The “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5 visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville June 21-29 in preparation for their upcoming deployment.

The squadron was visiting to undergo a Helicopter Advanced Readiness Program (HARP) initiative that every helicopter squadron must undergo before deploying.

“It’s an exercise designed to ensure the squadron’s pilots and aircrewmen are capable of using basic and advanced level tactics to effectively fly and fight the aircraft in every mission set the MH-60S is capable of,” said Lt.j.g. JimmyGavidia, HSC-5’s public affairs officer. “Events include academic training, simulators, and tactical/live fire exercises. The exercise is run by Helicopter Sea Combat Wing School Atlantic (HSCWSL) who evaluated HSC-5 during the month-long evolution.”

HSC-5’s HARP exercise began shortly before the squadron landed at NAS Jacksonville. The evolutions like these are important in order to test the squadron’s readiness and ability to handle contingencies while integrated with the air wing.

“HARP began on May 1 at our home base, Naval Station Norfolk, with academic training, simulator events, and local training flights,” Gavidia said.

“On June 15, HSC-5 then sent out a detachment to Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center located on Andros Island, Bahamas. Here, the squadron was evaluated on several mission sets, to include: maritime interdiction operations, helicopter visit, board, search and seizure, maritime combat search and rescue, and restricted waters transit. This detachment also allowed the squadron to integrate and conduct training with the MH-60R from HSM-79 (also in Carrier Air Wing 7) and Naval Special Warfare TRADET.”

HSC-5 will next go on to integrate with the remainder of the airwing aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

“Successful completion of HARP gives HSC-5 a better understanding on where we stand in regards to mission readiness as we get ready to integrate with Carrier Air Wing 7 in preparation to the upcoming 2019 deployment,” said Gavidia.

“Next step will be tailored ship’s training availability aboard USS Abraham Lincoln later this summer.”