By Lt. j.g. Robert Stoll
HSM-70 Public Affairs Officer
The "Spartans" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 returned home Aug. 18-19 to Naval Air Station Jacksonville after a seven-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.
The squadron, consisting of 293 U.S. Navy personnel and 11 MH-60R helicopters, is led by Cmdr. Ed Fossati.
HSM-70 is attached to Carrier Air Wing Eight and deployed as an integral part of the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group.
HSM-70's mission is to operate MH-60R helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) and accompanying surface combatants USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Hue City (CG 66), and USS Truxtun (DDG 103). The primary missions of the MH-60R include anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. USS George H. W. Bush and USS Truxtun are homeported in Norfolk, Virginia. USS Philippine Sea and USS Hue City are homeported in Mayport.
HSM-70 departed Jacksonville on Jan. 18, initially operating in the Mediterranean Sea and Baltic Sea. The strike group then transited to the Arabian Gulf, where HSM-70 conducted maritime security missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria against ISIS. In total, the squadron flew 1,742 mishap free sorties totaling 5,020 hours at the completion Operation Inherent Resolve flight operations.
Throughout deployment, HSM-70 participated in multiple partnership, strength and presence exercises with coalition partners including Egypt and the United Kingdom. HSM-70 personnel flawlessly conducted overseas liberty as a mission, honorably serving as United States ambassadors during visits to Greece, Crete, Cyprus, Seychelles, Spain, Jordan, Egypt, United Kingdom, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman.
"I'm extremely proud of the men and women of HSM-70," said Fossati. "The training for this seven-month deployment started more than a year ago and the Spartans have seen much of that time away from family and friends. Close to 300 personnel on four separate warships supported Carrier Strike Group Two and Carrier Air Wing Eight in the execution of Operation Inherent Resolve in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea. Their ability to effectively accomplish this mission safely is what sets them apart from the rest. We all look forward to our homecoming."
HSM-70 Executive Officer Cmdr. Franz added, "Thanks to all the family and friends of HSM-70 who have supported us over the past 12 months. Without their love and support we wouldn't be able to keep our focus on the mission at hand. This was an extremely successful deployment for all the Spartans who supported around the clock operations and flew more than 7,000 hours in support of Carrier Strike Group Two and Carrier Air Wing Eight. We all look forward to returning safely and spending some well-deserved time with our loved ones."