MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Marines and Sailors from several 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing squadrons returned to the air station March 28, 2014 after completing Integrated Training Exercise 3-14 at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
The month-long training evolution integrates Marine Corps ground combat, air combat and logistics elements while incorporating battalion and squadron level training. ITX replaced Enhanced Mojave Viper in January 2013. While it includes several of the same training objectives as EMV, the exercise refines the skills of each element of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 provided heavy lift and air-assault capabilities in support of ITX. The squadron participated in the training to prepare for future deployments. The training enhanced the squadron’s mission readiness and ability to tackle missions in a variety of expeditionary environments, said Capt. Warren Z. Crittenden, action officer with HMH-366.
“We had eight of our CH-53E Super Stallions and approximately 170 Marines on hand to support the ground combat element,” he said. “Ultimately, we were able to integrate with them during their training to meet our assessment requirements by supporting contingency operation scenarios.”
The squadron’s involvement gave other units an opportunity to see firsthand how heavy helicopters are best used in support of combat operations. HMH-366 conducted raid operations, aerial delivery, ground refueling and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel. Training at Twentynine Palms provided a realistic and austere environment, said Crittenden.
Several other 2nd MAW squadrons took part in the training, including Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 and Marine Air Support Squadron 1. More than 1,000 Marines and Sailors from across 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing took part.
“It was a great experience for the squadron to practice the mission essential tasks we are going to execute during (future operations) and integrate with HMLA-467,” Crittenden said. “We work in close proximity with them, and they are going to be there as well, so we were able to foster relationships now before we get there.”
Overall, Crittenden said the Marines performed well and he is confident in their abilities to accomplish their mission.