HC-2 Fleet Angels history.
The first HC-2 traces its lineage back to 1 April 1948 when the Navy's first operational helicopter squadrons--Helicopter Utility Squadrons (HU) 1 and 2--were established at NAS Lakehurst, N.J., to provide utility services to ships of both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. Flying Sikorsky HO3S-1 and HO4S helicopters, HU-1 and HU-2 performed a wide range of missions. As the versatility of the helicopter was proven with the advent of more advanced types, such as the Piasecki HUP-2, new units with more specialized roles were formed.
In July 1965, HU-2 was redesignated HC-2, and although it continued to fly a variety of missions, increasing emphasis was placed on plane guard and logistics support for carrier battle groups. Flying the UH-2 Seasprite, detachments from HC-2 saw considerable service while deployed to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. In 1972, HC-2's UH-2s were supplanted by 20 SH-3G Sea Kings. Living up to its Fleet Angels nickname, HC-2 boasted an outstanding search and rescue record, completing 2,318 rescues between 1 April 1948 and its disestablishment on 30 September 1977 when the unit fell victim to budget cuts.
The second HC-2 was established on 1 April 1987 at NAS Norfolk with personnel and equipment drawn from detachments formerly parented by support squadrons HC-6, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 1 and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12. Equipped with SH-3A/Gs drawn from HC-6 and HS-1, HC-2 was stood up in order to unify the combat support elements of these dissimilar Atlantic Fleet squadrons. Initially nicknamed the Circuit Raiders, the unit quickly chose to continue the traditions of the first HC-2 by adopting the name Fleet Angels.
During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the diverse abilities of HC-2's personnel and aircraft were put to the test. Operating four stripped out SH-3G/Hs during the conflict, the unit's Det 2 "Desert Ducks" (supported by HC-1 and HS-75) met all the challenges presented to the detachment in the Arabian Gulf. Det 2 distinguished itself by successfully participating in multiple search and rescue missions, strategic movements of prisoners of war, medical evacuations, mine searches and many other missions.
Reequipped with UH-3Hs and VH-3As in 1992-1993, HC-2 maintains two overseas dets, as well as supporting Atlantic Fleet vessels in home waters. It also conducts all fleet replacement training for Sea King crews, a role that the squadron assumed in October 1996.