A Great Day to go Flying

By Rear Adm. J.R. Haley
Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic

I joined one of the Navy’s MH-53E “Sea Dragon” squadrons at Naval Station Norfolk to fly with the HM-14 Vanguards.

It was a great day to go flying, but more importantly a chance to meet some of the outstanding Sailors in the “Sea Dragon” community. The professionalism and dedication of the pilots, aircrew and maintainers was impressive, but most impressive was their can-do spirit and morale.

The MH-53 (as the Vanguards say “the most powerful helo in the free world”) is a mighty helicopter and our sole asset capable of pulling the sleds for the Mine-Countermeasure Mission. With detachments forward deployed in Bahrain and Korea, the MH-53 community is at the tip of the spear every day. No one else can do what our “Sea Dragon” squadrons do. Naval Aviation is inherently dangerous work, and like all airframes, the MH-53 requires regular maintenance to ensure the squadrons continue to meet mission requirements. The dedication and skill of our aircrews, maintainers and the entire support team is testament to the confidence we have in this aircraft and our men and women in service.

Thank you, Vanguard team, for the tremendous work you do every day and for a fantastic day of flying.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, walks to an MH-53E "Sea Dragon" helicopter from HM-14 with Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Hathaway and Lt. Christopher Kenefic at Naval Station Norfolk.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, walks to an MH-53E “Sea Dragon” helicopter from HM-14 with Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Hathaway and Lt. Christopher Kenefic at Naval Station Norfolk.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, and Lt. Christopher Kenefic prepare to board Vulcan 503, an MH-53E "Sea Dragon" helicopter from HM-14 at Naval Station Norfolk.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, and Lt. Christopher Kenefic prepare to board Vulcan 503, an MH-53E “Sea Dragon” helicopter from HM-14 at Naval Station Norfolk.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, thanks an aircraft maintainer upon returning from his flight onboard an MH-53E "Sea Dragon" helicopter from HM-14 at Naval Station Norfolk.

Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, thanks an aircrewman upon returning from his flight onboard an MH-53E “Sea Dragon” helicopter from HM-14 at Naval Station Norfolk.

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A Great Day to go Flying