HSC-3 Reaches 300,000 Mishap-Free Flight Hours

Members of HSC-3 recently celebrated reaching the 300,000 mishap free flight hours milestone. HSC-3 is one of the Navy’s premier helicopter training squadron. Photo courtesy of HSC-3.

In the evening hours of Thursday October 25, Naval Air Station North Island’s HSC-3 Merlins crossed the incredible milestone of 300,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours on a nighttime formation flight. Throughout its history, HSC-3 has distinguished itself for providing mission readiness and unparalleled safety. HSC-3 serves as the Navy’s premier helicopter training squadron and provides pilots and aircrewmen to units that are deployed worldwide. HSC-3 executes its primary missions with precision across multiple airframes, including the MH-60S, HH-60H, and MQ-8B. In this capacity, HSC-3 provided 136 fleet replacement pilots, 85 fleet replacement aircrewmen, and 32 air vehicle operators in Fiscal Year 18.
These pilots and aircrew train to become tactically proficient in a broad range of missions including anti-surface warfare, personnel recovery, special operations force support, and search and rescue. The Merlins are also developing and expanding aerial mine countermeasure capabilities and tactics, adding a new dimension of warfighting capability to the MH-60S.
In addition to its role as a Fleet Replacement Squadron, HSC-3 provides operational support for the Southern California offshore range (SCORE) based on San Clemente Island and maintains the readiness of a reserve unit. HSC-3 also serves as the CHSCWP firefighting model manager, training other Navy helicopter squadrons on airborne firefighting operations while providing CALFIRE with on-call support to combat fires in the Southern California fire sector.
Despite the complex, evolving, and diverse day-to-day missions of a single squadron, HSC-3 continues to meet and exceed all expectations through superlative dedication, exceptional professionalism, and a daily commitment to safety from every Sailor. In 44 years of continuous flight operations, HSC-3 has now flown 300,000 flight hours without a Class A mishap.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the Merlin team in accomplishing 300,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours. This accomplishment is truly a testament of the outstanding teamwork and contribution of every Merlin and would not have been possible without a complete all-hands dedicated effort,” said CAPT Sean Rocheleau, Commanding Officer of HSC-3.
“From all rates and paygrades, our culture of safety first and by-the-book procedures was vital to the success of the HSC-3 team and there is not one Merlin who was not a contributor to this milestone. I look forward to the continued success of the Mighty Merlins!”
Thursday’s milestone was reached during a dual-ship nighttime low-level formation flight. The four pilots and five aircrewmen aboard the two helicopters recognize that while it was just another successful mission, they are excited and humbled to reach the 300,000 Class A mishap-free flight hour mark. Helicopter Aircraft Commander, LT Kristin Bowen stated, “I’m proud and excited to be part of a squadron that has hit such an amazing milestone. It’s saying a lot about how hard our instructors and maintainers work on a daily basis.”

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