SAN DIEGO, CA (PO1 Melisa Russell)- SEAL Team 17 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85 (HSC-85) recognized the Centennial Celebration of the Navy Reserve with a visit from Chief of Navy Reserve, Vice Adm. Robin Braun and events onboard both Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
Navy Operational Support Centers and reserve detachments across the Navy marked the centennial with celebrations throughout the nation and at duty stations around the globe.
“It’s a celebration of the service, sacrifice, history and heritage of the Navy Reserve, as well as a dedication to all the veterans, the community, families and the employers that support the reservists,” said Capt. Mark Howell, commander Navy Region Southwest Reserve Component Command. “Without all those folks we cannot be as successful as we are.”
Braun kicked off the event, which attracted about 400 friends, family members and in some cases, local employers of Navy Reserve Sailors, by leading a group re-enlistment and two promotion ceremonies. Afterward, the crowd had the chance to tour the facilities and ask questions about HSC-85 aircraft on display.
Navy wife Veronica Sheahan explained that without seeing the environment that her husband Lt. Cmdr. Michael Sheahan works in, his reserve weekends can sometimes feel like a bit of a mystery.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Sheahan, referring to the event.
After touring the displays, participants made their way to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado for a dynamic display of the combined capabilities of SEAL Team 17 and HSC-85. The demonstration included dropping five SEAL operators from a helicopter into the bay, who then breached the shoreline, captured a target, combated enemy gunfire in a simulated gun battle and then entered the bay with their detainee for boat extraction. The crowd was also treated to a simulated battle between the extraction team and a mock combatant patrol boat.
Spectators had the opportunity to view SEAL vehicles, aircraft, boats, field medical equipment and historical displays.
“It was awesome that the [kids] got to see the guys jump out of the helicopter and the shooting of the guns because they haven’t seen that before,” said participant Sara Merwin. “The kids love [the displays] and I can’t get them off of them. It’s fun to see them up close because they’re a lot bigger than you’d think they would be.”
According to Cmdr. Ed Rohrbach, commanding officer of SEAL Team 17, the relationship between HSC-85 and SEAL Team 17 is one that through constant training has been sharpened into an elite fighting partnership.
“We have worked closely with HSC-85 and they are an incredibly adept and versatile Navy helicopter squadron,” said Rohrbach. “They bring so much to the fight. When you combine them, they make SEALs that much more effective on the battlefield and our training is that much more effective when we do things like this on the weekends.”
Rohrbach was pleased with the participation in the Centennial Celebration events in San Diego. He expressed his pride in SEAL Team 17 Sailors and the relationship they have developed with HSC-85 and added that everyone was excited that Braun was able to enjoy the day with them.
SEAL Team 17 is a unit comprised of active duty and reserve component special warfare operators based in Coronado, California.