Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Billy Roth prepares a .50-caliber machine gun for use during a troop extraction mission in support of operations in southwestern Afghanistan, April 27. Roth, a native of Anthony, Kan., is a CH-53D crew chief and a weapons and tactics instructor with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463.

Photo by Cpl. Rashaun X. James

Hawaii helos support coalition combat operation

3 May 2011 | Cpl. Rashaun X. James

Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 participated in a coalition troop insertion and extraction operation, in southwestern Afghanistan, April 27.

Together with a pair of MV-22B Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264, HMH-463 inserted and retrieved more than 80 coalition troops into an area near the Helmand River suspected to be with rife with insurgent activity, April 26-27, explained Capt. Charles Drennan, HMH-463’s aviation safety officer and one of the CH-53D Sea Stallion pilots who participated in the mission.

“We inserted members Task Force 528 and approximately 36 hours later we extracted them,” said Drennan, a native of Bowie, Md. “I feel the mission went very well. The ground side accomplished their mission and we were there to support them when they needed us.”

The troops the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) aircraft supported, Task Force 528, is a coalition force, formed primarily of British Army and Afghan National Army soldiers.

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Billy Roth served as a crew chief aboard one of the CH-53D Sea Stallions during the mission. As crew chief he was responsible for preparing the aircraft before take-off and making sure all passengers and cargo coming aboard were positioned correctly and safely secured during the mission. Roth and the other Marines and sailors of HMH-463 are deployed to Afghanistan from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

“We inserted and extracted the troops on the first run with no issues,” said Roth, a native of Anthony, Kan.  “All the players were on board and spot-on with the time line.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point