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Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 Marks 160,000 Mishap-Free Hours

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110809-20

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Byron C. Linder, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41 "Seahawks" recognized a milestone of 160,000 operational hours without a Class A mishap Aug. 8.

A Class A mishap is defined as an incident with a total cost of more than $1 million, destroyed aircraft, fatal injury or total disability. HSM-41, which began service as Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light 41 in 1983, has accumulated the hours over the course of the fleet replacement squadron's lifetime.

HSM-41 quality assurance representative, Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Philbert Wiggan, a New York City native, explained the significance of the achievement.

"We're keeping the standard of safety Navy-wide. Our maintenance is by the book, and we're keeping to the command statement to train pilots and air crew to go out and protect the nation," said Wiggan. "For me personally, I know we've been doing our job right for 20-plus years, keeping aircraft in the air with no mishaps."

Wiggan credited an environment of collaboration to the squadron's success.

"When we get people who have been doing this for a while, and they have something to bring to the table, we'll we'll take it to keep our standard high. And with that, we can all go to our next command or that next platform and spread that knowledge," he said.

Wiggan explained the challenge of preparing for the varied environments and missions the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter HSM-41 trains personnel to operate in.

"It's such a diverse aircraft. It can carry people, conduct antisubmarine warfare, logistics, pretty much anything you need," said Wiggan. "There's any number of things that can happen, so we train harder than we fight. Then the people we train are prepared to face whatever challenges come up."

Wiggan emphasized the importance of acknowledging the past as well as looking to the future.

"This wasn't just achieved by those of us here today. This was done by those who came before us, and we have to keep striving. Keep that standard high so we can leave something to those we've trained to replace us," said Wiggan.

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