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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Nine
HSC-9 Emblem
Active June 1, 1956 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Type Navy Helicopter Squadron
Role Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)
Combat Search and Rescue CSAR
Search and Rescue (SAR)
Special Operations (SpecOps)
Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP)
Part of CVW-8 Patch Carrier Air Wing Eight
Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic
Garrison/HQ NS Norfolk NAS Norfolk
Nickname(s) "Tridents"
Colors Black and Red
Engagements Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Global War on Terror
Navy Command at Sea CDR Brad L. Arthur

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Nine (HSC-9) "Tridents" is a United States Navy helicopter squadron based at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia. HSC-9 is attached to Carrier Air Wing Eight and deploys aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). HSC-9 was redesignated from HS-3 on 1 June 2009.

Mission[edit | edit source]

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Nine's primary mission is to employ the versatility of the MH-60S helicopter to support the battle group commander's objectives, with emphasis on Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), support of Special Operations, and Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP). Secondary missions include Anti-Ship Missile defense and Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).

HSC-9 command history[edit | edit source]

Early history[edit | edit source]

HSC-9 traces its history back to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Three (HS-3) which was established 18 June 1952, at the Naval Air Facility, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Tridents commenced operations flying the Piaseki UH-25B helicopter, and later transitioned to the Sikorsky H-19 and SH-34 helicopters. HS-3 was the first Atlantic Fleet operational squadron to operate the gas turbine powered SH-3A Sea King, followed later by the SH-3D, and finally the SH-3H TACNAV equipped helicopter. Additionally in 1982, HS-3 became the first squadron to deploy with the AQS-13E Sonar Data Computer.

During the early 1960s HS-3 was deployed in USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) and USS Intrepid (CVS-11). In 1962, on board the USS Wasp (CVS-18), HS-3 participated in the naval blockade of Cuba.

File:HSC-9 w Sub.JPG

HSC-9 Trident MH-60S in trail with a submarine.

The Tridents began an active role in the space program on May 24, 1962 when then Skipper CDR J. M. Wondergem picked up LCDR M. S. Carpenter from his Aurora 7 spacecraft and delivered him to USS Intrepid (CV 11). Astronauts Carpenter, Grissom, Young, Collins, Gordon, Conrad, McDevitt, Scott, and Schweikart all ended their space journeys with rides aboard TRIDENT helicopters. In 1967, HS-3 deployed aboard USS Randolph (CVS-15), and in 1970 the Tridents conducted their first operations aboard USS Forrestal (CVA-59). In the early 1970s, the squadron participated in the relief of Tunisian flood victims, rescuing or relocating 630 people while transporting over 43,000 pounds of food and medical supplies. In recognition of this humanitarian support, the squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. HS-3 won the Battle "E" in 1973 and 1978 as well as the Isbell Trophy in 1974 and 1978.

HS-3 was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations for operational accomplishments and outstanding maintenance efforts during the 1985–86 Mediterranean and Indian Ocean deployment on board USS Saratoga (CV 60). The Tridents won three consecutive Battle "E" Awards for 1985, '86 and '87. They also won back-to-back Isbell Trophies in 1986 and '87.

Seahawk history[edit | edit source]

In 1990, the Tridents enforced United Nations sanctions against Iraqi trade while deployed on board the USS Saratoga (CV-60) in the Red Sea. HS-3 conducted an actual Helicopter Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (HVBSS) with a special forces boarding team to "take down" a hostile merchant ship during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. HS-3 provided superb combat support in this campaign and was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for those efforts. The squadron returned home in the spring of 1991 and was the first Atlantic squadron to transition to the SH-60F Seahawk. Preparations for the squadron's 1995 Mediterranean deployment were interrupted when the Tridents were called on to support Operation Uphold Democracy during the military intervention in Haiti. HS-3 provided the sole Navy Maritime SAR, CSAR and special operations support. The Tridents deployed one week after the completion of Uphold Democracy and flew in support of Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During this deployment, HS-3 also flew the first actual CSAR mission by an HS squadron since the Vietnam Era to search for the crew of a downed French Mirage fighter. The Tridents deployed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in March 1999 and headed straight into the first of two conflicts. During Operation Noble Anvil, HS-3 supported combat operations against Serbia in Kosovo. Once a cease-fire was agreed upon, the Theodore Roosevelt transited the Persian Gulf to support maritime interdiction operations and enforce no-fly zones over southern Iraq. In August, HS-3 conducted a successful HVBSS to a freighter violating UN sanctions. The operation seized $3.5 million in Iraqi contraband. During this demanding deployment, HS-3 lifted over 1,800,000 pounds of cargo and completed over 2,000 small deck landings. HS-3 was awarded the Battle "E" for 1999.

File:HS3 Hellfire Shoot.jpg

HS-3 HH-60H Hellfire Shot. Fallon, Nevada.

In April 2001, HS-3 deployed in USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which became the key force behind the highly successful first strikes against the Taliban in response to the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Tridents conducted sustained CSAR, ASW, Logistics, NSW, and SAR operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Tridents deployed in 2003 in the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) after a compressed inter-deployment readiness cycle. During the course of the deployment, HS-3 conducted ASW, Logistics, and SAR operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning home in May, the Tridents continued their operational tempo in a surge status until January 2004.

In September 2008, after completing a lengthy training cycle, the Tridents deployed in USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) to the Arabian Sea in support of combat operations in Afghanistan. Along the way, HS-3 took part in a historic visit to Cape Town, South Africa. The Theodore Roosevelt was the first U. S. carrier to visit Cape Town in over 40 years. The Tridents ensured the success of the cooperative engagement with the South African government by transporting dignitaries on and off the ship, conducting an emergent 80,000 pound at-anchor vertical replenishment, and moving supplies for the reception ashore.

Once arriving on-station in the CENTCOM AOR, the Tridents flew plane guard, anti-terrorism force protection, anti-surface warfare, logistics, and anti-submarine warfare in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom and maritime security operations during the 2008-2009 deployment. The Tridents also detached three H-60H aircraft to the USS San Antonio (LPD-17) and subsequently to the USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1) for two months. This detachment supported Combined Task Force 151 counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. The Tridents assisted in apprehending 16 suspected pirates and paved the way for future operations in the region. In 2008, HS-3 won the CNAF Aviation Battle Efficiency, Commander, Naval Aviation Safety Center Safety "S", and the CAPT A. J. Isbell Trophy.

Post MH-60S transition[edit | edit source]

On April 16, 2009, the Tridents returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, from HS-3's final cruise. During this year, the Tridents received the Jimmy Thach award for excellence in Anti-Submarine Warfare, a great end cap to the distinguished legacy of HS-3. In May, the squadron started its permanent duty station change to Norfolk, VA and airframe change to the MH-60S. On June 1, 2009, the Tridents officially became Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron NINE (HSC-9).

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On 13 January 2010, the Tridents sent two helicopters in support of Operation Unified Response, providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief following the devastating Haiti earthquake. Squadron personnel spent three months deployed in USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS Bataan (LHD-5) off the coast of Haiti, delivering over 280,000 pounds of disaster relief supplies and completing 240 MEDEVAC missions on the beleaguered island. The Tridents also brought ashore over 556,000 pounds of sustainment supplies and made 1300 passenger transfers in support of the Operation.

Following their transition, Tridents lent support to numerous carrier qualifications and completed an intense work-up schedule in preparation for the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) maiden voyage with Carrier Air Wing Eight.

Former commanding officers[edit | edit source]

CDR Francis H. McClannan June 1952 to June 1953
CDR J. R. Wilson June 1953 to February 1955
CDR A. H. Willis February 1955 to April 1956
CDR Forrest H. McClannan April 1956 to March 1957
CDR F. H. Hollowell March 1957 to March 1958
CDR E. K. Larkin March 1958 to March 1959
CDR R. G. Amme March 1959 to March 1960
CDR W. L. Bennett March 1960 to March 1961
CDR A. H. Munson March 1961 to March 1962
CDR J. M. Wondergem March 1962 to January 1963
CDR J. C. Wilkins January 1963 to January 1964
CDR K. L. Morse January 1964 to December 1964
CDR J. T. Carter, Jr. December 1964 to December 1965
CDR E. N. Bouffard December 1965 to November 1966
CDR R. A. Miller November 1966 to September 1967
CDR M. J. Twite, Jr. September 1967 to June 1968
CDR G. M. Rankin, Jr. June 1968 to May 1969
CDR W. A. Domingue May 1969 to May 1970
CDR S. R. Snyder May 1970 to May 1971
CDR W. H. Winchester May 1971 to May 1972
CDR U. W. King May 1972 to April 1973
CDR W. H. Pharis April 1973 to May 1974
CDR F. C. Brockhausen May 1974 to June 1975
CDR R. A. Fisher June 1975 to October 1976
CDR J. M. Quarterman, Jr. October 1976 to January 1978
CDR B. A. Spofford January 1978 to April 1979
CDR H. E. Perry April 1979 to June 1980
CDR P. L. Nelson June 1980 to September 1981
CDR P. D. McGovern September 1981 to November 1982
CDR H. W. Nesbitt November 1982 to May 1984
CDR M. J. Panchura, Jr. May 1984 to October 1985
CDR S. L. Fahrenkrog October 1985 to March 1986
CDR L. L. Fitzgerald March 1986 to July 1988
CDR J. Hrenko, Jr. July 1988 to November 1989
CDR T. F. Darcy November 1989 to December 1990
CDR J. P. Avveduti, Jr. December 1990 to October 1992
CDR G. W. Faber October 1992 to January 1994
CDR J. H. Thompson January 1994 to March 1995
CDR R. H. Magee April 1995 to August 1996
CDR C. P. Bourne August 1996 to October 1997
CDR E. W. Dobson, Jr. October 1997 to January 1999
CDR J. S. Husaim January 1999 to March 2000
CDR G. A. Chamberlain March 2000 to June 2001
CDR L. W. Schonenberg June 2001 to October 2002
CDR J. B. Hopkins II October 2002 to February 2004
CDR S. W. Holmes February 2004 to April 2005
CDR T. J. Fitzgerald April 2005 to June 2006
CDR M. R. Moore June 2006 to September 2007
CDR M. A. Truluck September 2007 to December 2008
CDR S. B. Starkey December 2008 to April 2010
CDR W. T. Cox, Jr. April 2010 to July 2011
CDR B. K. Pummill July 2011 to October 2012

Squadron aircraft[edit | edit source]

  • Piaseki UH-25B helicopter
  • Sikorsky H-19
  • SH-34 helicopters

H-3 Sea King

  • SH-3A
  • SH-3D,

SH-60 Seahawk

  • SH-60F, 1991–2009
  • HH-60H, 1991–2009
  • MH-60S, 2009–present (redesignated HSC-9 in 2009)

Squadron awards[edit | edit source]

SAR Excellence Award

"Golden Wrench" Maintenance Award

2012 "Battle E"

Ships deployed aboard[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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