DECEMBER 12, 2016, GUAM (NNS) – Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 Det. 6 returned to Guam after a seven-month deployment in the western Pacific and South China Sea.
The detachment departed Guam May 25, and supported Commander Amphibious Force 7th Fleet from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD) 6.
In July, HSC-25 conducted split detachment operations by sending a group of pilots, air crewmen, and maintainers to Mutsu Bay, Japan, to participate in the biannual Joint Mine Countermeasures Exercise (2JA) with several U.S. Navy assets and partners from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). During the exercise, they joined Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14 for mine-hunting operations, as well as helicopter-borne mine neutralization with members of Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 and JMSDF EOD.
Following Exercise 2JA, Det. 6 supported Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 (MWSS-171) at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji. The Marines conducted readiness exercises in establishment of Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) for extended helicopter operations. Det. 6 provided helicopters for hands-on training, security drills, and close air support demonstrations.
The detachment later joined Bonhomme Richard when Expeditionary Strike Group 7 set out on their fall 2016 patrol, as the group’s only search and rescue asset. HSC-25 supported the Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck certification, the Air Combat Element’s embarkation, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Certification Exercise (CERTEX). After the ESG left the Japan area of responsibility, they set sail for Guam, where they played a vital role in Valiant Shield — a biannual blue-water U.S. field training exercise. Following the exercise, Det. 6 supported the ESG and MEU during PHIBLEX 2016, a joint U.S. and Philippine amphibious landing exercise. Throughout the patrol, HSC-25 continued to provide round-the-clock reconnaissance and logistical support. Their tireless efforts included the movement of over 1.5 million lbs. of cargo, transfer of 540 passengers, and the execution of three medical evacuations.
Under command of Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin “Rico” Martinez, a crew of 48 Sailors and three MH-60S Seahawk helicopters of Det. 6 flew 970 hours, executed 330 sorties, expended 14,000 rounds of ammunition, and completed 13,000 hours of maintenance resulting in zero mishaps, zero incidents, and 100 percent mission completion.
When the detachment left Guam, Martinez gave them three fundamental rules to live by.
“One — be brilliant at the basics; two — do the right things, and three — do things right,” he said.
“The key to our success is rather simple following basic tenants; I put the power in my people to do what they knew they had to,” said Martinez. “They were inspired to be creative and were able to expand not only their own horizons, but our squadron’s capabilities as well. I owe everything to them; we are more than a team or detachment now. We are a family!”
The mission of HSC-25 is to train, deploy, and sustain combat ready helicopter detachments in support of the national defense and security strategy while providing expeditionary and regional area logistics, search and rescue, force protection, and disaster response to the Territory of Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands.