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Image: U.S. Marines CH53D Sea Stallion

U.S. Marines CH53D Sea Stallion

Barbers Point, Hawaii, 07 February 2002 — The "Ugly Angels" of HMH-362 board a CH53d Sea Stallion.

U.S. Marines photo taken by Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero

Story associated with this photo written by Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero

Their mission was to keep the aircraft steady while two U.S. Navy Seal teams fast-roped down into the extremely violent waters five miles south of Barbers Point, Hawaii.

This wasn't a normal fast-roping mission. On Feb. 7, the "Ugly Angels" from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, would hover above a pair of Navy submarines floating offshore.

This training was unique because of the various hazards the pilots and aircrew encountered while dropping off the Sailors. One of the hazards was flying the aircraft too close to the ocean, which pounded the sub.

Another challenge was keeping the CH53D Sea Stallion steady while fighting strong winds. The training fully tested the Ugly Angels' flying skills.

"It was extremely challenging," said Capt. Carroll Lane, pilot for HMH-362, who dropped off two Navy Seal teams onto the two vessels, "especially hovering that close to the sub's tower and holding my position while the seals fast-roped down."

Although it was the pilots who flew the aircraft, the success of any fastrope evolution is coordination between the pilots and the aircrew.

"Pilots can't see fastropers when they come off the ramp," said Staff Sgt. David Welch, crewchief. "They depend on their aircrew to help maintain proper position over the deck."

After the last Sailor fast-roped onto the sub, the "Ugly Angels" returned to K-Bay with some hard-core training under their belts.

"This training was very challenging," said Lane.

"It offered us the opportunity to practice fast-roping on a surface other than pavement or grass," he explained.

The flights benefited both the HMH-362 Marines and the two Navy Seal teams.

"This was a great opportunity for us to experience the manner in which our sister service does business and show them how we handle ours,"added Lane.

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Updated: 29 April 2007
Born on 30 June 2002