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Navy Helicopter Squadrons Return Home Before Destroyers

Above: Detachments 1 and 2 of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78 land at Naval Air Station North Island, Aug. 20, 2014.

Two detachments of Coronado-based helicopters, both of which took part in the search for the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that went missing in March, returned home Wednesday from separate but simultaneous seven-month deployments.

Detachments 1 and 2 of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78, with 20 personnel, flew in to their home base at Naval Air Station North Island after having served aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Pinckney and USS Kidd.

The destroyers are set to sail home Thursday. They were conducting training missions in the South China Sea when the jumbo jet disappeared. Both ships sent their MH-60R Seahawk helicopters on search missions for the missing aircraft. The choppers searched around 1,500 square miles per day, according to the Navy.

The wreckage of the Boeing 777, carrying 239 passengers and crew on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, still hasn't been found.

HSM-78's helicopters conduct anti-submarine missions and combat operations against surface ships. The Seahawks also perform search and rescue missions, replenish supplies, provide naval surface fire support, evacuate wounded personnel, and offer relays for communications and data transfers.

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