Hawaii.

“It was an honor to be able to take a great team to sea involving a WESTPAC in the 7th Fleet [area of responsibility],” said Lt. Cmdr Cary Knox, Det. 2 officer-in-charge. “There is still plenty of work for the Navy to get done over there, but we were excited to have set some initial groundwork for future successes in the global war on terrorism.”

Det. 2 temporarily stationed their helicopter, equipment, and personnel to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam from Pinckney. The “Hunters” flew more than 65 flight hours conducting over-water and over-land Search-and-Rescue training, remote site operations, and extended over water navigation.

“It was great to see all the different training environments, especially flying around Guam’s historical World War II sights,” said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Daniel Guerrero, from Virginia Beach, Va.

The detachment re-embarked Pinckney and cruised to Australia. During the port call in Brisbane, the squadron personnel were able to interact with crew members from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), who were also visiting. Later, during a visit to Sydney, Pinckney and the detachment took part in the Pacific Maritime Exposition, showcasing the ship to commercial and international dignitaries from around the region. The detachment’s helicopter, BattleCat 22, was featured on the national morning news show, which was broadcast live from the flight deck.

While in transit from Australia to Hawaii, nearly half of the ship’s company became “shellbacks” during the traditional Crossing-the-Line (equator) ceremony. As a bonus, the ship crossed the equator at the International Date Line, adding the distinction of being “Golden Shellbacks.” When the ship arrived in Hawaii, they were greeted by family members, who embarked for a Tiger Cruise to San Diego.

HSL-43 is an SH-60B Light Airborne Multipurpose System (LAMPS)-equipped squadron, which specializes in deploying detachments on board U.S. Navy ships. LAMPS integrates the ship and helicopter weapons systems that provide a long-range, high-altitude platform for sensors, such as radar and electronic support measures, and the remote delivery of weapons (AGM-119B Penguin, AGM-114B/K Hellfire missiles and MK-46 and MK-50 torpedoes).

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