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,
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.
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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