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A CH-53E Super Stallion belonging to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 refuels off the Atlantic Coast during training Monday. The Super Stallion received fuel from a KC-130J with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252. The training benefited both squadrons by allowing practice for pilots and crew members.

Photo by Pfc. Grace L. Waladkewics

VMGR-252, HMH-464 go offshore to conduct aerial refueling training

24 Oct 2013 | Story by Pfc. Grace Waladkewics

Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 conducted aerial refueling of a CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 Monday.

The aerial refueling was conducted using the extension of hoses from a KC-130J Hercules to which the CH-53 connected through precise aerial maneuvering.

The KC-130J is capable of holding 60,000 pounds of fuel in its main tank and an additional 24,000 pounds in an auxiliary fuselage tank.

The training allowed HMH-464 pilots to practice getting close and hooking up to the KC-130J, and for VMGR-252 to practice joining up and getting their flight timing more precise.

The aerial refueling was part of a training build up in preparation for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's upcoming deployment.

“This training was really important for both squadrons,” said Capt. James Rivais, a KC-130J pilot with VMGR-252. “HMH-464 was focused more on flying and we are the controllers in the sky. We say where to be, when to be there because we supply the fuel.”

For more than 50 years, VMGR-252’s KC-130J aircraft have provided aerial refueling and aviation-delivered ground refueling of various aircraft, armored vehicles, and Humvees.

“Aerial refueling flights are important because they help extend the combat radius of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Jared Stillwell, a KC-130J crew chief with VMGR-252.

This training is conducted 2-3 times per week, said Rivais. But training with helicopters is only conducted every other week, so it is vital to the squadron’s readiness.

Stillwell said this training was a success. There were no problems and all scheduled tasks were completed.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point