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Awards

VAQ-133 received the Outstanding Naval Air Unit of the Year Award for 2005 from the Association of Old Crows. Right, from left to right, Ltjg. Brandon Edge, Wizard CO Cdr. W. C. Minter, AOC President Mr. Austin Thomas, Jr., Lt. Donald Costello, and Ltjg. Josh Arenstein.

VFA-103 CO Cdr. Brian D. Koehr received the annual Navy-Marine Corps Leadership Award.

FAIRWESTPAC and its subordinate commands received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for meritorious service from 11 September 2001 to 31 December 2003. The commendation recognizes their support to all Navy and Marine Corps aviation units forwarded deployed in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, in direct support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and for support to other units operating in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Kearsarge (LHD 3) received the Combat Action Ribbon for action while in Aquaba, Jordan, in August 2005. The ribbon is given to a ship's crew when the safety of the ship and crew is endangered by enemy attack and the crew's performance is considered satisfactory.

Records

VFA-27 surpassed 27 years and 80,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours.

Scan Pattern

On 9 December 2005 VS-30 was deactivated after 53 years of service with more than 26 years and 89,000 class A mishap-free flight hours.

On 5 December 2005 HSL-41 received the Navy's new MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. "The MH-60R can perform satellite communications as well as vertical replenishments, antisubmarine warfare, air-to-air combat, surface-to-air combat, and search and rescue," said AT2 (AW) Steve Murdock, HSL-41 avionics technician. The squadron's designation will change to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM-41) to reflect the aircraft's multimission capabilities.

HS-8 took part in the filming of an episode of the Fox television show 24. One of HS-8's crew members may be seen unlocking the 50-caliber machine gun from the door and leading an actress out of the helicopter after it lands at the "U.S. president's ranch." The HS-8 crew nailed the landing in two takes and had time to take pictures with the show's cast members before returning to NAS North Island, Calif.

TACRON 11 Det 3 assigned to ESG-1 on board Tarawa (LHA 1) conducted a tri-site deployment within a week of the large earthquake in Pakistan on 8 October 2005. Squadron members provided air traffic control and integration of air operations for humanitarian aid/disaster relief missions in Pakistan; were assigned to the Combined Air Operations Center in Al Udeid, Qatar; and operated ashore in support of Marines in Iraq. While members of the detachment were supporting around-the-clock shore-based helicopter operations, the others on board Tarawa continued to support the remainder of ESG-1 in their traditional sea-based role. Cdr. Ed Weisbrod, Det 3's OIC, explained that "although this is the first time a TACRON detachment has served in a tri-site role, this is merely the beginning of a transformation for the community as a whole."

Rescues

A Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) crew member was rescued after falling overboard as the ship conducted maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf on 18 December 2005. The ship and CVW-8 aircraft immediately started rescue operations. A helicopter from HS-3 returned the sailor to the carrier for medical evaluation.

After the condition of a patient on board Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) worsened, the HS-5 Alert crew prepared to evacuate the critically ill individual. The crewmen, AW1 Bruce Tallon and AW3 Trevor Schwendau, secured the patient aboard the HH-60H Seahawk and proceeded to assist the attending medical personnel throughout the flight. Lt. Nik Fialka and Ltjg. James Malvasio guided Rescue 616 to a civilian hospital where they safely delivered the patient before returning to the carrier.

Three pilots from HSL-43 shared their experiences in providing humanitarian relief following the Southeast Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina with students at Montgomery Middle School in San Diego, Calif., on 30 November 2005.

Sailors from Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) raised more than $240,000 for the 2005 Combined Federal Campaign.

Sailors from CCSG-9 aboard Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) collected food donations to assist local families in need and delivered them to Marysville Community Food Bank on 13 December 2005.

Bataan (LHD 5) provided an audience on 15 December 2005 for Christmas-caroling students from Norfolk, Va.'s Granby Elementary School as part of the ship's Partnership in Education program.

On 4 November 2005 thirty sailors from Boxer (LHD 4) packaged more than 400 boxes of food at the San Diego, Calif., food bank.

On 10 November 2005 more than 1,200 sailors from Carl Vinson (CVN 70) participated in over 30 different community service projects throughout the Hampton Roads, Va., region, giving about 6,000 hours of volunteer service in one day.

George Washington (CVN 73) sailors participated in a Veteran's Day commemoration at the Warwick Forest Senior Living Community in Newport News, Va., on 10 November 2005.

On 30 November 2005, Capt. Derek C. Bibby, AV-8B Harrier II pilot, above, was taxing his Harrier and preparing for takeoff when the aircraft's brake system failed. With the aircraft accelerating and heading toward another Harrier and the edge of Peleliu's (LHA 5) flight deck, Bibby repositioned the exhaust nozzles forward to stop the Harrier. Powerline mechanic Cpl. Frank A. Valenzuela, above right, assessed the situation and quickly went into action. Valenzuela ran underneath the aircraft and secured it by tying it down with chocks and chains. Both men from VMA-214 were awarded Navy Achievement Medals on 7 December 2005, for their individual actions preventing the Harrier from injuring Marines and sailors, damaging other aircraft, and departing the flight deck.

Story and Photos by Cpl. Ruben Calderon

Edited by JO2 Brandy Fisher
COPYRIGHT 2006 Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Fisher, Brandy
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:937
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