SAN DIEGO — Lt. j.g. Michael Mason, a native of Trappe, Maryland, wanted to serve his country, since both of his parents and his grandfather served in the U.S. Navy.
Now, four years later, Mason serves with the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) 14, working with one of the Navy’s true workhorse aircraft at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.
“I get to work with a tight-knit group of hardworking people who are really enjoyable to spend time with,” said Mason.
Mason, a 2011 graduate of Easton High School, is a naval aviator with HSC 14, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60S “Seahawk” helicopter.
“I am responsible for safely and effectively executing the missions that I am assigned in the MH-60S,” said Mason. “Whether it is a tactical mission, search and rescue or logitistics support.”
Mason credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Trappe.
“I was taught how to treat everyone around me with respect and work hard at everything that I do,” said Mason.
HSC 14 provides all-weather, combat-ready aircraft and crew to conduct anti-surface warfare, personnel recovery, special warfare support, search and rescue, and logistics for aircraft carrier air wings and navy shore installations. HSC 14 flies the MH-60S “Seahawk” helicopter, a state-of-the-art design that provides the Navy with true versatility, able to complete a number of mission requirements, according to Navy officials.
The MH-60S with its glass cockpit incorporates active matrix LCD displays, used to facilitate pilot and co-pilot vertical and horizontal situation presentations. Another major design of the MH-60S is a “common cockpit,” which is shared with the MH-60R. This allows pilots to shift from one aircraft to another with minimal re-training.
“It is an incredibly fun aircraft to fly,” said Mason. “It is extremely versatile, (and) we can outfit it to do a variety of mission sets.”
Serving in the Navy means Mason is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, 80% of the world’s population lives close to a coast and 90% of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Mason is most proud of deploying around the world.
“I have operated in Asia, the Middle East and everywhere in between,” said Mason. “It was an honor to operate in a forward-deployed element to serve my country.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Mason and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means getting to a job that very few people get to do,” said Mason. “I am very proud of the work that I get to do every day in the Navy.”