Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton --
Marines and Sailors with Marine Light Helicopter Attack Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303 held a family day aboard Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 24.
Leaders within the squadron invited family members and their guests to see and experience the work, equipment and aircraft the Marines and Sailors work with on a daily basis.
“This was an opportunity for the Marines to put something on for the families [who] do so much and support us in our long hours and our long days,” said Capt. Brittany McCullough, the family readiness officer for HMLAT-303, and a Poway, California native. “This is in appreciation for everything that they do for us.”
The day’s activities included a pancake breakfast, aircraft static displays, an M-16 familiarization and live-fire event as well as a live demonstration with two UH-1Y Hueys, one AH-1W Super Cobra and one AH-1Z Viper.
“I think sometimes the Marines work very hard on the aircraft and … they go home and they tell their families what they did … but [their families] don’t really understand until they actually, physically see what these aircraft are doing,” said McCullough. “[They are] flying around, expending ordnance and it’s all due to the aircraft maintenance that goes on day in and day out.”
Lance Cpl. Gabriel Trotman, a student in crew member training with HMLAT-303 and a Dayton, Ohio, native, said he provided assistance in several capacities throughout the event.
“My role was mainly to make sure that everything went smoothly,” said Trotman. “At first it was a little complicated, but as soon as I got a rhythm going ... I got better as I progressed.”
Guests of HMLAT-303 filled the bleachers while Marines with HMLAT-303 performed a close-air-support demonstration at one of ranges aboard Camp Pendleton, showing spectators their role in the air element of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
“[My favorite part] was when they did the fly by with the American flag,” said Trotman. “They were super close together. One gentleman said that was [really] awesome.”
According to Trotman, the aerial demonstration was executed with an impressive degree of precision.
“[Family Day] allows them to see the aircraft up close,” said McCullough. “I think it’s a really good thrill [for] the guests.”