News: Marines conduct external load operations training with Osprey
Story by Lance Cpl. Anne Henry
IE SHIMA, Japan — Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 trained for external load operations Nov. 5 on Ie Shima.
The training prepared the Marines for real-life scenarios involving operations that could occur throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
“Today, we conducted training (in conjunction) with the helicopter support team,” said Capt. Bryan G. Hole, a pilot with VMM-265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We will be practicing in standard patterns, which is how we would typically come in, pick up any load, and drop it (off) again.”
The training involved the Marines attaching a 3,500-pound cement training block to the hook of the aircraft. The Marines repeated the process numerous times with the Osprey flying in circular patterns overhead, giving the Marines in the HST time to regroup, maximizing the effectiveness and participation of the training.
“The Marines in the (HST) will be guiding us in when we are picking up the loads as well as staying in contact with us,” said Hole. “As we come in, we will be hovering over the ground. Once we are low enough, we will ground the (equipment to dissipate) static electricity. They will then attach the hook to the block.”
It is critical for Marines to become proficient in external load training, according to Cpl. Kyle H. Haupt, a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st MEU, III MEF.
“This training gives the Marines more (proficiency) in their military operational specialty,” said Haupt. “It’s important because it prepares us for a real-life scenario should we ever need to get equipment to Marines on the ground.”
External load operations are used whenever any particular load of supplies cannot be carried inside the aircraft, according to Hole.
“It is typically advantageous for us to fit all (of) our cargo inside the aircraft,” said Hole. “If for some reason we can’t, we have to use our cargo hooks in order to externally carry supplies.”
The training gave the Marines renewed confidence and experience in their respective professions.
“From this training, I feel more confident in my own abilities as well as those of my Marines,” said Haupt. “Practice always makes perfect, therefore, the more practice we have, the more confident we (become), and the safer we are.”