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Health and Wellness

West Chester native flies Navy’s newest, most advanced helicopter
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By Southern Chester County News
September 1, 2017

Mayport, FL

A 2011 Devon Preparatory School graduate and West Chester, Pennsylvania native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced helicopter.

Lt. j. g. Ryan Litchert is a pilot with the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 40, a Mayport, Florida 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 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.

As a pilot, Litchert is responsible for flying the MH-60R.

“I was a member of First West Chester Fire Company,” said Litchert. “They taught me how to be a leader and make good decisions under pressure. Those skills are invaluable as a Navy pilot.”

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.

It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.

Litchert said they are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“It took a year and a half of hard work,” said Litchert. “ But I finally got my wings and became a member of a fraternity of professional Naval aviators. That’s been my biggest accomplishment to date.”

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.

Serving in the Navy, Litchert is learning about being a more respectable leader, Sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

“By serving in the Navy I am part of something bigger than myself,” said Litchert. “It allows me to help others by doing something not everyone is able to do.”

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