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Marines conduct rotary wing operations aboard USS Ronald Reagan

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Anna Albrecht | I Marine Expeditionary Force | December 17, 2013

USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea -- Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 departed Camp Pendleton, Calif., to conduct rotary-wing operations aboard the USS Ronald Reagan Dec. 6.

Marines flew CH-53E Super Stallions, the largest and heaviest helicopters in the United States military, from Camp Pendleton, and landed on the aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego.

Col. Brent Willson, the liaison officer of Commander Third Fleet, and Col. Christopher Scharf with 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, said the commandant, in conjunction with the Chief of Naval Operations, has called for a renewed interest in "non-traditional" collaboration between services.

"Traditionally, Marines' helicopters, tilt-rotors, and infantry do not operate aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carriers [CVN]," Willson said.

The CH-53E Super Stallion's primary function is to transport heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movements of an amphibious assault and during operations ashore. However, the recent typhoon in the Philippines proves humanitarian assistance and disaster relief can be completed from a carrier, as the USS George Washington sustained relief operations.

Willson and Scharf said they are familiarizing teams so they are prepared if and when the need arises.

"We look forward to learning other creative, non-traditional methods where we can more effectively leverage capabilities with the Navy."

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