Browsing: Aviation

[HTML1] Britain’s Prince Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot serving out of Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, recently spoke to CNN about his service during a 19-week deployment. During the interview, he made it clear he has no qualms about killing bad guys in support of coalition forces, which include U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan. “Our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground. Now, if that means shooting someone who is shooting at them, then we will do it,” he told CNN. He also spoke about the changing mission since he first flew down range in…

Battle Phrog, move over to make room for the fighting Osprey. In the latest milestone in the Marine Corps’ slow, bittersweet farewell to the CH-46E Sea Knight — aka the Battle Phrog — the last of the twin tandem-rotor transport helicopters with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265  flew their final departure flight from the flight line at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa, Japan. It wasn’t a long trek: The helicopters were headed to Camp Kinser, the Corps’ logistics camp on the island, for “official disposition,” according to a III Marine Expeditionary Force article.  Those longer legs will be sought-out by III Marine…

CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Milledge Wilson’s list of past injuries reads like a one-way trip to medical retirement. Gunshot wound to the left arm. Shrapnel wounds to the face. Grenade blast wounds to the stomach, face and left leg. He sustained all of those during a bold attack on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, while deployed with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, out of Cherry Point, N.C. As this story shows, the May 19, 2010, ambush made international headlines after more than a dozen insurgents breached the base’s wire and engaged in a five-hour firefight with…

OVER HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Marine pilots peered closely at the ridgelines below, roaring through the sky in helicopters loaded with ordnance. “See that compound there?” one of them said Saturday, skimming over a desert plain in a UH-1Y Huey. “Let’s keep our eye on it.” The observation was part of a routine combat sustainment mission, which are conducted to keep the helos ready for war. They’re typically launched from the Marine flight line at Camp Bastion, a British base abutting Camp Leatherneck, the largest Marine installation in Afghanistan. A Sept. 14 attack on Bastion has brought a new…

COMBAT OUTPOST PAYNE, Afghanistan — When you step off a helicopter at this dusty outpost, you’re immediately asked to recall a hero. The airfield is named after Capt. Ryan Iannelli, 27, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot who died here Sept. 28, 2011, following an aviation mishap. As colleague James K. Sanborn outlined in a story early this year, an investigation found that a faulty landing pad led to Iannelli’s Cobra crashing within seconds of takeoff. I snapped the photograph above after stepping off an MV-22 Osprey at Iannelli Airfield last week, when I arrived at Payne. I’ve never met him,…

The Washington Post published a noteworthy story this morning revealing new details about the deadly Sept. 14 attack on Camp Bastion, a British facility in Afghanistan’s Helmand province that abuts the Marine Corps’ principal hub there, Camp Leatherneck. Citing multiple Marine sources in theater, the Post’s Ernesto Londoño reports that Lt. Col. Christopher Raible — the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211 who was killed along with Sgt. Bradley Atwell after 15 insurgents dressed as U.S. soldiers infiltrated the base and torched six AV-8B Harriers — died heroically while leading several other Marines in an aggressive counter attack as mayhem…

When the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit sets sail aboard three Navy ships from San Diego, Calif., on Monday, its departure will mark the start of the final stateside MEU deployment for the Marine Corps’ fleet of CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters. The tandem rotor helicopter, nicknamed the Battle Phrog for its quirky silhouette, is getting replaced by the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor, and the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 15th MEU will be the last stateside MEU to deploy with the Phrogs as part of its aviation combat element. The next unit that follows, the 13th MEU, is slated to have an Osprey squadron…

The Vietnam-era CH-53D heavy lift helicopter made its final mission on Thursday with one last flight over Helmand province. Marines from Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar conducted the final flight. The squadron, known as the “Ugly Angels,” has used the D model since 1969. The E model, a faster and more powerful make, first entered service in the 1980’s and will replace the Vietnam-era aircraft. Lt. Col. Christopher Oliver, commanding officer of HMH-362 described the D model as “awesome” and said the final mission was bittersweet. “It was about as happy of a flight as…

Last week, I traveled to Lothian, Md., with Senior Video Journalist Colin Kelly to visit the home of Cevon McLean, the owner of a rare 1965 Vietnam-era Bell Huey. McLean is selling his war-time collectible on Craigslist for $175,000. Fully stocked with gun mounts, ammo cans, and 2.75 rocket pods, the purchasing price also includes a trailer to tow the UH-1E away. McLean said he’s used Craigslist in the past to sell other pieces of equipment, but admits he doesn’t do it very often. “This is definitely the most unique item I’ve put on there,” McLean said. To find out more,…

This week marks the 100th anniversary of Marine Corps aviation, and the service is doing it in style. If you haven’t seen this video clip yet, you’ll probably want to check it out. It begins with a message from Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, then shifts to high-speed video footage recorded in the cockpit of several different aircraft. The heavy metal muzak comes free of charge: [HTML1]

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