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Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 and Marines from Combat Logistics Regiment 17, Landing Support Team, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton participated in external lifts exercises while on their Creech Air Force Base Detachment from Feb. 9 through 19. They conducted different training exercises during the detachment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

'Warhorse' pilots qualify at Creech AFB

20 Feb 2009 | Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

 Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 flew into Creech Air Force Base, Feb. 9 to conduct training over the next ten days with a detachment of Marines from Southern Californian units.

HMH-465, the “Warhorse,” traveled to the base surrounded by both rocky and snow-capped mountains so their pilots and crew chiefs can obtain certifications and qualifications.

“The training here is well worth it due to the proximity and availability of the ranges,” said Maj. Dana R. Brown, the operations officer for the Warhorse. “The minimal transit time directly supports the operations and any maintenance requirements.”

During the deployment, two pilots and three crew chiefs were certified as night systems instructors. Two crew chiefs were certified as aerial gunner instructors and two pilots were certified as defensive maneuver instructors.

According to Brown, it would have taken at least a month with a full schedule to achieve the same amount of training at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The squadron of Marines deploys to Creech AFB approximately twice a year.  They operated day and night during the ten-day stay away from MCAS Miramar and logged total flight time of 110 hours, explained Brown.

“The concept of not operating on our home base is a different dynamic,” said Capt. Justin A. Howe, a pilot for HMH-465.

Even the Marines turning the wrenches supported the mission of the detachment.

“Our job was to get the pilots and crew chiefs certifications and qualification goals by keeping the helicopter up in the air,” said Lance Cpl. Palanka R. Roumer, an airframe mechanic for the squadron.

Every shop in the squadron was represented in the detachment, supporting the pilot and aircrew training.

“We are a small part of the big picture by going out and doing our part in the exercise,” said Sgt. Jeffrey D. Green, the intelligence chief for the squadron, who operated the intelligence portions of the   mission for the Warhorse.

Although the mission takes priority, the experience young Marines received was also     valuable.

“In addition to all the flight training we did, the deployment served to train Marines to operate and conduct maintenance out of a different location,” said Brown.

“The deployment was very successful because of the outstanding focus from everyone on the mission at hand,” said Brown. “We hit all the primary goals and qualifications we sought out.”