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Marine Corps Aircraft

Heckl: Aviation exists for one reason and one reason only, and that is for the Marine carrying that M16 on the ground, we are there to support that Marine.

Smith: The six functions of Marine aviation are anti-air warfare, offensive air support, assault support, electronic warfare, command and control and aerial reconnaissance. And those six functions only exist to support our brothers on the ground.

McKenzie: The different aircraft within the Marine Corps are fixed wing and rotary wing. Among the fixed wing are F-18s, C-130s, Prowlers, Rotary wings consists of Hueys and Cobras, Ospreys, just to name a few.

Lake: There's a tendency for pilots to fall in love with whatever machine they they get selected for. So when you ask what the best aircraft is in the Marine Corps, of course it's always gonna be the Huey cause that's the one I fly.

Paschedag: What I like about the Huey is it's versatility, no matter if it's re-supplying the troops on the ground, inserting and extracting patrols, we can mount a variety of weapons on our aircraft, four different types. So we can choose a 240; we can shoot two varieties in .50-cal; and we can shoot a GAU-17 which is basically a mini-gun that shoots seven six two at about 3,000 rounds a minute.

Man: The CH-53 is the MAGTF commander's heavy assault support asset; we bring the heavy equipment from ship to shore as well as Marines. It's typically armed with two .50 caliber machine guns in the left and right window, as well as we're capable of putting an additional .50-cal on the, the ramp for coverage to the rear of the aircraft.

Holliday Jr: We're the only close-air support or attack rotor wing aircraft in the Marine Corps. I've been flying Cobras for eight years, and I learn something new every day—a new tactic, a new technique, a different way to solve a problem.

Marine: The Harrier is what's called a jump jet; it can go from perfect flight to a ninety-degree hover within a few seconds.

Marine: The Harrier is unique in that our number one mission is close-air support; we have the ability to drop our ordnance, drop our bombs very close proximity to where we want them to be.

McGraw: The V-22 retains the capability of helicopters but then brings with it capabilities that normally a turbo prop airplane have like flying at higher altitudes and flying at higher airspeeds.

Vines: If you're the crew chief you're really in charge of the aircraft. We have to know all of the systems of the aircraft, how to fix them if something goes wrong, how to trouble shoot in the air. So we're a big help to the pilots with that. When we're deployed we do a lot of troop transportation, cargo transportation, we also have the GAU- 16 and GAU-17 on the ramp in case we need to defend ourselves.

Duhon: The great thing about the KC-130 is the versatility that it provides; it's got short field take off and landing capabilities, flies slow enough that we can refuel helicopters. The air delivery capabilities are exceptional.

Seivold: This is the FA-18 aircraft Delta Model, which means a two seater. It's got a pilot and a back-seater. The back-seater's the weapons guy. We load the ordinance up get the fueler's fueling, we got PC's getting the jets started, pilots takin' off, and basically you have that small window in aircraft landing and loading them up and taking right back off, and it's just that fast.

Sotelo: It's amazing what some of the things that these Marines can do. We entrust them with multimillion dollar Aircraft, and that's not something that the average 18 to 20 year old out there gets to do. You know the pilots depend on them.

Marion: We're in charge of making sure this aircraft is up and running at all times. Everything ties into us. It's my job to make sure the bird is gonna fly.

Brightwell: Everything that we preach is attention to detail every single day, because one minor slip-up can be a major mishap for the crew, for the pilots and for the aircraft altogether.

Nolen: It's all part of a big picture. I fix the helicopter, the helicopter goes out and completes the mission. That to me is the most important.

Sotelo: Every time we launch aircraft in support of anybody that's out there in the desert or anywhere else in the world I mean it, it's a feeling that I can't really explain; you know it's amazing.

Gallagher: When you're doing a ground fight your best friend is somebody up there flying above you. They can see a lot of things a lot farther and get there faster than we can. When I see a helo go over I'm like, "That's ours." That's a good day.