HURLBURT AFB, FL (CPL JR Heins) – Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 supported United States Special Operations Command with an aerial delivery and insertion at Hurlburt Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 24.
Two KC-130J Super Hercules departed Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, traveling to Hurlburt, where 50 SOCOM operators and four Combat Rubber Raiding Craft were loaded onto the aircraft.
The Hercules flew at staggered altitudes allowing for the boats to be dropped out of the first aircraft. Once the boats hit the water, the operators jumped, said Capt. Tyler E. Burnham, a naval aviator with the squadron.
“One of the best qualities that VMGR-252 has is our flexibility,” said Burnham, the mission commander for the flight. “We will go into a mission with initial planning and have crews capable to adjust to changes on the fly and successfully complete the mission.”
The staggered approach was not initially planned, but through crew coordination and communication, the timing was excellent between aircraft, said Burnham, a native of University Place, Wash.
“All the Marines on this Detachment Flight Trainer are scheduled for be on a future deployment with the Special Purpose Marine
Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response,” said Master Sgt. James R. Holdaway, a crew master with the squadron.
According to Holdaway, a native of Manassas, Virginia, the training helped build unit cohesion and prepared Marines for future missions they will conduct while deployed. The Marines use every opportunity to train and refine their capabilities, with the goal of safely supporting future operations.
For aerial deliveries and free-fall aerial insertions, crew masters must go to Little Rock, Arkansas, for specialized training.
“Safety is always important, especially when dropping something as large as two Zodiacs stacked on top of each other,” said Holdaway.