July 1995

The Ryukyu Islands: Dragons and Grunts Work on Gait

Volume 78, Issue 7

Some people might say a GAIT is what they pass through when they leave or enter base, but in this case it is an acronym for Ground Air Integration Training.

The Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 "Dragons" recently spent a week performing GAIT with infantry Marines.

"Basically, they used our helicopters, and we supported whatever they wanted to do," said Gunnery Sergeant Matthew Pisani, operations chief, HMM-265, in explaining GAIT.

The squadron devoted its CH-46 Sea Knights to members of 1st Battalion, Third Marine Regiment; Combat Assault Bn (CAB); and Reconnaissance Company, Third Marine Division.

They inserted and extracted the infantrymen into and from different training sites around Okinawa, conducted raids and provided a platform for fast-roping and rappelling.

The training went around the clock, and at night the pilots used night vision goggles to navigate. Operating at night was a key element when the Dragons inserted 60 engineers from CAB into the rugged Northern Training Area.

"We performed a 24-hour engineer reconnaissance mission," said First Lieutenant Raphael Hernandez, CAB embarkation officer.

This type of mission is done almost monthly by HMM-265, and it keeps them close to the infantry units they would take to a fight.