HC-8 Dragon Whales Patch
4 inch HC-8 Dragon Whales Squadron Patch
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 8 was redesignated, in early 2005, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 as part of a merger of the HC and helicopter anti-submarine (HS) communities. The change came as a result of the introduction of the MH-60S Knighthawk, replacing the CH-46D Sea Knight, UH-3H Sea King and the SH-60F Seahawk, and the future introduction of the MH-60R Seahawk, which is replacing the SH-60B Seahawk.
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron EIGHT (HC-8), the Dragon Whales. HC-8 flies the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter and performs search and rescue and vertical replenishment in support of the Atlantic Fleet. HC-8 also operates the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Operations School (HELIOPS) providing Landing Signalman Enlisted (LSE), Helicopter Instrument Ground School (HIGS), Helicopter Control Officer (HCO), and night vision goggles training.
Helicopter Combat Support Squadron EIGHT (HC-8) was established on 03 December 1984 with only four aircraft and 60 total officers and enlisted personnel. HC-8 consists of 14 aircraft, 50 officers and nearly 300 enlisted personnel, and is a member of the Helicopter Tactical Wing, US Atlantic Fleet at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, VA.
The Dragon Whales’ mission is critical to the US Navy’s capability of deploying and remaining on station for months at a time. At sea, HC-8 performs vital vertical replenishment (VERTREP); crucial passenger, mail, and internal cargo transport; and continuous search and rescue. Based in Norfolk, VA, the Dragon Whales provide drone recovery, special operations aerial training and basic fleet support to Navy, Army and Air Force units located along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
Squadron aircraft and personnel are organized in teams. Each team deploys as a sea-going detachment consisting of six pilots, 22 enlisted members, one maintenance officer, and two H-46 Sea Knight helicopters. Sea-going detachments deploy on AOE, AOR, T-AFS, LPH, LHA, LHD and MCS ships to the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and the Persian Gulf.
HC-8 also operates the Atlantic Fleet Helicopter Operations Schools (HELIOPS) which includes Helicopter Instrument Ground School for Norfolk-area pilots, and Helicopter Control Officer and Landing Signalman Enlisted Schools for the entire East Coast. HELIOPS is a division of the HELSUPPRON EIGHT(HC-8) Training Department. HELIOPS provides CNO-approved training required for PQS Qualification as fleet Helicopter Control Officers (HCOs), Landing Signalman Enlisted (LSEs), and Helicopter Instrument Ground School (HIGS) refresher training. Students include U.S. Navy and other military personnel including Military Sealift Command (MSC), foreign military, Naval Academy, and ROTC Midshipmen. HELIOPS and HC-8 has a state-of-the-art training facility designed to provide the highest caliber of instruction to all students. These facilities include classrooms with computer-based training for each course, a new HCO tower simulator, a Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) familiarization lab, and room for an LSE virtual reality simulator.