MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Helicopter Support Team (HST) Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 5 supported Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466 during an external lift exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 5.
External lift exercises utilize the Marine Corps’ primary heavy-lift aircraft, the CH-53E Super Stallion, by applying its ability to carry large and heavy loads that are connected to the outside of the aircraft.
“HMH-466 ‘Wolfpack’ conducted heavy-lift external operations utilizing a 20,000 pound training load,” said Sgt. Timothy Spears, crew chief with HMH-466. “This training is to support both squadron and HST proficiency in lift operations.”
During the exercise, the HST prepares the training load as the aircraft hovers above. It’s the HST’s job to secure the load and communicate with the crew aboard the helicopter to properly conduct the lift as swiftly and safely as possible.
“While executing assault support operations, CH-53Es can quickly insert vital equipment into landing zones for the ground combat element,” said Spears.
This training gives HST Marines and helicopter squadrons the training efficiency to conduct heavy lifts with the CH-53E in forward deployed environments when tactical gear and supplies - such as Humvees, cargo, meals, and other vital equipment - need to be transported.
“HMH-466, along with all HMH squadrons in the fleet, provide the heavy-lift asset for the Marine Corps,” said Spears. “Our mission statement is to support the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander and provide assault support transport of heavy equipment, combat troops and supplies, day or night, under all weather conditions during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. These training evolutions are utilized to maintain proficiency and combat readiness.”