CORONADO (CNS) - Two Coronado-based helicopter squadrons returned to Naval Air Station North Island Wednesday following a deployment to the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, the "Screamin' Indians," was deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the USNS Ranier, a combat supply ship.
Two HSC-6 crew members, Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones, 35, of Lompoc, and Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore., were killed when their MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed while attempting to land aboard the USS William P. Lawrence, a destroyer. Three others were rescued.
The crash came as the Navy was building forces in the Middle East following Syria's use of chemical weapons in its civil war. Navy officials said the crash was not related to hostile activity.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 75, the "WolfPack," had been split among the Nimitz, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton, and guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup, USS Stockdale and USS William P. Lawrence.
According to the Navy, HSC-6's primary mission areas are logistics, fleet support operations, mobility, combat search and rescue, anti-surface warfare, support of special operations forces and command, control and communication.
HSM-75's mission capabilities include search and rescue, mobility, electronic warfare, surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and command, control and communications.
The two squadrons returned a day ahead of the San Diego-based Destroyer Squadron 23, including the William P. Lawrence, which is set to arrive along with the Nimitz, Carrier Strike Group 11 and Carrier Air Wing 11 at Naval Air Station North Island on Thursday following a more than eight-month deployment. Navy officials said the Nimitz will then head to its homeport of Everett, Wash.