MAYPORT, Fla. — A 2007 Lexington Catholic High School graduate and Lexington, Ky. native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the newest, most technologically-advanced helicopter.
Lt. Scott Collard credits much of his success from lessons learned growing up in Lexington.
“Growing up in Lexington, it was a welcoming and supportive community,” said Collard. “It’s great to have a Kentucky background as you go around the world and work with other Navy sailors.”
Collard, a 2011 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, is a pilot with the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40, a Mayport, Fla-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 pounds (max gross) and can travel over 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.
As a pilot, Collard is responsible for flying the MH-60R helicopter.
According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for a variety of missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.
The MH-60R is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.
Collard said he is proud to be part of a war fighting team that readily defends America at all times.
“My father served in the Coast Guard and I believe it was formative for him,” said Collard. “I chose the Navy because the location of the bases were places that interested me.
“I am most proud of serving on a deployment to the South China Sea with a mission that had a major impact on Naval readiness and national security.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied within the squadron. Approximately 297 Navy men and women are assigned and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly. This includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weapons and flying the aircraft.
Collard is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon capital assets, Collard and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
Serving in the Navy, Collard is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“Serving in the Navy is a privilege to be able to make sacrifices for the people and places I care about,” said Collard. “And flying’s pretty cool.”