Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Five (HSC-5) the "Nightdippers" returned from deployment on Jan. 24 following their nearly ten-month deployment as part of Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) assigned aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
While deployed, HSC-5 provided sustained rotary wing operations in the U.S. 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and the North Arabia Sea, ultimately returning to 2nd Fleet in late January after navigating around the world during the deployment. HSC-5 flew more than 4,000 hours of dedicated operational tasking around the world.
HSC-5 embarked six combat ready MH-60S Seahawk helicopters on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and two MH-60S on board the USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) with a Combat Logistics Force (CLF) detachment in support of Carrier Strike Group Twelve (CSG-12) operations.
HSC-5 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Matthew Wright discussed his squadron’s accomplishments while deployed stating that the Nightdippers’ accomplishments truly lived up to their mission statement of “Rescue, Protect, Deliver”.
“They set the standard for operational mission execution and combat readiness among HSC squadrons over the past year,” said Wright. “I’m extremely proud of my 245 service members and the work they accomplished for the entire team.”
Wright also thanked the extended Nightdipper family and friends for their support during the deployment.
“I am thankful for our families and friends, whether it was babysitting or mowing the lawn, I am extremely grateful for their continued support over the past ten months,” said Wright.
CVW-7 Carrier Air Wing Commander (CAG), Capt. William Reed, who returned to Norfolk Naval Station with Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121) on Jan. 19 was on hand to welcome the last squadron who deployed with the air wing to return from their deployment.
“It’s great to have everyone back,” said Reed. “Really proud of their accomplishments and their support to the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.”
On Jan. 19, Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121) assigned U.S. Navy aviators returned to Norfolk Naval Station; as well as Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VFA-103) the "Jolly Rogers" and VFA-143, the “World Famous Pukin’ Dogs” returned to Naval Air Station Oceana flying F/A-18E “Super Hornets.”
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group team executed over 1,285 sorties totaling 28,437 hours, to include 392 combat sorties encompassing 1,140 combat flight hours in direct support of friendly forces in Afghanistan and Syria. The air wing successfully employed 42 precision-guided munitions with a combined weight of over 70,000 pounds, destroying enemy targets and fighting positions in direct defense of coalition forces on the ground.
While deployed, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group also participated in numerous interoperability and partnership-building exercises with sister services and allied navies in both the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets, demonstrating the U.S. Navy’s capability to rapidly aggregate power across combatant commands to meet emerging missions and contingencies. As it transited through U.S. 7th Fleet, the strike group also conducted flight operations in the South China Sea in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.