HSC-7 Holds Change of Command onboard Naval Station Norfolk

HSC-7 Holds Change of Command onboard Naval Station Norfolk

5-Jul-2022 Source: US Army


The “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, stationed onboard Naval Station Norfolk, held a change of command ceremony Thursday, June 16th, to mark a transition of command leadership.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Thomas Butts, of Erlanger, Kentucky, assumed all duties and responsibilities as the HSC-7 commanding officer from Cmdr. Kevin Chambley, of Chesapeake, Virginia. Continuing Chambley’s vision for the squadron, Butts intends to build upon the culture of excellence, and continue the squadron’s outstanding record for readiness and mission accomplishment. These have been high priorities for both commanders.

During Chambley’s time at HSC-7, the “Dusty Dogs” completed two back-to-back record-breaking deployments during a pandemic, with an unprecedented 206 continuous days at sea without any port calls. HSC-7 is currently starting another workup cycle in preparation for their next deployment.

“What we have accomplished over the last thirty months is remarkable and extraordinary,” Chambley said as he reflected on his time with the squadron. “I’m extremely proud to [have been] your commanding Officer. It’s bittersweet. This tour has been the highlight of my career, and I appreciate everyone’s hard work, dedication to mission success, and the outstanding culture that we have built. [The Dusty Dogs] are a force to be reckoned with.”

Chambley then went on to wish Butts, and the entirety of HSC-7, the best as he turned over the leadership of his squadron. “I have no doubt that [Cmdr. Butts] will continue the Dusty traditions and its legacy as the leading helicopter squadron in the fleet… Think positive, be positive. Once a Dusty, always a Dusty…One pack, one fight.”

Butt said “[Skipper Chambley] led during a global pandemic that created an entirely new set of challenges. After returning from deployment, he reset…and once again deployed with a combat ready squadron prepared to conduct our nation’s business. Dusty answered the call and additionally won the Battle “E” under his leadership. Team Dusty is in good hands, we will continue to build upon the foundation that [he] established.”

Butts expressed his gratitude to all of the people he’s come across in his 27 year-long career that have made him into the officer and leader that he is today. “There is zero doubt that I hit the jackpot with both [the XO and the CMC]…I’m looking forward to working alongside [them] in building our culture and preparing Team Dusty to answer the call.”

Butts closed his remarks by addressing the officers and sailors standing in formation in the hangar. He referred to them as “our Nation’s finest” and said, “Team Dusty, my promise to you is that I will bring my best every day. In return, all I ask is that you bring your best…I’m proud to be a Dusty Dog and serve by your side. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be your Commanding Officer.”

HSC-7 is a direct report to Commander, Carrier Air Wing 3. The primary missions of HSC-7 are Maritime Attack, Combat Logistics, Personnel Recovery, Naval Special Warfare support, and Search and Rescue (SAR).

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