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NAS SIGONELLA, Sicily — Cmdr. Eric Shirey relieved Cmdr. T. Michael Cashman as commander of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four during a ceremony Thursday.

Cashman departs Sigonella for U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

He had served as the unit’s commander only since March 16, when he replaced Cmdr. Greg Adair, who was allowed to transfer from command four months early.

Shirey takes over after serving as HC-4’s executive officer since September 2004.

HC-4, which flies the mine-hunting MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters, has had a spate of accidents within the past two years, including a February crash in which four sailors were injured.

In August 2004, four other sailors were injured after one of the unit’s helicopters caught fire while taxiing after a training flight.

Four HC-4 sailors died in July 2003 when their helicopter crashed during a training flight.

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