Today, May 11, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, Calif., Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific is scheduled to host a Sundown Ceremony for the SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter. The Sundown Ceremony will commemorate 30 years of active service for the SH-60B.
Sailors aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) hook a cargo cable to an SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Squadron (HSL) 49 during a vertical replenishment training exercise. Vandegrift is on its last scheduled deployment before being decommissioned in March 2015. The ship is on patrol in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cory Booth, courtesy of the U.S. Navy
The SH-60B joined the operational fleet in 1985 when the aircraft made its initial deployment with a Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 43 detachment aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37). Since joining the fleet, the aircraft has completed more than 3.6 million flight hours in support of operations and training.
On April 17, the last active-duty SH-60B detachment, from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49 at Naval Air Station North Island, returned from a seven-month deployment aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) to the U.S. 4th and 3rd Fleet areas of operation.
Pilots assigned to the Easyriders of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 conduct a readiness test on an SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97). Halsey is on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley J. Gee, courtesy of the U.S. Navy
Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, principal military deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisitions, will serve as the ceremony's guest speaker. Capt. Shawn P. Malone, commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, Pacific, and Capt. Clayton L. Conley, commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, Atlantic, are also scheduled to speak at the ceremony.
The SH-60B Sea Hawk is being replaced by the MH-60R Sea Hawk, which is capable of executing the same missions as the SH-60B, but with significant advancements in mission systems that dramatically enhances its effectiveness. MH-60R aircraft carry out various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, humanitarian relief and medical evacuation.
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