Photo Information

II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)

Photo by Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe

CLB-22 Marines bear their weight in tons

29 Sep 2007 | Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe

From the blistering cold and ice-covered grasslands of Fort A.P. Hill, Va., to the scorching desert wastelands of Kuwait, the Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 22's Helicopter Support Team (HST) have proven they can get the job done in any environment.

Braving the brownout conditions and skin-piercing sand storms roused by the rotor wash of massive CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, the HST Marines conducted a series of external lifts over a period of three separate days during training exercises held at one of the landing pads near Camp Buehring.

"This training exercise is a major prize for the MEU. We have never lifted anything as large,"said Sgt. Hughey Donald, the Landing Support Chief, excited about a 30,000-pound external lift.

However, this excitement proved to be short lived after the cancellation of the lift due to the hot temperatures.

"Unlike the cooler conditions we had at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, the hot desert temperatures make the air thinner, making it almost impossible to execute a lift that big,"said Capt. Peter Lisowski, a pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced).

The Helicopter Support Team manages the activities of a helicopter-landing zone. It consists of a team of eight Landing Support Marines trained to hook external loads to hovering helicopters.

According to Donald, a variety of gear can be lifted by helicopter and taken to locations with terrain where other vehicles can't maneuver. For example, communications equipment can be placed on top of a mountain within a few minutes of flight instead of a few hours of driving.

Donald added that the HST is a valuable resource to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), as it provides an expedient manner of transportation for gear and supplies.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) consists of its Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its Command Element. Led by Col. Doug Stilwell, the 22nd MEU(SOC) is in Kuwait conducting sustainment training as part of a scheduled deployment.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit