Virginia-based helicopter squadron is one of Navy's largest and most unique units

HM-15 is News 3's Squadron of the Month for July 2023
MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters sit in the hangar of HM-15 on Naval Station Norfolk.png
MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopter on the flight line.png
Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-28 12:22:11-04

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK — Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15) is one of the Navy's most unique squadrons. It's also one of the largest.

The Blackhawks, as they're known, are made up of approximately 900 people. HM-15 and the reserve squadron HM-19 were the first squadrons in the U.S. Navy to combine and fully integrate active and reserve squadrons. HM-15 grew even larger, in 2023, when it welcomed sailors from HM-14, known as the Vanguard. That squadron took its final flight in 2022, and was disestablished earlier this year.

Led by Cmdr. Andrew “Bull” Countiss, HM-15 flies the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter. It is currently the only squadron with a mission to detect potentially deadly mines at sea. Squadron members also assist in both moving cargo and disaster relief efforts in the United States and overseas.

Click on the videos above to watch News 3 anchor Blaine Stewart's visit to the squadron. Congratulations to the Blackhawks for being our Squadron of the Month!

News 3 photojournalist Stefan Grimsley contributed to this report.



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