Editor’s Note: As we have touched on many times before, without the Mobility Air Forces–the heavy airlift capability of aircraft like the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III, as well as aerial refueling tanker support of the KC-135 and KC-10, non-maritime power projection is pretty much a non-start. Operation Cold Response is a fantastic example of how important it is to train interoperability between all branches of the armed forces, as the success of current and future conflicts depends on the joint fight!
Getting ready to battle the cold in Norway, Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 prepared for Operation Cold Response 2016 by loading CH-53E Super Stallions into a massive C-5 Galaxy at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Feb. 3.
Loading the disassembled aircraft onto the C-5, the Marines closely monitored the giant heavy-lift helicopters to ensure they remained undamaged, as they were delicately maneuvered inside the aircraft.
“One of the struggles when loading these aircraft would include putting an already large aircraft into a slightly larger aircraft,” said Cpl. Dennis L. Tice Jr., a CH-53E helicopter mechanic with HMH-464. “It is almost like playing a game of operation,” said Tice, referring to a once-popular child’s game penalized players if they were careless in removing parts from small confined spaces.
For some of the Marines, this was their first time loading a CH-53E into another aircraft.
“It is something that is not done very often,” said Sgt. Kevin T. Peters, a crew chief with HMH-464. “It’s a rare occurrence, but doing it creates leaders for the next Marines that need to load an aircraft by giving them the knowledge and experience on how to properly load the CH-53E onto a C-5.”
After the aircraft were loaded, the Marines departed on their flight to Norway to begin training.
Up to 2,000 Marines and 15,000 military personnel from 14 nations will attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-level exercise.
The key purpose of Cold Response is to train and educate participants on how to conduct joint combat operations in a cold-weather environment.
“After landing, we will off-load the aircraft and build up our training area,” said Peters. “When everything is put into place, we will begin conducting Operation Cold Response.”
The original article from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs can be viewed here.
(Featured photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Nicholas P. Baird/Released)