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DAHS graduate serves as Naval commander

May 13, 2012
By LARRY SHIELDS - Staff Writer ( , Salem News

Commander William W. Bucey III recently was named the first commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Helicopter Strike Maritime Squadron Seven Eight based in California.

Also know as HSM Blue Hawks, the unit is deployed as the primary anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones, according to its Facebook page.

It flies the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter which is the world's most advanced maritime helicopter and known as the most capable naval helicopter available today and is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

Article Photos

Commander William Bucey

Bucey, a Lisbon native and 1991 David Anderson High School graduate where he was a class valedictorian, is stationed at Coronado, Calif.

Heavily experienced in aircraft carrier strike group operations, Bucey said, "...Our current helicopter (MH-60R) deploys with an air wing as part of a Carrier Strike Group. So four to five helicopters will be on the aircraft carrier and the other five to six helicopters will be assigned to the various non-aircraft carrier ships within the strike group."

Those ships include cruisers, destroyers and frigates.

In high school, Bucey lettered in varsity basketball and track for three years, lettered in football for two years and was recognized as All-County and All-TCL in football and basketball.

He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1995 with a bachelor's of science degree in general engineering. While at the naval academy he played intramural sports.

Bucey earned a master's of science degree in operations management and business administration from the University of Arkansas; and a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

After being designated a naval aviator upon completion of SH-60B FRS helicopter training, he joined the HSL-48 Vipers in Mayport, Fla. for his first operational assignment. The SH-60B FRS is as a sister craft to the army's Blackhawk.

In late 1998 and throughout 1999, he deployed with the USS Enterprise Battle Group aboard the USS Thorn, flagship for NATO's standing naval force in the Mediterranean Sea.

The USS Thorn supported and participated in Operation Allied Force, NATO's military response to the 1999 Kosovo crisis and in 2000, Bucey was again deployed to the Mediterranean Sea with the USS George Washington Battle Group aboard the USS Briscoe as the detachment maintenance officer.

Bucey recalled his time at sea.

"Obviously there is a lot more room and a lot more amenities on the aircraft carrier. The smaller ships, however, have positives as well. Being on a small ship allows you to really get to know and work closely with everyone on that ship. I think everyone really feels as if they are part of the team on the smaller ships.

"While there is still a team atmosphere on the aircraft carrier, there are many teams that do not necessarily interact with each other every single day. Both have their positives and negatives and I've enjoyed all of my deployments, as much as you can enjoy being away from family for six months at a time," he said.

In May 2001, Bucey reported to the bureau of naval personnel in Millington, Tenn., as a rating assignment officer responsible for managing enlisted aviation assignments for more than 28,000 sailors.

In June 2003, he reported to the commander of Carrier Strike Group Two aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Norfolk, Va. where he served as the flag secretary and the flag aide to the commander.

After graduate studies at the U.S. Naval War College, Bucey returned to Mayport, Fla., and reported to the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) -42 Proud Warriors in August of 2006.

Serving as the officer-in-charge (OIC), Bucey led his detachment aboard the USS Klakring during a counter-narco terrorism deployment supporting Operation Caper Focus, an interagency illegal drug interdiction mission.

During the deployment, Bucey's detachment was one of the first Navy helicopter detachments to implement airborne use of force tactics during joint operations with the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 2008, Bucey was named the HSL-42 Officer of the Year and in November 2008, was assigned to the Pentagon as a member of the joint staff, operations directorate (J-3), national military command center, operations team one and served as the assistant deputy director of operations and as a nuclear strike advisor.

Bucey has more than 1,500 hours in the SH-60B Seahawk and based on a 2,000-hour work year that's the equivalent of three-quarters of year in the cockpit.

He noted, "Over 1,500 flight hours ... we don't really differentiate from pilot/copilot time. There are two sets of controls in the cockpit of a MH-60R. While one pilot is flying, the other pilot is usually tactically engaging the aircraft systems along with the air crewman who sits in the back. In other words, whether you are actually on the controls or not isn't what we track."

Also known as the 'Romeo,' the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter combines the capabilities of the Navy's legacy SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters into a single sensor-rich platform operated by a three-person crew. Secondary missions include search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, medical evacuation, and communications and data relay," according to the Bluehawks' Facebook page.

Bucey's personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and numerous unit and campaign awards.

Bucey is married to the former Micca Brock of Milton, Fla. and they reside in Coronado, Ca. with their three children, Will, Carson and Cooper.

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