SEVERE WX : Flood Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Huntsville Native Serves with U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron

Payden Zelenka; Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller

A 2010 Grissom High School graduate and Huntsville, Alabama, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two (HSC-2) at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

Posted: May 2, 2019 6:54 PM
Updated: May 3, 2019 7:38 AM

NORFOLK, Va. – A 2010 Grissom High School graduate and Huntsville, Alabama, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two (HSC-2) at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Payden Zelenka is a Navy hospital corpsman serving with the Fleet Angels, a versatile squadron that’s 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 be 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,” said Zelenka. "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 a variety of missions, including fleet logistics support, medical evacuation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

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

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Zelenka is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Zelenka is most proud of earning three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for providing medical coverage during a Navy mini boot camp for kids.

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

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Zelenka, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Zelenka is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“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,” said Zelenka.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Zelenka and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

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

Huntsville
Few Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Florence
Overcast
87° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 93°
Fayetteville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Decatur
Few Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
Scottsboro
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
Conecuh1866
Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
Geneva700
Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46890

Reported Deaths: 620
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10765195
Davidson10125115
Rutherford273335
Hamilton257730
Sumner150752
Trousdale14905
Williamson114814
Knox10225
Out of TN10098
Wilson85917
Putnam8147
Robertson80111
Sevier7333
Lake6900
Tipton6205
Bledsoe6181
Bradley6043
Bedford5205
Unassigned5161
Montgomery5137
Macon4213
Hardeman3143
Maury3113
Fayette3012
Hamblen2964
Rhea2740
Loudon2711
Madison2642
Dyer2321
Cheatham2201
McMinn21817
Blount2053
Dickson1940
Cumberland1744
Lawrence1435
Lauderdale1362
Monroe1365
Washington1340
Jefferson1210
Coffee1150
Gibson1101
Obion1062
Anderson1052
Hardin1037
Smith1031
Sullivan1012
Greene862
Franklin823
Haywood812
Wayne800
Cocke760
Marshall741
Hickman730
Warren690
Marion674
White653
McNairy640
Weakley621
Grundy581
Lincoln580
Overton581
DeKalb570
Carter561
Giles551
Hawkins552
Unicoi550
Roane500
Henry420
Campbell411
Polk410
Carroll401
Grainger390
Henderson390
Johnson380
Cannon340
Claiborne320
Crockett323
Meigs320
Perry310
Sequatchie290
Chester260
Humphreys261
Jackson260
Morgan241
Decatur210
Stewart210
Fentress190
Clay160
Scott150
Union150
Houston130
Benton121
Moore100
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

Community Events