Marines Run Errands In Attack Helicopters

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Days after a Navy E/A-18 crew decided to use government aircraft to draw a contrail phallus in the sky, two Marine Corps crews flew a Bell AH-1W Super Cobra and Bell UH-1Y Venom across town to pick up a cellphone left in a pub, according to the Mount Desert Islander. The local paper reports that a caller phoned the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, Maine, on Saturday asking if someone from the restaurant would be willing to ferry a cellphone, left behind at lunch, over to the town baseball field. Server Jess Witherell told the Islander that the caller ID reported that the call came from nearby Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.

Dishwasher Bryce Lambert drove to the field and handed the cellphone over to one of Super Cobra crew, who gave him a unit patch, then departed. The Islander reports that the crew seemed to be from a Marine Corps helicopter unit stationed in New Jersey. AVweb calls to the Marine Corps press office for a statement went unanswered.

Comments (19)

I'm remarkably unfussed about this. Their job is flying around doing stuff. So they were. If it's a waste of resources, perhaps they can drive slightly harder bargains on the next round of contracts and leave these people to their own devices.

Posted by: Cosmo Adsett | November 21, 2017 12:43 AM    Report this comment

Sounds like a useful training flight, to me.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | November 21, 2017 5:08 AM    Report this comment

Eh. I'm sure people will get up in arms, but if you need to make a training / currency flight, why not attach a real "mission" to it, better than just flying to a random airport X miles away.

Unless they were putting members of the public at unnecessary risk doing it, seems like a fun way to make a routine flight more interesting.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | November 21, 2017 10:03 AM    Report this comment

Sort of a non-deal non-newsworthy item in my mind. We've all left things places. I wouldn't call this an errand. Just a thing...

Great way for kids to see military aircraft operating. I spent a few decades at Bell on USMC AH-1 programs. These Marine pilots and crew work hard every minute they wear the uniform. Great to see the folks in town helped them out.

Posted by: William Goebel | November 22, 2017 7:22 AM    Report this comment

Ok, I see the other comments above just white washing this event, but I see the waste involve in the use of govermental property used for personal benefit. The cell phone could have been mailed or otherwise shipped to the owner for less than 20 dollars. How can anyone condone this level of waste as just "training" or anyother useful endeavor for the tax paying public. While this is not that high in cost, just because they are Marines, we shouldn't be giving free passes on what is, in its base form, theft by conversion. I do not believe that I am that out of step with the reality of this situation, and I firmly believe that a reprimand is due for this crew and anyone involved.

Steven Monica

Posted by: Steven Monica | November 22, 2017 7:45 AM    Report this comment

My only concern is that the crew who flew the "rescue mission" had not too recently patronized the Thirsty Whale. In other words, I hope they used sober judgement.

Posted by: Dennis Lindenberg | November 22, 2017 8:03 AM    Report this comment

Military aviators should get at least 30 hours a month of flight time to be proficient. Lately the stateside units get 1/2 of that. Point is if they weren't landing at the park, they would have been practicing somewhere else, so in other words, no money was wasted as they would have been flying anyways. By the way, the military is allowed to fly over and land almost anywhere without prior permission. That's why they can do flyovers over a stadium while the civilians have to go around during a game. Some people complain that airshow appearances are a waste of money, since they don't realize that these same aircraft and pilots would still be flying somewhere for training purposes anyways. Sometimes an aircraft and crew will do very long training missions, (12hr+), and will hit 2-3 airshows in a day. All the while they are practicing navigation, refueling, bombing, (on American cities), combat maneuvering, and even a little recruiting!

Posted by: Craig Hoaglund | November 22, 2017 8:58 AM    Report this comment

I think we should call this a "matter".

Posted by: William Federle | November 22, 2017 9:10 AM    Report this comment

My main concern is that it's my clear impression that approaching a running rotorcraft on the ground should be done in controlled circumstances; this didn't appear to be such.

Posted by: Bill Polits | November 22, 2017 9:28 AM    Report this comment

I saw Andy Griffith stop at the Seven-Eleven in his patrol car on the way home from work to pick up a loaf of bread. A full investigation should be launched into the abuse of public resources!

It's not like these aviators were trying to hide something; he gave the guy a unit patch for gosh sakes! Cool! Kudos for their resourcefulness; it keeps things running. Much ado about nothing in my opinion.

Posted by: A Richie | November 22, 2017 11:02 AM    Report this comment

I don't have even the slightest problem with this. They got some flight time, a little experience doing some real-world flight planning and problem solving, and worked in a little community outreach as well. Good for them.

Posted by: MICHAEL KOBB | November 22, 2017 11:36 AM    Report this comment

Pilots need flight time to remain current. I have no problem with this.

Posted by: Ric Lee | November 22, 2017 4:42 PM    Report this comment

As a retired UH-1H pilot, I think this act of kindness was exemplary. I salute the crew. To those who have bad things to say about it, maybe if it was your cellphone you would think differently. Either way, go to hell.

Posted by: W Ciommo | November 22, 2017 4:48 PM    Report this comment

I look at this just like the FA-18 event. Great recruiting!

Posted by: Mike Atkinson | November 23, 2017 8:46 PM    Report this comment

Those who see this as an unnecessary flight may be missing something here: there were two helicopters involved, not just one. A misguided crew may think that flying across town for a lark is OK, but to involve a second? Highly unlikely.

Looks more like they were on a training flight and opted to make a stop along the way back - not a dedicated cell phone recovery mission.

Posted by: Rush Strong | November 23, 2017 9:45 PM    Report this comment

No way on the reprimand - total overkill and it could unrealistically affect careers in a bad way. Clearly the two aircraft commanders did not originate and garner approval of these flights for the purpose of picking up a phone, This really is not much different than driving a government vehicle on business and swinging by the post office to mail a personal letter . . . hardly a monster. This "matter" should be filed in the circular file as incidental to the mission. Common sense trumps the literal application of the book.

Posted by: Brad Pearson | November 24, 2017 10:03 AM    Report this comment

Military and especially aviators accept extra risk, they are entitled to extra benefits.
This has been going on since the dawn of aviation, why have we become such assholes about this. Too much freedom of the press!
On a related subject the two wardroom heroes who drew the big penis over washington (state) it will be interesting to know if they continue after the publicity dies or will double their pay working for Delta??

Posted by: Ray Toews | November 24, 2017 11:32 AM    Report this comment

I tend to agree with Rush Strong, that it was probably en route, and chose to make an unscheduled stop. Maybe it was a little out of the way, maybe more. But it sounds like they safely maneuvered 2 sophisticated machines in to an unfamiliar area, in somewhat restricted space and back out safely, so I'd call it good training.

When I was at Embry-Riddle in the late '80's, military aircraft stopped frequently when they were passing through. Was every one of those stops scheduled and approved? Was the flyby of the B1-B OKed in advance?
It was about recruiting. Whether approved or not.

Posted by: John Carney | November 25, 2017 12:37 PM    Report this comment

So far I see NO Evidence that this mission was Not approved by their supperiors.

Posted by: J BRIDGES | December 6, 2017 6:01 PM    Report this comment

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