HS-6 History

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In the Beginning

Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Six was commissioned on 1 June 1 1956, aboard USS PRINCETON (CVS-37) midway between the islands of Formosa and Okinawa with Lcdr Dougal D. McKay, USN, as the acting Commanding Officer. The squadron departed San Diego on 5 January, 1956, as HS-2 Detachment "Nan" ( the old phonetic pronunciation for what we now call "November"). At the time of commissioning the new squadron was equipped with HO4S helicopters. Shortly after its return to NAAS Ream Field in early August 1956, HS-6 began its transitioned to the SH-34 (then known as the HSS-1) and gained a new primary mission; antisubmarine warfare in response to the emerging threat poised by nuclear-powered submarines and cruise missiles. HS-6's first Change of Command ceremony occurred 24 August 1956 when Cdr Ernest C. Harris, Jr., USN, assumed command of the squadron. Executive Officer Cdr Hugh F. McLinden reported for duty in September 1956.

HS-6 Commanding Officers

bullet Dougal D. Mackay  - 1 June 1956
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Ernest C. Harris, Jr - 7 May 1957

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Earl F. Oglesby  - 15 July 1958

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John B. Cabell - 7 July 1959

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R.M. Williams, Jr. - 30 December 1960

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George A. O’Shea - 22 December 1961

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Ralph R. Riley - 28 December 1962

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Mark R. Starr - 6 December 1963

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George H. Seidel - 23 December 1964

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Robert S. Vermilya  -  17 December 1965

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Warren H. Lockwood - 12 October 1966

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Albert D. Fox  - July 1967

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Francis X. McCarthy  -  May 1968

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William Reed  -  February 1969

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Frank Herndon  -  November 1969

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William E. Walker - November 1970

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Paul M. Hine, Jr. - November 1971

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J.S. Daly - November 1972

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Noel L. Ruppert - December 1973

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A. Eugene Pellerin - December 1974

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Kenneth M. Warmbir - November 1975

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John P. Leach - December 1976

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Leonard O. Woltersdorf - November 1977

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James N. Glover - January 1979

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G.E. Hurley - March 1980

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R.E. Leonard - Jul 1981

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Lewis D. Madden - October 1982

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M.M. Staley - April 1984

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Michael E. Middleton - September 1985

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Bradd C. Hayes - March 1987

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M. Shekum - June 1988

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N. Ross - November 1989

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A.R. Saunders, II January 1991

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R.C. Owsley - March 1992

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J. McDonald - June 1993

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M.F. Wanjon - September 1994

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John S. Rosa - December 1995

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Anthony Vanaria - December 1996

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Ronald A. Sandoval - June 1998

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David P. Maloney - June 1999

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Michael H. Glaser - December 2000

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D.F. Bean - March 2002

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Robert G. Lineberry - June 2003

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Steve A. Swittel - September 2004

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Gregory T. Eaton - November 2005

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Michael Baratta - March 2007

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F.J. "Jack" Schuller - April 2008

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Wesley R. McCall - April 2009

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Brent A. Alfonza - July 2010

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Renamed HSC-6 - 8 July 2011
S.T. Nassau - September 2011

Plankowners

bullet Click here for pictures of our HS-6 Founding Fathers, or as we in the Navy call them: Plankowners. The pictures are from the (USS Princeton CV-37) 1956 Cruisebook.

The 1950s

bullet1950s Deployments

The Ream Field Yearbook, circa 1957, provides another glimpse into the earliest days of the squadron as it transitioned to the HSS-1. Of particular note is the picture on page 11 of Ensign Leo Keiffer, one of our esteemed Raunchy Redskins from the 1968-9 WESTPAC deployment and also a picture of Ensign William E. (Bill) Walker who became HS-6's Commanding Officer in November 1970. The Ream Field Yearbook images were provided courtesy of Paul McBride (AD2, VS-37, 1976-9). The Yearbook originally belonged to then Lt(jg) F.E. McBride, Paul's father, a pilot in HU-1 during the mid 1950s.

On 13 January 1958 HS-6, flying HSS-1s (aka SH-34Js) makes its first WESTPAC deployment aboard the USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) with port calls in Pearl Harbor, HI; Subic Bay, PI; Manila, PI;  Yokosuka, Japan; Okinawa; Hong Kong and Singapore.

The 1960s

bullet1960s Deployments

The squadron joined Carrier Anti-Submarine Warfare Group (CVSG-53) in April 1960 and made several deployments aboard the USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) to Western Pacific waters. Early in 1962 the squadron began transitioning to the Navy's first all-weather helicopter when Sikorsky's SH-3A Sea King entered the fleet. Several years later HS-6 became the first Navy squadron to fly an upgraded version of the SH-3A with AQS-13 dipping sonar. The Sea King, incorporating numerous additional upgrades over the years, would take HS-6 into the mid-1990s.

HS-6's first iteration of Sea Kings in early paint scheme

HS-6 Officers in 1964-65

   

Over the years, the squadron built a historic reputation worthy of the name, "World Famous Indians." HS-6 participated in the recovery of Mercury Program Astronauts Wally Schirra in 1962, and Gordon Cooper in 1963. In 1966, in support of American strikes into Vietnam, the "Indian Gals" flying specially configured SH-3s (affectionately known as Big Mothers) rescued 16 downed aviators. Returning to Yankee Station in 1967, the squadron again resumed Combat SAR responsibilities and rescued another 13 downed airmen before turning over SAR responsibilities to the newly-formed HC-7.

The 1970s

After the USS Kearsarge was decommissioned, HS-6 next deployed aboard the USS INDEPENDENCE (CVA-62) to the Mediterranean. In February, 1971, HS-6, embarked in the USS New Orleans (LPH-11), recovered Alan Shepard, Stu Roosa and Ed Martin when the Apollo 11 capsule splashed down in the Pacific approximately 760 NM South of American Samoa. In 1974, the squadron began to deploy on CVs with its first CV cruise on the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64). The squadron embarked aboard the New Orleans again for the recovery of the final Apollo mission, Apollo-Soyuz. On July 24, 1975 the squadron recovered astronauts Alan Bean, Ron Evans and Jack Lousma approxiamately 310 miles west of Hawaii. HS-6 joined the Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11)/USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) team in 1981. The "Indians" were on board when ENTERPRISE became the first nuclear carrier to go through the Suez Canal in response to the Libyan crisis in 1986.

HS6 Apollo Soyuz Pickup

Enjoyed looking through your web site.  Brought back many memories of my days in HS6.  I was an AW back in those days (1973 – 1976).

Thought you might be interested in this picture from the Apollo Soyuz pickup which HS6 flew on.  This picture was taken on July 24, 1975.  The ship in the background is the USS New Orleans LPH-11.  I believe the aircraft was primary recovery flown by the CO (CDR Pellerin) and ?, aircrew were AWC Bender and AW2 Coryell (if my memory serves me correctly).

Even though I flew with the Indian Gals from 73 to 76, I wasn't aware of the big role in rescuing down pilots during the Viet Nam war.  I had heard about the SAR duties the squadron performed, but never into any great detail. 

Cary Meriwether

The 1980s

23 November 1984 - while deployed aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) HS-6 rescues VA-22 pilot LT Marvin 0. Wade, USNR, who ejected from his A-7E (BuNo 156848) after a night engine failure.

Awarded the Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence two consecutive years - 1985 and 1986

The 1990s

The New Millennium

8 July 2011 - HS-6 holds a "Transition Ceremony" and is redesignated HSC-6.

HSC-6 is now home based at NAS North Island, California.

Updated: 03/06/2013