MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan (May 4, 2010) --
HMM-265 rotates helicopters
Story by: Cpl. Michael A. Bianco
31st MEU Correspondent
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan (April 30, 2010) – More than 60 Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 Reinforced (HMM-265 REIN), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducted a helicopter rotation of AH-1 Super Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters, April 23.
The squadron’s unique deployment schedule, while attached to the 31st MEU, places added stress on the helicopters. This rotation gave the squadron newer aircraft allowing HMM-265 REIN to maintain its constant readiness.
“The birds have gotten a lot of flight hours over the past decade and aren’t used to a normal rotation of a stateside MEU,” said Staff Sgt. Erich Garner, the flight line staff non-commissioned officer in charge for HMM-265 REIN.
HMM-265 REIN and HMM-262 REIN annually change over responsibilities as a part of the MEU’s Aviation Combat Element (ACE). The super cobras and hueys remain with the MEU even as the two squadrons rotate. The added air time results in more wear and tear and increases the possibility of mechanical problems.
The rotation benefits both HMM-265 REIN and HMM-262 REIN during their summer changeover. “The new helicopters will help everyone who works with the aircrafts,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeffery Caldwell, a maintenance controller with HMM-265 REIN. “With our annual rotation with 262, this will help both squadrons maintain their exemplary performance.”
“There is a lot more going on with the helicopters when assigned to the MEU,” added Caldwell, a Houston native. “Between the annual change over of both squadrons and the unpredictable schedule, it can be difficult trying to maintain the birds.”
The rotation took more than 24 hours to complete and involved transportation from California to Okinawa, the offloading of three newer helicopters, a set of blades and other equipment. Finally the older helicopters were loaded for transport back to California. Squadron officials said the effort will pay off with a positive impact on readiness for future operations.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth A. Roberts II, HMM-265 REIN logistics chief, the recently delivered helicopters allow crewmembers the opportunity to become more familiar with newer model aircraft.
“For many of the Marines, moving the helos and pallets on and off the C-17 from the flight line was a new experience”, said Roberts, a Jericho, Vt. native. “The dragon maintainers are definitely an efficient group of professionals.”
The MEU is currently preparing for its Fall Patrol of the Asia-Pacific Region. The deployment includes participating in Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011 (PHIBLEX ’11) in the Republic of the Philippines and Korean Incremental Training Program 2011 (KITP ’11) in the Republic of Korea.