MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., (Feb. 28, 2013) -- Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 helped train officers at Marine Corps Base Quantico, extracting them from a three-day patrol and returning them to their base camp Feb 21.
The officers are students attending The Basic School, where Marine officers learn how to lead a rifle platoon before going to their respective military occupational specialty schools.
“We were learning how to conduct squad-sized patrols,” said 2nd Lt. Brett Kitley, a student at TBS. “You have to be able to control a squad-sized element through unknown terrain during the day and night, reach all your checkpoints and accomplish the mission.”
The mission finished with the officers learning how to board and later disembark from a CH-53E Super Stallion which provided valuable familiarization with helicopter operations.
“It’s good for them so they’re exposed to it prior to actually using a CH-53 in the fleet and so they’re familiar with the staging procedures of getting on and getting off,” said Capt. Samuel E. Kunst, a pilot with HMH-366. “The experience helps officers plan and maintain the timeline, and keep accountability of people.”
During the extraction, the lieutenants executed extraction in four runs. Kunst said knowing how to arrange for boarding helicopters saves valuable time in a combat zone where they might have to board under fire.
“It was a good experience, I learned a lot,” said Kitley. “It gives us a good foundation. A lot of us don’t have a lot of
experience with a lot of these things like weapons handling and patrolling.”
For future helicopter pilots, The Basic School serves another function. Kunst said part of what makes the Marine Corps unique is the entire organization is geared to support Marines on the ground. The school reinforces this because every Marine officer attends the school and learns what their ground-side counterparts go through.