Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 11 (HS-11)
Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 11 (HS-11) was established June 27, 1957, at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The primary mission of the Seabat was antisubmarine warfare (ASW) utilizing a dipping sonar. Later models of the Seabat were upgraded with Doppler radar and automatic stabilization and hover capabilities for all-weather operations. The HS-11 “Sub Seekers” were assigned to Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group 52 (CVSG-52) with the tail code AS and deployed aboard USS Wasp (CVS 18).
In 1962, the squadron transitioned to the Sikorsky twin engine SH-3A Sea King and would later upgrade to the SH-3D and SH-3H in 1969 and 1980, respectively. In December 1969, HS-11 became the first ASW helicopter squadron to deploy as part of a modern carrier air wing with CVW-17 aboard USS Forrestal (CVA 59). From 1970 to 1973, HS-11 was assigned to CVSG-56, deploying aboard USS Intrepid (CVS 11) with the tail code AU. On Oct. 17, 1973, HS-11 moved to its new homeport of NAS Jacksonville and was reassigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1), until relocating to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia June 2016. In 1989, HS-11 changed its official call sign to “Dragonslayers.” HS-11 has made deployments aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS America (CV 66), USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Enterprise (CVN 65). HS-11 is currently attached to Strike Group 12.
In 1994, HS-11 transitioned to the Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk, the aircraft in use today by the Dragonslayers. The capabilities of this latest airframe allowed the squadron to greatly expand its mission areas. In addition to ASW and search and rescue, the Dragonslayers added such missions as vertical replenishment, naval special warfare support, and combat search and rescue to its capabilities. With the addition of the Hellfire missile system and GAU-16 .50-caliber machine gun in 1999, HS-11 became capable of effectively conducting anti-surface warfare.
The Dragonslayers history has many distinguished highlights. In November 1962, HS-11 sailed to the Caribbean aboard USS Wasp to enforce the Cuban quarantine. Later that decade, the squadron played a leading role in astronaut recovery operations during the Gemini missions, plucking from the sea such famed astronauts as Edward White, James McDivitt, James Lovell and Edwin Aldrin. In 1976, the squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for saving countless lives after ship collisions at sea while attached to USS John F. Kennedy. Throughout the years, HS-11 has answered the domestic call for help numerous times in support of hurricane relief efforts, including Hurricane Andrew in 1993. In 1999, squadron search and rescue swimmers rescued nine men whose ship was sunk during Hurricane Floyd in winds more than 50 knots and seas measuring 30 feet.
More recently, HS-11 was the first Navy squadron on station just hours after Hurricane Ike swept through Galveston, Texas, in September 2008. In January 2010, the squadron detached four aircraft aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and sailed to Haiti in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations following a massive earthquake. HS-11 solidified its place in history while embarked aboard USS Enterprise, serving with honor and distinction during the “Big E’s” last deployment.