Petty Officer 2nd Class Lorena Morales is an aviation electronics technician with HSM-41.
By Lt. Ana Maring, Navy Office of Community Outreach
A 2007 Rancho Buena High School graduate and San Diego, Calif., native is serving with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 (HSM-41) Seahawks, the Navy’s Fleet Replacement Squadron dedicated to training new MH-60R helicopter pilots and aircrew.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Lorena Morales is an aviation electronics technician with HSM-41, a San Diego-based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and Anti-Surface Warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each helicopter is nearly 65 feet long, may weigh up to 23,500 lbs. (max gross) and can travel over 200 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.
As a 25 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Morales said she joined the Navy because she wanted a career. “I didn’t want to have a minimum wage job,” said Morales. “I knew I had to work to go to school and work and the same time. I am currently studying human biology and plan to apply for the stay 21 program and become a nurse.”
She also said she is proud of the work she is doing as part of the squadron’s 575 member civilian/military team, helping to train and prepare Navy aircrew to protect America on the world’s oceans. “I’m a supervisor of daily activities for building maintenance,” Morales explained. “We allow everyone else to do their job so they don’t take away from the flight time.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied at HSM-41. Approximately 65 officers, 400 enlisted men and women, and 110 civilian contractors make up and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly — this includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weaponry, and flying the aircraft.
“Every day I feel an extraordinary amount of pride to serve alongside our great Nation’s most inspiring men and women,” said Cmdr. Brent Gaut, HSM-41’s commanding officer. “Our Seahawk team is filled with hardworking and highly qualified professionals who hold uncommon levels of responsibility and accountability in support of our mission: to train the Navy’s current and future generations of aviators, aircrewmen, and maintenance personnel to fly, fight, and fix the MH-60R. Their work ethic, commitment, enthusiasm, and esprit de corps are second to none!”
The MH-60R is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Ship Warfare, Search and Rescue, Drug Interdiction, Logistics, and Special Operations. Being the newest version of the Seahawk line, the MH-60R helicopter brings powerful new capabilities to the Navy with digital cockpits and mission-adaptive systems.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest helicopter platforms, Morales and other HSM-41sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.
“My family always taught me to be accepting and respectful,” said Morales. “It has helped me because no matter where people come from I am open to new ideas.”
“Why Being There Matters”
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.