Photo Information

Pilots flying an MV-22B Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266 Reinforced, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct practice runs to familiarize themselves with the area before initiating training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 23, 2012. The squadron conducted helicopter suspension training lifting a 500 gallon water tank. This training is part of the 26th MEU’s pre-deployment training program. VMM-266 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013.

Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels

Combat Logistics Battalion 26 conducts helicopter suspension training

26 Oct 2012 | Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels

Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted helicopter suspension training at Landing Zone Quail and Landing Zone Falcon Oct. 23, 2012.

The exercise consisted of a day and night portion, both supported by Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266 Reinforced. While executing the day portion, VMM-266 utilized a CH-53E Super Stallion to move 1,000 gallons of drinking water from LZ Quail to LZ Falcon.

“We are lifting two external water blivets, each containing 500 gallons of water,” said Sgt. Andrew Holzhauer, a Lorain, Ohio native and platoon sergeant, Landing Support Platoon, CLB-26. “This is good training for us because we usually just practice lifting steel beams. Lifting water blivets adds another dimension of training that we have to plan for because of their (cylindrical) shape. They are prone to roll and ‘shotgun’ or bounce into each other while in flight.”

During the night portion, the 26th MEU’s aviation combat element utilized an MV-22B Osprey. The tiltrotor practiced multiple rounds of lifting a single 500-gallon water drum and dropping it off.

The purpose behind this training was to practice getting mass amounts of water from one point to another.

“As water purification specialists we can supply water using our lightweight water purification system to clean water from almost any water source and supply the 26th MEU with enough water to sustain (their) needs,” said Cpl. John F. Volinksy, an Albany, N.Y., native and water purification specialist, CLB-26. “We do this training for expeditionary reasons. Using helicopters allows us to get the water where we need it, when they need it.”

This evolution is part of the second major pre-deployment training event the 26th MEU’s MAGTF has worked on in a coordinated effort since their composite Sept. 7, 2012. The 26th MEU is scheduled to deploy in 2013.