By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) David Wyscaver, Navy Office of Community Outreach
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – A 2009 Broadneck High School graduate and Annapolis, Maryland, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 on the island of Guam.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Robichaud is a naval aircrewman (helicopter) serving with HSC 25, known as the “Island Knights,” a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60S “Seahawk” helicopter.
Robichaud is a naval aircrewman (helicopter) and naval rescue swimmer. He is responsible for conducting search and rescue missions and medical evacuations.
Robichaud credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Annapolis.
“I swam competitively growing up and learned I liked being a part of a team,” said Robichaud. “I always thought aircraft and flying were really cool and now I get paid to swim and fly.”
HSC-25 is the first and only forward-deployed vertical replenishment (VERTREP) squadron in the Navy and is tasked with supporting Seventh Fleet units in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, North Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf. To provide this support, HSC-25 embarks two-aircraft detachments aboard Military Sealift Command vessels which provide transportation of equipment, fuel, supplies and ammunition to sustain U.S. forces worldwide.
They are the only Navy squadron based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
In addition to VERTREP, HSC-25 provides 24-hour Search-and-Rescue/Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) services for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Averaging more than 30 rescues and 70 MEDEVACs per year, HSC-25 also conducts airborne firefighting using externally-carried buckets, Vertical Onboard Delivery (VOD), drone and torpedo recovery, special operations airborne support, and fleet logistics support for all military activities in the Guam area, including the Maritime Prepositioned Ships operating in the local area.
“We have a great command here, great leadership and a great aircrew shop. I’m proud to have done my first tour here,” Robichaud said.
According to officials at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy personnel forward-deployed to Guam are part of the world’s largest fleet command and serve in a region critical to U.S. national security. The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. All told, there are more than 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 uniformed and civilian personnel serving in the Pacific.
Serving in the Navy means Robichaud is part of a world 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.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that 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, Robichaud is most proud of his medical evacuation missions where he helped to save the lives of two people.
“I’m proud to know that the missions I conduct help save lives,” said Robichaud.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Robichaud and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving to me provides a sense of patriotic duty and service, being a part of something greater than myself,” added Robichaud. “I’m proud to be a rescue swimmer in the U.S. Navy.”