Photo Information

Cpl. Jason Emmerich, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (Reinforced) crew chief, fires an M2 .50 caliber machinegun during aerial gunnery practice March 31, 2006. HMM-365 (Rein.) is the Aviation Combat Element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit which is currently participating in an Expeditionary Strike Group Exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola

24th MEU ACE ‘lock and load’ Ma Deuce: photo essay

31 Mar 2006 | Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola

Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (Reinforced) practiced their aerial gunnery skills March 31 during the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Expeditionary Strike Group Exercise March 27 through April 12.As the Aviation Combat Element of the 24th MEU, pilots and crew chiefs who fly aboard the CH-46E Sea Knight will be called upon to participate in a wide variety of missions that include inserting raid forces – a mission that may require the crew chiefs to provide suppressing fire from the two door-mounted M2 .50 caliber machineguns.To hone their aerial gunnery skills while aboard the USS Iwo Jima a group of aircraft fly into a safe area and deploy sea dime markers – a green dye that blooms upon impact with the water and provides a clear target.Aircraft then undertake a series of gun runs or “passes” from a variety of altitudes, airspeeds and distances to give the crew chiefs in the rear of the aircraft an opportunity to practice aiming, firing and reloading in simulated combat scenarios.The ESGEX comes during the MEU’s six-month pre-deployment workups that kicked off Nov. 30. The exercise involves each of the MEU components: Command Element; Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn.,8th Marines; HMM-365(Reinforced); and MSSG-24.The 24th MEU is scheduled to deploy this spring to the European and Central Command theaters of operations.