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Golden Falcons Supply Lincoln Strike Group, One Replenishment at a Time

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120507-09

By Lt. j.g. Amanda McNally, HSC-12 Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 Sailors have completed 34 replenishments-at-sea during their 2011-2012 deployment as of April 26, 14 of which have been to supply the ships of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9.

HSC 12's Detachment 1, operating from aboard the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10), have transferred more than 7,200 pallets of cargo over the past five months, including 784 pallets of mail, 3,927 pallets of food and 896 pallets of parts, said Lt. Noel Koenig, a supply officer aboard Lincoln.

All the pallets were moved during more than 150 flight hours.

"Vertical replenishments (VERTREPs) are a more dynamic evolution, and they enhance front-to-back crew resource management," said Naval Air Crewmen 2nd Class Christopher Mefford. "It becomes a game of precision, where both helicopter crews are competing to see who can place the load more accurately on the flight deck."

The detachment on Drew consists of six pilots, six air crewmen and 24 maintenance personnel operating two MH-60S Knighthawks, which are used to support at least two scheduled replenishments per week. When the crews are not involved with VERTREPs, pilots and aircrew fly to maintain currency and complete training objectives in order to obtain higher qualifications for other mission sets.

"As a pilot, you really learn how to operate the helicopter in all of its flight regimes," said Lt. j.g. Ryan Van Loo, an HSC-12 pilot. "Flying forward, backward and sideways, you must precisely fly the helicopter to the hook-up man without striking any of the loads on the deck."

HSC-12 also provides search and rescue assets, armed surveillance and reconnaissance, and maritime security operations in support of CSG 9.

HSC-12 is one of nine squadrons deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). CSG 9 also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of the 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 combat flight operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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