Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 held a change of command ceremony aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Dec. 14. Cmdr. Thomas Eisenstatt relieved Cmdr. Nicholas DeLeo as the squadron’s commanding officer.

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.

Eisenstatt then reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training.  Upon the completion of flight training, he was designated a naval aviator and received his “Wings of Gold” on Dec. 6, 2002.  Eisenstatt then reported to the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 40 for fleet replacement pilot training. In September 2003, he reported to the “Vipers” of HSL-48 where he deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard USS Hue City (CG 66) in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and to the Eastern Pacific and Western Caribbean aboard USS DeWert (FFG 45) in support of counter narco-terrorism operations. 

In September 2006, Eisenstatt reported to HSL-40 as an instructor pilot, serving as Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic legal officer and squadron administration department head.

Eisenstatt reported to the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 in June 2009, where he was sent to HSM-41 for training in the MH-60R.  He served as Detachment One operations officer and maintenance officer deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64) in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom and USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) Carrier Strike Group and the squadron’s maiden deployment.

In December 2011, he reported to then HSL-46, the “Grandmasters,” for his operational department head tour and initially served as squadron safety officer while the squadron transitioned to the MH-60R and became HSM-46.  He deployed to 5th Fleet aboard USS Nitze (DDG 94) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as Detachment Eight officer in charge.  Upon return to the squadron, he served as squadron operations officer.

Eisenstatt reported to the Programming Division on the Navy Staff as a budget programming analyst in June 2014. He then transferred to the HSM-74 “Swamp Foxes” as executive officer before assuming command of the squadron in December.

DeLeo will report to Navy Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina.