CAMP PENDLETON, Calif --
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron with Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, made history by becoming a flying squadron for the first time in the unit’s existence.
The Marines and sailors of H&HS took ownership of a UC-12W Huron aircraft July 31, and took the plane on its first flight with the squadron four days later.
With this addition to MCAS Camp Pendleton, every air station housing aircraft from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing now has operational support airlift capabilities. The Huron aircraft can increase a unit’s operational readiness significantly.
“This is the first time in known history where OSA aircraft are stationed here on MCAS Camp Pendleton” said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Frank Savarese, the commanding officer of H&HS, MCAS Camp Pendleton. “This is a big win for the Marine Corps overall because that OSA love is spread throughout Camp Pendleton.”
The aircraft can carry military personnel, equipment and aircraft parts. The aircraft saves the unit money and time when it comes to the transportation of parts and equipment. The UC-12W can travel from the West Coast to the East Coast on one tank of gas.
“The C-12’s are designed to provide a cost affective way to move high priority personnel and cargo from point A to point B,” said Lt. Col. Corey Martin, operations officer for H&HS, MCAS Camp Pendleton. “The aircraft has been around for years, so the maintenance is very low and straight forward.”
Prior to the UC-12W, Pendleton units utilized the MV-22 Osprey and the UH-1Y Venom helicopter to transfer parts from air station to air station. The cost to fly these two aircraft is thousands of dollars an hour. On average, the MV-22 costs $14,000 and the UH-1Y costs $7,000 to fly per hour. The UC-12W averages $1,400 an hour, saving the Marine Corps thousands of dollars.
“When it comes to the cost, it’s a fraction of what it takes to fly a fleet aircraft, ” said Martin. “The real savings is the time and effort on the fleet aircraft; we are not putting more miles on our airframes. We can take care of that mission with the C-12 now and make sure our fleet is ready to fight.”
Different units can use the aircraft as well, the Huron is not restricted to just air station squadrons. Ground units can also send in a request asking for H&HS to support.
“From here, we are going to have a lot of programs that are going to be inspectable and policies to get this aviation side of the unit up and going,” said Savarese. “But no matter what, the ‘Stampede’ is ready to support the MAGTF in any way shape or form.”