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Battle Cats Return to NASNI

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070912-30
Release Date: 9/12/2007 3:54:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arianne Anderson, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 43 Det. 3 returned to Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) in San Diego on Sept. 11, after a four-and-a-half month deployment operating with countries in Southeast Asia.

The exercise allowed the HSL-43 Battle Cats to work closely with different countries such as Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise while aboard USS Jarret (FFG 33).

“Twenty folks can really make a difference in the world,” said Cmdr. Matthew F. Coughlin, HSL-43’s commanding officer. “This deployment helped build bridges with countries bringing allies and friends together. They did an amazing job, and I am glad they are back safe and sound.”

HSL-43 Command Master Chief George Dwyer echoed Coughlin.

“I am really proud of the detachment,” Dwyer said. “They’re amazingly, hard-working professionals. They are helping to stabilize our relationships worldwide.”

While deployed, Det. 3 Sailors were afforded the ability to log a tremendous amount of flight time operating with both U.S. and host nation visit, board, search, and seizure teams. They also supported anti-submarine warfare training missions.

Air crew members also performed an over-land search and rescue operation just outside the city limits of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when a Malaysian helicopter and crew went missing. The six members logged more than 26 hours and found the missing helicopter on the fourth day of the operation.

Lt. Cmdr. Greg Batchelder, Det. 3's officer-in-charge, spoke of his great pride in the Battle Cats.

“These men worked really hard out there and I want to give them a special thanks,” said Batchelder. “But, what we did out there wouldn’t have been possible without the crew of HSL-43 or the family members here.”

Numerous HSL-43 Sailors, family members, and friends gathered at the hangar when Det. 3 returned home.

The wife of Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class (AW/SW) Timothy Hines, said her heart was doing the “thumpity-thump thing times 1,000.”

“I am excited out of my skin to have him home,” Hines said. “He was gone for less than five months, but it felt like forever.”

For many others the feeling was quite the same.

“I am just so happy to be home,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Rylan Gorby. “There just isn’t much else to say. I couldn’t be happier.”

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