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HSC-85 Takes on New Role Supporting Special Warfare Operations

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110714-21

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85 officially transitioned from being a logistical support squadron to its new mission of supporting Navy Special Warfare (NSW) operations during a ceremony aboard Naval Air Station North Island, July 8.

Prior to the ceremony, Norfolk-based HSC-84 was the Navy's only helicopter squadron directly supporting NSW operations.

"(HSC-84) has been doing it non-stop," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Jeff Lapinski. "Now, once we get ramped up, we'll have one (squadron) on the East Coast, one on the West Coast and we'll be able to provide (HSC-84) with a breath of relief."

The transition required HSC-85 to gradually change over from the newer MH-60S helicopter to the older, but more combat-oriented HH-60H.

"Our primary job now is to work with the SEALs and the (HH-60H) provides us more of a tactical aspect," said Lapinski. "It allows us to take them where they need to go and provide aerial gun support."

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Jay Gagne, HSC-85 commanding officer, and Capt. Shoshanna Chatfield, deputy commodore of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, unveiled a new insignia for the squadron.

Gagne said the new logo pays homage to past squadrons, but also represents a change in mission.

HSC-85, previously known as the High Rollers, changed their squadron name to the Firehawks.

"This new and improved Firehawk represents a squadron dedicated to the mission of special operations forces that will be bigger, better and more lethal than before," Gagne said. "The Firehawks will epitomize precision and the warrior ethos dedicated to defending the United States of America and freedom around the world."

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