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Day at the fence 2018: Lelystad
 
Latest update: October 2018
 
On Saturday October 20 a US Navy MH-60R Seahawk from HSM-72 "Proud Warriors" made a fuel stop on its way from the aircraft carrier to Euronaval 2018 held at Paris Le Bourget from October 23-26. The helicopter and its crew returned on Friday October 26. HSM-72 nickname "Proud Warrior" is derived from the native American Indian heritage: principled... disciplined... confident.

 
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HSM-72 is based at NAS Jacksonville, Florida and one of the MH-60R squadrons assigned to Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic (CHSMWL). The squadron was commissioned at NAS Jacksonville on January 15, 2013. HSM-72 deploys is personnel and MH-60R's in support of a Carrier Air Wing (CVW) assigned to an aircraft carrier. Currently it's part of CVW-1 which is deployed on board the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). Almost all of the Atlantic cruise deployments - made by one of the Atlantic fleet aircraft carriers - are made to Mediterranean sea and often continue towards the Arab sea. 
From October 5, 2018 NATO organized exercise Trident Juncture in northern Europe off the coast of Norway with the exercise are covering an area from Iceland to Finland. With the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) being one of the US Navy participants the ship headed to the northern Atlantic after a port visit in the United Kingdom.

The US Navy fields two Seahawk variants the MH-60R and MH-60S. MH-60R's primary missions are Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare replacing the legacy SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters. It's secondary missions are
Surveillance, Communications Relay, Combat Search and Rescue, Naval Gunfire Support and logistics support. Helicopters are deployed on aircraft carriers but also on other US Navy ships (guided missile destroyers, frigates). MH-60S's primary missions are Anti-Submarine Warfare, Combat Support and humanitarian disaster relief, Combat Search and Rescue, aero medical evacuation, SPECWAR and organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures. The MH-60S are assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadrons (HSC) and assigned to a carrier air wing. It features a 'common cockpit' with the MH-60R allowing for pilots to swift between the helicopters with minimal re-training on the other type.



Euronaval 2018 focuses on the naval defence sector. Except conferences attended by the defence industry, ministers and state secretaries of defence and chief of staffs for the Navy a number of aircraft were on display at Le Bourget. HSM-72 send one of its MH-60R's to Paris. As a surprise it made a fuel stop on its way to Paris at Lelystad on Saturday October 20. Lelystad nowadays is in the news as it will be a 'new' airport in The Netherlands taking over low cost carrier flights from Schiphol who's is the limit of the number of flights it's allowed to handle on an annual basis. Relocating flights from the low cost carriers to Lelystad will provide more room for other carriers (including home based KLM) to operate flights and for Schiphol to continue to serve as important transient hub between continents. Lelystad is host to several flight school as well as private aircraft. Sometimes helicopters from the Royal Netherlands Air Force are requesting an approach or overshoot at the airfield but that's all the military traffic. Other aircraft including helicopters use the military bases or Schiphol with a few using Eelde airport in the northern part of the Netherlands. In the USA regional airports are more used by the US Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army either on training or cross country flights. Therefore the visit by HSM-72 at Lelystad was a big surprise.

Below photos were all taken during the return flight when the crew came back for a short fuel stop and filling their flight plan for their second leg of the day.
 
Photo gallery