USMC Helicopter Workhorses

Over the Chocolate Mountains during a WTI, Heater captures the CH-53D, CH-46E, UH1-1N, and AH-1W in formation, representing heavy and medium lift/transport, light transport/attack, and light attack helicopter types in service with the USMC in the 1990s.


Big Iron, Phrogs, Hueys and Snakes oh my!  Being a “jet guy”, Heater found out just how the other side of the house did what they do when he visited MAWTS-1 to capture Marine air in action.

“To protect my equipment from vibration, dust, flying debris during helo operations, lens caps and skylight filters were necessary precautions.  We operated day and night in all weather conditions.  I was already familiar with the jet world, but there was more to learn about helicopters.  Flying with 60 other aircraft below the horizon on a moonless night is intense and exhilarating.  Helicopter pilots and crews are extremely tough.  On a single mission temperatures inside the aircraft range from below freezing to above 100 degrees.  It’s a gritty, grimy, noisy business that does not have the glamour of the sleek, but sterile, jet community.”

–C.J. “Heater” Heatley (Forged In Steel, Pg. 161)