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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

HSM-79 Establishes New Spain Detachment, CNAL Presides

by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Petty Officer D.S. Randol
17 June 2022 Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 established a new detachment stationed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, June 16, 2022.
Sailors hold a plaque at the establishment ceremony for Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 detachment, Rota, Spain.
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | HSM-79 Establishment Ceremony ROTA, Spain.-- Rear Adm. John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, stands with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 leadership at the establishment ceremony for HSM-79 detachment, Rota, Spain, June 16, 2022. Meier attended the ceremony along with Cmdr. Brett Elko, the commanding officer of HSM-79, and Cmdr. Nikolas Rongers, HSM-79’s executive officer. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Nathan Carpenter)

Rear Adm. John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, attended the ceremony along with Cmdr. Brett Elko, the commanding officer of HSM-79, and Cmdr. Nikolas Rongers, HSM-79’s executive officer.

“The establishment of HSM-79’s European presence exemplifies our commitment to our allies and partners and provides ready naval helicopter forces to support our collective defense in a vital region of the world,” Meier said. “My charge to all of you is to sustain and strengthen deterrence¸ while being prepared to prevail in conflict if necessary. I have the utmost confidence in this detachment’s success.”

This new detachment marks the first time an HSM squadron has been stationed at Naval Station Rota. The 'Griffins' operate the MH-60R helicopter, which is capable of conducting various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, humanitarian relief and medical evacuation operations.

The HSM squadron will augment Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E), providing support to FDNF-E guided-missile destroyers stationed in Rota. The helicopter enhances the ships’ capabilities by increasing range and mobility for anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue, while providing increased logistics and medivac capability, enabling Allied ships to maintain at-sea operations.  

The FDNF-E destroyer force, commanded by Commander, Task Force 65 and Destroyer Squadron 60, includes USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), and USS Ross (DDG 71). USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) is scheduled to join the force in support of the U.S. Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the Rota-based destroyers.  

The squadron adopted its name from two decommissioned Squadrons that focused on aircraft carrier-based anti-submarine warfare: Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 9 'Sea Griffins' and the Sea Control Squadron (VS) 38 'Red Griffins'. The 'Griffins' have continued their legacy since 2016.

Naval Station Rota is a strategically-located installation, providing operational and logistical support to all U.S. and NATO forces within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility and the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations.
 
 
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