MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
An aerial arsenal of heavy, medium and light-attack helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 (REIN) took to the skies Feb. 2 as part of a raid exercise with Company C, Battalion Landing Team, 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The training, which took place at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., was a building block for both units, which are scheduled to deploy together aboard the USS Peleliu and USS Makin Island later this year.
“Working with the infantry units helps us to develop working relationships and promote unit cohesion,” said Capt. Joseph C. Begley, the assault flight leader for the exercise, and CH-46E pilot with HMM-165 (REIN).
According to Begley, the raid operation fit in with the squadron’s mission to provide aviation support to the ground combat element.
During the exercise, the squadron transported approximately 116 combat-loaded Marines to a simulated hostile area. Once on the ground, they patrolled the area and assaulted through an objective. The Marines used concertina wire to create blocking positions, and once they captured their target, they called the squadron back for a tactical helicopter extraction.
The airborne raid marked the first helicopter flight for several members of Company C, the BLT’s designated helicopter company.
“This type of training prepares us for potential situations we will face during deployments,” explained Gunnery Sgt. Gary Pokorny, the company gunnery sergeant for Company C. “Some of these Marines are headed on their first deployment, so it’s important for them to feel comfortable conducting these missions and getting on and off helicopters. Practicing for potential missions is critical.”
At the end of the training evolution, the squadron transported the troops back to their battalion headquarters and returned to the air station to prepare for future training.