These Lucky Marines Are Going On A Helicopter Mission In Hawaii


Amid the pristine beaches and resorts of Hawaii, there is a major Marine Corps base of critical importance to U.S. Pacific operations.

The Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe Bay is home to U.S. Pacific Command, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, and the Pacific division of Special Operations Command, including thousands of active-duty fleet Marines from the 3rd Marine Regiment and Marine Aircraft Group 24. 

One of the lucky Marines stationed there is Sgt. Reece Lodder, an award-winning Marine Corps combat correspondent, who recently took to the skies to photograph Marine helicopter operations over Kaneohe Bay.

Lodder was kind enough to share images from his trip.

Prior to the flight, maintenance Marines perform checks to ensure everything works perfectly.

They check under all the panels.

Here, a pilot checks the aircraft's hydraulic fluid.

These aircraft have been in the Marine Corps arsenal for decades.

The pre-flight inspections are a team effort.

Soon, the aircraft is ready for takeoff.

The door gunners, called crew chiefs, have the best views.

With just a pilot and co-pilot, the Marine Corps Cobra carries a heavy load of rockets and other weapons.

Specifically, the Cobra has a 20mm turreted cannon with 750 rounds and can hold rockets and a wide variety of precision guided missiles, including Hellfire and Sidewinder missiles

Cobras work in tandem with Huey helicopters, and each brings something different to the fight.

Together, they make up light attack helicopter squadrons.

And they support Marines on the ground all over the world.

This Cobra (foreground) has a top speed of 170 miles per hour. The Huey, a newer model, can travel at nearly 190 mph.

On this particular mission, a total of 12 helicopters took to the skies.

It's also Marine pilots and crew chiefs who fly the President.

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