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Navy’s Oldest Helicopter Squadron Returns From 8-Month Deployment

The Navy's oldest helicopter squadron, the "Golden Falcons,'' is scheduled to return to Naval Air Station North Island today following an eight-month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 is completing a three-day cross- country flight to return to the Coronado base because the Lincoln docked at its new home at Norfolk earlier in the week, according to Navy officials.

During its latest deployment, the "Golden Falcons'' flew 1,100 sorties covering 3,900 flight hours, of which 2,500 came in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Navy officials said. Many of those missions involved delivering supplies to ships in the fleet.

"We had the highest sortie completion rate in the entire air wing, a credit to the hard work and dedication of the finest squadron in the Navy,'' said the squadron's commanding officer, Cmdr. Christopher Bailey. "Most importantly, we took care of each other -- everyone is coming home safely to their loved ones. In my eyes, that makes this a successful deployment.''

The squadron departed Coronado on Dec. 12 last year and marked its 60th anniversary in March.

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