News: Scarface says ‘hello’ to its brand-new ‘little friend’
Story by Rochelle Smolinski
BELLOWS AIR FORCE STATION, Hawaii - Hundreds of feet in hoses lined the training area as Marine Wing Support Division 24 Marines ran hot refueling exercises on Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367’s, “Scarface,” drilling AH- 1W Super Cobras attack and UH-1Y Huey utility helicopters.
Recently relocated HMLA-367 and Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s new MWSD-24 performed their first operation together at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Oct 9 through 10.
The HMLA-367 unit arrived in Hawaii this summer from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to bolster deployed and expeditionary Marine forces in the Pacific.
Marine Observation Squadron 351 was activated in 1943 and campaigned in the World War II Battles of Peleliu, Palau Islands, and Okinawa, Japan, before being designated HMLA-367 in 1969. The squadron has served in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. MWSD-24 is a new unit created to support the relocated squadron.
Staff Sgt. Tyler Hubbard, MWDS-24 unit fuel chief and ground safety manager, was previously assigned to Headquarters Battalion, approximately two years before receiving orders to join the new support detachment in January.
Hubbard said a good portion of the unit’s Marines are straight out of school and learn quickly. Over the course of the two-day exercise, the two units exchanged reports and made improvements to operational maneuvers.
“[Wednesday] did go a lot smoother,” Hubbard said. “We haven’t done any joint operations at Bellows before so it was a new layout for us and we were unfamiliar with it on Tuesday; it took us a little longer to set up. On Wednesday, we got set up a lot quicker and got through all of our preliminary (tasks) a lot faster. We also had better communication with the aircraft the second day, so coming in and getting out was a lot smoother.”
Running until early evening on both nights, HMLA-367 flew three helicopters in for two refueling drills as the support wing manned two landing zones and refueling stations, Oct. 10. Despite being new to the island and the Bellows training area, Hubbard said the Marines performed well.
Sergeant Bryan Berry, who came to Hawaii from Camp Pendleton in August, said his transition to the islands in unit and residence has been a pleasant one.
“It’s been great meeting with new Marines and the operations officers,” Berry said. “They’re all very supportive, probably one of the most interactive chain of commands I’ve ever been in. They’re very involved in unit cohesion and morale is high, so that’s always a plus.”
Captain Gregory Watten, a UH-1Y pilot training officer for HMLA-367, said operations for the squadron have been going well and their first exercise with MWSD-24 was a great opportunity for the units to get familiarized with each other.
“It was great, we expected everything you would expect to see starting out,” Watten said. “We found our debrief points and I think we set ourselves up for success ... We got them trained, got them used to seeing our helicopters. We saw differences from what the ground units expect to see and what we expect to see and we gave each other a solid debrief. Now we’re on the same page to be operating as we should be when it comes time to do it at PTA.”
Unit MWSD-24 is scheduled to conduct another operation with HMLA-367 at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island this week.