08 July 2009

Marine Aviators to move from Iraq to Afghanistan

Serving in two different operational theaters within one deployment - pretty interesting.

HMLA-169’s OIF detachment to join squadron in Afghanistan

Cpl. Jennifer B. Poole, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd)

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq, 7/8/2009 — After serving in Iraq for approximately three months, a detachment of Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 will soon join the remainder of their squadron serving in Afghanistan.

“This is an amazing opportunity for every Marine within the squadron, because there aren’t a whole lot who get to serve in two operational theaters within one deployment,” said Maj. Gerry Kearney, detachment officer-in-charge for HMLA-169.

More than half of the squadron is already in Afghanistan and the remaining Marines will be joining their counterparts.

“We have been operating with about a third of the personnel, but we still have half a squadron’s worth of aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Sean McBride, senior enlisted advisor for HMLA-169. “It’s been difficult and taxing on the Marines, but Marines do what they do best, and they have adapted to what the mission requires.”

McBride says leaders within the squadron recognize and appreciate all of the Marines’ hard work.

While in Iraq, HMLA-169 has flown approximately 500 hours throughout the Al Anbar province.

“Since arriving in Iraq, we’ve supported a wide variety of missions to include convoy escorts, medical evacuation escorts, leader’s reconnaissance missions and air security patrols,” said Capt. Jake Olson, operations officer for HMLA-169.

The mission of the “Vipers” in Afghanistan will be to continue to provide offensive air support and utility support for units currently serving in operation Enduring Freedom.

More at the link.

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