News: HMLA-167 ordnance Marines take to the sea
Story by Lance Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
ABOARD USS SAN ANTONIO, At Sea - Ordnance Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 proved to be crucial assets in the ability of the squadron's offensive actions during Exercise Bold Alligator 2012.
"We are the support for a bigger mission," said Richmond, Va., native, Lance Cpl. Malcolm D. Hallion, an ordnance Marine with the squadron. "Without us, they wouldn't be able to attack."
The ordnance Marines from Marine Corps Air Station New River were tasked with the arming of the UH-1Y Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobras.
"We maintain all weapons including the loading and unloading of rockets and missiles," said Sgt. Justin A. Simpson, an ordnance Marine with the squadron.
The sea can produce complications for loading and unloading weapons not typically seen on base for the New River Marines.
"Exercise Bold Alligator has taught us a lot about the restrictions while on a ship," said Simpson, a Dallas native. "There are a lot of safety hazards. The boat is constantly moving and rocking. We need to be aware of our surroundings more than ever. We need to know where the sides of the boat are so we don't fall overboard while carrying the weaponry."
Brian W. Overstreet, a squadron ordnance Marine, explained that the ordnance Marines use a rule called hazardous electromagnetic radiation ordnance or HERO.
The rockets they load can be set off by electromagnetic waves. He said some of the different signals the ship's systems use could actually set the rockets off so the ship needs to take preventative measures while ordnance Marines arm the helicopters to ensure none of the munitions are set-off.
The hazards faced on the USS San Antonio are unlike any others most of the ordnance Marines faced at their home station. Ordnance Marines participating in Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 , the largest amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, have gained knowledge and increased their skills and versatility for sea-based operations.