Hellfire missile caps Marines’ air-assault drill in Hawaii
By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 21, 2016
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — The enemy is imaginary. The rockets are real.
For the past week, the crews of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing have been plunging and banking Huey and Cobra helicopters over the jagged landscape of the live-fire range at Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii’s big island.
They’ve been firing machine guns, rockets and Hellfire missiles at an enemy force moving from east to the west in a scenario created for the Rim of the Pacific exercise, which will culminate in a massive amphibious landing on the island of Oahu at the end of the month.
The 109,000-acre training area, which is the largest U.S. military installation in the Pacific, affords Marine aviation units based on heavily populated Oahu the infrequent opportunity to use their full arsenal.
On the morning of July 20, the crews and several trainees of two helicopters, a Huey and a Cobra, spent about two hours circling above the firing range’s twisted volcanic-rock landscape. The Huey crew fired off hundreds of rounds from two M240 machine guns and a dozen 2.75-inch rockets.
The final assault came with the Cobra firing a Hellfire missile.