2 Marine Helicopters Collide Over Yuma Killing 7 During A Routine Training Exercise

 

 
 
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2 Marine Helicopters Collide Over Yuma Killing 7 During A Routine Training Exercise

By Jim Douglas
 

February 24, 2012 - Two helicopters belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing collided in a remote portion of the Yuma Training Range Complex killing seven Marines on Wednesday. The aircraft, an AH-1W "Cobra" and an UH-1Y "Huey", were conducting routine training operations around 10:30 PM according to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Base Commander Col. Robert Kuckuk.

One Marine was based at Yuma and six were assigned to a unit at Camp Pendleton, California which is apart of 3rd Marine Air Wing based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. Two Marines were on AH-1W "Cobra" helicopters, while five were on the UH-1Y "Huey". 

The Bell AH-1 SuperCobra is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the US Army's AH-1 Cobra. The twin Cobra family includes the AH-1J SeaCobra, the AH-1T Improved SeaCobra, and the AH-1W SuperCobra. The AH-1W is the backbone of the United States Marine Corps's attack helicopter fleet, but will be replaced in service by the Bell AH-1Z Viper upgrade. Crew: 2: pilot, co-pilot/gunner. 

The Bell UH-1Y Venom (also called Super Huey) is a twin-engine medium size utility helicopter, part of the United States Marine Corps' H-1 upgrade program. The helicopter is also called Yankee for its variant letter, Y. The UH-1Y is currently in low-rate production to replace the USMC's aging fleet of UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopters first introduced in the early 1970s. The UH-1Y was to have been remanufactured from UH-1Ns, but in 2005 it was approved for the aircraft to be built as new. 

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is a Marine Corps air station which is the home to multiple squadrons of AV-8B Harrier IIs of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) and Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401), an air combat adversary squadron of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Reserve. 

The station is located 2 miles from the city of Yuma, Arizona. A joint civilian-military airport, MCAS Yuma shares facilities with Yuma International Airport and occupies approximately 3,000 acres, most of which is flat desert wilderness.

The Marines were identified as: 

Major Thomas A. Budrejko, 37, Montville, Connecticut. He was commissioned as an officer by the Marine Corps on May 24, 1996, and served as an AH-1W Cobra pilot and executive officer of attack squadron 469. 

Sergeant Justin A. Everett, 33, Clovis, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 19, 2002, and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard a UH-1Y Huey. 

Captain Benjamin N. Cerniglia, 31, Montgomery, Alabama. He was commissioned as an officer on December 14, 2007, and served as an AH-1W Cobra pilot. 

Captain Michael M. Quin, 28, Purcellville, Virginia. He was commissioned as an officer by on May 26, 2006, and served as a UH-1Y Huey pilot. 

Lance Corporal Corey A. Little, 25, Marietta, Georgia. He enlisted on March 30, 2009, and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard a UH-1Y Huey. 

Lance Corporal Nickoulas H. Elliott, 21, Spokane, Washington. He enlisted on May 4, 2009, and served as a helicopter crew chief aboard a UH-1Y Huey. 

Captain Nathan W. Anderson, 32, Amarillo, Texas. He was commissioned as an officer on December 20, 2002, and served as a UH-1Y Huey pilot. 

 
   
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