NAVAL AIR FACILITY EL CENTRO, Calif. --
Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 took part in exercise Scorpion Fire 1-16 on and near Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, Jan. 25 to Feb. 5.
The Marines with HMLA-267 conducted close air support and live-fire training with simulated targets.
“We were one of the aviation players that played a role in the integrated fire,” said Maj. Mark Mirra, a pilot with HMLA-267 and a Stafford, Virginia, native. “We engaged simulated scenarios and conducted an assault support mission.”
The crew chiefs aboard a UH-1Y Huey, equipped with an M107 .50-caliber Special Applications Scoped Rifle and an M134 Minigun, had the responsibility of eliminating the targets.
“I got to work on my proficiency on the M107 .50-caliber [SAS rifle],” said Lance Cpl. Sharron Steck, a crew chief with HMLA-267 and Peoria, Illinois, native. “I had to listen to what the pilots were telling me while working with the ground guys in order to find the target and recognize it.”
Scorpion Fire took three months to plan, and was an 11-daylong training exercise supported by Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 371, Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 1, Marine Aircraft Group 11, Marine Aircraft Group 13, Marine Aircraft Group 39, and select supporting units of the United States Navy.
The training exercise brought together squadrons from all over, and combined aerial and ground efforts, according to Mirra.
“It helps us prepare for real-life combat situations,” said Steck. “When we go out there, we’re going to be talking to the guys on the ground or the other aircraft in order to complete our mission and find our targets. What we do protects our guys on the ground, so it’s important for us to train so that we can carry out our operations seamlessly.”