Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Marine Operating Concepts. Restricted Distribution C.

Sgt. C. a regular commenter on SNAFU! caught something that escaped my notice.  The Marine Operating Concepts is classed Restricted Distribution C.  His words...
Interesting that it has the fairly restrictive Distribution C statement, but it is on a website anyone can go to. Not even an HTTPS. Other documents with the same statement are not only protected by having to have a CAC/PKI to access the site they're on, they also will only send a download link on request from your .mil email.
Seems to me they want this "out there".

What is Restricted Distribution C?  This definition (the best I could find) is from the Naval Post Graduate School.


Distribution authorized to U.S. Government Agencies and their contractors (fill in reason) (date of determination). Other requests for this document shall be referred to (insert controlling DoD office).

Distribution statement C may be used on unclassified and classified technical documents.

Reasons for assigning distribution statement C include:

Foreign Government Information                 Same as distribution statement B.
Critical Technology                                        Same as distribution statement B.
Software Documentation                               Same as distribution statement B.
Administrative or Operational Use   Same as distribution statement B.
Specific Authority                                          Same as distribution statement B.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing top secret here.  But...it was deemed to have a limited 'spread' but for some reason, its been given wide distribution....

I can see it now.

Conway in a room with 20 of his colleagues, smoking cigars and drinking whiskey plotting the next move on Capital Hill.

The wider release of this document is definitely part of the public relations war.  This will get good!

The Marine Corps is gearing up for the budget battle.

When Headquarters Marine Corps starts putting out Cliff Notes like these to demonstrate how valuable and what a bargain the Corps is to the nation, then you can bet that the conversations in the "Generals Club" have been pretty intense.

Seems like another fight for survival is about to erupt.  Lord have mercy on the Honorable Mr. Gates, cause he's just unleashed the hounds of budget war!

In the Black - Moc                                                                    

In the Black (Amphib Force)                                                                    

In the Black (Amphib Ships)                                                                    

Greg Grant at Defense Tech got the MOC!

He's money in the bank.  This is courtesy of Greg and DT.


It was a TRAP mission.

Remember this post?  In it a couple of people made the comment that this wasn't a TRAP (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel) mission and that we were foolish for even thinking that it might be.

Seems like a certain Gunnery Sergeant has a different take on things.  This from Gunny Williams.

Heavy-lift Helos Haul Big Missions in Afghanistan 

CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan  — A CH-53E Super Stallion flew across the dawning sun here June 26 as it returned with an 18,000-pound piece of vital cargo slung beneath its belly. The sight of the aircraft against the painted morning sky was impressive on two accounts – the vision of the silhouetted helicopter floating in Afghanistan’s vibrant dawn, and the fact that the cargo toted below was a United Kingdom Mk3 Merlin (EH-101) helicopter. The Super Stallion, deployed here with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, was recovering the aircraft from a forward operating base after the Merlin went down in a non-hostile event. Perhaps the most impressive part of the recovery mission – HMH-466 pulled it off with less than 18 hours notice.
“In order for it to go down,” Lt. Col. Mitch Cassell, the HMH-466 Commanding Officer, explained, “it required the entire squadron to throw themselves behind the lift.”
The planning and preparation involved in outfitting a CH-53E to carry tens of thousands of pounds is extensive and requires meticulous attention to detail. Pilots and crew in the ready room who weren’t even flying the mission planned it. An entire maintenance department jumped into action pulling off 2,000 pounds worth of gear, including the auxiliary fuel tanks, fuel probe, troop seats, ramp, cargo wench and utility hoist. “We had to remove all that equipment from our aircraft to make it light enough to lift the stricken Mk3 Merlin,” said Cassell.
The mission is called TRAP – Tactical Recovery of Aircraft or Personnel – a mission Marines actively train for all the time. However, very few real world TRAP missions have ever been conducted. Conducting one TRAP during a deployment is rare. Twice is practically unheard of… until now. In addition to the Mk3 Merlin mission, HMH-466 conducted an earlier TRAP mission to recover a U.S. Army MH-47G Chinook helicopter May 15 that made a hard landing near Kandahar.
This mission was also conducted with less than 24 hours notice and followed many of the same planning and execution processes, “but more weight had to be removed from our aircraft because the Chinook was much heavier than the Merlin” said Cassell. To successfully lift the Chinook, over 5,600 pounds of equipment had to be removed from the CH-53E helicopter.
“The fact that an Army unit was able to call across the boundaries to ask the Marine Corps to support a mission is pretty remarkable," said Lt. Col. Timothy Sheyda, HMH-466’s executive officer. “We were able to smoothly interact with their airborne assets on station, as well as their ground team which was at the site, and their command and control system that was in place.”
The CH-53E squadron is getting the call on these big missions because, according to Sheyda “there are only three aircraft in the world that could possibly do that lift.” The other two besides the CH-53 are the Russian-made MI-26 Halo and the CH-47 Chinook. Although those aircraft are available in the area, “the Marine Corps is the only service capable of reconfiguring its aircraft and performing the mission on such short notice.”
But the greatest accomplishment extends beyond the rescued aircraft being delivered to their respective owners. The capability the HMH-466 Marines have to plan, organize and execute these operations with very limited advance notice speaks to their teamwork and dedication.
“The fact that a team can throw a plan together in less than 24 hours to do a mission really validates the Marine Corps planning process,” Sheyda exclaimed. “This process will have to be passed on to future generations.”
He went on to say, “Marines are trained to be light, agile, quick and lethal. In this case, we were able to do all of those things and effectively accomplish our mission in a short timeline. That’s how we operate.”
At the end of the summer, HMH-466 will return to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and pass off their responsibilities to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361. As HMH-466 flies off into the sunset, HMH-361 picks up a “heavy” mission supporting the Afghan National Security and NATO Forces as the “heavy haulers” of southern Afghanistan.
Mystery semi solved.

It was a TRAP.

We now know that in addition to a Merlin ------ a CH-47 Chinook was also recovered (different time frame, same deployment).

What we don't know is what caused the helicopters to go down (the commenters stated that the Merlin just performed a hard landing...considering how erroneous their previous info was I highly doubt that part of their story too)

More digging coming.