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The Warlords & the meaning of "Musashi"

As the US Navy’s 7th Fleet forward deployed  expeditionary helicopter squadron, the Warlords of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FIVE ONE (HSM 51) have been at the forefront of helicopter operations throughout the Indo-Pacific theater since the inception of the squadron on 03 October 1991. When established, HSL 51 brought the capabilities of the SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters to the disposal of US forces in the pivotal East Asia region. Transition to the more advanced MH-60R helicopter began in 2012 and was completed with the transition to HSM 51 on 07 March 2013.

The Warlords embody the fighting spirit and discipline of the Samurai proudly depicted on their unit insignia, Miyamoto Musashi. A famed 16th century warrior, Musashi developed and created a two sword technique known as Ni Ten Ichi Ryu, “two heavens as one”. In addition to his renowned skill as a swordsman, Musashi was also an accomplished calligrapher, artist, and was known for his straightforward approach to combat, with no additional frills or aesthetic considerations. As master warfighters, HSM-51 flies the Sikorsky MH-60R helicopter from the decks of Yokosuka based cruisers and destroyers. The MH-60R “Romeo” has advanced anti-submarine capabilities, upgraded radar suite, electronic support measures and improved communications. The Warlords employ the latest weaponry: the AGM-114 HELLFIRE missile, MK-46 and MK-54 torpedoes, and the GAU-21 .50cal and M-240D 7.62mm crew served weapons. Ever ready to protect America and her allies’ interest, Warlords stand prepared to preserve freedom and strike the enemy swiftly, relentlessly and with deadly accuracy.

The Warlords are also prepared to assist neighboring countries stricken by natural disasters through humanitarian operations. HSM 51 aircraft are often first to arrive with much needed medical supplies, food, water and personnel to locations otherwise impossible to reach. In 2011, the Warlords immediately responded to the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami in northeastern Japan with five detachments in direct support of Operation TOMODACHI.

The Warlords have set the standard for operational excellence. Over the three decades since its creation, HSM 51 has earned eleven Battle Efficiency Awards, six Arnold J. Isbell Awards for Undersea & Surface Warfare Excellence, five CNO Safety "S" Awards, and eight Golden Wrench Awards, and the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Excellence Awards in 2020.

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