By SENIOR AIRMAN MARIANIQUE SANTOS
36th Wing Public Affairs
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE—U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 Detachments 1 and 6 returned to Guam on Monday, Dec. 9, after completing a seven-month and nine-month deployment, respectively.
Detachment 1 completed their deployment on board USNS Amelia Earheart and USNS Charles Drew, where they supported the George Washington Strike Group, Command Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron 15. Detachment 1 moved a total of 6.4 million lbs of cargo and 121 passengers during fiscal year 2013.
“Detachment 1 came home with the most qualifications I have ever seen in my career,” said Cmdr. Gregory Leland, HSC-25 commanding officer. “These detachments were some of the most successful detachments I have ever seen.”
Both detachments supported operations throughout the Pacific. Along with supporting Australian naval vessels during combined Exercise Talisman Saber 2013, the detachments supported Operation Damayan—a U.S. humanitarian aid and disaster relief effort to support the Philippines in the wake of the devastating effects of Supertyphoon Haiyan.
“While on Charles Drew, we helped out in Tacloban by providing food stores, water, and fuel,” said Lt. James Aguirre, HSC-25 Detachment 1 pilot. “We were the first ship on scene, and as soon as we got there, we started moving gallons of water to shore. The following days, we ran water to outlying areas where people had signs on the top of their houses. We ran supplies all over the place and helped as best we could.”
During Detachment 6’s nine-month deployment aboard USS Bonhomme Richard, the crew supported 7th Fleet in the Western Pacific area of responsibility. The sailors flew more than 1,300 hours, moved 2.5 million lbs of cargo and transferred 959 passengers. In addition, they also conducted six medical evacuations and four searches resulting in one rescue.
“We had a lot of challenges, one of them being away from the family,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Thomas Ridgway. “We got bounced all over the place and had the opportunity to do a lot of great things, but it’s amazing to be back with my family, so I’m looking forward to spending time with them.”
With the return of Detachment 6, the next rotation of aircrews deployed on Dec. 2 to continue the mission of providing logistical support, search-and-rescue capabilities, and humanitarian assistance in the Pacific.
“I want to thank the detachment that we sent off to relieve the team from the Bonhomme Richard,” Leland said. “I also want to thank the spouse groups, the family readiness folks, and ombudsmen who help us keep the balance in the families back home while the detachments are fighting a good fight. We look forward to continuing the successful trend in the near future.”