Thursday, October 25, 2007

"High Rollers" continue fighting California wildfires

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Sarah E. Bitter, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific
Crew members aboard a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter activate a release button, dumping 420 gallons of water below them on a burning target. HSC-85 has teamed up with the San Diego California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to help put out the wild fires blazing across Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dustin Kelling)

Navy firefighting helicopters from the "High Rollers" of Helicopter Sea Combat Support (HSC) 85 based at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) continued their second day of missions Oct. 23, as they attacked wildfires in San Diego County, supporting the California Department of Forestry (CalFire).

Two MH-60S helicopters were sent up to battle the Harris Ranch Fires in San Diego. Forty other helicopters from NASNI were also on standby to support other mission areas.

"We began our second day of sorties at 8 a.m. this morning and the guys will not stop until sunset," said Capt. Matthew Pringle, commodore of HSC-85. "We are working in conjunction with CalFire and coordinating under Navy Region Southwest. We have met all requests; as soon as there is a call we are there to put out the fire."

Pringle stood up the Helo Coordination Center (HCC) as the single point of contact for operations related to evacuations, search and rescue, bucket brigade, fire-spotting and fire-mapping operations Oct. 22.

"This is a complicated airspace. We are having to coordinate our mission with all of the other helicopter flying," added Pringle. "HSC-85 is very capable of being where it needs to be."

The squadron is the only one in the San Diego area trained to provide firefighting support to military installations and trains for this mission regularly. That training was proven valuable in the California Cedar Fires of 2003, detailing operating procedures and the type of support the Navy could provide in fire emergencies.

"It is tough out there, but by us being out here we are adding another dimension by providing air support," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wilderman, operations officer at HSC-85.

The helicopters each carry 420 gallons of water, a four-member aircrew team and were launched to help with firefighting efforts Oct 22.

"My job is to sit in the back of the helicopter and direct the pilots on when and where to drop the bucket; as well as where they need to put the water onto to the fire," said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class Ryan Grant, helicopter crew chief of HSC-85. "I really love being out here. I am having the chance to help out the community by just doing my job."

A hotline number for evacuation housing referrals and general assistance was established at: 619-556-9399.

Key and essential personnel including all Naval Medical Center San Diego personnel should report for duty as directed by their respective commands.

Emergency shelter and evacuation centers for military personnel are available at Naval Base San Diego Prout Field House (Dry Side of Naval Base SD), and at Naval Base Coronado.

The following frequencies are from the Teak Publishing Military Communications Guide. The material is copyright 2007 by Teak Publishing, and is for the personal use of the Milcom Monitoring Post blog readers. This list may not be reposted, published, or reprinted in any form, but links to this story and frequencies are permitted.

NAS North Island, California
233.7000 Ground Controlled Approach
233.8000 National Guard (CA) Operations
238.8000 HSL-43 Air-to-Air
246.8000 MH-60S Helicopter Air-to-Air
250.4000 ASW Operations Net
255.0000 Naval Air Repair Depot
256.4000 HSL-45 Air-to-Air
263.4000 Flight Support
273.7000 Miscellaneous Net
275.6000 ASW Operations Net
275.7000 Air-to-Ground
281.3000 LAMPS MK III Tactics
285.1000 VR-57/VRC-30 Squadron Common
288.2500 Clearance Delivery
291.2000 LAMPS MK III Control
297.5000 Flight International
305.8000 Miscellaneous Net
307.6000 ASW Operations Net
310.0000 NADEP Flight Operations
310.3000 ASW Operations Net
313.2000 Ground Controlled Approach
317.5500 Approach/Departure Control
317.8000 ATIS
319.9000 Ground Controlled Approach
320.2000 HS-4 Air-to-Air
324.9000 HS Squadrons Common
325.1000 ASW Helicopter Operations Net
326.9000 ASW Operations Net
328.5000 Helicopter Common
335.7500 Flight International
336.4000 Tower
339.0000 Flight International
340.2000 Tower
342.3500 Metro
342.7000 ASW Operations Net
346.7000 TSCC ASW Operations Net
346.8000 Air-to-Air/Air-to-Ground
347.9000 ASW Operations Net
349.9000 Miscellaneous Net
350.8000 Ground Controlled Approach
350.9000 Fleet HS Squadrons Base/Maintenance
352.5000 ASW Operations Net
353.5000 Ground Controlled Approach
355.1000 Air Operations
355.5000 Base Operations
357.8250 Flight International
360.6750 Ground Control
382.0000 Ground Controlled Approach
384.4000 Fleet HSL Squadrons: HSL-41/43/47 Base/Maintenance Squadrons Common
385.0500 Aircraft Ground Support
385.5000 Ground Controlled Approach
389.9000 Ground Controlled Approach
Other frequencies to watch for activity: 238.0000 238.0500 238.1000 238.1500 238.2000 253.9000 253.9500 266.7000 280.2000 285.1000 309.0000 311.7000 324.6000 328.5000 344.0000 350.3500 352.4000 356.8000 MHz

US Navy San Diego Regional TRS
System: Motorola Type II Smartnet
Motorola System ID: 270f
Connect Tone: 83.72 Hz
Base Frequency: 406.000 MHz, Spacing: 25-kHz; Offset: 380
Frequencies: 406.3500 406.7500 407.1500 407.5500 407.9500 408.3500 408.9500c 409.1500c 409.5500c 409.9500c
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