Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 conducted aerial-gunner training to keep a high level of combat readiness.
During the training, Marines from HMH-366, also known as the Hammerheads, fired .50 caliber machine guns, high above the bombing target April 15.
The crew fired two types of .50-caliber machine guns. The XM218 was fired from the sides and the GAU-21from the tail.
For the pilots this training provided them with practice maneuvering the helicopter into positions that use each weapon to its best capability. For the crew chiefs it was a chance to work on their marksmanship with the .50 caliber machine guns.
The Marines fired upon stationary targets to get familiar with the weapons and the different elements they may face in a combat situation.
“This training is a great opportunity to refresh aerial gunners after a short break from shooting since returning from combat in Iraq,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy P. O’Connor, a weapons and tactics instructor with HMH-366. “Soon we will begin more intensive training in Mojave Viper and then off to combat again where our training will be put to the test.”
Training for deployments is important for all Marines, and for the Hammerheads training is ongoing .
“We always train like we fight,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy A. Gayson, a crew chief with HMH-366. “Day and night training is continuous to eliminate mistakes in the field.”
According to Cpl. Danny A. Snyder, an airframer technician and aerial observer with HMH-366, this training is important in order to be ready for any task that comes their way.