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Adopted helicopter unit participates in international training effort
By Lt. Col. Edward “Peanut” Powers, HMLA-469 “Vengeance” Commanding Officer
To the City of San Clemente,
I am excited to forward you the next chapter in the HMLA-469 deployment saga. We are happy to share our accomplishments with you, for your support is fundamental to all our efforts here in Asia.
Vengeance was called upon to participate in Cobra Gold 2015 in February, which is a multinational, joint exercise in Thailand. Throughout the two weeks of the exercise, Vengeance set the standard for the aviation forces, flying nearly 200 sorties and delivering more than 3,000 pounds of ordnance on target. Our pilots were supporting 1st Battalion 1st Marines from Camp Pendleton as well as Royal Thai Marines on the ground. This unique training environment also provided us with the opportunity to conduct training missions with the U.S. Navy SEALs, inserting those forces into various environments via a variety of means with our Huey gunships. The exercise culminated in a successful final event which integrated all the elements involved, including seven different aircraft types, artillery, infantry, and mechanized units from several nations.
While Cobra Gold was an opportunity for America to demonstrate diplomacy through its military strength, Vengeance also embraced the opportunity to spread good will. Several of our Marines participated in community relations events that enabled them to assist and interact with local children at both an orphanage and a school. The Marines donated sporting equipment, demonstrated the utility of our MRE field rations, and even sang the Marines’ Hymn to the children.
Back at Futenma, our Marines who did not travel to Cobra Gold were working tirelessly on crucial maintenance issues to prepare for our next movement, the Korea Military Exchange Program (KMEP). Their efforts allowed us to remain ready for not only the quick turn-around between exercises but also the more important task of being prepared to respond when the nation calls.
The exercise in South Korea is another example of joint cooperation with our close allies, strengthening the bond between the South Koreans and our Marines while conducting quality training. Our Marines afloat on the 31st MEU are also slated to participate from off shore. It will be an abrupt departure from Thailand in terms of climate; instead of the balmy tropic feel of Southeast Asia, the Korean peninsula is expected to have overnight lows below freezing. Our Marines are more than up for the challenge to prove they can perform in any environment. This training allows us to remain sharp and deployable worldwide.
The continued support of the people of San Clemente, in the form of their outward support and inward prayers, is felt and appreciated by every Marine. Thank you so much!