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Photo Information

An AH-1W Super Cobra pilot assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter 262 (Reinforced), the "Flying Tigers," part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, performs a pre-flight check of his aircraft prior to take off from Clark Air Base in the Republic of the Philippines. HMM-262 (REIN) and the 31st MEU are in the Philippines conducting bilateral training exercises designed to enhance the skills of pilots from both nations. The interoperability training increases the partner nations' abilities to respond together to real-world contingencies.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Vernaza

Flying Tigers Always Ready

14 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

As the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit continues its annual training exercises and begins Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-262 (Reinforced) remains ready to support in any climb and place.

With its many capabilities HMM-262 (REIN) is able to keep the 31st MEU ready to complete aviation missions in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Our CH-53 Sea Stallions allow us to move many Marines with their gear. Our CH-46E Sea Knight’s allow us to assault our objectives. And our hueys and cobras help with cross training with the Republic of the Philippines Marines,” said Sgt. Robert Heite, operations chief for HMM-262 (REIN). “Also, when we are not attached to the MEU we are focused on training new aircrew, renewing qualifications, and giving small support to other units.”

The “Flying Tigers” are also responsible for assault support requests for the 31st MEU, Marine Air Group-36 and all other units with the exercise. They also share medical evacuation responsibilities with HMM-265.

The experience the Marines of 262 get with the Philippine forces gives them irreplaceable real-world experience and exposes them to a better picture of the MEU and the Marine Corps’ expeditionary capabilities, Heite added.

With three MEU deployments under his belt Capt. Burr Ferguson, CH-46E Sea Knight pilot, has ample experience with contingency operations.

“I have been with the 31st MEU for a while, and there is a lot more focus on shipboard operations this time around,” said Ferguson. “The bilateral training with the Philippine forces is going well.”

“262 will also be providing classes to the Philippine pilots in casualty evacuation procedures during PHIBLEX,” he added. “They have showed great interest in that.”

During PHIBLEX 2011 HMM-262 (REIN) will help teach Philippine Marines close air support and how to conduct live fire exercises with the cobras, hueys and harriers, said Ferguson.

Throughout the exercise both countries will share and discuss tactics and procedures in efforts to learn more about each other and operate together better in the future.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit