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Grandmasters Set to Complete Deployment

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The Grandmasters of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46, Detachment Six, also known as the "Big Irons", are nearing the end of their recent deployment aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) with record numbers.

The "Big Irons" of Det. 6 have been on station with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENTCSG) throughout the strike group's deployment.

The detachment's primary role has been to provide nighttime surface surveillance and control as well as anti-terrorism force protection and logistics support to the strike group.

"I've been with {the Big Irons} for one year, and I have never seen a harder working detachment," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman (AW) Lionel Harris. "I see a lot of hard work and a lot of team players even though we all come from different rates. I am the only {aviation ordnanceman}, but I feel like part of the team and right at home."

During the deployment and workup cycle, Det. 6 flew more than 1,500 hours during the course of 305 days, used more than 203,602 gallons of fuel, transported more than 15 tons of cargo, carried more than 80 passengers and flew 62 missions, making them one of the most efficient air detachments in the Navy.

"We have flown more hours than any other detachment I know of," said Lt. Hunter Marner, a pilot with Det. 6. "With seven pilots and three air crewman, we logged a lot of hours, but we were up to the challenge."

With the large number of missions flown by the Big Irons, detachment Sailors were expected to be on top of their game.

"We always had to be flexible," said Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 2nd Class (NAC/AW/SW) Phillip M. Gullo. "It was a constant challenge, but when you love your job, it makes it worth doing."

Big Irons leadership also noticed the hard work of their crew.

"Our guys stepped up to the plate and they crushed it," said Lt. Benjamin Ross, the detachment maintenance officer. "Everyone from the {mechanics} turning wrenches to the electricians chasing wires and the aircrews managing the operations side of it all...they made it happen."

"I was very proud of all efforts that were put into making us one of the hardest working detachments in the Navy," said Marner. "It was a huge group effort; we couldn't have done it if we had been missing even one of our Sailors."

Vicksburg is deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Scott, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs