MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS, Hawaii – The blades from a U.S. Marines Corp UH-1Y “Super Huey” stirred up the sea and sand as the helicopter maneuvered alongside the coast, here, for six Soldier teams to plunge into the warm Pacific waters for a helocast insertion, May 16.
Soldiers assigned to Comanche Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, “Raiders,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, performed a series helocast operations with Marine and Army helicopters during the week.
However, this was the first time helocast training was performed from the cramped confines of a UH-1Y assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 based out of Marine Corps Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay.
“Comanche Troop is supposed to be trained on any insertion by land, sea and air, so this is our sea portion, if you will,” said 1st Lt. David Bonham, executive officer, Comanche Troop, 3-4 Cav. Regt.
Bonham stated that the Soldiers wore their fighting load carrier, weapon, swimmer lift vest and fins to assist them in their swim back to the beach to shore.
“They Soldiers conducted the helocast from the Marine helicopter and the linked up in the water,” said 1st Sgt. Daniel Moss, senior enlisted advisor, Comanche Troop, 3-4 Cav. Regt. “The scout swimmer secures the BLS, which is the beach landing site. Once they’ve done that, they’ll move in and consolidate again, establish security, they’ll identify a grid for a cache site if they need to, and they’ll move out and continue mission.”
The helocast insertion was conducted from an altitude of 10 feet and airspeed of 11-12 mph above the drop zone, as one Soldier after another plunged into the sea.
The Soldiers had to contend with ocean swells that were above 4 feet, putting the training to a temporary halt until the day prior, which is less than an ideal situation, Bonham said.
“Our Soldiers are not Olympian swimmers, and they’re swimming with combat gear,” he said. “We’re trying to get swells underneath 4 feet, so they don’t panic in the water.”
During the week, the Coast Guard was present to provide a boat to give assistance to any Soldier in the water that needed emergency help.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with the Coast Guard and the Marines,” he said. “Trying to understand each other’s (techniques, tactics and procedures), and that way we can work together in the future, we understand each other, and we understand what we require of each other for easier planning and operations in the future.”
“The Marines are very user friendly when it comes to aviation,” Moss said. “We’ve done several missions with the Marines in the past.”
Pfc. Devin Doty, a native of Los Angeles, Calif., and infantryman assigned to Comanche Troop, 3-4 Cav. Regt., described the helocast from the Super Huey as exciting.
“It was pretty good training with and jumping out of a Marine helicopter,” Doty said. “The Marines were able to get low enough where we could safely jump out of the bird. It was good. The biggest challenge at the end was conducting security and getting everybody in the right place.”