HMM-265 provides support to boots on ground
US Marine Corps, February 15, 2012 - MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Japan by Lance Cpl. Alyssa Hoffacker - More than 10 aircraft with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 filled the skies simultaneously as they took off from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Feb. 15.
The purpose of the flights was to provide airlift capability to ground units in the northern training areas of Okinawa.
The aircraft, which included UH-1 Huey, CH-46E Sea Knight, CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1W Cobra helicopters, departed MCAS Futenma en route to Camp Hansen where they picked up Marines with Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Once onboard, the Marines were transported to the central training area.
The mass airlift’s training value was beneficial to the air crews as well as the infantry Marines being transported, said Cpl. Kevin A. Bruscas, a crew chief with HMM-265.
“This (training) is about supporting the lone rifleman, standing down there in the mud,” said Lt. Col. Damien M. Marsh, the squadron’s commanding officer.
Marsh continued to explain how Marine riflemen make up the ground combat element of the Marine air-ground task force.
The training also allowed the aviation combat element Marines to continue to prepare for future flying engagements.
“This is a good opportunity for us to train for deployments,” said Bruscas. “We do similar exercises often but never on this large of a scale.”
“This required a lot from the maintenance crews, scheduling operations and planning on a lot of facets, which today’s training would not have been possible without,” said Capt. Terry A. Carter Jr., a pilot with the squadron.
With nearly a dozen helicopters in the air simultaneously, HMM-265 was also able to provide pilots with the opportunity to lead a formation of aircraft. This skill set ultimately allows pilots to serve in more demanding roles within the squadron, said Marsh.
“This is the most important training that can prepare (HMM-265) for austere environments found throughout the (Asia-)Pacific area of operations,” said Carter.
CH-46Es, which have been in the Marine Corps inventory since the Vietnam War, are beginning to be drawn out of the Marine Corps and will be replaced with the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, said Marsh.
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HMM-265 Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 US Marine Corps