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Greer grad is part of an elite Navy helicopter squadron

Published on Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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Petty Officer 1st Class James Frascona-Cochran, a native of Greer, serves with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, known as the “Blackhawks,” which operates out of Norfolk. 
 

U.S. Navy Photo

Petty Officer 1st Class James Frascona-Cochran, a native of Greer, serves with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, known as the “Blackhawks,” which operates out of Norfolk. 

 

By Theodore Quintana
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class

NORFOLK, Va. – A 1999 Greer High School graduate and native is part of an elite Navy helicopter squadron with a critical mission: hunting and destroying enemy mines in waters around the world.

Petty Officer 1st Class James Frascona-Cochran serves with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, known as the “Blackhawks,” which operates out of Norfolk. Frascona-Cochran works as an aviation electronics technician, which is responsible for troubleshooting and repairing equipment and employing the latest test equipment and procedures. “I like having the opportunity to work on different avionic platforms,” Frascona-Cochran said.

The squadron’s primary mission is to provide combat-ready helicopters for airborne mine countermeasures using a magnetic minesweeping sled. The MH-53E helicopter tows this sled while patrolling foreign and domestic waters to locate and eradicate sea-based mines that would damage watercraft.

The helicopter’s crew is able to map out safe sea-lanes for travel. Adding speed and range to their operations, MH-53E crews also conduct airborne mine countermeasures. The MH-53E is capable of flying over the horizon at speeds greater than 170 mph.

“People are the most critical element of HM-15’s ability to maintain a combat-ready posture capable of deploying anywhere in the world in 72 hours,” said Cmdr. Bernard V. Spozio. “These sailors are always advancing, working to better themselves and the squadron as a whole, and their tireless pursuit of perfection is the lifeblood of our organization."

“This squadron can do anything with the oldest aircraft in the fleet,” Frascona-Cochran said. The sailors assigned to HM-15 support rotating 24-hour operations. Jobs are highly specialized and designed to keep each part of the squadron running smoothly.

Whether training new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, processing paperwork, or handling and flying the aircraft, Frascona-Cochran said the key to the squadron’s success is teamwork. “Being able to put on the cloth of my country means I’m doing more than I would be doing if I wasn't in the Navy,” Frascona-Cochran said.

 

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