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HSM-77 Saberhawks Earn 2011 Isbell Award

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120327-20

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyle Henley, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The Saberhawks of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 embarked aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), received the 2011 Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Pacific Capt. Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy, March 8.

Capt. Arnold Jay Isbell served in the Navy for 25 years and was a pioneer for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) during World War II. In Isbell's honor, the trophy is historically presented to superior ASW squadrons, although anti-surface warfare performance is also considered.

"We've been working tirelessly with our air wing and weapons school to maintain our training and readiness," said Lt. Jeffrey M. Gonzales, a pilot with HSM-77. "We have the capabilities of coordinating with other air services and the ship's assets, which allows us to be more effective overall."

Lt. j.g. Adam R. Arndt, another Saberhawk pilot, said the squadron's current deployment aboard Lincoln enables them to work better as a team while keeping their skill sets sharp.

"Everyone is constantly improving at handling anti-submarine warfare," Arndt said. "We keep a high-paced schedule. After coming off various exercises and deployments, we'll be forward-deployed to Japan soon. We've been non-stop, getting better and better."

HSM-77 also earned the 2011 CNAF Pacific Battle Effectiveness (Battle "E") award, Feb. 10, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) aboard Lincoln, which put the squadron in the running for the Isbell trophy. Gonzales said the HSM-77 crew used the awards as motivation to continue their progress.

"Everyone is very happy to win the award; it's a great honor," Gonzales said. "It's something that the air crew is happy to have, and it also recognizes the hard work and the efforts of the maintainers and support teams."

HSM-77 is one of nine squadrons that comprise CVW 2. Lincoln is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, which also includes guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, composed of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

CSG 9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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