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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 “Indians”


Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron SIX (HSC-6) transitioned from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron SIX (HS-6) and commissioned on July 8, 2011.

HS-6 was established on June 1, 1956 aboard USS PRINCETON (CVS 37) midway between the islands of Formosa and Okinawa. Initially, the squadron flew the HO4S Chickasaw, but two years later transitioned to the HSS-1N Seabat and gained a new mission, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). In April 1960, the squadron joined Carrier Anti-Submarine Group FIVE THREE aboard USS KEARSARGE (CVS 33). In March of 1962 the squadron again changed aircraft when Sikorsky's SH-3 Sea King entered the fleet. The Sea King, incorporating upgrades over the years, would take HS-6 into the 1990s. Along the way, the squadron built a history and a reputation worthy of the name, "World Famous Indians." HS-6 recovered Mercury Program astronauts Wally Schirra in 1962 and Gordon Cooper in 1963. In 1966, during U.S. strikes into Vietnam, the Indians rescued 16 d owned aviators, for which the squadron received the Navy Unit Commendation. A SEVENTH Fleet Commendation followed in 1969 for services provided following the collision at sea between USS EVANS and HMAS MELBOURNE. In 1971, the Indians recovered the crew of Apollo 14 returning from the moon. Later that year, the squadron deployed to the east coast to join Carrier Air Wing SEVEN aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CVA 62) to conduct an evaluation of the emerging CV concept.

In 1974, the squadron began a nine-year association with USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) and Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9). This successful partnership resulted in Battle "E" Awards in 1974 and 1978 and back-to-back Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophies for ASW excellence in 1977 and 1978. The squadron also won the CNO Safety 'S' Award in 1977. In 1975, HS-6 briefly revisited its participation in the space program, recovering the Apollo-Soyuz astronauts. The squadron's final deployment onboard USS CONSTELLATION was highlighted by 19 open ocean rescues. HS-6 again won back-to-back Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophies in 1985 and 1986. Additionally, in 1986, the squadron received the Admiral Jimmy Thach Award for carrier-based ASW excellence and the CNO Safety 'S' Award. In 1988 the Indians received worldwide recognition for rescuing a seriously injured Japanese fisherman. That year, HS-6 would also receive the Sikorsky Maintenance Award, the CNO Safety 'S' Award, and the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation. HS-6 later joined Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN (CVW-11) and began deploying onboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) until 1989 when the Indians finished with an Around the World cruise. On that cruise, HS-6 won the first ever DESRON 21 "Order of the Pummeled Dolphin" award for excellence in ASW. In 1992, the squadron transitioned to Sikorsky's SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk helicopters. Armed with these new, highly capable aircraft, the Indians remained part of CVW-11 and from 1992 to 2003 conducted several successful deployments aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72), USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), and USS NIMITZ (CVN 68), to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf.

In 2001, during the opening days of the Global War on Terrorism, HS-6 conducted a joint detachment with HS-11, staging their HH-60H helicopters at a forward base in Pakistan to provide Combat Search and Rescue for the initial Operation ENDURING FREEDOM air strikes into Afghanistan. Following another FIFTH Fleet deployment in 2003, the Indians deployed in the summer of 2004 aboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) for its South American inter-fleet transit. WESTPAC 2005 found HS-6 focused on Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, flying over 2,500 hours and nearly 1,000 sorties from USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to patrol the skies of Southern Iraq. That year, the Indians were awarded the CNO Safety 'S' Award, COMPACFLT Retention Excellence Award, and Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy. The squadron's exceptional support of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM during WESTPAC '07, and their performance in the SEVENTH Fleet throughout WESTPAC '08 earned the Indians the 2007 Battle "E" and back to back CNO Safety 'S' Awards in 2007 and 2008. In March 2010, the squadron completed its final cruise with H-60 F/H helicopters, an eight month deployment to FIFTH Fleet in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. HSC-6 completed a Western Pacific deployment in 2013 with eight MH-60S helicopters as an integral part of the CVW-11 / CVN 68 team. HSC-6 was awarded the Battle "E', CNO Safety S, and Arnold J. Isbell trophy in 2013 as well as 2015. In 2016, HSC-6 was the first ever HSC CVW Squadron to earn the Special Operations Forces certification.

In October 2017, HSC-6 Deployed ISO USS ROOSEVELT and CSG-9 as part of CVW-17. The seven-month deployment supported C5F and C7F ISO Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL (OFS). Three-carrier operations were conducted in the Sea of Japan over the course of the deployment and HSC-6 executed 9 MEDEVACs. After returning to NAS North Island in May 2018, the squadron participated in multiple Joint Training Exercises including NORTHERN STRIKE, PHOENIX FIRE, PACIFIC BLITZ, VIRTUAL FLAG, RED FLAG RESCUE, and ODA support in the SOCAL Op Area. In 2018, HSC-6 received the "Blue M" for medical readiness and the Retention Excellence Award for the third consecutive year. In November 2018, HSC-6 and CVW-17 transitioned to USS NIMITZ and CSG-11.

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