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'Ironhorses' hot-to-trot for Djibouti

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 4/26/2004

Story by Sgt. Christine C. Odom

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C.(April 14, 2004) -- Big things are happening once again for the "Ironhorses" of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-461 as they departed New River on April 14 to link up with the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The squadron returned from a seven-month deployment in Djibouti last November and had less than six months to prepare prior to this departure. This follow-up deployment had been on the squadron's schedule since their return, and they plan to continue the same high-paced routine in support of CJTF - HOA, added Lt. Col. Lawrence E. Miccolis, HMH-461 commanding officer.

"Our team is absolutely prepared to get the job done and do our part," said the Waldwick, N.J., native, who had the utmost confidence in his warfighters and peacekeepers.

According to the CO, a large portion of the squadron left, and an undisclosed amount of CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, equipment and supplies were taken on deployment.

"Primarily, the squadron will be doing long-range, heavy-lift capabilities," said 1st Lt. Thomas N. Trimble, HMH-461's adjutant and unit information officer, "and this is the first deployment we will be implementing the [Ramp Mounted Weapons System].

Like many of the "Ironhorses," this will be Trimble's first deployment. However, the Baltimorean looks forward to utilizing his training as a Super Stallion pilot in a non-garrison environment.

For deployment veteran Staff Sgt. Carlos R. Castillo, T-64 engine mechanic with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-26 attached to HMH-461, going to Djibouti with a detachment of the most feared "fighting machines" in the world makes him proud to represent the squadron and the Marine Corps.

Coincidently, former "Ironhorse" CO Maj. Gen. (select) Samuel T. Helland, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation, is already in Djibouti representing the squadron, added Miccolis, who has also organized a program through the Key Volunteer Network for the wives of Marines deployed as a way to keep them better informed about their spouses.

Attitudes are positive, spirits are high and the "Ironhorses" are ready.

"I'm expecting a lot of hard work, but I'm also expecting good things as a result of that hard work," said Castillo, a Stockton, Calif., resident. "Whatever mission you can think of, we're going to plan for and accomplish it."



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