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'Angels' soar back to Iwakuni

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 3/21/2004

Story by Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Calderon

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan(March 13, 2004) -- Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 returned back to Iwakuni from Clark Air Base, Republic of Philippines, Saturday to wrap up the Hawaiian squadron's last exercise of their unit deployment program.

The Ugly Angels concluded their training for Exercise Balikatan 2004, the annual bilateral training exercise between American and Philippine armed forces, after one month. The squadron arrived to the Philippines Feb. 19.

The 120-plus Marines and Sailors from the squadron participation in the exercise with contributions from the pilots flying CH-53D helicopters, and support personnel to getting the aircrafts in the sky.

"It was a good experience and worthwhile deployment," said Cpl. Cesar Leal, HMH-362 flight line technician. "The squadron is known to take care of business, fast. The birds would go up and as soon as they would land, all the mechanics were there to make sure everything was good."

The squadron Marines said the high level of professionalism and mission accomplishment during the exercise is just an extension of how they have performed during the entire unit deployment program to Iwakuni.

"This is one of the most successful UDP that I have ever been a part of," said Lt. Col. Raymond F. L'Heureux, HMH-362 commanding officer. "I am very proud of this squadron."

Part of what makes the squadron victorious in every mission they execute is their work ethic, said L'Heureux. During their month-long deployment to the Philippines, the squadron worked seven days a week. The weather did not make the work any easier.

The days were divided into two shifts, day and night. But regardless of the shift, the work and the weather was the same: hard but rewarding, according to Leal.

It was not all work for the Ugly Angels. On March 1 the hardworking squadron took a day off to celebrate their successes in their deployments. Part of the celebration was a squadron run followed by a party, which included drinks, food and a live, local band.

"It was a much deserved party for the Angels," said Sgt. Karlton Petty, HMH-362 airframes technician.

The Ugly Angels are slated to return back to Hawaii in April.

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