Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Six (HSC-26) traces its rich history to Naval Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, where Helicopter Utility Squadron Two (HU-2) was formed in 1948. HU-2 was the second United States Naval helicopter squadron, flying the tandem rotor Piasecki H-25/HUP Retriever, perfoming search and rescue operations. On July 1, 1960, the squadron split to form HU-4. On September 1, 1967, an HU-4 detachment at NAS Norfolk had grown so large that it was designated its own squadron, Helicopter Support Squadron Six (HC-6), the "Chargers". Originally a search and rescue squadron, HC-6 soon added vertical replenishment (VERTREP) as a primary mission. By 1987, after having flown the H-25 HUP, H-43C HUK, H-34 Sea Horse, H-2B Sea Sprite, H-3 Sea King, and H-53 Sea Dragon, HC-6 was completely transitioned to the H-46D Sea Knight, which they would fly exclusively for the next 15 years. In 2002, the squadron transitioned aircraft once again, introducing the MH-60S Knighthawk to the Atlantic Fleet, conducting the first operational deployment and first at-sea rescue with the new helicopter. On April 1, 2005, in accordance with the Navy's Helicopter Master Plan, the squadron was re-designated as HSC-26.
The Sailors of HSC-26 continually distinguish themselves across the globe, from support of shipboard logistics, special operations training, and mine countermeasures in the 1970's to Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM in the 1990's, and current participation in IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
In 2010, the squadron grew to 20 helicopters and 430 Sailors. We flew more than 7,200 flight hours, the most of any fleet helicopter squadron, while deploying 11 detachments including: Det THREE on USS CARL VINSON and USS BATAAN to provide relief efforts in Haiti (Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE); Det TWO on USS IWO JIMA to provide Humanitarian Assistance in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America (Operation CONTINUING PROMISE 2010); Det FOUR on USNS SUPPLY to provide logistics support to the USS EISENHOWER Carrier Strike Group; and Det ONE in Bahrain providing continuous logistics support in the Arabian Gulf. The squadron also provided detachments to support Special Operations training across the US, and leads the fleet in preparing to operate with a suite of Airborne Mine Countermeasures systems.
Over the years, HSC-26 has consistently been recognized for excellence, with multiple awards of the Battle E; the CNO Safety Award; the Sikorsky Golden Wrench for Maintenance Excellence; the Medical Blue "M" for medical readiness; and the Golden Anchor for retention excellence. We continue to execute our mission with precision to support our Nation's strategic goals.