JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a six month deployment took them overseas, a group of naval aviators returned home Monday to NAS Jacksonville.
News4JAX was there as Patrol Squadron Five — the Mad Foxes — returned. The aviators spent the last half year in the Indo-Pacific, practicing war fighting tactics and cracking down on illegal fishing as part of their mission.
“When tensions are high like they are now, you have certain countries pushing boundaries,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Kirchert. “It’s important for us to go out there and do the mission and uh and preserve freedom.”
“We have a great team, the Mad Foxes,” said Cmdr. Stefanie Haseman. “They’re always mission-focused and always ready, so just watching them perform and execute is inspiring. It helps me to get through the day, honestly.”
Haseman’s daughter was happy to have her mother back — and to see her as a leader of the squadron.
“It inspires me to work hard and keep achieving your dreams,” she said.
While deployed, numerous Mad Foxes received individual awards. In all, they received 46 Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals, four Navy and Marine Corps commendation medals and nine Flag Letter of Commendations.