News: HMH-461, Royal Marines join forces in Quantico
Story by Pfc. Cameron Payne
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - U.S. Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 combined forces with British Royal Marines to conduct troop insertions, extractions and combat patrols at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., July 26.
The Marines prepared three CH-53E Super Stallions that morning in preparation to pick up Marines conducting training exercises as part of Infantry Officers Training and dropping them off in another training location.
Capt. Michael Caceres, the HMH-461 operations officer, gave the flight brief to the Marines participating in the flight to ensure every Marine was prepared for the mission.
Caceres painted the picture for the Marines by informing them that they would be picking up approximately 120 U.S. Marines and 30 British Royal Marines.
The three Super Stallions took flight and picked up all Marines from their designated location. The troops had their faces painted and packs prepped for the incoming aircraft.
Dirt flew into the air as the CH-53’s landed, which tested the Marines on wearing proper eye protection.
In three separate waves, Marines rushed into the aircraft and quickly took their seats and prepared for takeoff.
It’s good training that we can’t get just in the local area,” said Butler. “It takes us outside of the Lejeune complex we fly every day. You get training with the real-world agencies that you might not get otherwise.”
The training exercise not only allowed for the infantry officers to be able to conduct patrols in an unfamiliar area, it also allowed the pilots who needed to finish their qualifications the opportunity to get more flight time, Butler said.
Normal flights only run from three to four hours, said Butler, but these flights in total took eight hours to complete.
“We don’t normally do flights that long,” said Butler. “But in Afghanistan, that’s what we do every day.”
At the conclusion of the flights, the officers in charge of the infantry training were grateful for the support they received from HMH-461, said Butler.
“At the end of the day, the Marines on the ground were the customer and they were extremely happy,” said Butler. “They got all of the training done, and said the training went well.”