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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

HSCWSL Welcomes New Commanding Officer in Change of Command Ceremony

by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sam Jenkins
07 January 2021 The Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Atlantic (HSCWSL) held a change of command ceremony, Jan. 7, aboard Naval Station Norfolk to mark a transition of command leadership.

During the change of command event, Cmdr. Jared Ott, a native of Delran, New Jersey, assumed all duties and responsibilities as the HSCWSL commanding officer from Cmdr. Gregory Knutson, a native of Lemoore, California.

Established on June 10, 2005, HSCWSL’s mission is to man, train and equip deployable, combat-ready Sea Combat and Mine Countermeasure detachments and squadrons. 

During Knutson’s tenure, he developed a quarterly full-mission profile exercise, named Savage Ice, combining Helicopter Sea Combat Squadrons (HSC), and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadrons (HM) with external participants, focused on maritime and overland dominance.  
 
Knutson also developed opportunity for MQ-8B/C Firescout collaboration with the MH-60S Knighthawk in Wallops Island, Virginia. The enabling of flight for both aircraft in the same airspace at the same time to prosecute the same target was imperative in developing tactics. His efforts produced the first laser remote designation from a Firescout with a Hellfire (AGM-114) missile from an MH-60S on the East Coast.

Knutson served as both executive officer and commanding officer of HSCWSL.  Since assuming command of the weapons school in November 2019, he has completed inspections for all eleven-seawall squadrons enabling command’s capabilities and readiness.

“It was an honor and privilege to lead the most talented group of instructors and support personnel in Norfolk.  At every turn, the HSC Weapons School Atlantic was at the forefront of every major decision and tactical development for all of HSCWINGLANT commands, whether it was for the MH-60S, MH-53E, or MQ-8B/C,” said Knutson. 
 
Knutson added that the organization works as a team that meets each task presented by the operational squadrons and excels in every endeavor. 
 
“The Savages are in good hands with the incoming Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jared Ott.  He will continue to move the command forward and ensure that the seawall squadrons receive all of their required training to deploy on time and are ready for any and all operational tasking,” said Knutson.
 
Ott, who also served as HSCWSL’s executive officer, emphasized Knutson’s commitment to leadership and dedication to duty while commanding HSCWSL.

“I am very lucky to have served under CDR Knutson for these last 15 months.  He has taught me some invaluable lessons as I watched his style of leadership, most notably the patience and quiet expertise it takes to be in command.  I look forward to my chance, and am grateful for the opportunity,” said Ott.

 
 
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