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Marines from the 4th Light Armored Reconasaiance Batalion load a simulated casualty onto a CH-46E "Sea Knight" during a casualty evacuation excercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton July 22.

Photo by Lcpl. Zachary Majors

Training here to save lives there

22 Jul 2009 | Lance Cpl. Zachary Majors

Marines from 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, “Iron Horse Marines,” charged a CH-46E “Sea Knight,” while carrying simulated causalities during a training exercise supported by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, the “White Knights,” here July 22.

Marines participated in insertion, extraction, and casualty evacuation drills to prepare for their approaching delpoyment. Approximately 75 Marines from 4th LAR and 10 Marines from HMM-165 participated in the three-hour exercise.

This training benefited everyone who participated by giving them hands-on expirience, explained Capt. Casey Turk, a CH-46 pilot for the White Knights.

The pilots and flight crew trained in flight tactics and operations, while 4th LAR received familiarization with rotary-wing operations.

During the training, two Sea Knights inserted squads of Marines into a designated landing zone, explained Turk. The aircraft then circled overhead as the Marines on the ground patrolled, simulated a firefight that included improvised explosive devices, small arms, and rocket propelled grenade fire, and conducted simulated casualty evacuations.

The 4th LAR Marines radioed a casualty evacuation from HMM-165 and guided them to their location.

“This training is good for the crew chiefs because the more times we practice, the better we will be when we deploy and it’s the real deal,” said Cpl. Blair Hencratt, a crew chief for HMM-165.

Pilots also dealt with unique challenges while participating in these training exercises, explained Turk.

The pilots faced a confined landing zone and a high density altitude environment, explained Turk. This caused increased limitations on the performance of the aircraft, such as how much weight could be carried.

Overall the training was a success, explained Turk. HMM-165 is slated to deploy again sometime next spring, and when they do they will be ready to support the life- saving act of casualty evacuation.

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing