Browsing: Aviation

Forget “The X-Files.” This is “The Afghanistan-Files.” A recently filed report on a UFO tracking website discusses an alleged sighting at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province. The report, submitted Feb. 26 by an unknown individual, describes an event on or about Feb. 7, 2010, when seven equally spaced lights were spotted in the sky. Through the duration of the sighting, none of the lights appeared to move or change. The report states that the lights were at a high altitude and didn’t blink, move or make any noise. The witness was sitting in his office at the Marine logistics group…

Members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 are slated to return to Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., on Monday after a seven month deployment to Afghsnitan. While downrange,  “The Condors” provided assault support for 16 Marine and 5 coalition units moving a total of 35,000 passengers and 6.5 million pounds of cargo, according to Lt. Col. Alison J. Thompson, the unit’s commanding officer. Check out this video produced by combat cameramen to hear Thompson speak about the unit’s experience downrange. [HTML1]

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 — The Blue Knights — deployed to Afghanistan earlier this month to replace VMM-162 which conducted its last mission there Jan. 17. The Blue Knights out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., departed Jan. 6 and will take over resupply and transportation missions in Helmand province for 162 which spent six months at Camp Bastion. The Marines of 365 spent their final days at home preparing their Ospreys for an aircraft swap with the pilots of 162. Due to cost, units don’t take their own aircraft when they deploy. Instead they use Ospreys…

The Smithsonian launched a year-long celebration of the Marine Corps’ aviation centennial Jan. 11 with an exhibit entitled “Fly Marines!” The exhibit, created in conjunction with the National Museum of the Marine Corps, will draw on the Corps’ coffers of more than 5,500 works by 350 artists. The works were generated by the Marine Corps Arts Program, founded in 1942 to document the lives of Marines in combat and at home. The exhibit will run through Jan. 6, 2013.

Marine air in Afghanistan has continued to see high operational tempo this year even during the normally peaceful winter months, said the Marine in charge of all air assets in NATO’s Regional Command Southwest. Taliban fighters usually take the winter off by shelving their arms until Spring or seeking refuge in Pakistan. But Marines have taken the fight to them this winter, forcing their way up through northern Helmand province to Kajaki during months that in years past have been relatively quite, said Maj. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), in a U.S. Central…

A new Pentagon report highlights a notable trend: Expanded military operations and counternarcotics raids in southern Afghanistan have helped to decrease the cultivation of drugs used to fund the insurgency there. The decrease was the most striking in areas where coalition forces have a strong presence, particularly in Helmand province, said the “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan.” Nearly 20,000 Marines are deployed there as part of a 30,000-troop coalition force commanded by Maj. Gen. John Toolan, head of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and Regional Command-Southwest. A version of the report is released every six months,…

The F-35B has started sea trials. You can read more about that here. Rather than settle for natural sound, a couple of new videos have pumped up the excitement by adding a musical score. The Navy, on its official YouTube channel, used Drowning Pool’s “Bodies.” An intense song, no doubt, what with its constant refrain of “Let the bodies hit the floor!” and all. Navy tweeted the video with the warning “BAD GUYS BEWARE.” The F-35 Joint Program Office used this video. While much more tame, the score seems inspired by Michael Bay’s films. What do you guys think? Does…

Marine Week wraps up in St. Louis on Sunday, so it seemed like a good time to play catch-up on what’s going on in the Gateway City. In this video, filmed near the famous Gateway Arch, Marines demonstrate a special patrol insertion/extraction. They take off with a CH-46 helicopter from a helipad on the Mississippi River, providng a pretty sweet aerial view of the city from Cpl. A.J. Lugo’s helmet camera: In another highlight, Cpl. Justin McLoud threw the opening pitch before the Cardinals game Wednesday night. Other events this weekend include martial arts demonstrations, military working dog exhibitions and…

Last week, a French F-2000 Mirage jet crashed in western Afghanistan. The pilots weren’t hurt, but it raised questions about how NATO forces would recover it. The answer: Call in the Marines. As this Marine Corps news account shows, troops with several units pitched in, including Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company and Marine Wing Support Squadron 272. The Army’s 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion provided equipment for the May 27 mission, teaming with a French aircraft recovery team and Italian team. The jet crashed in Bakwa district, an area of Farah province that Marines patrolled regularly…

The Marine Corps released an interesting update this morning: An AV-8B Harrier squadron out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., will soon replace a Hornet squadron out of MCAS Beaufort, S.C. in Afghanistan. Yuma’s Marine Attack Squadron 513 has arrived at Kandahar Airfield, and will replace Beaufort’s Fighter Attack Squadron 122 beginning today, according to this news release. Like the Hornet squadron, VMA-513 will operation from KAF to provide close air support to Marine and Afghan forces in southwestern Afghanistan. They’re scrambled in for help when there are “troops in contact” with the enemy on the ground, typically known…

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