Hello fellow helo bubbas. I was reading some of the discussion in the other forums about what is going on with overland missions and what it would take to get Navy helos out of the CSG and into the overland world. I’ll take this opportunity to brag on my squadron a little (ok, a lot). Well, if you have not read this month's copy of Naval Aviation then you still don't know about the best deployment in the last 20 years for any navy helicopter squadron. We were blessed on this deployment to have a CO/XO who were determined to expand the role of the Navy Helo, and a CAG who was willing to let us operate to the extent of our abilities. Most squadrons that have been to the Gulf for the past 15 years have had not much more to look forward to other than racking up hours in plane guard and chasing the occasional EMATT around the CVOA. Prior to our arrival in the Gulf, we dispached our XO and a senior LT to Kuwait to scout out Camp Arifjan where the Army has a Blackhawk facility. We received the blessing from our CAG to operate a shore based detachment, and the squadron was off and running. We split the squadron into Blue/Gold teams, and spent the 4+ months in the gulf on 2 week rotations with 7 pilots on the beach at a time. Our HH-60H's flew almost daily combat operations in Southern Iraq. Missions included NSW Support, Convoy Support, and we pretty much wrote the book on Helicopter Armed Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance. We provided vital presence for Commander Task Force 58 and their missions of providing Maritime Security for the Arabian Gulf. All that is some fancy speak for a lot of kick-ass flying. We flew all over southern Iraq, saw a lot of Basrah, and went nearly 2/3 of the was to Baghdad while we were “keeping an eye on things”. HS-8 flew over 320 combat missions and 650+ hours over Iraq. It is an exciting time to be in the Navy Helo community. It’s even better to be an HS guy. BTW, the HCS squadrons are full time NSW assets flying daily out of Baghdad. They are kicking some serious ass. It takes time to get there though, all of their pilots are TARs.