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II Marine Expeditionary Force

Readiness. Standards. Core Values.

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
‘Untouchables’ recover downed aircraft

By Lance Cpl. Manuel Estrada | | January 30, 2013

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Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24.  The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission.

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24. The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel Estrada)


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Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24.  The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission.

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24. The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada)


Photo Details | Download |

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24.  The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission.

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 simulated a UH-1Y Huey being shot down in enemy territory and having to tactically, safely and quickly recover the aircraft and secure the area in a training landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 24. The Marines were giving only 24-hour notice beforehand to plan, execute and complete the mission. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Manuel Estrada)


Photo Details | Download |

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2013) --

Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 Marines performed an aircraft recovery of a UH-1Y Huey positioned in the tree line of a landing zone aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to simulate an aircraft landing after receiving a hit from a rocket-propelled grenade, Jan. 24.

The Marines received a scenario where a Huey was shot down by the Redneck Liberation Front, said 1st Lt. Andrew Mathes, aircraft recovery mission commander and MWSS-272 Engineer Company officer in charge.

Reconnaissance Marines with 2nd Marine Division secured the area and the pilots and returned them back to base. However, the aircraft needed to be recovered.

Battalion Landing Team, 1st battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, provided security while MWSS-272 Marines attempted to perform the recovery, said Mathes.

The Marines arrived at the landing zone at 6 p.m., in a convoy of several vehicles prepared for anything. The Marines came geared up with flak jacket, kevlars, and M16- A4s and M4s. They set up a security zone and began to search the area for the downed aircraft.

The Marines started by sweeping the ground in front of the convoy with a metal detector to search for possible improvised explosive devices and any traps set up to prevent Marines from attempting the recovery.

As the Marines continued their search through the tree line, they located the aircraft lying on its side. The Marines immediately took action, and inspected the Huey for damages and locations to attach ropes and chains for the haul away.

Before moving the aircraft, the Marines had to get the aircraft in an upright position. After discussing several ways to complete the task, Mathes decided it was best to use a forklift due to the environment and position of the aircraft.

The Marines then positioned the forklift and attached chains to the aircraft. Before the aircraft could be moved, bulk fuel Marines quickly emptied the Huey of more than 200 gallons of fuel.

The Marines then eased the aircraft out of the trees by lifting it on the forks of the forklift. The Huey was raised in the air after being cleared away from the trees and a trailer was placed on a trailer transport it back to base.

“The mission went really smooth,” said Sgt. Brice Kuehn, the mission’s salvage commander and MWSS-272 material chief for airfield operations. “We do not work together as much as we should, but a mission like this shows that we can come together and get the mission accomplished.”



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