Naval Station Mayport gets new helicopter squadron, Maritime Strike Squadron 50

Diana Stancy Correll

An MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, attached to the “Easy Riders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM 37), takes off from the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer O’Kane during flight operations in the Ar
Naval Station Mayport is home to a new helicopter squadron. Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 50 “Valkyries” was established Oct. 1, and is outfitted with MH-60R Seahawks to support littoral combat ships and expeditionary independent deployers. The MH-60 is capable participating in a range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, surface warfare, among other things.

“I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as HSM-50′s first commanding officer,” Cmdr. Carolyn Peterson said in a Navy news release.

“Every member of Valkyries will have a major impact as we establish this squadron from the ground floor and create a strong, resilient, combat-ready unit prepared to deploy MH-60R Detachments to Fight and Win at sea,” Peterson said. “I am excited and encouraged as we move forward as a team, face challenges head-on, and continue to serve in the defense of our nation.”

Peterson’s previous tours include serving as an instructor pilot, a helicopter initial shore assignments officer, and a Carrier Air Wing MH-60R operational squadron department head.

A formal ceremony establishing the new squadron is slated for summer 2022, the Navy said.