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Last modified Wed., April 06, 2005 - 04:34 PM
Originally created Thursday, April 7, 2005

New Commanding Officer For HSL-44

Cmdr. Douglas Cochrane

The World Famous Swamp Foxes of HSL-44 had a Change of Command on April 1 in the HSL-44 Hangar where Cmdr. Douglas Cochrane relieved Cmdr. Paul Essig as commanding officer. The guest speaker for the ceremony was former HSL-44 Commanding Officer, Capt. Michael Walley. Walley is currently serving as executive officer of USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7).

Cochrane was born and raised in Perrine, Fla., and graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) in December 1985. He was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy after completion of Aviation Officer Candidate School in May 1986. Upon completion of Naval Aviator Flight Training in June of 1987, he was designated an Unrestricted Naval Aviator and assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) HSL-34, Norfolk, Va.

While assigned to HSL-34, Cochrane deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1987/88, the Caribbean and Panama in 1989, and the Persian Gulf in 1990/91. He participated in 39 transits during Operations Earnest Will, and flew over 75 Combat Missions in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield.

In 1991, Cochrane was selected for Fixed-Wing Instructor Duty and was assigned to VT-3 in Pensacola, Fla. While a ''Red Knight'' CDR Cochrane was a nine-time Instructor of the Month, four-time Instructor of the Quarter, and 1993 Squadron, Training Wing, and Navy Region Pensacola Instructor of the Year.

In 1994, Cochrane was nominated and accepted as Flag Secretary for the Commander, Carrier Group Six, America (CV-66) Battle Group. While deployed, the America Battle Group participated in Combat Operations against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, in Bosnia, and in the Southern No-Fly Zone of Iraq.

Cmdr. Paul Essig

In 1996, Cochrane was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He graduated in April 1998 with a Master of Science in Logistics Engineering and Transportation Systems Management.

In 1998, Cochrane reported to HSL-46, in Mayport, Fla., he immediately deployed to the Adriatic Ocean and Persian Gulf aboard USS Leyte Gulf (CG-67). While deployed, they engaged in Combat Operations against the former Republic of Yugoslavia forces in Kosovo and Iraqi Forces in the Southern No-Fly Zone of Iraq. He was appointed Squadron Mainten-ance Officer upon his return and served in that capacity until November 2000.

Cochrane was selected to serve as the Naval Aide to the Vice President in November of 2000 and served Vice President Richard B. Cheney until December 2002. He was commended by President George W. Bush for distinguished service as Naval Aide and Emergency Action Officer, on and about Sept. 11, 2001.

Cochrane has amassed more than 4,700 mishap free flight hours, including more than 120 combat missions, and he has achieved more than 1,000 mishap free shipboard landings.

Essig reported to HSL-44 in December 2002 to serve as the squadron's executive officer. He assumed command of the Swamp Foxes in February 2004. Essig's next assignment will be Helicopter Requirements Officer reporting to the Director of Navy Staff in Washington, D.C.

Naval Station Mayport
Jacksonville, FL

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