SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Adams, a native of St. Louis, wanted to change the trajectory of his life. Now, six years later, he serves with the Scorpions of Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 49, working with one of the U.S. Navy’s most advanced helicopters at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.
Adams, a 2011 graduate of Lindbergh Senior High School, is a logistics specialist with a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.
Adams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in St. Louis.
“You have to pay it forward," said Adams. "Everything is earned, and nothing is given.”
HSM 49's primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments as an expeditionary unit. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations.
According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the Navy's new primary maritime dominance helicopter. Greatly enhanced over its predecessors, the MH-60R helicopter features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements, which give it unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission naval platform.
As the U.S. Navy's next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R "Romeo" is the cornerstone of the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations. Anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are the MH-60R's primary missions. Secondary missions include search and rescue, medical evacuation, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, communications relay, command, control, communications, command and control warfare and non-combat operations.
“I remember the first time I saw the helicopter, it was breathtaking. It's a surreal experience,” said Adams. “It shows you a totally different dynamic of things. You see people fresh out of high school working on multi-million dollar aircraft.”
Serving in the Navy means Adams is part of a community that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
America is a maritime nation, and the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Adams is most proud of earning his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist wings.
“It took a lot of dedication and discipline to complete the program, and I think it's really cool to know all about our aircraft,” said Adams.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Adams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means sacrifice," said Adams. "It may sound cliché, but it's truly an honor to serve. Every day when I put on the uniform, especially the dress blues, I think about those that have worn it before us.”
William Lovelady is a senior chief mass communication specialist in the Navy Office of Community Outreach.