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HSL 46 Trains During Neptune Warrior

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070517-21
Release Date: 5/17/2007 3:59:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Starkey, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

ABOARD USS BAINBRIDGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 participated in Neptune Warrior, a coalition course between NATO allies from April 23 to May 3.

The Neptune Warrior course was designed to help NATO coalition forces to cooperate and increase interoperability in a maritime combat environment.

During the exercise, the HSL-46 squadron trained with their SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, which is designed for integrated or stand-alone under-sea warfare and anti-surface warfare.

“We had our own organic sensors, including RADAR, night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) that served as additional force multipliers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gonzalez, helicopter element commander. “Several of those unique capabilities made her an outstanding observation asset for Marines going ashore in the night amphibious operations.”

During Neptune Warrior, the United States was able to work with France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

“Working with the foreign navies was an experience that I will never forget,” said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Michael Hill. “After you break through the language barrier, all the foreign navies operate just like us. The whole experience was an eye-opener to the rest of the world and how they operate.”

HSL-46 was able to enjoy experiences during Neptune Warrior that are not available during regular type of training.

“Our highlight was participating in the eight helicopter formation flight as part of the amphibious demonstration,” said Gonzalez. “It is not often that U.S. units have the opportunity to work with numerous helicopters from our NATO brethren. It was an honor to be part of such an elite compilation of air crews.”

Mayport-based HSL-46 was stationed aboard USS Simpson (FFG 56) during the exercise. The HSL-46 squadron also played a vital role in moving personnel ashore and around the battle force, in a timely and effective manner.

The mission of the SH-60B also includes vertical replenishment, search and rescue, medical evacuation and naval surface fire support.

Neptune Warrior is a biannual course which certifies allied ships for NATO deployments. It is open to allied forces with available assets.

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