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Gurnee native hunts enemy mines

PO3 Joshua Mose
PO3 Joshua Mose

NORFOLK, Virginia – A 2006 Warren Township High School graduate and Gurnee native is part of an elite Navy helicopter squadron with a critical mission: hunting and destroying enemy mines in waters around the world.

PO3 Joshua Mose serves with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, known as the “Blackhawks,” which operates out of Norfolk.

Mose works as an naval aircrew man (tactical helicopter), which is responsible for performing search and rescue operations, Airborne Mine Countermeasure operations utilizing sonar, magnetic, mechanical, and acoustic mine sweeping systems and logistics support.

“I love flying in helicopters,” said Mose. “It’s fun and you’re always doing something new.”

The squadron’s primary mission is to provide combat-ready helicopters for airborne mine countermeasures using a magnetic minesweeping sled. The MH-53E helicopter tows this sled while patrolling foreign and domestic waters to locate and eradicate sea-based mines that would damage watercraft. In doing so, the helicopter’s crew is able to map out safe sea-lanes for travel. Adding speed and range to their operations, MH-53E crews also conduct airborne mine countermeasures. The MH-53E is capable of flying over the horizon at speeds greater than 170 mph.

“People are the most critical element of HM-15’s ability to maintain a combat-ready posture capable of deploying anywhere in the world in 72 hours,” said Cmdr. Bernard V. Spozio. “These sailors are always advancing; working to better themselves and the squadron as a whole, and their tireless pursuit of perfection is the lifeblood of our organization.”

“Everyone in this squadron is hardworking which makes for a great work environment,” Mose said.

The sailors assigned to HM-15 support rotating 24-hour operations. Jobs are highly specialized and designed to keep each part of the squadron running smoothly. Whether training new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, processing paperwork, or handling and flying the aircraft, Mose said the key to the squadron’s success is teamwork.

“I always wanted to be in the military,” said Mose. “If you have an able body you should at least serve one tour for your country.”

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