Helicopter Squadron to Commemorate Naval Aviation Centennial at Sea

Last Updated : 5/26/2011 10:16:24 AM

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The celebration of 100 years of naval aviation is set to kick off aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in San Diego, Feb. 10.

The "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4 – due to deployment commitments - will be honoring the milestone at sea while aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

"It's unfortunate that we're not going to be in San Diego for the celebration, but America needs us out there on the front," said Command Master Chief Al Lamb, HS-4 senior enlisted leader. "We're excited about 100 years of naval aviation, but we're also excited about this deployment and protecting the men and women abroad, and supporting our ground troops."

The Centennial of Naval Aviation, commemorating 100 years of progress and achievement in naval aviation, is a year-long tribute to the scope of all naval aviation activities, including aircraft, people, ships, innovations and significant events.

The year 2011 not only marks naval aviation's 100th anniversary, it also will be the last year HS-4 will exist as an anti-submarine warfare squadron. The squadron will be disestablished following deployment and will become Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4.

"HS-4 has been around for 59 years, and it is fitting that we will celebrate a milestone ourselves during this centennial," said Cmdr. Robert Aguilar, HS-4 commanding officer. "We are going to spend the next 12 months reliving our history as a squadron as we celebrate 100 years of Naval aviation."

For the Sailors assigned to HS-4, the celebration will be observed through the rigorous operations of a helicopter squadron aboard an aircraft carrier at sea.

"We have an extremely high operation tempo," said Lamb. "We fly every day, and our pilots and maintenance personnel are some of the best in the fleet. As a command master chief, I couldn't be more proud of our Sailors. They are the most committed Sailors I've ever seen in my 25 years in the Navy."

HS-4 is a squadron with a rich tradition. It was commissioned June 30, 1952 in Imperial Beach, Calif., and became the first anti-submarine warfare squadron to deploy aboard an aircraft carrier; the USS Rendova (CVE 14).

HS-4 is also famous for pioneering techniques used in the Apollo capsule recoveries, and was the squadron responsible for recovering the astronauts from Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

"HS-4 has a proud tradition in naval aviation," said Lamb. "We will continue to build on that tradition and lead from the front."

NAS North Island is known as the "Birthplace of Naval Aviation." On Feb. 17, 1911, inventor and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss taxied his seaplane to the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB 38), anchored in San Diego Bay.

From that historic day, naval aviation has continued to thrive and expand, and it is in that spirit of innovation that the Centennial of Naval Aviation will be honored throughout 2011.

The year-long celebration will kick off aboard NAS North Island with four days of festivities Feb. 10-13, including carrier and ship tours, static display aircraft, a classic car show and a parade of flight featuring more than 75 aircraft.

"The history of naval aviation has been a dynamic part of American history," said Aguilar. "There is a small group of men and women who have been a part of that history who provide a great service to their country."

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