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HSC-25, continuous support

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam-- Andersen Air Force Base, home of the 36th Wing, also houses the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Five. HSC-25 was relocated to Andersen in 1996, where they were later redesignated the Island Knights after Naval Air Station Agana was closed. To this day, they remain the only Naval Squadron located at Andersen.

"HSC-25 provides maritime and inland search and rescue capability to Guam, the commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands and to fleet units when embarked," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Paul Burden, HSC-25 search and rescue medical technician. "We also assist the U.S. Coast Guard by providing search and rescue units, and we are the only helicopter squadron for this area."

HSC-25, the first and only forward-deployed vertical replenishment squadron in the Navy, is tasked with supporting seven fleet units in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, North Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf.

"We're different than every other helicopter squadron because we provide 24/7 search and rescue support while being the only helicopter asset for the Marianas Islands," said Naval Air Crewman 3rd Class Zack Schwab, HSC-25 search and rescue swimmer. "Helicopter squadrons on the East or West coast have supporting squadrons to assist them, we don't have that."

Each career field that helps make up HSC-25 has a unique place in operations and servicemembers receive extensive training before being sent to their first duty station.
"We have a long curriculum and attend several schools, taking approximately 1.5 years to complete," said AWS3 Schwab. "By the time we reach the fleet we are educated and trained in water survival skills and we have the knowledge and capability required to save lives. We are also trained in Oceanography and gain hands-on experience with the MH-60 Knight Hawk weapons capabilities, rescue equipment and systems knowledge of the aircraft."

After arriving they continue with qualifications and participate in exercises to refine their skills, keeping their training fresh in memory at all times.

"Sometimes people are surprised at the level of training we have received and all that we are qualified to do," said HM2 Burden. "Also, there are only 80 search and rescue medical technicians out of all corpsmen in the Navy."

HSC-25 provides a great atmosphere for younger enlisted members to train and gain knowledge to become specialists in their career field.

"Every member of the HSC-25 Island Knight team is essential in keeping these aircraft flying and supporting the Navy's mission," said Chief Petty Officer James Davis, HSC-25 operations chief. "As the only forward-deployed HSC squadron, HSC-25 is involved in almost every operation or exercise in theater."

The squadron also gives those enlisted members, newer to the fleet; first-hand learning opportunities by helping them better familiarize themselves with the equipment they will someday specialize in.

"I like the prospect the squadron provides to be able to work with helicopters," said, HSC-25 Aviation Machinist's Mate, Amn. Danielle Vincent. "To be a part of a team that saves lives makes me excited for the experiences while on deployment."

The camaraderie between the members of HSC-25 makes for a well-built team, ready to support the mission at hand.

"The best thing about our squadron is we go out on any given day with the knowledge that we could potentially save a life," said AWS3 Schwab. "Having my aircrew brethren by my side every day, there's nothing else like it."

With the squadron's alert posture, HSC-25 readily supports the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Guam and Joint Region Marianas. Their constant dedication makes them not only a great addition to the Pacific theater, but Team Andersen as well.

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