Thursday, February 23, 2012
(CNN) -- Two helicopters collided midair during a training exercise, killing seven Marines, the U.S. Marine Corps said Thursday.Terrible news.
Wednesday night's crash occurred during routine training operations at the Marine Corps air station near Yuma, Arizona, the Marine Corps said in a statement.
The aircraft, an AH-1W "Cobra" and a UH-1Y "Huey," were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Authorities said they would not release the names of the Marines involved until their families were notified.
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma has about 4,000 active-duty Marines and sailors, and supports 80% of the Marine Corps air-to-ground aviation training. It covers five square miles in southeastern Yuma and is home to a number of units.
The air station "hosts approximately 70 aviation units, bringing an average of 600 aircraft and 14,000 personnel for ongoing training that takes place throughout the year," utilizing U.S. and NATO forces, the station's website said.
|In February, the U.S. Marine Corps received the first KC-130J Harvest HAWK modified with a pressurized standoff, precision-guided munitions launcher called the Derringer door|
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."(James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 February 1945.)
The Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, had decided the previous night that he wanted to go ashore and witness the final stage of the fight for the mountain. Now, under a stern commitment to take orders from Howlin' Mad Smith, the secretary was churning ashore in the company of the blunt, earthy general. Their boat touched the beach just after the flag went up, and the mood among the high command turned jubilant. Gazing upward, at the red, white, and blue speck, Forrestal remarked to Smith: "Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years."
Forrestal was so taken with fervor of the moment that he decided he wanted the Suribachi flag as a souvenir. The news of this wish did not sit well with 2nd Battalion Commander Chandler Johnson, whose temperament was every bit as fiery as Howlin Mad's. 'To hell with that!' the colonel spat when the message reached him. The flag belonged to the battalion, as far as Johnson was concerned.
Go to Wikipedia to read this short passage on the Battle for Iwo Jima. It's well worth the time.
If you had to pick one maritime helicopter that had been there and done that...
A helicopter that has been a crucial part of Marine Aviation in the 20th century...
A helicopter that was multi-role and multi-mission before it was cool...then you would have to pick the CH-53D. When first deployed it had speed and agility and lifting power that was unheard of in the Western World.
The Marine Corps has finally retired this war bird.
The Marine Corps retired the CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter during a “sundown ceremony” Feb. 10 at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Sea Stallion’s last mission is currently underway with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The helicopter will be flown from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay to its final destination at the Pacific Aviation Museum, where it will be displayed.