Pleasant Hill grad serves with U.S. Navy helicopter squadron in San Diego


A 2013 Pleasant Hill High School graduate and Dexter native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 at Naval Station North Island in Coronado, Calif.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachariah Hickman is a Navy aviation machinist’s mate 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 aviation machinist’s mate is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of engines, fuel and drivetrain systems on aircraft.
”There’s a lot of brain power to solve different tasks, and there’s always something new to learn,” Hickman said.
Hickman credits success in the Navy to lessons he learned growing up in Dexter.
”Growing up in a small town there wasn’t a lot of things to do, so I learned to appreciate the small things, simple things like a photo from home (and) friendly reminders,” he said. ”My parents also gave me a foundation to respect your elders, and that’s definitely transferred over to my military career.”
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.
”Compared to my previous command this is much smaller, so there’s a lot more camaraderie and a lot more involvement,” Hickman said. ”The command involvement with your well-being is pretty exceptional here.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Hickman is most proud of recently completing his associates degree.
”My college degree is a huge accomplishment for me and I did it while I was in the Navy, and the Navy helped pay for it,” Hickman said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Hickman 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.
”For me the pride of being that one percent that is serving and protecting those I love at home is a big reason why I serve,” Hickman said.



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