A 2016 Pleasant Hope High School graduate and Pleasant Hope native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 at Naval Station North Island in Coronado, Calif.
Airman Austin Slisz is serving with HSM 73, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.
A Navy airman is responsible for working as a plane captain, helping to inspect aircraft to ensure it's ready to conduct its mission.
“I like interacting with the pilots and helping them prepare for flight, and saluting the pilot before they take off," Slisz said.
Slisz credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Pleasant Hope.
“I learned the importance of patience and taking things one step at a time,” Slisz said.
HSM 73's primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments as part of a Carrier Air Wing. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations, if required.
The MH-60R is the Navy's new primary maritime dominance helicopter, replacing the SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. Greatly enhanced over its predecessors, the MH-60R helicopter features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements, which give it unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission naval platform, according to Navy officials.
“Everybody treats you with respect," Slisz said. "I like having the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from my peers.”
Although there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Slisz says he is most proud of traveling all around the world and seeing many new places.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Slisz and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“No matter what job you have, it plays an important role in the bigger picture and has an impact on the mission,” Slisz said.