Air Force JROTC 'Accelerating Lives'

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3 Merlins
Pilots and aircrew personnel assigned to the ‘Merlins’ of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 conduct a routine safety check on their aircraft and gear before departing on a training mission at Naval Base Coronado, California, July 10, 2007 (U.S. Navy courtesy photo)

CORONADO, Calif. -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 "Merlins" guided 40 Junior Air Force ROTC students from Buena Park High School through an interactive tour of their squadron.

During the tour, students learned about components of a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter and how it operates.

"The visit was a chance for the students to see a helicopter and better understand how aviation works," said retired Air Force Maj. George Shy, senior aerospace science instructor. "Some of the students have also expressed an interest in joining the military, so I hope the visit furthers their interest."

The cadets also had the chance to see flight survival gear, including a flame resistant flight suit, survival vest, helmet and other emergency equipment.

"Visiting the squadron was a great learning experience," JROTC cadet Tiffany Von Over said. "Seeing the helicopter gave me a better visual and helped me understand what I learned in school."

Another aspect of the tour exposed them to aviation operations, including the MH-60S's capabilities. The MH-60S is the primary helicopter used in HSC-3 training. HSC-3's missions are to meet the vertical replenishment, combat logistics, and search and rescue requirements of the Navy. HSC-3 also trains pilots and air crew reporting to MH-60S squadrons worldwide.

The cadets have visited several area Navy and Air Force bases. Shy said visiting a variety of military bases gives the students a better understanding of how the military operates and will help cadets see how everything fits into the Defense Department.

"The tour gives us the opportunity to show the students the inner workings of our jobs," said Cmdr. Spencer Crispell, executive officer of HSC-3. "Hopefully, they saw something [on the tour] that peaked their interest to make them decide on a career in the military."

All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of

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