ABOARD USS OGDEN -- Helicopter Support Team Marines from Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 13, currently deployed with the 13th MEU (Special Operations Capable), recently executed the first HST operation lift of a Sea Air Land (SEAL) Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) aboard the USS Ogden.
In order to execute the mission, the Marines were flown in from the USS Peleliu in a CH-53E Super Stallion to the Ogden. Helicopter Support Team Marines, who are trained and certified in dealing specifically with these types of missions, safely and successfully executed their role in the mission.
According to Staff Sgt. Stacy A. Elliott, landing support chief, HST Detachment, MSSG-13, the mission was to facilitate the movement of the RHIB from the Helicopter Landing Zone into the water using their special chains and hooks.
After properly latching on the hooks and chains to the RHIBs, the Marines, along with the ship's crew, positioned it on the flight deck.
Following a short test run of the lift, the RHIBs were individually picked up by a Super Stallion and lowered into the ocean.
"This is the first time (this type of) boat has been lifted and dropped off into the water," said Capt. Trea H. Schocken, Transportation Detachment commander. "It's been tested on surface, but never on water."
For the Marines who participated in the lift, the mission was a highlight in their Marine Corps careers.
"It's always fun to lift something you've never lifted before," said Cpl. Keith L. Bowers, landing support specialist, HST Detachment, MSSG-13.
According to Bowers, the lift stood out as one of his favorite missions because it was different from many of the ones he had previously done.
"Seeing the boat being picked up and dropped into the water was something we?re not use to seeing," he said.
"Our mission went perfect," said Schocken. "The Marines did great. They hooked it up fast and safe, and completed the mission."
After accomplishing their mission, the Marines were each presented with the 13th MEU commander's coin by Col. Michael R. Regner, 13th MEU (SOC) commanding officer, for a job well done.