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    MAG-49 Marines ‘hustle’ 53s to Pacific

    MAG-49 Marines ‘hustle’ 53s to Pacific

    Photo By Master Sgt. David W. Carbajal | Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 772 members load a CH-53E Super Stallion onto a...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. David W. Carbajal 

    Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Marines of Marine Aircraft Group 49 departed their home station at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst May 30-31, 2013, for a deployment to the Pacific as part of the U.S. Marine Corps’ resumption of the Unit Deployment Program.

    Nearly 70 Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 772 Marines accompanied three of the unit’s CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters for the 22-hour trip on two Air Force Reserve C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft en route to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa, Japan.

    HMH-772, nicknamed the "Hustlers," is a Reserve Marine unit but approximately 50 percent of its assigned Marines are active duty.

    “The Marine Corps is getting back to the traditional UDP after years of deployments to Southwest Asia and the Middle East,” said Gunnery Sgt. Tim Longbine, HMH-772 flight line staff noncommissioned officer in charge.

    Gen. Louis H. Wilson Jr., a previous Marine Corps commandant, established the UDP in 1977 as an initiative to improve unit continuity by extending training rotations. The program dictated that United States-based units would deploy to Japan for six months. Armored battalions and air squadrons were also aligned into the rotation in the mid-1980s.

    “We’re going to Japan to in support of Marine Forces Pacific and United States Pacific Command” said Lt. Col. Robert Muckenthaler, HMH-772 commander.

    The Marines will spend the majority of their deployment conducting training missions in support of III Marine Expeditionary Force infantry units.

    “We’ll be training for any eventuality,” said Longbine, a Rochester, N.Y., native. “No matter what happens in the Pacific we’ll be right there to provide support for anything – from movements to humanitarian efforts.”

    The unit’s bread and butter, the CH-53s, can transport more than 50 people or up to 20,000 pounds of cargo for a distance of up to 600 miles.

    HMH-772 has been preparing for this deployment since they were mobilized in early March. The squadron conducted several joint exercises with multiple Air Force units in the months leading up to their departure. These exercises included a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel exercise, an aerial-delivery exercise and a raid mission.

    The predeployment exercises were good refreshers but the deployment will be better, said Longbine.

    “Real-world application is the best way to train,” said Longbine.

    The commander echoed the training benefits of the deployment but also foresees other advantages.

    “Some Marines may only serve one enlistment so this may be their only deployment experience,” said Muckenthaler, a West Bridgewater, Mass., native. “This gives them the opportunity to get their hands dirty during their tenure.”

    Several of the Hustlers spent more than two days breaking down the CH-53s to prepare helicopters to load onto the C-5.

    “Every inch matters when you’re loading them onto a C-5,” said Capt. John Martin, HMH-772 maintenance officer. “We had to remove several key components to make sure it would fit.”

    The main and tail gear boxes and the refueling probe were some of the items that were removed prior to loading.

    Several of the Marines had previous experience prepping and loading CH-53s onto a C-5 but it was good training for those who hadn’t, said Martin, a Georgetown, Maine, native.

    The unit is scheduled to return to JB MDL in December 2013.



    Date Taken: 05.31.2013
    Date Posted: 06.06.2013 16:12
    Story ID: 108190
    Hometown: GEORGETOWN, ME, US
    Hometown: ROCHESTER, NY, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US

    Web Views: 678
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