ARABIAN SEA --
Reconnaissance Marines flying in two CH-53E Super Stallions jumped into the ocean after casting motorboats from the helicopters five feet above the ocean here Jan. 19.
The Marines serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's ground combat element wore diving fins as they jumped after the 15-foot combat rubber raiding craft whose hulls, engines, fuel and cargo weighed about 900 pounds each.
Each man made his exit within two minutes of the aircraft entering an 800-foot drop radius.
"The pilots did a really great job of getting the helicopter as low as possible over the water," said Sgt. Edward Bruegman, a team leader with the reconnaissance platoon.
The heavy-lift helicopters were piloted by Maj. Scott Trent and Capts. Karl Van Haute, Joe Salucci and Matt McLane, who all serve with the unit's aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced).
"Being a part of the MEU means we are forward deployed," said Van Haute, 28, who hails from Towanda, Pa. "Being able to conduct this type of training allows us to build more confidence and a better relationship between the air and ground combat elements."
The Marine expeditionary unit is currently deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group - a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force. The group is also providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet area of responsibility.