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    Aviation Acrobatics: New York’s Air Team Assists Blue/Green Mission

    ARABIAN GULF (NNS) – The amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) is known for moving troops from ship-to-shore using Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), but flight operations play just as big of a role to that movement.
    New York is able to launch or land up to two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey, attached to Blue Knights Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365 (Reinforced), or launch or land up to four of the VMM’s AH-1W Super Cobra or UH-1Y Huey helicopters, or four MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, attached to the Dragon Whales of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 in addition to the ship’s two LCACs.
    “On an LPD, we provide a safe and efficient flight deck operation for all embarked and transient helicopter onboard,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Junior Rodriguez, air department leading chief petty officer. “We provide support to expeditionary landing forces for a variety of U. S. combat missions. We set up the flight deck, launch and recover various types of aircraft while transporting personnel and equipment during ship-to-ship or ground-to-ship air operations safely in support for all requested operations. Required missions can include medical evacuation [MEDEVAC] and vertical replenishment [VERTREP] operations.”

    The Sailors who direct the helicopters to take off or land are called Landing Signalman Enlisted (LSE). The ones on New York are some of the most junior Sailors aboard and are given the hefty responsibility.

    “I’m an LSE,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Lorenzo Moreno, “I’m in charge of overall safety of launching and recovering aircraft on the flight deck. I literally have the lives of my shipmates in my hands. It's my responsibility to ensure they have eyes on them at all times to be sure that they execute evolutions safely and efficiently.”

    In order to execute air operations safely, air department had to devote a lot of time and effort to become one cohesive unit with the embarked VMM 365 and HSC 28.

    “It is a lot of coordination between the ship and the embarked squadrons,” said Lt Cmdr. Matthew Swartz, New York’s air boss. “Communications are important to make sure flight operations run smoothly. We work hand in hand with the squadrons daily to ensure flight ops are conducted safely.”

    This time and effort started a long time ago during the pre-deployment training cycle, including Amphibious Ready Group, Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (ARGMEUX) and Composite Training Unit Exercise. . Although the blue and green team may make it look easy, they know what’s at stake every time they fly.

    “It can be a stressful job at times, but again, it’s a huge responsibility that I am proud to have,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Airman Shamus Fraser, an air department Sailor. “Every day I get better at my job and I get more consistent. I do the best I can do and it's all about keeping an eye out for misplaced things and staying as safe as possible.”
    The dedication of New York’s air department Sailors does not go unnoticed by the boss
    “I'm honored to be part of air department,” said Swartz. “This is a special group that operates day in and day out in a dynamic environment. I couldn't be more proud of the professionalism, dedication to craft, and teamwork that I see from them on a daily basis.”

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    Date Taken: 02.14.2020
    Date Posted: 03.15.2020 15:35
    Story ID: 365254
    Location: ARABIAN GULF

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