Photo Information

CH-46E Sea Knights piloted by Capts. Ryan Schaaf and Steve Dixon, above, and Capt. Kyle Ladwig and Maj. Bryan Kill, below, fly past USS Makin Island here Jan. 19. The pilots serve with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced), the aviation combat element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which 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.

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn

Recon splashes boats, men from airborne helicopters

19 Jan 2012 | Sgt. Elyssa Quesada 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

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.


Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography