Saturday, June 28, 2008

‘Say hello to my little friend’; Scarface assets keep Baghdad streets safe

Lance Cpl. Michael Stevens

BAGHDAD, Iraq (June 10, 2008) – Soaring hundreds of feet above the capital city of Iraq, Marine attack helicopters poise ready to respond at a moments notice.

Directly supporting U.S. and Iraqi Army units, the UH-1N Huey and AH-1W Super Cobra circle the Baghdad sky, keeping a watchful eye on ground operations on the streets below.

Armed with a variety of weapon systems, this security detail is a frequent mission for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).

“Our mission was to provide on-call close air support as well as aerial surveillance in the area of Baghdad,” said Capt. Eric Mitchell, a UH-1N Huey pilot. “We’re tasked with looking at different points of interest and checking on friendly convoys but also providing support to Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police check points in the city.”

Providing as much aviation support as possible, the Marines assist the ground combat units by responding to their requests and reacting immediately in support of their needs.

“When we’re supporting a convoy, we’re looking ahead of their path for anything suspicious,” said Mitchell. “We relay information to the convoy and to the joint tactical air command to let them know what we see and gain clearance to fire on the threat before it harms anyone.”

Like most operations in Iraq, the aircraft face dangers during their mission. Surface-to-air weapons could engage them at any moment. The pilot and aircrew rely on their defense systems to react appropriately in the event of an enemy advance.

“The mere presence of HMLA rotors deters the enemy from doing anything while we’re out there,” said Mitchell. “The ground commander knows they have an aviation asset on their side that can deliver fire against the insurgency.”

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/30/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.