HC-11 Gunbearers Patch
4 inch HC-11 Gunbearers Squadron Patch
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO ONE, formerly the “Gunbearers” of HC-11, has been the cornerstone for west coast fleet logistics support since the original squadron was established on 1 October 1977 at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. In April 2005, the “Gunbearers” were redesignated as the “Blackjacks” of HSC-21 continuing a tradition of excellence to support the Navy’s vision. The primary missions of HSC-21 are Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Special Operations Support (SOF), Personnel Recovery (PR), Search and Rescue (SAR), and general logistical support at sea to forward deployed strike groups around the globe. To meet these commitments, the squadron maintains 10 MH-60S helicopters while employing over 40 Officers and approximately 250 enlisted personnel.
Unlike most squadrons, which deploy as a unit, HSC-21 is made up of five expeditionary detachments. They deploy aboard Fast Combat Support ships (T-AOEs) and Amphibious Assault ships (LHAs and LHDs). These detachments are generally comprised of two MH-60 helicopters, six pilots, one maintenance Officer, six enlisted aircrew, and 18 to 24 maintenance personnel. They constitute a cohesive team able to meet every challenge in the rapidly changing, high tempo dynamics of expeditionary warfare.
HSC-21 continues to provide fully qualified Naval Special Warfare crews for each detachment. This includes operational capabilities for day or night insertion/extraction, cast and recoveries, k-duck and t-duck operations, aerial gunnery, and Helicopter Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (HVBSS).
In addition to the primary missions, HSC-21 provides a multitude of other essential services to the fleet such as medical evacuations (MEDEVAC), personnel transfers, and Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) just to name a few. The parent command, or homeguard, diligently supports Southern California fleet operations and training requirements ashore and in the waters off Southern California. Between 2011 and 2013, HSC-21 also had a detachment which manned the Southern California Offshore Range Exercise (SCORE) off of San Clemente Island.
With the decommissioning of the UH-3H and CH-46D in May and June 2004, respectively, the Blackjacks’ only airframe is the Sikorsky MH-60S “Knighthawk.” The MH-60S has a lift capability of three tons, a cabin that can accommodate 12 passengers, and a maximum airspeed of 180 knots. Boasting a state-of-the-art avionics suite, the “Knighthawk” also affords the Navy a Link-16 and VDL capable platform making it a key player in major operations.
From their inception, the “Blackjacks” of HSC-21 have maintained an impressive record. Operations around the globe and around the clock over the last 36 years have yielded remarkable achievements for this squadron all the while maintaining an award winning safety record of over 150,000 Class-A mishap free flight hours. The squadronâs performance directly enhances the operational readiness and effectiveness of the U.S. Naval Forces from the West Coast to the Indian Ocean, and beyond, without a permission slip.
HC-11 became HSC-21 on 10 APR 2005 Command History