US Helicopters Train with Korean Flat Top
Two MH-53E "Sea Dragon" helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14, Detachment One (HM-14 Det 1) practiced operating with the Republic of Korea ship DOKDO (LPH 6111) May 1 off the coast of Pohang.
The landing practice is part of combined amphibious operations training with Korean Amphibious Squadron 53 (CPR 53), which began April 29 and is scheduled to run until May 4.
Lt. Nicklaus Smith, an MH-53 pilot, said the training was the first time HM-14 practiced landing and taking off from the Korean amphibious assault ship since the detachment's 2008 arrival in country.
"It's always great to work with our Korean allies on a professional level," he said. "As Operations Officer, I am able to interact with them everyday. They go full throttle all the time, and today they did not disappoint."
The exercise was meant to give the Koreans and the Americans a better understanding of how to operate together at sea.
Detachment Officer in Charge, Lt. Cmdr. Tony Monell, said he was humbled by the experience.
"The crew of Dokdo went out of their way to accommodate us. The professionalism they exhibited during every aspect of this exercise truly made it an honor for us to be a part of," he said. "I look forward to strengthening the bonds we have already forged as we continue to develop our future combined training and readiness exercises."
From start to finish, the training lasted about 10 hours. Taking off from Pohang Airport and escorted by Korean UH-60s, the helicopters traveled overwater about fifty miles for the landings on the amphibious assault ship, which is the newest ship in the ROK Navy inventory.
Every pilot in the detachment was able to complete deck landing qualifications as well as participate in a photo exercise, which will display the achievements of both nations.
HM-14 Det 1, in conjunction with six ROK UH-60s, plans to use their helicopters in an air assault to transfer 270 ROK Marines from Dokdo to shore in the continuation of the exercise, May 2.
By Lt. Ian McColley - Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 Public Affairs
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