Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyson Putnam is a Naval air crewman (tactical helicopter) with the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46, a Mayport, Florida based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each helicopter is nearly 65 feet long, may weigh up to 23,500 pounds (max gross) and can travel over 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.
As a Naval air crewman, Putnam is responsible for responsible for operating sensors and weapons on helicopters.
“What I love about this job is getting to shoot various weapons from helicopters,” Putnam said.
According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for a variety of missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.
It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.
Putnam said they and other HSM-46 sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.
“I love the brotherhood of the crew within this command," Putnam said. "We have a real tight family atmosphere."
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied within the squadron. About 270 Navy men and women are assigned and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly. This includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weapons and flying the aircraft.
“The mission of HSM-46 is to embark and deploy combat-ready helicopter detachments around the world. Putnam is a big part of why we are so successful. They have a tireless work ethic, and embody our squadron motto of ‘Set the Standard.’ I’m very proud of Putnam,” said Commander Chris Richard, HSM-46 commanding officer.
Serving in the Navy, Putnam said he is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“The morals, values and principles I’ve learned while serving has made me a better person,” Putnam added.