Nice Flying By Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161
A 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing squadron recently achieved 60,000
Class A mishap-free hours. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161
reached the benchmark during a training flight at Marine Corps Base
Camp Pendleton, CA on January 29.
"It's incredible to be with a squadron when it reaches the
60,000 mark," said Capt. Grace Kelly, a pilot who was flying at the
time of the exercise. "It reflects the squadron's long history of
Achieving this is made even more remarkable by the number of
combat tours the squadron has participated in, according to Capt.
Scott Horton, the squadron's operations officer. Throughout a
seven-month deployment the squadron flies twice the amount of hours
than they would while in garrison, explained Horton.
The squadron's last Class A mishap, a mishap resulting in the
loss of life or damage in excess of $1 million, occurred in 1995
while the squadron was deployed.
"CH-46 squadrons that are attached to MEU's also get hit against
their record if one of the attached aircraft has a Class A
accident," said Lt. Col. W. Dan Cerkan, the 3rd MAW director of
safety and standardization.
"HMM-161's achievement is not a very common occurrence and is
very significant due to the fact that many of these hours were
performed in combat operations, nighttime and in poor weather as
the CASEVAC squadron."
More than 18,000 of the hours were flown in combat zones,
according to Lt. Col. Kevin J. Lee, the commanding officer of the
"This isn't just an accomplishment for our squadron," said Sgt.
Courtney E. Pickering, a crew chief with the Greyhawks. "It's an
accomplishment for the whole CH-46E community because a lot of
Marines have passed through the squadron during the last 13
In the past three years, only two other CH-46E squadrons have
achieved this benchmark.
"This was an amazing month, it wasn't just about the 60,000 hour
mark, it was about celebrating history, safety and pride in
ownership," said Lee.
(Aero-News salutes Lance Cpl. Austin Goacher, MCAS