MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Marine with 7th Battalion 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force rappels from a CH-46E “Sea Knight” with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force to complete requirements for the helicopter rope suspension techniques course, here Oct. 28, 2009.
| ||MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (11/10/2009) |
Under the cover of night, a CH-46E “Sea Knight” hovered 40 feet above the ground as Marines rappelled from it one by one during a training mission aimed at preparing pilots and the Marines for night operations in combat zones.
Aircrew with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, flew the Sea Knight through the darkness to improve their night flight proficiency and helped the Marines complete the Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques course, here Oct. 28.
“It's harder for the enemy to [detect] pick us up, and by using the night to our benefit it's safer for us to drop off Marines,” said Capt. Ryan A. Stevens, a pilot with the squadron also known as the “White Knights.” “Different obstacles such as power lines or fences make it harder, which means we have to be more aware. Night vision goggles help immensely and we couldn't do this if we didn't have them.”
The students first rappelled an hour before sunset, proving they could rcomplete the training with minimal guidance. Most of the Marines were from 7th Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, to conduct this course.
While the pilots maneuvered the 45-foot aircraft, crew chiefs used their night vision goggles to keep constant awareness of the aircraft's position and the Marines on the ground. They