CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aircraft profile

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The CH-53D is a medium lift helicopter designed to transport personnel, supplies and equipment in support of amphibious and shore operations.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter flight: A CH-53D Sea Stallion carries US Marine Corps (USMC) members out of the jungles of Brunei, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter flight: A CH-53D Sea Stallion carries US Marine Corps (USMC) members out of the jungles of Brunei, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

Background

The CH-53D was ordered in the early 1960s to satisfy a Marine Corps requirement for a heavy lift helicopter. It has since been replaced in the heavy lift mission by the CH-53E Super Stallion. All Marine Corps CH-53D helicopters are currently assigned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The CH-53D, along with the CH-46E, is slated for replacement by the MV-22 Osprey.

Service

Marine Corps

General Characteristics

Contractor: Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Technologies Corp.

Date Deployed: First flight: Oct 14, 1964; Operational: November 1966.
Propulsion: Two General Electric T64-GE-413 turboshaft engines (3,925 shaft horsepower each)
Length: Fuselage: 67.5 feet (20.3 meters); Rotors turning: 88 feet 3 inches (26.5 meters).
Height: 24 feet 11 inches (7.2 meters).
Rotor Diameter: 72 feet 3 inches (21.7 meters).
Weight: 21 tons (max gross) (18.9 metric tons).
Airspeed: 160 knots (184 miles, 294 km per hour).
Ceiling: 12,450 feet.
Range: 578 nautical miles (665 statute miles, 1064 km); 886 nautical miles ferry range.
Crew: Two pilots, one aircrewman.
Load: 37 troops or 24 litter patients plus four attendants or 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg) cargo.

Source: US Navy

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The CH-53 Sea Stallion is the most common name for the Sikorsky S-65 family of heavy-lift transport helicopters. Originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, it is also in service with Germany, Iran, Israel, Mexico, and as the MH-53 Pave Low with the United States Air Force. The USAF also operated the HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant" during the late- and post-Vietnam War era.

The dimensionally-similar CH-53E Super Stallion is a heavier-lifting, improved version designated S-80E by Sikorsky. Its third engine makes it more powerful than the Sea Stallion, which it has replaced in the heavy-lift mission.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine performs preventive maintenance on a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (HMM-365) (Reinforced) located at the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine performs preventive maintenance on a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (HMM-365) (Reinforced) located at the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.

Development

In 1960, the US Marine Corps began to seek a replacement for their old S-56 piston-powered helicopters, originally working with the other three U.S. armed services on the "Tri-Service VTOL transport", which would eventually emerge as the Vought-Hiller-Ryan XC-142A tilt-wing. The design became more elaborate and the program stretched out resulting in Marines deciding they couldn't get a workable machine in a satisfactory timeframe and dropped out. This was just as well, because the XC-142A, although a very innovative and capable machine, would never enter production.

In March 1962, the US Navy Bureau of Weapons, acting on behalf of the Marines, issued a request for a "Heavy Helicopter Experimental / HH(X)". The specifications dictated a load capability of 8,000 pounds (3,630 kilograms) with an operational radius of 100 NM (185 km) at a speed of 150 kt (278 km/h). The HH(X) was to be used in the assault transport, aircraft recovery, personnel transport, and medical evacuation roles. In the assault transport role, it was to be mostly used to haul heavy equipment instead of troops.

In response, Boeing Vertol offered a modified version of the Chinook; Kaman offered a development of the British Fairey Rotodyne compound helicopter; and Sikorsky offered what amounted to a scaled-up version of the S-61R, with twin GE T64 turboshafts and the dynamic system of the S-64, to be designated the "S-65". Kaman's proposal quickly died when the British government dropped its backing of the Rotodyne program. Competition between Boeing Vertol and Sikorsky was intense, with the Boeing Vertol having something of an edge because the type was being acquired by the U.S. Army. Sikorsky threw everything into the contest and was awarded the contract in July 1962.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: USMC personnel assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines fast rope from a hovering USMC CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: USMC personnel assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines fast rope from a hovering USMC CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).

The Marines originally wanted to buy four prototypes but ran into funding problems. Sikorsky, determined to keep the deal, cut their estimate for development costs and said that the program could be done with two prototypes. The military bought off on the proposal, and in September 1962 Sikorsky was awarded a contract for a little under US$10 million for two "YCH-53A" prototypes, as well as a mockup and a ground-test airframe.

The development program did not go entirely smoothly, due to a shortage of engineering resources plus various failures of subcontractors and the government, but these problems were gradually overcome. There was also the problem that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara was pushing "commonality" between the armed services and pressuring the Marines to obtain the Chinook anyway, but the Marines managed to convince McNamara's people that the Chinook couldn't meet requirements without a lot of expensive changes.

All these obstacles overcome, the first YCH-53A performed its initial flight at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut, on 14 October 1964, about four months behind schedule. The Marines had already placed an initial production contract for 16 helicopters in September. Flight trials went more smoothly than expected, helping make up for the lost time in development. It received the military designation and name "CH-53A Sea Stallion". Delivery of production CH-53s began in 1966.

The CH-53A arrived in Vietnam in January 1967 and proved useful, eventually recovering even more downed aircraft than the CH-54. A total of 141 CH-53As were built, including the two prototypes. The US Navy acquired 15 CH-53As from the USMC in 1971 for airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) activities. The helicopters had more powerful T64-GE-413 turboshafts installed and the received the designation "RH-53A".

The USAF ordered the HH-53B in September 1966 and first flew on 15 March 1967. It added a refueling probe, drop fuel tanks and a rescue hoist and featured upgraded T64-GE-3 engines. The Air Force used the HH-53B for combat search and rescue (CSAR). HH-53C was an improved CSAR variant with a smaller 450 US gallon (1,705 liter) for improved performance. It also added more armor and better communication systems. The CH-53C was similar except it lacked a refueling probe. It was used by the USAF for more general transport work.

Heavy lifting in tropical climates demanded more power so the Marines decided to acquire an improved variant, the "CH-53D", with uprated engines, originally the T64-GE-412 then later the T64-GE-413. The CH-53D also included an uprated transmission to go with the more powerful engines, and a revised interior to permit a load of 55 troops.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 1, 2007) - MH-53 Sea Stallions, CH-46 Frogs, and AH-1 Cobras line the flight of amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is currently underway performing Landing Craft Utility and flight operations on their 2007 deployment. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd class William S. Parker.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 1, 2007) - MH-53 Sea Stallions, CH-46 Frogs, and AH-1 Cobras line the flight of amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is currently underway performing Landing Craft Utility and flight operations on their 2007 deployment. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd class William S. Parker.

The initial flight of the CH-53D was on 27 January 1969. The CH-53D served alongside the CH-53A through the rest of the Vietnam War. A VIP transport version designated, "VH-53D" with plush accommodations was used by the Marines for the US presidential flights. The US Navy also acquired CH-53D based helicopters for mine sweeping. These were designated "RH-53D" and included mine sweeping gear such as a pair of Browning 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns for detonating mines. The Navy received 30 RH-53Ds beginning in 1973. After the RH-53Ds were in service, the RH-53As were handed back to the Marines and restored to CH-53A configuration.

During the 1980s, Israeli Air Force's CH-53 Yas'ur fleet was upgraded and improved by Israel Aircraft Industries, along with military high-tech firm Elbit Systems. The project – which ended only in 1997 – improved the CH-53 avionics, robustness and extended its life span by at least two decades.

In 1989, some of the CH-53As being retired by the Marines were passed on to the U.S. Air Force for training, with these helicopters redesignated "TH-53As". The TH-53As were stripped of most operational equipment and painted in USAF camouflage colors.

Design

The Sea Stallion has a fuselage design similar to the Sikorsky S-61R/Jolly Green Giant series. It has a passenger door on the right side of the fuselage behind the cockpit and a power-operated rear loading ramp. The fuselage was watertight, though not intended for amphibious use, and only landed on water in emergencies. The Stallion has mechanical flight controls which are backed by two independent hydraulic systems. Armor protects crew and vital systems.

The CH-53A carries a crew of four; pilot, copilot, crew chief, and "aerial observer", a load of 38 troops, 24 litters with medical attendants, an internal cargo load of 8,000 pounds (3,630 kg) or an external load of 13,000 lb (5,900 kg) on the single-point sling hook. The CH-53A is equipped with a pair of M60 0.308 in (7.62 mm) machine guns that point out to each side of the fuselage.

The CH-53A features the six-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor proven on the S-64. To save space on board naval vessels, the tail boom and the rotors folded. The rotor system was initially driven by twin GE T64-GE-6 turboshafts providing 2,850 shp (2,125 kW) each, with an engine on each side of the forward fuselage. It was later produced with the T64-GE-1 with 3,080 shp (2,300 kW) and then the T64-GE-16 with 3,485 shp (2,600 kW). The HH-53B featured T64-GE-3 engines producing 3,080 shp (2,297 kW).

The CH-53D features uprated engines, initially T64-GE-412 with 3,695 shp (2,755 kW) then the T64-GE-413 with 3,925 shp (2,930 kW) with an uprated transmission. Its interior added seats to allow for 55 troops. CH-53Ds are generally armed with twin 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2/XM218 machine guns. In later years, CH-53Ds have been fitted with defensive countermeasures including an AN/ALE-39 chaff dispenser and an AN/ALQ-157 infrared set.

Later production CH-53Ds featured a Blade Inspection Method (BIM) scheme to detect cracks in its metal rotors. BIM involved pressurizing the interior of the rotor blades. If a crack is present pressure is lost and a red indicator on the rotor blade tip was tripped. Later, the BIM system was connected to a cockpit display. BIM reduced the need to swap out rotor blades on a routine basis.

Operational history

United States

The CH-53/HH-53 has much combat experience during its lengthy service, with the U.S. military during the Vietnam War and as a Special Operations helicopter, and the Israeli Air Force.

The CH-53D served alongside the CH-53A through the rest of the Vietnam War, with both types performing a final service at the end of the conflict in performing evacuations of personnel from Saigon and Phnom Pehn.

U.S. Air Force HH-53 Super Jollies were the primary search-and-rescue helicopter in Southeast Asia between 1967 and 1975, inserted the Operation Ivory Coast rescue team into the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay in 1970, and carried the Marines who attempted to rescue the crew of the SS Mayaguez. Marine-flown Navy Sea Stallions were the rotary-wing element of Operation Eagle Claw, the attempted rescue of American hostages in Iran in 1980 that ended in disaster and embarrassment at "Desert One".

The CH-53 is operated by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also operated by the U.S. Navy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom throughout the region, deployed out of a squadron in Bahrain.

On 12 October 2004 Heavy Lift Helicopters of Apple Valley, California received the first of two CH-53D Sea Stallions for conversion into fire fighting aircraft. The two "Fire Stallions" are former U.S. Marine Corps from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

In late February 2006, the Marine Corps announced that the V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft, will be sent into combat within a year with VMM-263. The V-22 Osprey will replace the Marine Corps CH-46E and CH-53D. However, it will not replace the Marine Corps' CH-53E or the Air Force's MH-53 Pave Low helicopters. The new CH-53K is planned to update the Navy and Marine Corps' CH-53E by 2015.

The CH-53D is due to return to the middle east in support of OIF. It will be performing the combat roles that the MV-22 is not able to conduct at this time.

Israel

CH-53 helicopters joined the Israeli Air Force in August 1968 and were given the Hebrew name Yas'ur (Petrel). They are the main cargo helicopters of the IAF, carrying troops and heavy equipment.

In 1969, during the War of Attrition, IAF Yas'ur CH-53s landed in Egypt and conveyed a captured Soviet advanced radar system back to Israel for examination by Israeli scientists and engineers (see Operation Rooster 53). In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Yas'urs moved artillery batteries around the fronts, evacuated wounded soldiers and rescued pilots from behind enemy lines. In one engagement, a Yas'ur was damaged by cannon fire from a MiG-21 but returned safely to base. Since 1973, Yas'urs have also been used by the IDF to land and extract Sayeret commandos on deep raids into Lebanon and Syria.

In 1989, Yas'urs were used to fight a huge blaze on Mount Carmel. They performed dozens of low flyovers into the smoke and flames, dumped 700 tons of water on the fire, and doused it.

Variants

YCH-53A

Two prototypes with two 2850 shp T64-GE-3 engines.

CH-53A

Initial production for USMC, 139 built.

RH-53A

CH-53A re-engined with two 3925 shp T64-GE-413 engines as Airborne mine countermeasures (minesweeper) versions for the United States Navy, 15 conversion.

TH-53A

Stripped CH-53As used for training by the United States Air Force.

CH-53D

CH-53A with improved transmission, larger cabin for 55 troops and automatic rotor blade folding for the United States Marine Corps, 126 built.

RH-53D

United States Navy mine countermeasures version of the CH-53D, fitted with 0.50 in guns and provision for air refueling, 30 built for the USN and six for Imperial Iranian Navy Aviation (since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation).

VH-53D

Two CH-53Ds for USMC VIP transport

CH-53D Yas'ur 2000

CH-53D upgraded and improved by the Israel Aircraft Industries to extend life span past 2000.

VH-53F

Six unbuilt VIP helicopters for the US Navy/Marine Corps.

CH-53G

German base version of the CH-53D for German Army Aviators Corps. A total of 112 were produced including 2 pre-production and 20 assembled by VFW-Fokker and 90 built by Sprey. As of 2007, 89 German CH-53s were in service, with 80 planned to be in service in 2014. All German CH-53s are going to receive T64-100 engines (in 3 batches, 1st batch has already been installed, 2nd batch is currently being installed and 3rd batch is planned with funding made available). All will receive IFR-capability.

CH-53GS

Update of 20 CH-53Gs with additional missile counter measure, upgraded communication and navigation system and two external fuel tanks in late 1990s. They later received the first batch of T64-100 engines to operate in hot&high conditions as they prevail in Afghanistan as well as MG3 and M3M machine guns.

CH-53GSX

A further update of six CH-53Gs with modern electronics, two external fuel tanks, counter measures and dust filters for the engines, particularly ordered for the deployment in Afghanistan starting in 2009.

CH-53GA

Update of further 40 CH-53Gs with new flight deck, new flight control system, autopilot, navigation and communication systems, FLIR, ECM and missile counter measures as well as provisions for additional internal fuel tanks. The upgrade is to be completed in 2013.

For other variants, see HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant"/MH-53 Pave Low and CH-53E Super Stallion.

Operators

Austria

* Austrian Air Force ordered two in 1968; took delivery in 1970; sold them to Israel in 1981 because of their high operating costs.

Germany

* German Army 89 in service, to be reduced to about 80. Future structure 20 CH-53GS, 6 CH-53GSX, 40 CH-53GA and 14 CH-53G

Mexico

* Mexican Air Force Acquired four S-65C Ya’sur 2000s from Israel in 2005.

Iran

* Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation has 6 RH-53Ds ordered by pre-revolutionary Iran.

Israel

* Israeli Air Force

United States

* United States Marine Corps

* United States Navy

* Heavy Lift Helicopters Accidents and incidents

Due to its large size and troop capacity, aerial accidents that involve CH-53 helicopters were some of the deadliest helicopter accidents ever.

* On 10 May 1977, 54 people were killed in a CH-53 crash in Israel.

* On 4 February 1997, two CH-53s collided in the "Helicopter Catastrophe" in Israel. A total of 73 people died in the accident. Specifications (CH-53D)

General characteristics

* Crew: 2 pilots, 1 or more crew chiefs
* Capacity: 37 troops (55 in alternate configuration) or 24 stretchers
* Length: 88 ft 6 in (26.97 m)
* Rotor diameter: 72 ft 2.7 in (22.01 m)
* Height: 24 ft 11 in (7.6 m)
* Empty weight: 23,628 lb (10,740 kg)
* Loaded weight: 33,500 lb (15,227 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 42,000 lb (19,100 kg)
* Powerplant: 2× General Electric T64-GE-413 turboshafts, 3,925 shp (2,927 kW) each
* Width (overall): 28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)
* Width (fuselage): 15 ft 6 in (4.7 m)
* Rotor systems: 6 blades on main rotor

Performance

* Maximum speed: 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h)
* Cruise speed: 150 kt (173 mph, 278 km/h)
* Range: 540 nmi (1,000 km)
* Service ceiling 16,750 ft (5,106 m)
* Rate of climb: 2,460 ft/min (750 m/min)

Armament

* Two Door Mounted XM218 .50 BMG machine guns. Some have RMWS (Ramp Mounted Weapon System) GAU-21 .50 BMG machine gun.

* German CH-53GS can mount either two MG3 7.62 x 51 mm machine guns in the side doors, which are to be replaced by three M3M/GAU-21 .50 BMG guns in the doors and one on the ramp.

More photos:

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter touches down on the LHA Deck to simulate a troop evacuation of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Platoons of the 6th Marine Regiment during the MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) field exercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted this MCCREE for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall combat readiness skills of an infantry battalion.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter touches down on the LHA Deck to simulate a troop evacuation of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Platoons of the 6th Marine Regiment during the MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) field exercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted this MCCREE for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall combat readiness skills of an infantry battalion.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Infantry men from the 26th US Marine Expeditionay Unit (MEU) practice "fast roping" from a CH-53 "Super Stallion" aboard the Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS WASP (LHD 1). A US Navy EA-6B Prowler is partially seen at the right. The WASP and 26th MEU are en route to the Mediterranean on a scheduled six-month deployment.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Infantry men from the 26th US Marine Expeditionay Unit (MEU) practice "fast roping" from a CH-53 "Super Stallion" aboard the Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS WASP (LHD 1). A US Navy EA-6B Prowler is partially seen at the right. The WASP and 26th MEU are en route to the Mediterranean on a scheduled six-month deployment.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Infantry men from the 26th US Marine Expeditionay Unit (MEU) practice "fast roping" from a CH-53 "Super Stallion" aboard the Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS WASP (LHD 1). A US Navy EA-6B Prowler is partially seen at the right. The WASP and 26th MEU are en route to the Mediterranean on a scheduled six-month deployment.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Infantry men from the 26th US Marine Expeditionay Unit (MEU) practice "fast roping" from a CH-53 "Super Stallion" aboard the Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship, USS WASP (LHD 1). A US Navy EA-6B Prowler is partially seen at the right. The WASP and 26th MEU are en route to the Mediterranean on a scheduled six-month deployment.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: US Navy Crew members aboard the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD 1) move cargo during an underway replenishment (UNREP) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) oiler USNS BIG HORN (T-AO 198). BIG HORN and WASP are currently deployed to the Mediterranean. Aircraft on the deck of the WASP include, AV-8B Harrier IIs and CH-53D Sea Stallions, 16 May 1998.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: US Navy Crew members aboard the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD 1) move cargo during an underway replenishment (UNREP) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) oiler USNS BIG HORN (T-AO 198). BIG HORN and WASP are currently deployed to the Mediterranean. Aircraft on the deck of the WASP include, AV-8B Harrier IIs and CH-53D Sea Stallions, 16 May 1998.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Marines from the 6th Marine Regiment rush aboard a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter while engaged in a simulated casualty evacuation located on Landing Zone Hawk during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Marines from the 6th Marine Regiment rush aboard a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter while engaged in a simulated casualty evacuation located on Landing Zone Hawk during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter touches down at Landing Zone Hawk for a simulated causulty evacuation during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter touches down at Landing Zone Hawk for a simulated causulty evacuation during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The package that is scheduled to hit Landing Zone Albatross is dropped from a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter for a cargo drop excercise during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The package that is scheduled to hit Landing Zone Albatross is dropped from a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter for a cargo drop excercise during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) load mail on a CH-53 Sea Stallion. Independence is deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) load mail on a CH-53 Sea Stallion. Independence is deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The package that is scheduled to hit Landing Zone Albatross is dropped from a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter for a cargo drop excercise during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The package that is scheduled to hit Landing Zone Albatross is dropped from a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter for a cargo drop excercise during the MCCREE field excercise. The 6th Marine Regiment conducted a MCCREE (Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation) for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. A MCCREE encompasses an evaluation of the overall readiness skills of an infantry battalion.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Two Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters lifting cement slabs simulating High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) link-up for an air-to-air refueling with a KC-130F Aerial Tanker during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Two Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters lifting cement slabs simulating High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) link-up for an air-to-air refueling with a KC-130F Aerial Tanker during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Four of five Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters fly in-line formation while lifting cement slabs simulating High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) cargo during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Four of five Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters fly in-line formation while lifting cement slabs simulating High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) cargo during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion flies evasion patterns in and around hills and canyons during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53E Sea Stallion flies evasion patterns in and around hills and canyons during Weapons and Tactics Instructions Class (WTI) 2-99.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Medium shot of US Marines from Second Battalion, Fifth Marines extract from a CH-53 Sea Stallion and take security postitions during Operation Sea Horse Wind at Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolon, California.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Medium shot of US Marines from Second Battalion, Fifth Marines extract from a CH-53 Sea Stallion and take security postitions during Operation Sea Horse Wind at Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolon, California.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Halcomb directs the landing of a CH-53 E Sea Stallion helicopter on the flight deck of USS Essex (LHD 2) for Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs) during Blue-Green Workups. Testing their rapid response, Blue-Green Workups are a series of training exercises designed to solidify the working relationship of Sailors and Marines during an Amphibious Ready Group deployment.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Halcomb directs the landing of a CH-53 E Sea Stallion helicopter on the flight deck of USS Essex (LHD 2) for Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs) during Blue-Green Workups. Testing their rapid response, Blue-Green Workups are a series of training exercises designed to solidify the working relationship of Sailors and Marines during an Amphibious Ready Group deployment.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 lifts off the ground after unloading Marines aboard at the Bellows Training Area, Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. (Substandard image)CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 lifts off the ground after unloading Marines aboard at the Bellows Training Area, Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. (Substandard image)

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-463 flies above a mock embassy at the Bellows training area to unload Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-463 flies above a mock embassy at the Bellows training area to unload Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter moves into position, to take on fuel, during an aerial refueling.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter moves into position, to take on fuel, during an aerial refueling.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter moves into position, to take on fuel, during an aerial refueling.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter moves into position, to take on fuel, during an aerial refueling.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)), moves off with a forklift lifted from the deck of the US Navy (USN) Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship USS PELELIU (LHA 5) as a USMC CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-163 (HMM-163) prepares to lift off from the same deck. The 15th MEU (SOC) and the PELELIU are currently supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. (SUBSTANDARD)CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A US Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)), moves off with a forklift lifted from the deck of the US Navy (USN) Tarawa Class Amphibious Assault Ship USS PELELIU (LHA 5) as a USMC CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-163 (HMM-163) prepares to lift off from the same deck. The 15th MEU (SOC) and the PELELIU are currently supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. (SUBSTANDARD)

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: During a long-range rescue mission, a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopter from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) refuels from a United States Navy KC-130B Aerial Tanker while enroute.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: During a long-range rescue mission, a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopter from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) refuels from a United States Navy KC-130B Aerial Tanker while enroute.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Halcomb directs the landing of a CH-53 E Sea Stallion helicopter on the flight deck of USS Essex (LHD 2) for Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs) during Blue-Green Workups. Testing their rapid response, Blue-Green Workups are a series of training exercises designed to solidify the working relationship of Sailors and Marines during an Amphibious Ready Group deployment.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Halcomb directs the landing of a CH-53 E Sea Stallion helicopter on the flight deck of USS Essex (LHD 2) for Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs) during Blue-Green Workups. Testing their rapid response, Blue-Green Workups are a series of training exercises designed to solidify the working relationship of Sailors and Marines during an Amphibious Ready Group deployment.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Several United States Marine Corpsmen (USMC) with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) move a simulated down and wounded pilot over deep sand toward a waiting CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) training mission with the Special Operations Training Group.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Several United States Marine Corpsmen (USMC) with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) move a simulated down and wounded pilot over deep sand toward a waiting CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) training mission with the Special Operations Training Group.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 265, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)) sits at the end of the runway at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 265, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)) sits at the end of the runway at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine performs preventive maintenance on a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (HMM-365) (Reinforced) located at the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine performs preventive maintenance on a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (HMM-365) (Reinforced) located at the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine crew chief runs alongside a CH-46 helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (Reinforced) near the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. A CH-53 Sea Stallion sits on the ramp in the background.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A Marine crew chief runs alongside a CH-46 helicopter with Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 365 (Reinforced) near the Air Command Element Headquarters at Kandahar International Airport, Kandahar, Afghanistan, during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. A CH-53 Sea Stallion sits on the ramp in the background.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: A CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter takes on fuel, during an aerial refueling.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Essex (LHD 2) Mar. 23, 2002 -- Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) board a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" on the flight deck while conducting a mock amphibious assault. The assault is part of Exercise Foal Eagle, an annual joint and combined field and maritime exercise between U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) armed forces. The exercise is designed to strengthen relationships and improve interoperability between the two nations through real world training scenarios. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael Lewis.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Essex (LHD 2) Mar. 23, 2002 -- Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) board a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" on the flight deck while conducting a mock amphibious assault. The assault is part of Exercise Foal Eagle, an annual joint and combined field and maritime exercise between U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) armed forces. The exercise is designed to strengthen relationships and improve interoperability between the two nations through real world training scenarios. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael Lewis.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Jan. 29, 2002 -- A U.S. Navy CH-53E “Sea Stallion” leaves the flight deck after delivering personnel and logistics support to the nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Theodore Roosevelt and her embarked carrier air wing are conducting sustained combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Travis Ross.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Jan. 29, 2002 -- A U.S. Navy CH-53E “Sea Stallion” leaves the flight deck after delivering personnel and logistics support to the nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Theodore Roosevelt and her embarked carrier air wing are conducting sustained combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Travis Ross.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Philippine Sea (Mar. 23, 2001) -- During a long-range personnel recovery training mission, a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopter from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) refuels from a C-130 “Hercules”. The 31st MEU is embarked aboard and operating from USS Essex (LHD 2) as part of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class James Davis.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Philippine Sea (Mar. 23, 2001) -- During a long-range personnel recovery training mission, a CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopter from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) refuels from a C-130 “Hercules”. The 31st MEU is embarked aboard and operating from USS Essex (LHD 2) as part of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class James Davis.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: On Brunei Darussalam, US Marine Corps (USMC) members from L Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, off load from a CH-53D Sea Stallion, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: On Brunei Darussalam, US Marine Corps (USMC) members from L Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, off load from a CH-53D Sea Stallion, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter flight: A CH-53D Sea Stallion carries US Marine Corps (USMC) members out of the jungles of Brunei, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter flight: A CH-53D Sea Stallion carries US Marine Corps (USMC) members out of the jungles of Brunei, during landing force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: USMC personnel assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines fast rope from a hovering USMC CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: USMC personnel assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines fast rope from a hovering USMC CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Saipan (LHA 2) Apr. 30, 2002 -- Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Dennis Edwards from Brooklyn, NY, directs a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” during flight deck operations. Saipan is conducting underway training in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Kyle T. Voigt.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Saipan (LHA 2) Apr. 30, 2002 -- Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Dennis Edwards from Brooklyn, NY, directs a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” during flight deck operations. Saipan is conducting underway training in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Kyle T. Voigt.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sigonella Naval Station, Italy, Oct. 12, 2001 -- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4) moves into position for air to air refueling from the “MC-130” Combat Shadow of the 67th Squadron Officers School (SOS) during Exercise Chianti Storm. The exercise involves Army, Naval and Air Force personnel. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mitch FuquaCH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sigonella Naval Station, Italy, Oct. 12, 2001 -- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4) moves into position for air to air refueling from the “MC-130” Combat Shadow of the 67th Squadron Officers School (SOS) during Exercise Chianti Storm. The exercise involves Army, Naval and Air Force personnel. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mitch Fuqua

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: ABOARD USS KEARSARGE (June 8, 1999) -- The first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit load on to a CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter on the deck of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The marines are headed to a staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lance Corporal Richard O'Connor.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: ABOARD USS KEARSARGE (June 8, 1999) -- The first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit load on to a CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter on the deck of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The marines are headed to a staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lance Corporal Richard O'Connor.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Pattaya Beach, Thailand (May 28, 2002) -- CH-53E “Sea Stallion” helicopters conduct low level flight operations, while Amphibious Attack Vehicles (AAVs) conduct a beach assault during Exercise Cobra Gold 2002. Cobra Gold 2002 is the 21st U.S. Pacific Command exercise conducted in Thailand demonstrating the ability of U.S. forces to rapidly deploy and conduct joint-combined operations with the Thai and Singaporean armed forces. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Aaron AnsarovCH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Pattaya Beach, Thailand (May 28, 2002) -- CH-53E “Sea Stallion” helicopters conduct low level flight operations, while Amphibious Attack Vehicles (AAVs) conduct a beach assault during Exercise Cobra Gold 2002. Cobra Gold 2002 is the 21st U.S. Pacific Command exercise conducted in Thailand demonstrating the ability of U.S. forces to rapidly deploy and conduct joint-combined operations with the Thai and Singaporean armed forces. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Aaron Ansarov

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Skopje, Macedonia (June 8, 1999) -- CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter crewmen, Sergeant Todd Abbott and Sergeant Andrew McInally man their .50-caliber machine guns as they watch for threats while transporting the first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to a staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. The 26th MEU flew the first contingent of Marines to the staging area from the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in Aegean Sea. U.S. Marines photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Seth Rossman.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Skopje, Macedonia (June 8, 1999) -- CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter crewmen, Sergeant Todd Abbott and Sergeant Andrew McInally man their .50-caliber machine guns as they watch for threats while transporting the first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to a staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. The 26th MEU flew the first contingent of Marines to the staging area from the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in Aegean Sea. U.S. Marines photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Seth Rossman.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) June 8, 1999 -- The first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter on the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The marines are headed to a staging area NATO staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. U.S. Marines photo courtesy of Lance Corporal Richard O'Connor.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) June 8, 1999 -- The first contingent of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-53D "Sea Stallion" heavy assault transport helicopter on the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The marines are headed to a staging area NATO staging area in Skopje, Macedonia in support of Operation Allied Force. U.S. Marines photo courtesy of Lance Corporal Richard O'Connor.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sigonella Naval Station, Italy, October, 12, 2001-- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4) moves into position for air to air refueling from the “MC-130” Combat Shadow is silhouetted against the Adriatic during Exercise Chianti Storm. The exercise involves Army, Naval and Air Force personnel. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mitch FuquaCH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Sigonella Naval Station, Italy, October, 12, 2001-- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4) moves into position for air to air refueling from the “MC-130” Combat Shadow is silhouetted against the Adriatic during Exercise Chianti Storm. The exercise involves Army, Naval and Air Force personnel. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mitch Fuqua

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Jan. 13, 2003 -- Air Department Sailors prepare to transport a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter from the portside elevator into the ship’s hangar bay. Kearsarge has received orders to deploy, to support Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Jan. 13, 2003 -- Air Department Sailors prepare to transport a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter from the portside elevator into the ship’s hangar bay. Kearsarge has received orders to deploy, to support Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Jan. 13, 2003 -- Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Kelvin Banchon directs a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter as it departs the ship’s flight deck during the onload of the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Onslow Bay, North Carolina. Kearsarge has received orders to deploy, to support Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Jan. 13, 2003 -- Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Kelvin Banchon directs a CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter as it departs the ship’s flight deck during the onload of the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Onslow Bay, North Carolina. Kearsarge has received orders to deploy, to support Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Angel Roman-Otero.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Naval Station Sigonella, Italy (Jan. 9, 2003) -- Lt. j.g. Eric "Helen" Keller pilots an MH-53E “Sea Dragon” assigned to the “Black Stallions” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC-4) during a formation flight training mission. Two other “Sea Stallion” helicopters assigned to the “Black Stallions” fly in formation in the background. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Damon J. Moritz.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Naval Station Sigonella, Italy (Jan. 9, 2003) -- Lt. j.g. Eric "Helen" Keller pilots an MH-53ESea Dragon” assigned to the “Black Stallions” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC-4) during a formation flight training mission. Two other “Sea Stallion” helicopters assigned to the “Black Stallions” fly in formation in the background. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Damon J. Moritz.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Samesan Royal Thai Marine Base, Thailand (May 28, 2002) -- A CH-53E “Sea Stallion” assigned to the “Heavy Haulers” of Helicopter Light Squadron Four Six Two (HMH-462) takes off to demonstrate an amphibious assault during “Cobra Gold 2002.” Cobra Gold 2002 is the 21st U.S. Pacific Command exercise conducted in Thailand demonstrating the ability of U.S. Forces to rapidly deploy and conduct Joint-combined operations with the Thai and Singaporean armed forces. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Morrison.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Samesan Royal Thai Marine Base, Thailand (May 28, 2002) -- A CH-53E “Sea Stallion” assigned to the “Heavy Haulers” of Helicopter Light Squadron Four Six Two (HMH-462) takes off to demonstrate an amphibious assault during “Cobra Gold 2002.” Cobra Gold 2002 is the 21st U.S. Pacific Command exercise conducted in Thailand demonstrating the ability of U.S. Forces to rapidly deploy and conduct Joint-combined operations with the Thai and Singaporean armed forces. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Morrison.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Saipan (LHA2) Apr. 23, 2003 -- An Aviation Boatswain's Mate signals the launches of a CH-53D Sea Stallion from the ship’s flight deck. Saipan is currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Robert M Schalk.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: At sea aboard USS Saipan (LHA2) Apr. 23, 2003 -- An Aviation Boatswain's Mate signals the launches of a CH-53D Sea Stallion from the ship’s flight deck. Saipan is currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Robert M Schalk.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The Arabian Gulf (Mar. 24, 2003) -- A U.S. Marine Aviation Maintenance Mechanic visually checks rotor locks on a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter prior to flight operations. Kearsarge is deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Alicia Tasz.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The Arabian Gulf (Mar. 24, 2003) -- A U.S. Marine Aviation Maintenance Mechanic visually checks rotor locks on a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter prior to flight operations. Kearsarge is deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Alicia Tasz.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Arabian Gulf (Mar. 6, 2003) -- An CH-53 Sea Stallion assigned to the “Condors” of Helicopter Light Squadron Four Six Four (HMH 464) makes its approach for a landing on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is currently deployed as the flagship of Amphibious Task Force East (ATF-E) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Alicia Tasz.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Arabian Gulf (Mar. 6, 2003) -- An CH-53 Sea Stallion assigned to the “Condors” of Helicopter Light Squadron Four Six Four (HMH 464) makes its approach for a landing on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is currently deployed as the flagship of Amphibious Task Force East (ATF-E) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Alicia Tasz.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Oahu, Hawaii (May 1, 2003) -- A CH-53D Sea Stallion assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron Four Six Three (HMH-463) performs fire fighting drills on the island of Oahu. HMH-463's primary mission is to transport equipment and personnel in support of Fleet Marine Force operations. Flying the workhorse of Marine helicopter aviation, the CH-53D Sea Stallion, the squadron primarily provides assault support to the 3d Marine Regiment within the Hawaiian Island chain. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Glenna D. Dixon.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Oahu, Hawaii (May 1, 2003) -- A CH-53D Sea Stallion assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron Four Six Three (HMH-463) performs fire fighting drills on the island of Oahu. HMH-463's primary mission is to transport equipment and personnel in support of Fleet Marine Force operations. Flying the workhorse of Marine helicopter aviation, the CH-53D Sea Stallion, the squadron primarily provides assault support to the 3d Marine Regiment within the Hawaiian Island chain. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Glenna D. Dixon.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The Atlantic Ocean (Jun. 24, 2003) -- A CH-53 Sea Stallion drops a “retired” AV-8 Harrier on the flight deck aboard USS Saipan (LHA 2). The AV-8 will be used as a static display for Saipan's Tiger Cruise enroute to it's homeport in Norfolk, Va. The amphibious assault ship is returning from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Robert M Schalk.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: The Atlantic Ocean (Jun. 24, 2003) -- A CH-53 Sea Stallion drops a “retired” AV-8 Harrier on the flight deck aboard USS Saipan (LHA 2). The AV-8 will be used as a static display for Saipan's Tiger Cruise enroute to it's homeport in Norfolk, Va. The amphibious assault ship is returning from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Robert M Schalk.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Camp Coyote, Kuwait (Feb. 24, 2003) -- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter hovers over a British military vehicle. United States Marines and the Royal Marines Commando are working in a joint operation to lift vehicles for transport. U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCpl Jonathan Sotelo.CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Camp Coyote, Kuwait (Feb. 24, 2003) -- A CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter hovers over a British military vehicle. United States Marines and the Royal Marines Commando are working in a joint operation to lift vehicles for transport. U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCpl Jonathan Sotelo.

CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5) Dec. 9, 2003 -- Combat Cargo crewmembers secure a forklift to a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter to transport from the flight deck aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5). USS Peleliu is a part of Expeditionary Strike Group One (ESG-1) currently operating in the Northern Arabian Sea in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class James K. McNeilCH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter: Aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5) Dec. 9, 2003 -- Combat Cargo crewmembers secure a forklift to a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter to transport from the flight deck aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5). USS Peleliu is a part of Expeditionary Strike Group One (ESG-1) currently operating in the Northern Arabian Sea in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class James K. McNeil

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