Maui native serves with Navy helicopter squadron

A 2010 King Kekaulike High School graduate and Maui native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced helicopter, the MH-60R Sea Hawk.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kaikona Hendershot is a naval air crewman for tactical helicopter with the “Magicians” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, based out of San Diego.

“There are seven main mission we do, from being a rescue swimmer to door gunner, or a sensor operator,” said Hendershot. “Coming to work every day and not knowing which mission we’ll be doing is exciting to me.”

The squadron deploys its helicopters and personnel around the world aboard a variety of Navy ships, including frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

As a naval air crewman for tactical helicopter, Hendershot is responsible for saving downed pilots or aircrew in case of an emergency.

“I joined so I could help people, I’m a rescue swimmer and I like saving lives,” said Hendershot.

Hendershot said he is proud to be a part of the 283-member squadron that is ready to defend America at all times.

“The Navy gives me an opportunity to travel and see things that most people may never see in their lifetime,” said Hendershot.

Being a sailor assigned to a helicopter squadron and in a deployable status means spending a lot of time away from friends and family, but serving his country makes it worth it for Hendershot.

“I haven’t deployed yet but doing my part to keep the world safe will be rewarding,” said Hendershot.