News: HMLA-467 rolls out big guns for family day
Story by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
CHERRY POINT, N.C. - It’s not every day families see the end result of their Marine’s efforts at work. For Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 families, that opportunity meant spending a day at the bombing range watching UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobras pound targets with machine guns, rockets, and cannons.
The squadron held a family day Oct. 19 on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. They watched a live fire demonstration, rode in armored vehicles and mingled at a social luncheon.
“It’s a really good opportunity for the families to see what we do and appreciate the intricacies of the Marine Corps and how we all function together with the helicopters and the LAV’s,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Ratliff, a UH-1N Huey crew chief with the squadron.
“It helps me understand what he does when he’s deployed or just working on a daily basis, and it’s also nice to show the children what their family does instead of me just trying to explain it. They can actually see it,” said Jessica Ratliff, Matthew’s wife.
The demonstration featured one UH-1N Huey and one AH-1W Cobra working in tandem to hit targets with maximum firepower. The families listened to the radio chatter between the forward air controller and the pilots flying the demonstration to complete the experience of battlefield air support.
“A lot of the time the families don’t understand why they have to work 10, 12, or 14 hours a day, why they have to do deployments and training,” said Sgt. Maj. Charles Metzger, the sergeant major of the squadron. “When they see the combat power come in and what it does, it gives them a better point of view of what their job is on a daily basis. It helps build a better unity between the family structure and the Marine structure.”
Amphibious assault vehicles with the 2nd Amphibian Assault Battalion and light armored vehicles with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion gave rides to Marines and their families. Also, the HMLA-467 Sabers let Marines shoot a GAU-17 mini gun at targets on the range.
Metzger said events like this are excellent for getting people out to meet each other, make new family friends, and build a bigger and better Saber family.