CH-53Es join U.S. Marine Corps squadron in Hawaii
The first Marine Corps CH-53Es Super Stallions have arrived in Hawaii, it has been announced.
Seven CH-53Es arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay on 21 February where they will form a new fleet under squadron HMH-463 'Pegasus'. More Super Stallions are expected to arrive later this year bringing the unit's total compliment to a full squadron of 12.
HMH-463 is the only squadron at Kaneohe Bay to transition to the CH-53Es and they are the last heavy helicopter squadron in the Marine Corps to receive them. It is understood that several of the aircraft taken on by the unit previously served with HMX-1, the Marine Corps' VIP unit.
The unit previously flew the CH-53D Sea Stallion, which was ceremonially retired from service on 10 February.
The squadron is preparing to work up the CH-53s in preparation for the upcoming 2012 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest maritime naval exercise, which includes the US, UK, Japan, South Korea and Australia and various other nations.
Kaneohe Bay is set to undergo many changes in the coming year. As well as the arrival of the CH-53Es, the air station is also consulting residents about the possible basing of MV-22 Ospreys and a HMLA squadron of AH-1 Cobras and UH-1Y Hueys.
Source: By Tony Osborne in London - 29 February 2012 - Shephard News
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Air Station CH-53E Sea Stallion Helicopters (Photo by Shephard Group)