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Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron "Chargers" Celebrate Silver Anniversary

13th July 2009 - 08:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14 "Chargers" celebrated 25 years of service in the fleet July 10, while deployed with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73).

HS-14 has performed missions ranging from anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to search and rescue (SAR) operations for the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier George Washington.

"HS-14's primary mission is submarine defense of the inner aircraft carrier zone," said Lt. Chris Stevens, HS-14's assistant operations officer. "We're the last line of defense against submarines."

HS-14 also can perform explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) missions and vertical replenishments, said Stevens.

"If there's anything involving a helo, we do it," Stevens said.

Cmdr. Ray Hesser, HS-14's executive officer, explained that the George Washington Carrier Strike Group performs almost every mission with support from versatile, mission-capable HS-14.

"Whether it's a fly day or no-fly day, underway or in port, we have something to do," said Hesser. "Even when we have a day off, we're on alert for SAR."

HS-14 is different than most squadrons because of its size and range, said Stevens.

"Not only do we have a primary carrier-based squadron, we have two autonomous single-helicopter detachments, each with two pilots, two air crewmen and about 11 maintainers," said Stevens.

The two extra crews aboard USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Mustin (DDG 89) provide additional ASW capabilities for the carrier strike group.

"With the [squadron on George Washington] together with these two 'satellites,' we have 24-hour ASW coverage if we need it. They double our helicopter ability for anything that might come up," said Stevens. "That's the biggest difference."

"Every HS squadron has to have the capability to field a detachment at a moment's notice," said Hesser. "But none of them do it continuously, with two detachments, and sustain like we do."

The independent nature and inherent responsibility that comes with being part of an HS-14 detachment applies to all personnel within the detachment, from the parachute riggers to the aviation electronics technicians. Crew members chosen to work off the carrier are carefully selected for their assignments.

"The detachment's officer in charge is independently responsible for all 18 people and one helicopter. They don't get that experience on the carrier," said Hesser.

In Hesser's opinion, the most rewarding thing about being a "Charger" is knowing that he's making a difference for his country.

"Our part of the mission is so important," Hesser said. "I feel the satisfaction of being able to contribute to such an important job."

Commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington is the flagship for the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan and comprised of CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and the guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Olivia R. Giger, USS George Washington Public Affairs

The Shephard News Team


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