DVIDS – News – Helicopter Maritime Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 Welcomes New Commander

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The “Merlins” of the 3rd Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) welcomed a new commanding officer during a formal change of command ceremony held aboard Naval Air Station North Island, August 5, 2021.

During the ceremony, presided over by Capt. Edward Weiler, Commodore, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, Pacific, Capt. David Ayotte relieved Cmdr. Loren Jacobi as the 46th commander of HSC-3.

“I am honored to hand over command to my Naval Academy classmate, friend and HSC community superstar, Captain Dave ‘3D’ Ayotte,” said Jacobi. “Leaving command is always bittersweet, but I’m beyond excited to see Captain Ayotte as my relief. His servant leadership, deep understanding of community challenges, and previous experience as an FRS instructor will be an excellent match for this top level command. I look forward to seeing the Merlins continue to lead the HSC community on their command tour.

Jacobi, a native of Springfield, Va., led the Merlins from August 2021 to August 2022. He stepped into the role of 45th Commanding Officer of HSC-3 during an unprecedented time in naval history and following the COVID-19 pandemic. The squadron was operating within the limitations and limited capabilities of Prescribed Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), and shortly after Jacobi assumed command, MoD COVID-19 mitigation measures were been relaxed. The squadron takes full advantage of this.

The previous year, under the leadership of Captain Will Eastham, currently Deputy Commodore of HSC Wing, Pacific, HSC-3 achieved the highest Naval Air Training Command production goal in HSC history- 3, sending 76 replacement fleets. Pilots (FRP) and 72 Fleet Replacement Crew (FRAC) at follow-on controls. During his time as Merlin CO, Jacobi saw 110 FRPs and 92 FRAC candidates at the finish line and thereafter, the fleet.

“The students we get and the ready planes we produce are not abstractions,” Jacobi said. “It is no exaggeration to say that HSC teams play a daily leading role in emergencies, large and small, around the world. None of this happens without HSC-3.

The maintenance process was another facet of squadron life that underwent major changes in the post-COVID era, and under Jacobi’s command, HSC-3 met all mission readiness goals. of the Commander of the Naval Air Forces (CNAF) while considerably reducing the number of long-term missions. assigned downed aircraft.

“Ladies and gentlemen – you are members of your nation’s warrior class and you have answered your nation’s call for the past 12 months,” Jacobi said. “We have successfully returned to an incredibly healthy state of maintenance readiness, completed all students carried over from last year, and are on track to complete all students for this year.”

With overall aircraft health on the rise, Jacobi – with his extensive experience in Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) and unmanned DOD integration – enabled the squadron to achieve another major milestone with the triumphant MQ -8 Return to Flight and follow fleet. deployments.

As lead of the Chief Naval Operations Search and Rescue Model (SARMM), Jacobi and the Merlin team developed new procedures for personnel recovery, raft deployment, mass open water recoveries and deep sea submersible rescues. In addition, over the past year, the Southern California Offshore Range Environment (SCORE) Support Detachment has launched and recovered 160 mobile practice targets and torpedoes. These actions enabled the completion of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare training for 3rd Fleet assets.

After receiving a Meritorious Service Medal from Weiler, Jacobi addressed the nearly 700 sailors of HSC-3 for one last time.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the mission and culture of this great squadron whose historical history dates back to the very advent of rotary aviation,” Jacobi said. “This culture of cohesive cooperation, acceptance of sailors from all walks of life and a bias for action doesn’t come by accident and it’s not something I did. You did. Despite all of our headwinds, you have come together and created the most holistically sound squadron I have seen in over 20 years in this industry.

“Thank you for supporting this change of command,” echoed Ayotte, as he addressed the squadron for the first time. “This is my fourth visit to HSC-3 and I am honored to be on this side of the podium. HSC-3 was the first logistics helicopter squadron on the West Coast and your legacy stretches back to 1967 Thousands of sailors who have fought in multiple conflicts and served our country valiantly, have been trained in these rugged hangars and on these flight lines.”

Ayotte, a native of Greenbrae, Calif., joins the Merlins from his position as Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. A classmate of Jacobi, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2001, earned a degree in systems engineering, and was designated a naval aviator in 2002. He also earned an executive master’s degree in business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. .

Ayotte’s previous assignments include visits with the “Chargers” of Helicopter Combat Support (HC) Squadron 6 in Norfolk, Va., and aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (DG 5) and Kilauea-class munitions ship USNS Mount Baker (T-AE-34) in support of combat operations in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at HSC-3 previously as an MH-60S flight instructor before reporting as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Office of Enemy Combatant Detention Administrative Review (OARDEC) in 2009. After the completion of his orders at OARDEC, Ayotte served as Flight Deck Officer, Aircraft Handler and Mini Boss aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), before reporting to the “Ghost Riders” of the HSC-28 as Officer in Charge (OIC) and Department Head. In 2014, Ayotte reports to PERS-43, and in 2017, he becomes the general manager of the “Blackjacks” of HSC-21.

“The impact of HSC-3 is felt on EVERY rescue mission that brings a father or mother back to their children,” Ayotte said. “It is felt on ships and sailors who can continue their vital mission thanks to a critical part that the helicopter has delivered. It is felt by our special forces who receive invaluable helicopter training to maintain their readiness. It is felt by the operational commanders who integrate the Firescouts into their C2 structure. It is felt by combatant commanders who hover for mine warfare. It’s felt by a country whose families are confident that their sons and daughters will return home after defending our country, because aviation maintenance and training standards are the highest safety standards our fleet can emulate. . It is an honor and a privilege for me to be part of the Merlin team again.

HSC-3 is the Navy’s West Coast MH-60S Fleet Replacement Squadron, responsible for training pilots and crews by providing the most capable fighters to the fleet. HSC squadrons deploy expeditionary helicopter detachments to conduct naval special warfare, search and rescue, theater security cooperation, strike coordination and reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.







Date taken: 08.05.2022
Date posted: 15.08.2022 15:11
Story ID: 427289
Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, USA






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