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Zelenka serves with U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron

NORFOLK, Va. – Huntsville native Payden Zelenka is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two (HSC-2) at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Zelenka is a 2010 Grissom High School graduate. He serves as a Navy hospital corpsman with the Fleet Angels, a versatile squadron capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60S ‘Knighthawk’ helicopter.

A Navy hospital corpsman like Zelenka is responsible for taking part in the training to work as a search and rescue corpsman.

Zelenka credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Huntsville. “Huntsville is a really big Army military town. It undoubtedly influenced my decision to go Navy,” Zelenka said. “I always knew the military was something I wanted to do.”

HSC-2 trains more than 1,500 pilots, aircrewmen and aviation students annually. Squadron members train those who will fly and maintain the MH-60S helicopter in missions for fleet logistics support, medical evacuation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

When flying the Knighthawk helicopter, Fleet Angels members search for surface ships, support special operations forces, conduct combat search-and-rescue missions and perform other military operations around the world.

Zelenka has earned three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, along with a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for providing medical coverage during the Navy’s special boot camp for children.

“For my first achievement medal, I provided a critical care plan for patients at Naval Medical Center San Diego,” Zelenka said.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition for Zelenka, who has military ties with relatives who previously served. “My grandfather was an ordnance officer in the Army, and my grandmother was an Army officer, too. A great-grandfather was in the Navy, also,” Zelenka said.

“Serving in the Navy is about being selfless and putting yourself out there,” Zelenka said. “I do it to help fellow shipmates. Leadership and growing professionally every day are important here, too.”

The Navy Office of Community Outreach or NAVCO produced this feature article and photographs. Employees in the outreach office travel the globe to collect and distribute photos to their hometown media.

Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tom Gagnier documented Zelenka’s work.

The Media Outreach Department with the Navy Office of Community Outreach is located in Millington, Tenn. For more information, visit outreach.navy.mil, Facebook/Navy Outreach, Twitter @NavyOutreach or Instagram @US_Navy_Outreach.

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