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A CH-53 E helicopter with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 lifts a M-777 Howitzer at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. June 5. Lifting the Howitzer was something new for the pilots who normally lift concrete training blocks.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Justis T. Beauregard

HMH-462 paves way for future Enhanced Mojave Viper training

5 Jun 2009 | Lance Cpl. Justis T. Beauregard

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 became the first helicopter squadron to participate in the new Enhanced Mojave Viper training exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

The program was created in response to Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James T. Conway’s, directive to  return to combined arms training.

The exercise is meant to integrate all the elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, the ground combat element, the air combat element and the logistics combat element operating together under a command element, explained Maj. Adam E.. Hyams, the operations officer for the squadron.

The 28-day training exercise focuses on offensive and defensive operations, military operations other than war and counterinsurgency operations.

The squadron conducted, tactical recovery of personnel, aerial refueling, mass casualty drills and ground threat reaction.

“The beta test of EMV adds rotary wing training to Mojave Viper,” explained Maj. Michael A. Carter, a pilot with the squadron. “It also meets the Commandant’s intent of returning to combined arms training.”

Instead of going to Exercise Desert Talon at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz..,  the squadron is conducting pre-deployment certification during EMV and providing valuable feedback about the exercise.

“The after action reports are very important to developing the program,” said Carter.  “Our input on the program will deliver a better product for the squadrons that go through the training next.”

In one training event the squadron practiced external lifts with the Marine Corps’ new light weight M-777 Howitzer.

“It’s nice to fly around with actual artillery instead of concrete training blocks,” said Carter.

Training opportunities like lifting the Howitzer and tactical insertions are a new experience for some of the crew chiefs.

“It’s good to see our young crew chiefs having the opportunity to lift real equipment and not just concrete blocks,” said Sgt. Christopher D. Ley, a crew chief with the squadron.

During EMV the squadron rehearsed scenarios pertaining to Iraq and Afghanistan to include tactical insertions and threat reactions.

“This is good training for the Marines who have not deployed yet,” said Ley. “The training prepares the Marines for the situations they are going to face overseas.”

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing