Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 held an aerial change of command ceremony while deployed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), May 1.
The ‘Swamp Foxes’ of HSM-74, are a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. They are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and deployed aboard four ships, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS James E Williams (DDG 95) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103). The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is conducting operations in U.S. 5th Fleet to support maritime security operations in international waters, alongside our allies and partners.
During the at-sea ceremony, Cmdr. Thomas Eisenstatt was relieved by Cmdr. Daniel Murphy II.
The aerial change of command is a time honored Naval naval tradition amongst naval aviators and the change of command ceremony directly supports the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) guidance issued to the Navy on April 8 on maintaining laser focus on the fleet and warfighting readiness. “We must be laser-focused on the Fleet – from manning to maintenance, and from training to warfighting. Operational readiness is our job… and every one of us has a role. Nobody sits the bench.”
Eisenstatt expressed his gratitude to HSM-74 in a farewell letter to families stating, “It was a pleasure serving as commanding officer of this great squadron. This squadron did great things because of your Sailors. Thank you for all you do at home supporting them.”
HSM-74 has accomplished myriad objectives during Eisenstatt’s tenure. The squadron completed a rigorous work-up cycle from the while overcoming the hurdles of being based out of Jacksonville, Florida, and attached to a Norfolk-based carrier strike group during a very active hurricane season. Additionally, Eisenstatt flawlessly managed the four combat elements of HSM-74 and fully integrated an independently deployed detachment from a sister squadron, vastly increasing the lethality of the strike group.
A native of Penn Township, Pennsylvania, Eisenstatt graduated from Tulane University, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering Science in 2001, and was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy via the Naval ROTC program. Upon the completion of flight training, he was designated a naval aviator and received his “Wings of Gold” in 2002.
Eisenstatt wished Murphy the best as he turned over the reins of his squadron.
“Cmdr. Murphy is a great warfighter, leader, and friend. I can think of no better officer to hand over the title of “Skipper” and command to,” said Eisenstatt. “I look forward to Skipper Murphy leading the Swamp Foxes to continued excellence.”
Murphy expressed pride at being selected to lead HSM-74 and looks forward to the challenges that are ahead.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead the Swamp Foxes,” said Murphy. “This is an impressive squadron and has a tradition of excellence. I am grateful to Skipper Eisenstatt for his friendship and mentorship. HSM-74 will continue to serve on the front lines, wearing our nation’s cloth and defending freedom."
HSM-74 is a direct report to Commander, Carrier Air Wing 3.The primary missions of HSM-74 include Surface Warfare (SUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Electronic Warfare (EW), Command and Control (CC), and Non-Combat Operations (NCO).