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First Lt. Gregory Kosh, the company commander for Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, explains to Lance Cpl. John Grady, a company clerk, how to flag the landing zone for a CH-53E. Marines from Headquarters and Service Company, 1/5, trained with a "Super Stallion" from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 to learn how to guide a pilot into a landing zone.

Photo by Sgt Deanne Hurla

Air, ground Marines keep skills sharp

20 May 2010 | Sgt. Deanne Hurla

Transporting Marines and their gear while forward is one of the main missions for Marines of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, but to ensure those missions are accomplished the Marines complete several hours of training.

One of the most recent training evolutions the Marines completed was aiding Marines from Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, learn to make radio calls to relay landing zone information to pilots.

There are differences between the ways ground Marines talk on the radio and how air crew Marines talk, but there is also a standard that is followed so everyone can communicate with each other, explain Capt. Richard Arbogast, a CH-53E “Super Stallion” pilot with HMH-462.

It’s important for ground Marines to know how to make radio calls and communicate with the pilots, he explained. While deployed to a forward operating base, there may not be an aircraft controller to guide a helicopter in to land, so any Marine may be called upon to do it.

Communication is key for these Marines, but training for missions whether simulated or real is equally important.

Practicing external lifts with the helicopter support team is probably the most beneficial training for all the Marines involved, said Arbogast. It can be an intimidating thing to run under a helicopter to hookup a piece of equipment.

It’s dangerous working under a helicopter, especially at night, which is why it is important for the Marines to be comfortable and know they can trust the pilot to hold the helicopter steady while they work, he explained.

Not only do the HST Marines need to be comfortable working around helicopters, but other ground Marines need to be as well.

The crew chiefs need to be able to communicate with infantry squad leaders to load and unload Marines safely, explained Lance Cpl. Justin M. Wood, a CH-53E crew chief with the “Heavy Haulers.”

The infantry Marines need to know how to get on the plane, get seated and buckle in for flights whether it’s during a day or night transport.

“Training with the ground Marines is crucial because we support them and get them wherever they need to go,” said Arbogast. “While deployed, the ground Marines are number one and air Marines are number two.”

To ensure these Marines get what they need and where they need to go, the Heavy Haulers continue to constantly train.


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing