MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 began a historic journey here Oct. 20, for the UH-1Y “Venom,” affectionately called the “Yankee,” when they loaded the first pair of the new helicopters onto a C-17 “Globemaster” III for its first deployment to Afghanistan.
Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, squadron also known as “Scarface,” prepared to deploy later this month with nine Yankee aircraft in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I’m very excited and couldn’t be more proud to lead Scarface in the Yankee’s first combat deployment into theater,” said Lt. Col. Michael J. Borgschulte, the squadron commanding officer. “This is our chance to showcase this brand new asset which has been in the works for years and really take it to a new level in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. This is our time. We’ve played the scrimmage now and its time for the Super Bowl.”
The Marines from the squadron prepared the aircraft, for flight by removing the hub and blade assembly, tail rotor blade and antenna. More than a dozen crew chiefs, flight line mechanics and other personnel helped secure the aircraft onto the Globemaster.
“It was my first time loading these onto a C-17 and it went pretty smoothly,” said Cpl. Jason L. Rosado, a Venom crew chief with the squadron. “We learned a few lessons and it was a pretty quick and simple job. There’s not much room for us to load things so you have to use your space accordingly.”
Air Force loadmasters with the 729th Airlift Squadron based at March Air Force Base, secured the aircraft with chains and restraining devices capable of holding more than 25,000 pounds in place.
When the aircraft arrive in Afghanistan, crew chiefs and flight line mechanics will reassemble them and put the Corps’ utility helicopter to work.
“The thing about the Yankee is, it’s capable of doing just about anything that’s requested of it,” said 1st Lt. Michael Green, a Scarface Yankee pilot. “The upgraded engines translate into it being able to carry more weight, whether its personnel, ammunition, or fuel. We are able to stay on station longer and provide more air support in terms of ordnance, and it’s a very large upgrade over the November models.”
Scarface will gain experience from sustained operations in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, shaping the future of the Venom program and paving the way for upcoming deployments.