Local

October 18, 2012

Marines ‘invade’ Libby Army Airfield

Early Friday evening before the sun set, planes and helicopters approached Libby Army Airfield from the north and could be seen on the radar console inside the airport’s control room. Planes on final approach to Tucson International Airport populated the outer rim of the display as several 130-Hercules aircraft slowly approached the Army airfield.

The Marines and aircraft were flying in from Marine Air Station, Yuma, for a training exercise on the installation. “This exercise happens twice a year, every April and October,” said Carol Thompson, airfield manager. “This [exercise] allows them to fly in, overtake an airfield, set up a perimeter and then go again.” Thompson also explained that the exercise also fills their training needs for hot-pit refueling of aircraft.

This exercise is part of the Marines’ training to prepare and certify they are ready for future deployments. The ability to secure an airfield for aircraft to land, refuel and resupply helps them to maintain proficiency on a variety of skills. “Once they finish this exercise, they are ready to go downrange,” Thompson said.

On the west ramp of the airfield, a loud roar was heard as two F/A-18 fighters streaked overhead as the sun began to cast red and orange tones in the sky behind the Whetstone Mountains. In the distance, one could hear the rumble of several circling C-130 Hercules planes flying racetrack patterns around Libby Army Airfield, and their blinking lights were visible just over the mountain ranges.

Suddenly and with little warning, five CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters were silhouetted in the darkness. The choppers landed almost simultaneously on the edge of the airstrip. They could barely be seen as they deposited a number of Marines onto the airfield.

The only evidence that the Marines are present and on the ground are the blinking landing lights of aircraft. The men pass in front of the lights to maneuver and take up defensive positions.

The CH-53s, each capable of carrying 38 fully-equipped combat Marines, once again take flight and move to a second objective while the Marines remain and begin to seize the airfield. Again, the night is silent. The Marines move slowly and methodically, as they are trained to do, with only faint outlines to show their positions. The first group sets up a perimeter as the leader calls in on the radio, announcing that they are in position. He constantly refers to his map.

A second group of Marines, moving silently and giving away no hint of their presence, slowly moves in from the opposite side of the airfield to the edge of the brush and mesquites. Having secured the perimeter and neutralized any threat, they meet up with the first group.

A massive C-130 Hercules roars as it approaches the landing strip on the airfield, moving into position within the perimeter set by the Marines. The ones on the ground secure the area as the crew begins the refueling exercise.

More than 30 minutes pass with little movement from the Marines on the ground. The hot refuel exercise continues safely. In the crisp air of the Arizona high desert, the men remain silent, using hand signals and an occasional flash of light to relay the progress of the exercise. The only sounds to be heard are the engines of the Hercules and the occasional roar of an F/A-18 Hornet conducting over-watch for the Marines on the ground.

Then out of nowhere, the unmistakable sound of the Sea Stallions could be heard approaching the airfield once more. They again land in succession, using the night as their camouflage. They fly dark, casting only the vaguest of silhouettes as they landed next to and behind the C-130 on the ground. The night was so black that one would not know the planes were there if it was not for the recognizable and distinct sound they create.

As silently and as quickly as they arrived, the Marines faded into the darkness and moved on to their next objective on Hubbard Air Strip, an even darker, more remote dirt strip on Fort Huachuca’s East Range. After the Marines concluded their training exercise at Hubbard Airstrip, they returned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, mission complete.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Jolene Cooper, MVC

Homes await military Families: MVC has available housing in most post neighborhoods

Jolene Cooper, MVC A currently unoccupied home in Miles Manor 1 is available to a Family of a Service member E1 through E-6. Unlike most homes in that housing area, it is a single unit. All nearby homes are located less than a ...
 
 

Presidential Proclamation — National Native American Heritage Month, 2014

NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2014 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Every year, our Nation pauses to reflect on the profound ways the First Americans have shaped our country’s character and culture. The first stewards of our environment, early voices for the values that define our Nation, and models...
 
 

Garrison commander conducts Ebola Awareness Town Halls

The Fort Huachuca U.S. Army Garrison commander conducted two Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Awareness Town Halls Nov. 13 at Murr Community Center to ensure all Installation Management Command (IMCOM) personnel are knowledgeable about the disease, its origins and spread. Col. Thomas A. Boone addressed attendees about the mandatory IMCOM Ebola training requirement, and said the...
 

 

IMCOM unveils plan for 2025 and beyond

SAN ANTONIO — The U.S. Army Installation Management Command released “IMCOM 2025 and Beyond,” a new campaign plan operationalizing the commanding general’s vision for the organization. This plan provides a roadmap for IMCOM’s future and serves as a change management document that focuses the command’s collective efforts, prioritizes resources and continues the exchange of informatio...
 
 

Recycle cooking oil, grease after Thanksgiving Day

After you’re done with the turkey and stuffing next week, take cooking oil and grease to be recycled at one of the two City of Sierra Vista year-round grease collection sites, free of charge. In previous years, Sierra Vista has set up a special grease collection site on the day after Thanksgiving. “This year, we’re...
 
 
Gary Sheftick

Native Americans place special honor in military service

Gary Sheftick Mary Hudetz, editor-in-chief of Native Peoples Magazine and president of the Native American Journalists Association, speaks to reporters and students at the Defense Information School, during the Defense Media Ac...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin