Photo Information

English Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Navy personnel conduct pre-flight checks on the Westland WS-61 "Sea King" helicopter before conducting operations over the Jacksonville area Friday, June 25, 2010.

Photo by Cpl. Jason Hernandez

English Commando Helicopter Force Invades Station

9 Jul 2010 | Cpl. Jason Hernandez

Elements of the English Central Helicopter Command's Commando Helicopter Force recently arrived aboard the Air Station to participate in combined amphibious exercises with U.S. Marines as part of Operation Auriga 2010.

The drills, designed to refresh the multi-national Marine Force's amphibious warfare skills, is scheduled to take place during the month of July.

"It's good for us to be out and about, going back to our roots as amphibious warfare specialists," said Color Sgt. Peter Wooldridge. "The heat isn't exactly pleasant, but we're all excited to be here."

The exercise is set to be conducted with a multitude of units from the various Camp Lejeune and New River commands including infantry, support and helicopter units.

Commando Helicopter Force is made up of four squadrons, based out of Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in the United Kingdom.

The force is made up of both transport and attack helicopters and is supported by its own logistical unit.

The unit is also regularly deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Together with U.S. Marines, the unit will practice rapid insertion techniques, raids, supply runs and a host of other missions the helicopters routinely find themselves tasked with. 

"The whole exercise has been great, by far," said Lt. Jonathan Moore, a pilot with the CHF. "We work with Marines regularly over in Afghanistan and they're first class."

The squadron flew across the United States after completing operations in California. They will be conducting operations from the English aircraft carrier HMS Ocean.

Together, the U.S. and English Royal Marines intend to work towards refreshing the amphibious warfare prowess that has helped them become revered as the "forces in readiness" which they strive to be.

The exercises will also help to continue the spirit of good will and cooperation which both forces help foster every day in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.