Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Nine

"HC-9 Protectors"


Welcome to the Website of the "Protectors" of HC-9!

We appreciate your interest in our history and our contributions to the mission of the United States Navy. From August 1975 to July 1990 the Men and Women of HC-9 proudly served as the only squadron in the United States Navy whose mission was to provide Rescue and Recovery of Aircrews in a hostile environment and Insertion and Extraction of Special Forces wherever needed.

Helicopter Combat Support Squadron NINE (HC-9) was commissioned August 1, 1975, at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. HC-9 was a Naval Air Reserve Force Squadron assigned to Commander, Helicopter Wing Reserve as one of ten reserve helicopter squadrons. During its existence, HC-9 was the only Strike Rescue squadron in the United States Navy.

During the recovery of downed aircrew from hostile territory, avoiding detection is a primary key to successful mission accomplishment. Night missions utilizing night vision devices and terrain-masking flight profiles maximizes the probability of success in hostile environments. HC-9 trained continually in these tactics through exercises at NAS Fallon, Nevada, and MCAS Yuma, Arizona. HC-9 provided the COMSIXTHFLT with a Strike Rescue detachment during the Gulf of Sidra operations against Libya and most recently provided a detachment for SOLID SHIELD 87.

HC-9 established the Strike Rescue School in October, 1986 to train active duty Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) pilots to plan and execute a Strike Rescue should they be called upon to do so. Many classes were conducted with numerous pilots trained including several pilots trained to be Strike Rescue Instructors capable of providing training to HS squadrons. HC-9 also provided Weapons Training with the M-60 Machinegun for Helicopter Anti-Submarine (Light) (HSL) Squadrons deploying to the Persian Gulf.

HC-9 flew and maintained the HH-3A Sea King helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Technologies. This helicopter was specifically configured for the Strike Rescue mission. It was armed with the GAU-2B/A 7.62 mm Minigun Crew Served Weapons System and M-60 Machineguns. It also utilized the AN/ALE-29 Chaff/Flare Dispensers to provide decoy protection from enemy Anti-Aircraft Missiles. The HH-3A was also fitted with armor to protect against small arms fire. Armored Seats and Bullet-Proof Glass protected the pilot and Co-Pilot and Armored Doors protected the Aircrew during operations in hostile environments. Armor plating also protected the Main Transmission, Engines, Intermediate Gearbox, Tail Gearbox and various Flight Controls. To enhance survivability, the HH-3A was also fitted with self-sealing Fuel Cells.

During its tenure, HC-9 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, four Noel Davis ''Battle E” awards, two CNO Naval Aviation Safety awards, and three COMHELWINGRES Golden Wrench awards.

On 31 July 1990, HC-9 was disestablished. HCS-4 and HCS-5 assumed HC-9's Combat Search and Rescue mission as well as the Special Warfare Support mission.

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