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Pegasus soars over Philipines

Marine Corps News


Story by Lance Cpl. Josh Hauser

BASCO ISLAND, Philipines(November 1, 2002) -- The Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 Pegasus arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Oct. 6 for a six-month tour under the Unit Deployment Program.

The unit hails from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and comes equipped with eight CH-53D Sea Stallion aircraft and approximately 150 personnel.

The primary mission of Pegasus will be to support real-world operations throughout the western Pacific, according to Maj. Paul Curran, HMH-463 executive officer.

"Our mission is assault support. We accomplish that by transporting Marines and equipment wherever and whenever they're needed," said Curran. "The infantry is our primary customer so that may takes us to a variety of points around the theater."

Pegasus replaces the HMH-362 Ugly Angels and hopes to incorporate some of the training they opened up in the area into their own program, noted Curran.

"Iwakuni is unique for us not only because we're operating in a different environment, but we'll also be training alongside some fixed-wing squadrons," said Curran.

The fact the majority of the squadron's Marines are on their first deployment is actually more of a benefit for Pegasus, according to Sgt. Alvin Holloway, HMH-463 intelligence chief.

"These Marines are excited about being on deployment and ready to learn and tackle any task that comes their way," said Holloway. "This is a great opportunity for our Marines to get some real-world experience and see how the Marine Corps really operates on a bigger scale."

Just one of those Marines is Lance Cpl. Gustavo Barrios, HMH-463 aviation ordnance technician and McAllen, Texas, native.

"It's great to be in a different country and have the chance to experience new people and cultures," said Barrios. "It's always exciting to go someplace new."

Lance Cpl. Jeanne Gross, HMH-463 ordnance technician, said she couldn't agree more.

"It's been a good experience ever since we got here," said Gross. "The Japanese people are really friendly. Hopefully we'll get the chance to meet more people like this wherever we go on this deployment. We're all looking forward to it."

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