The "Warhawks" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 10 officially retired their Medal of Honor helicopter Dec. 6.
The helicopter was painted February 2011 in honor of the centennial of naval aviation, and to commemorate Lt. Clyde Lassen and his crew during a combat search and rescue mission during the Vietnam War. Lassen received the Medal of Honor for his courageous performance during this operation.
"We wanted to honor that pilot and its crew of four, so we decked out the helicopter by painting a medal of honor and its ribbons on the helicopter; there is actually a placard on the left side of the aircraft which explains what happened on that night," said HS-10's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. William Murphy. "It's a nice way to celebrate 100 years of naval aviation and more specifically it is a tribute to our Medal of Honor team in Vietnam years ago."
The SH-60F Seahawk helicopter has spent its entire career in the training squadron HS-10. It has trained thousands of pilots and aircrew members and has more than 10,000 flight hours and over 40,000 landings.
According to Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman James Thompson, assigned to HS-10, the helicopter flew its first flight in naval service with HS-10 Jan. 11, 1990. The aircraft was the ninth SH-60F that Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation produced. It was delivered to HS-10 to commence the training of naval aviators on the SH-60F model.
"It has been at HS-10 since 1990; it is very rare for a Navy helicopter to never have been at a fleet squadron, but it has been at this training squadron it's whole career," said Thompson. "For 21 years this aircraft flew and trained thousands of aviators. The Navy has definitely gotten its money's worth out of this helicopter."
The SH-60F's retirement is part of the H-60 sundown program from naval service as the newer and more capable MH-60S and MH-60R enter service.
The helicopter will go to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscan, Arizona where the military sends their retired and excess aircraft. At this base the Medal of Honor helicopter is going to be placed on a stretch of road, known as Celebrity Row, where some of the most significant aircraft in U.S. history are displayed.
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Huntoon, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West