Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California --
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, conducted on and offloading drills with four Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 462 CH-53E Super Stallions at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California, Feb. 1.
These HMH-462 heavy-lift helicopters are a vital asset when it comes to inserting Marines in terrain such as what MCMWTC offers, explained Lt. Col. Ian Stevens, HMH-462 commanding officer. A Super Stallion can transport up to 55 troops or 30,000 pounds of cargo.
“We will be inserting and extracting Marines into different landing zones, but in this mountainous terrain it can be very difficult,” said Staff Sgt. Jahbari Codes, HMH-462 operations chief. “The drills are important because it gives us and the ground Marines the training we need to accomplish the mission.”
In addition to long range insertion missions, the CH-53E has the ability to fly large re-supply missions. These diverse capabilities make the Super Stallion one of the most used aircraft in Marine Aviation.
“These drills are [essential] so when it comes time to do them in a combat situation, we can quickly on load and offload into the area of operation that we need to be at,” said Lance Cpl. Chris Bodkins, 2/2 assault section leader. “The training with the CH-53Es provides us with the know-how as a quick reaction force (QRF) so we know what we are doing and not fumbling around with the basics when it comes time to actually be inserted on our objective.”
On and offload drills also help the air crew and pilots refine their tactics, techniques and procedures during real-time training, which allows them to be better prepared for any situation, including combat.
“As Marines, we are expeditionary by nature—that means we fight in every climate and place,” said Codes. “It is important for us to get the training we need, as well as helping the Marines on the ground side to get the training they need to accomplish the mission in terrain such as MCMWTC.”